We bring Israel and Jewish Atlanta together through human connections. Shinshinim are recent Israeli high school graduates taking a gap year in Atlanta before their military service.

Relationships that will endure for a lifetime.

These exuberant teen ambassadors spend their time teaching about Israeli culture in all corners of our community – schools, synagogues, camps, and community organizations. They are hand-picked in a highly selective process to represent the very best of Israel and its diversity.

The Shinshinim are young educators who “teach” with a light, accessible, friendly touch. They bring their love of Israel into our Jewish day school and supplementary school classes through art, song, dance, and holiday observances. They work at our Jewish day and overnight camps, and increasingly reach out to all age groups — last year they added Jewish assisted living facilities and other programs for older adults to their outreach. By sharing themselves and their personal stories with us, they make Israel real!

Atlanta Host Families

Each Shinshin lives with an Atlanta host family for three-and-a-half months at a time, making a switch at mid-year to a second family. They bond quickly and deeply with their American families and the relationships they build are human bridges that will endure for a lifetime.

Meet your 2021-2022 Schoenbaum Shinshinim!

Shahaf Vaknin

Shahaf Vaknin was born in 2003 in Yokneam, Israel, and has lived there his whole life — he's a third generation resident of the city on his father’s side. His family includes his parents Fany and Nisim Vaknin and two older brothers, Mor and Yarin. His family enjoys eating and exploring new restaurants, attending Maccabi Haifa games (soccer) and on Shabbat they hike together.

Shahaf enjoys sports cars, photography, and swimming. Shahaf came to Atlanta representing our partnership city Yokneam for the Maccabi games in 2019 as a swimmer. Volunteering is “just a thing he does.” While in Atlanta he wants to be remembered for meaningful lessons that reflect his Israeli qualities and character- motivation and energy. In turn, he hopes to make connections through unique varieties of people and stories and make Atlanta his second home.

Noa Ben Shimol

Noa Ben Shimol was born in 2003 in Ashdod, Israel to Chany and Maor Ben Shimol. Noa has five siblings-Alon, Shahar, twins Ori and Yishay, and Yuval who all now live in Eshchar. Before settling down in Eshchar, Noa and her family lived in Singapore and London.

Noa loves Eshchar because it’s small (250 families) and it's a beautiful green space. Eshchar is also a "mixed" community with both religious and secular families.

Noa has a strong and close relationship with her parents, and says they are her best friends. The family enjoys taking day trips around Israel, spending time together on Shabbat, and visiting the sea every Friday. She considers her involvement in the Israeli Scouts as a hobby as well as a volunteer job. Noa enjoys writing, arts and crafts, baking, cooking, listening to music, and reading the bible to gain a stronger Jewish identity.

Noa is excited to share her Israeli warmth with Atlanta and convey her sense of pride in her country. She hopes to understand our Southern manners and incorporate those learned ideals back into her life in Israel.

Ori Winestate

Ori Winestate, our newest Shinshin, was born in 2003 in Rehovot, Israel, and has lived there his whole life. His family includes parents Irit and Asher Winestate, and two siblings -- a twin brother Gilad who will be a Shinshin in Baltimore, and a younger sister Noya.

Ori has been very active in his youth movement, B’nei Akiva in Rehovot and loves to hang out with friends, eat, talk, or plan activities. The most meaningful activity he planned was organizing and packing 50 Mishloach Manot (food gifts) during Purim for families who have lost a soldier. Each family received a handwritten letter expressing gratitude and sorrow. He has also spent time on many volunteering activities within B’nei Akiva such as farming during harvest time.

A perfect day for Ori is waking up to a pancake meal, sitting high up in the hills that overlook his beautiful town, and spending time with friends. He plans to share his personal story and his love of Rehovot with Atlanta and hopes to make connections that will stay with him always.

Yahel Elkayam

My name is Yahel Elkayam. I’m 18 years old and I was born in Migdal Haemek, which is a small city in the north of Israel. I live there with my parents, Ofir and Ravit, along with my four younger siblings - Orr, Raphael, Harel and baby Hila.
My first connection with the Jewish community was in 2016, when I was only 12. I went to a Jewish summer camp in Michigan called “Tamarack” and I immediately fell in love. Since then, I kept in touch with the Jewish community in lots of ways, such as hosting families and participating in the leadership program of the Jewish Federation of Detroit.

