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 2020-21 Schoenbaum Shinshinim!

Petach-Tikva

Amit Dvash

Amit Dvash was born in Petach-Tikva in September 2002 and has lived there most of his life. He has two younger siblings — a sister Roni, 15, and a brother Jonathan, 11. His parents, Ravit and Lior, are both Israeli. Ravit grew up on a Kibbutz, while Lior and his family are also from Petach-Tikvah. During Amit’s Kindergarten year, he went to school at Givat Hashlosha Kibbutz which was important to his mother.
Amit was involved in the scouts from fourth through twelfth grade. It was a huge part of his life and he plans to continue while he’s here in Atlanta. His favorite activities in the scouts were traveling and camping. Building and learning to cook for five hundred people were other great experiences that helped build his character. When it was time to choose a high school, Amit went to a boarding school called Haifa Command Military School. There he met Dekel Swissa, one of Atlanta’s former Shinshinim. After expressing his desire to do a gap year after high school Dekel introduced him to the Shinshinim program and our Atlanta community. Amit loves surfing, basketball, volleyball, reading, cooking, baking, traveling and hiking. He’s very friendly and outgoing and can’t wait for his next adventure with us in Atlanta.
Nes Ziona

Amit Toledo

Amit Toledo was born in New York in 2002. At the age of five she moved to Israel, then back to New York at the age of seven where she attended a Solomon Schecter school from third through seventh grade. Amit’s family finally moved back for good to Nes Ziona, Israel. Both of her parents, Limor and Moshe, are Israeli. Amit has two siblings, Yuval, 16, and an older sister Lior who currently serves in the IDF as a combat soldier in the Iron Dome.
Amit is bubbly, outgoing, and has a great sense of humor. She loves to laugh and she enjoys film making. She also has a very strong connection to a youth movement called Moadonthick. Her involvement in this organization built her self-confidence and purpose throughout her high school years and ultimately led her to the Shinshinim program. She plans to share her experiences in her youth movement and her love for the greenest city in Israel with all of Atlanta this year.
Jerusalem

Ilan Lieberman

Ilan Lieberman was born in Jerusalem in 2001. When he was five-years-old his family moved to Modin. He has two younger sisters — Meital, 17, and Hadas, 13. His parents are Suzy and Avi. Suzy is from London and Avi is from Queens, New York. Suzy made aliyah in her twenties while Avi’s family made aliyah when he was in high school.

When Ilan was in middle school, his family took a leap of faith and moved to Las Vegas for a year, choosing to travel and immerse themselves in American culture. At first, it was challenging to figure out the cultural norms such as planning play dates and wearing school uniforms. Ilan enjoyed the American luxuries so much, he thought it would be difficult to leave but, in the end, he was glad to return to Modin. Throughout childhood, Ilan loved the “All Star Camp,” a summer day camp for American kids who have made aliyah. Ilan also spent time volunteering in a program called Yedid Nefesh, spending time with special needs children during Shabbat, as well as shopping and running errands for older people during the Coronavirus pandemic. Even with his previous American experiences, he can’t wait to share his Israeli life with Atlanta.

Mevaseret Zion

Noa Bodin

Noa Bodin was born 2002 in Jerusalem and soon after moved to Mevaseret Zion, a community just outside of Jerusalem that is known for Castel National Park, where several famous battles in the 1948 Independence War took place.
Noa has three younger siblings: a brother Jonathon 16, a sister Roni 11, and a sister Mika 9. Her mother is from Ukraine. Her mother Vicky made Aliyah at age 14, and her father Shraga grew up in Jerusalem. She has many interesting stories about her grandparents’ immigration experiences, on both sides.
Noa grew up dancing. She loves Modern and Hip-Hop dancing. She joined the Israeli Scouts in fourth grade and by 10th grade she had to decide where to focus her time. She chose to become a madricha (leader) of 18 fifth- and sixth-grade girls and guided them through 11th grade. As a madricha she learned a lot and loved leading her scouts on a nine-day camping trip.
Noa heard about the Shinshinim program from alumni, many of whom attended her high school. Becoming a Shinshin has been a dream since she began her high school career.
In Noa’s free time she enjoys baking, playing Shesh Besh (backgammon) with her family, or anyone who will play with her, and listening to all kinds of music. She’s known for making playlists that hit just the right audience and just the right mood. And like any teenager, she enjoys hanging out with her friends.
Noa wants to share with the Atlanta community her love of Israel and get to know Atlanta and our Jewish community.
Yokneam

