In August, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will double the size of its popular shinshinim program.
Named for the Hebrew words shnat sherut, which translate to “a year of service” in English, the program is conducted in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, and supported by a private local family foundation and Federation funding. It offers Pittsburghers a chance to create connections with Israel through informal education and relationship-building provided by Israeli volunteer emissaries.
The expansion from two to four emissaries follows the success of the program’s first year, said Kim Salzman, the Jewish Federation’s director of Israel and Overseas Operations, in a press release. “After such a great first year with Raz [Levin] and Hadar [Maravent] connecting Pittsburghers to Israel, we have identified a need in the community for making deeper and more meaningful connections to Israel.”
Next year’s volunteers will all come from Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether sister cities of Karmiel and the Misgav region. Two girls, Tamat Nawy from the city of Yuvalim in Misgav and Sivan Avhar from Karmiel, will join two boys, Itamar Medina from the city of Tuval in Misgav and Guy Hoffman from Karmiel, in Pittsburgh. Nawy and Hoffman both visited Pittsburgh with Partnership2Gether’s Diller Teen Fellows Program two years ago. Hoffman also spent a summer at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s Emma Kaufmann Camp.
“We had an incredibly dynamic and talented class of applicants this year,” said Shani Turel, the Jewish Federation’s program coordinator for the shinshinim. “The four teens volunteering in Pittsburgh next year will make an amazing addition to our community.” PJC
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