The Shinshinim Corner, March 2024

Three weeks ago, my journey led me to Israel for a significant mission: selecting the Detroit 2024-2025 ShinShinim alongside my esteemed colleagues. Each trip to Israel holds its own anticipation and excitement, but this particular visit carried a unique energy, tinged with anticipation and reflection following the events of October 7th. Originally scheduled for December, the trip had been postponed due to the conflict and lack of flights.

Arriving in Israel during such a pivotal moment, my conversations with friends and associates naturally gravitated towards somber subjects – hostages, funerals, and the burden of reserve duty. The weight of recent events lingered in the air, whether in the hushed tones of coffee shop conversations or the shared experiences of those seeking shelter in my hotel. Memories of life before the unrest on October 7th were palpable in every encounter.

Amidst this backdrop, the screening process for the ShinShinim program served as a beacon of hope. Witnessing the determination and courage of these young Israelis, who saw building connections between Israel and the diaspora as paramount, filled me with optimism. In the aftermath of October 7th, the support of American Jewry towards Israel has been unwavering. In our partnership with the Detroit community, it’s evident that knowing they have a network of support – individuals praying, thinking, and advocating for them – provides solace to those facing challenging times. Come August 2024, five outstanding individuals will embark on their ShinShin year in Detroit, recognizing how the events of October 7th have underscored the importance of unity within global Jewry.

Reflecting on my time in Israel, one profound realization stands out: the resilience and indomitable spirit of the Israeli people. Despite facing formidable challenges, there was a prevailing determination among everyone I encountered to envision a future where discussions no longer center around threats and uncertainty but rather around hope and progress.

As I contemplate my return to Israel in late spring, I hold onto the fervent hope that the days of discussing hostages and rockets will soon become relics of the past. May our community, united, be blessed with health, safety, and prosperity as we journey forward together as a steadfast Jewish people.