The Lee & Frank Goldberg Family Religious School and Beth Israel’s Israel Committee have formed a strong collaboration through various programs. The 12th grade students go to the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference each year in Washington D.C. In addition, there are two other programs, M’ever LaYam and Shinshinim.
Every year, hundreds of young American Jews leave their homes, families, and communities to make “aliyah” to Israel. Some are born Israeli citizens and returning to fulfill their mandatory service. Due to their age, these new citizens of Israel are required to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Since they are alone and without family, these new recruits are called “Lone Soldiers”. In their first months and years in Israel, they find themselves in foreign settings far away from the familiarities of home.
M’ever LaYam, Hebrew for “across the sea”, was developed with lone soldiers as partners in providing support to North American Jewry and to increase Diaspora Jews’ emotional attachment to Israel. This way, the lone soldier also becomes active in building ties to their own community. Connections with our students are strengthened through monthly video sharing, face-to-face meet-ups, and the delivery in Israel of personalized care packages put together by the students. Packages are filled with items that the soldier requests – which makes them both different and uniquely special.
7th grade is paired with the soldier Imani Silverstein and 11th grade is paired with the soldier Joshua Lampert.
Service Year Shlichim (also known as Shinshinim) is the “year of service program” that offers Israeli high school graduates an opportunity to delay service in the Israel Defense Forces and serve Diaspora communities for up to 10 months. The program allows communities to meet young Israeli ambassadors and connect with them in a meaningful way. Through the Jewish Agency for Israel, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, this is one of the important ways we are bringing Israeli culture, experiences, and connections to San Diego.
MEET OUR SHINSHIN, AMIT
Amit, an 18-year-old high school graduate, joins our San Diego and Beth Israel community. During her year of service, Amit is teaching our 4th grade Judaica class, a program called Hebrew Through Movement with our 3rd – 6th graders, a class about Israel for our 7th and 11th graders, and an elective Art class for our high school students.
Teacher Katey Lindley reports: “Teaching about Israel to our 7th grade class this year came with two major perks; Amit Katz, our Beth Israel Shinshin, and Imani Silverstein, the M’ever Layam. Our students have been able to get firsthand knowledge and insights into life in Israel through both Amit and Imani. The students adore Amit and love listening to her talk about Israel. Additionally, the students viewed a video of Imani and have sent him a video. The students quickly made a connection to Imani and are eagerly waiting his video response. Both Amit and Imani have expressed a youthful and passionate perspective toward Israel that is an authentic experience for our students.”