Shiraz Bar Haim

Shiraz Bar Haim was born in 2002 in Yokneam and has lived her whole life there with her parents, Hili and Ayal, and younger sister Yuli, 14. Her mom, Hili is from a Kibbutz not far from Yokneam, and Ayal and his family are from Yokneam, most of whom still live there. Shiraz attended the Daliot School from kindergarten through 12th grade which is known for being a “green school.”

Shiraz has been involved in a youth movement called Krambo’s Wings since 7th grade. It is the first organization in Israel that connects kids with and without special needs. She also volunteered at MaDA Ambulatory as both a participant and instructor. Shiraz was accepted into a leadership program called Ot Ramon, named for Ilan Ramon, to educate youth throughout Israel. Shiraz was student government president who planned all senior activities and celebrations throughout the year. Her goal in Atlanta is to be a delegator and do-er while sharing her love of our sister city Yokneam and her beloved country of Israel.

Rechovot

Yael Yankelevitch

Yael Yankelevitch was born in Rechovot, Israel in 2002. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Beit Shemesh where she grew up. She is the middle child of five siblings, with two older brothers, 21 and 20, and two younger sisters, 13 and 9. Her parents are Omer and Yaron. Omer was born in Israel and spent her years in shlichut (outreach) in Russia growing up in a secular family who ultimately became Orthodox when she was a teenager. Omer, her mom, is currently the Minister of Diaspora Affairs. Yaron was born in Israel and spent sixteen years in Boston.
Yael was a competative swimmer, because of her religious beliefs, she felt that it was more appropriate to coach for the next two years. She was a volunteer MT for the MaDA Ambulatory program. She also pioneered an English language program called Sababta bringing senior citizens together with younger generations. Finally, she has been tutoring American neighbors who’ve made aliyah in their school subjects. Yael has never been to the United States before becoming a Shinshinit so she can’t wait to learn from us about what being Jewish is like here in Atlanta as well as she can't wait to bring Israel here as creatively as possible.
Ramat Gan

Yuval Lapidoth

Yuval Lapidoth, his mother Ruth, and his dog Gury live in the same house where his mother grew up, in Ramat Gan, Israel. Ruth is a bibliotherapist, also known as a poetry therapist. He often spends Shabbat dinner with his extended family in Tel Aviv.

Yuval attended the local primary school in Ramat Gan, but for high school, he opted to attend the Thelma Yillin High School of the Arts in Givatayim, and chose a demanding major, cinematography. After a year he realized how much he missed his commitment to the Israeli Scouts and transferred to Blich High School, closer to home in Ramat Gan. Yuval became active in scouts in fourth grade. He cherished his scout troop, beginning with the fact that it was his mother's troop as a child. It was an honor to be named the head of his troop in eleventh grade and to take responsibility for nine counselors and 60 fifth graders.

In high school Yuval also joined a youth movement called “The Special Sound Project” which brought music to kids with special needs. He loved working once a week with Amir, an 11-year-old boy.

Strong Jewish values define Yuval. They drove his passion for the Israeli Scouts and helped him find the Shinshinim program. Yuval participated in a summer teen tour program called Chetz V’Keshet in Israel where he was part of a group of 27 Israeli teens and 110 North Americans. He decided that his mission would be to bring our communities together which led him to apply to the Shinshinim Program. When he leaves Atlanta in August, Yuval hopes that Atlanta will be forever his second home, and Atlantans will always have a home in Israel.

40+

Organizations Shinshinim Atlanta has partnered with

8,100+

unique interactions with Atlantans

4+

years in Atlanta