I really like to bake and cook, and I’m always interested to discover new dishes and recipes. I’m also a fan of art, and I really like to draw and paint, photography and music.
My main goal is to bring the feeling of home, exactly like I received when I was in camp. I want to learn the lifestyle of the Jewish community in the U.S and to bring my home and traditions here in order to make a stronger connection between Jews all over the world.

Kerem Zentner

Kerem Zentner, our newest Shinshinit, was born in 2003 in Jerusalem, Israel to Dykla and Ariel Zentner.  She and her four siblings, Alon, Nadav, Yoav, and Ivri, live in Yishuv Alon, a unique community that demonstrates cooperation between religious and secular residents.  Coincidently both of her parents were born in Australia, so Kerem and her siblings all have Australian citizenship though they’ve never actually been there.
Kerem spent two years in an all-girls religious school but chose to return to her community to attend a mixed school. She then proceeded to choose religious, math, and physics classes where she was often the only girl.  She loves hiking and will be traveling to Iceland with her hiking group.  She plans to find special hiking spots here in Atlanta. Kerem is an expert baker and shows off her skills on her own Instagram page dedicated to her beautiful creations. She was a scout since the 4th grade and her favorite aspect was organizing and volunteering in senior living homes.  Kerem hopes to educate Atlanta about the positive side of Israel, not just what the media portrays. In turn, she hopes to learn and be able to put into words what it means to be a Jew in the U.S. as well as be able to define herself as a Jew while here in Atlanta.

Alma Shoshani

Alma Shoshani, our newest Shinshinit, was born in 2003 in Yokneam, Israel, and has lived there her whole life. Her family includes parents Efrat and Lior Shoshani, two brothers, Omer and Yaheli, and her dog Sinai. She enjoys spending time with her grandparents, hiking, and traveling to Europe with her family. Alma also loves being on stage. She performed in two musicals in Yokneam. She loves cooking, baking, the beach, watching TV and movies, and reading books. She’s up-to-date on all pop culture Neflix shows and is an avid reader. Most importantly she takes part In Krembo Wings which is a youth movement including children with and without special needs. Alma plans to share her Israeli vibe with Atlanta as well as show us the difference between Yokneam and the rest of Israel. She is eager to learn about the difference between the Judaism that she knows in Israel and Judaism here in the U.S. through synagogue life.

Nave Avitan

Nave Avitan was born in 2003 in Be’er Sheva, to Vered and Shabi Avitan. He and his three sisters Ziv, his twin sister Noga, and Elinor have lived in Be’er Sheva their whole lives. He loves his city because of its warmth and diversity. He’s especially passionate about their soccer team where he has season tickets. Nave enjoys traveling in and outside of Israel, watches movies every Friday night, and enjoys meals and bowling with his family. He says the challenge to eating together every day is that someone has to cook — and that is him! He also enjoys baking, playing basketball, volunteering, hanging out with friends, and playing Play Station. Nave’s mother taught him to be optimistic and to believe in himself. He wants to share that philosophy with Atlanta in everything he does. He’d also like to share the Israeli value “We are stronger when we are together.” He’s never met Jews outside of Israel, he looks forward to learning about how we can be Jewish outside of Israel.

Noga Lipik

Noga Lipik was born in 2003 in Kiryat Gat, Israel, and has lived there her whole life. Her family includes parents Merav and Ami Lipik and two sisters, Shira and Hila. As a family, they enjoy traveling, visiting relatives, going to music festivals, art museums, eating at restaurants, and going to the movies. Like Noga, her family has an “artsy vibe.” Noga enjoys art, drawing, poetry, photography, nature, traveling, yoga, and exercising. Growing up she was motivated by the Diller Teen Fellows, a leadership organization that explores Jewish identity. She traveled to her partnership city of Chicago both in 8th and 10th grade. Noga plans on sharing her expertise through volunteering in Kefiada and learning and leading through Diller when she comes to Atlanta. Those experiences have taught her how to impact others positively while building relationships. In turn, she will measure her accomplishments by bringing those strong relationships back to Israel.


Organizations Shinshinim Atlanta has partnered with


unique interactions with Atlantans


years in Atlanta