How can you sum up being a “Shinshin”? A whole year of new experiences and crazy adventures. Let’s start from the beginning of our journey. After a long selection process with the Jewish agency, when at times things were uncertain, in the end, everything worked out. While we were both nervous, but undoubtedly excited, we came here one after the other and our dream came true. The first thing that happened, probably one of the most important and most impactful experiences of the year, is when we met our host families. They were our safe place, our home and our family for the year. We know that these relationships will continue on long after we leave, as they are our friends and family for life.
After we became acclimated, we started volunteering at Hillel Day School, where we would go into classes and have the best time with the kids, educating them about Israel, sometimes helping the kids with Hebrew and even leading programs with the “partnership” in Israel. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy since classes were remote and it was hard to engage with the kids. Soon enough, though, school was back in person and we got to be part of it. During this time we learned so much from everybody and we got really attached to the school and especially the students.
In addition to Hillel Day School, we also volunteered on Sundays and sometimes in the afternoon throughout the week, in various reform and conservative congregations. We got to see the community as a whole, learning about Jewish life outside of Israel. We got to lead big and small events during the holidays, which all were awesome, especially the less familiar ones, to Americans, in which we got to teach congregants something completely new. We also got to meet teens from the community coming from all of the youth groups such as BBYO, SSTY and YFTI. We had the best time talking with them about deeper subjects and not the regular “falafel, Tel Aviv” conversations. What we didn’t expect was that they taught us a lot about the fun and interesting American culture as well.
We are close to the end and we are now at Tamarack, The Greatest Place On Earth. We now know that it is the greatest place on earth! This is the end of our year and looking back, this was the quickest, yet longest year we have ever had. It was also the most meaningful, fun and impactful experience for us. Even with the intense schedule, we learned how to handle it all. We are more than grateful to be here and to be able to say that we’re part of the Detroit Jewish community. All of you are also a part of our community back in Israel, we are now officially “mishpacha”-family.
Love more than words can express,
Yuval and Noa, The 2020-2021 Shinshinim