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The Shinshinim Program

Federation has partnered with the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Shinshinim program to help connect people of all ages in our community to Israel and Israeli culture. 

Shinshinim are high-school graduates who choose to defer their military service for a year of service abroad. ShinShin is a Hebrew acronym for Shenat Sherut (year of service). These young Israeli ambassadors are carefully selected, recruited, trained, and sent to Jewish communities around the world to share their youthful and enthusiastic Israeli spirits. 

The Shinshinim bring their energy, love of Israel and unique perspectives to our synagogues, religious schools, pre-schools and Jewish Community Center through educational lessons, presentations, arts and crafts, music and personal connections with community members of all ages.  They participate in special ‘chagim’ happenings, adult programming, weekend retreats and Shabbatonim, youth group conventions, summer camps, and other events. 

One of the main objectives of bringing Shinshinim to our community is to encourage Israeli engagement that ultimately builds a bridge between Michigan and Israel. They help us develop a strong, meaningful attachment to Israel through tangible engagement — to strengthen our Jewish family ties and to build the foundation for a secure Jewish future.  

Meet Our 2021-2022 ShinShinim

Left to right: Noa Levi, Itay Schwartz, Ron Harel, Amit Bellin

Follow our Shinshinim on Facebook and Instagram

Amit Bellin

  • Hometown: Ahuzat Barak
  • School Majors: Art & Music
  • Interests: Playing piano, drawing

What is your favorite Jewish holiday? Why? How does your family celebrate it?

“Sukkot, for many reasons – especially because I love decorating the Sukkah with my brother. The weather is the absolute best, and we love spending a night outside in the Sukkah that we build with our father. I also love the fact that Sukkot calls you to host as many people, family, friends or complete strangers. True, Sukkot does not have any special foods, but it just means you can eat whatever!”

Ron Harel

  • Hometown: Tzippori
  • School Majors: Chemistry and Theater
  • Interests: Foreign languages, crafts, sports and cooking

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I am very interested in learning and exploring new languages. Before covid times, I did it through traveling. I fell in love with Spain around a year and a half ago when I first traveled there and decided to learn the language and the culture from A to Z, which I’m doing every day since then surrounding myself with the language 24/7. Plus, in parallel, I began to delve into more languages, places, and cultures, and the great majority of the people around me, other than my family and close friends don’t know this side of me. (Fun fact: I started the sortings for the Shnat Sherut in Spanish as well.)

Noa Levi

  • Hometown: Kibbbutz Yifat
  • School Majors: Chemistry and Biology
  • Dance, technology

What is your favorite food, and where is the best place in Israel to get it?

“There are 2 very clear groups. First – EVERYTHING my mom makes, obviously the best place to get it is our kitchen :). Second – ice cream and yogurt, there’s an amazing place in Ramat Yishay called “Aglida”. Best ever.”

Itay Schwartz

  • Hometown: Shimshit
  • School Majors: Economics/Business and Theater
  • Interests: Sports, theater, photography

What is one special place for you in your area? Why is it special? Is there a story of a particular memory you have from that place?

“In Shimshit, there is a special place called “Hamitzpe” (The lookout).  First of all, there is an amazing view on the fields which represent the Jezreel valley.  Secondly, this is our “meeting spot” to sit down and hang up together with friends.  Therefore, a lot of my memories with my friends happened there and that is why it is so unique.”

Detroit-area Host Families 

Our Shinshinim come from our Partnership2Gether region in the Central Galilee. They are hand-picked in a highly selective process to represent the very best of Israel and its diversity.  

We are looking for host families to help welcome them to our community. Families provide a spare bedroom, meals, and a welcoming and inclusive home. In return, they form incredible relationships that will endure for a lifetime. 

Application

Each Shinshin lives with a Detroit host family for 6 months at a time, making a switch at mid-year to a second family. 

September 2021 – February 2022 and March 2022 – August 2022*

*ShinShinim will most likely be attending summer camp from June until August 2022 so will not be living in the host family home full-time during that period.

If you’re interested in being a host family, please review and consider the General Host Family Guidelines and complete the form below. Once your form is submitted, we will call to meet and further discuss the program and the role of the host family.

Throughout the application there will be questions related to Jewish home observances, language, pets, allergies, etc. Know that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. We are looking for ALL types of homes.

If you have any questions please contact Dona Stillman at 248-833-2527 or at stillman@jfmd.org.

General Host Family Guidelines

  1. The Shinshinim will be placed in warm, loving, Jewish homes of all types.  
  2. Family members should have time to dedicate for spending with the Shinshin. Regular family meals and activities are very important.  
  3. Consider your family’s schedule and when you are available to include the Shinshin as part of your family. The Shinshin will be VERY busy and involved in the community but the host family experience is also a VERY important component of the program’s mission.  
    The Shinshin will have a day off every week to spend with the family and will generally be home/available during the evenings at dinner time.  
  4. The Shinshin MUST have a dedicated bedroom that is not used for other family needs (the family computer, the family TV, tutoring, etc.) During their stay, it’s preferred that the bedroom be a guest room or other unoccupied space so that he or she is not displacing a member of the family. Additional private space, such as a bathroom or living area is a plus, but not required. 
  5. The ShinShin will have their own car and all expenses other than room and board will be covered by the program. 
  6. Please note: In order to ensure the best placements for all involved, we cannot guarantee which Shinshin you will host. 

Discussion Questions 

The following are more detailed questions we might ask during a personal meeting with prospective host families.  You do not need to answer them on this form.  

  1. Briefly describe your parenting style. 
  1. Have all members of the family been included in the decision to host a ShinShinim? 
  1. Where the ShinShinim would be sleeping in your home?  What additional space would there be for him/her to use (e.g. bathroom, den, etc.)? 
  1. Have there been, or do you anticipate any major life events in your family within the next year (moving, house renovations, birth, divorce, bar/bat miztvah, job changes, etc.)? 
  1. Have you ever had someone not part of your family living with you in your home for an extended period of time?  If so, what kind of experience was it? 
  1. In your family, is there usually an adult home in the evenings? 
  1. What concerns do you have about the idea of hosting an Israeli emissary? 
  1. Are there fixed times during the week that it would be important for the ShinShinim to be present with your family? 

You Matter.

The help we provide to the Jewish community in Detroit, in Israel and around the world is not possible without your support. Choose your level of impact…