The Shinshinim Program

A Shinshin is an 18-year-old Israeli emissary who has graduated from high school and defers their army service in the IDF for one year to volunteer in Jewish communities abroad with the goal of educating people of all ages about Israel and Israeli culture. They teach about Israel through creative programs and challenging discussions, bringing an authentic Israel experience to the community they serve, while forming long lasting relationships with their host families and members of the community.

The Shinshinim program is a partnership between the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and several local organizations: Congregations Shaare Emeth, United Hebrew, Bnai Amoona, Kol Rinah, Temple Emanuel and Temple Israel, as well as the Israeli Scouts and Saul Mirowitz Jewish Day School. During the summer, the Shinshinim participate at Camp Emeth, Ramot Amoona, Camp Ben Frankel and GUCI.

Their Work in the Community

The Shinshinim work at several different programs within the congregations, mainly with children ranging in ages 3-18, including the Sunday schools, religious and Hebrew schools, early childhood centers, USY, and NFTY. They also participate in special ‘chagim’ happenings, adult programming, weekend retreats and Shabbatonim, youth group conventions, summer camps, and other events.

One of the main objectives of bringing Shinshinim to our community is to encourage Israel engagement through educational programming, through formal and informal social interactions, and by building relationships with community members.

The Shinshinim serve as Israeli cultural ambassadors throughout the community, and the program ultimately builds a bridge between Israeli youth and Jewish communities, creating an educational dialogue between the two, in order to strengthen our Jewish family ties and to build the foundation for a secure Jewish future.

Meet the Shinshinim – Naama, Or, Yehonatan and Ofer

We are so excited to welcome the seventh cohort of Shinshinim to St. Louis!

Or Garti, from Kfar Tavor, works at Kol Rinah, Temple Israel and the Israeli Scouts; Naama Eldar Herz, from Kibbutz Ramot Menashe in our partnership Region, works at Shaare Emeth and Temple Emanuel; Ofer Ashur, from Meitar, works at United Hebrew and the Israeli Scouts; and Yehonatan Zohar, from our Partnership city Yokneam Ilit, works at Saul Mirowitz Jewish Day school.


Connect With Us!
Cynthia Wachtel

Cynthia Wachtel

Manager, Israel Emissary Initiatives

For more information about Shinshinim, contact Cynthia Wachtel at 314-442-3878 or

Farewell Video from Our 2020-2021 Shinshinim – Gilad, Dana, and Evyatar
YouTube video

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