ShinShinim Program Brings Israel To Our Community

In our ongoing commitment to connect our community with the people of Israel, Federation is proud to bring the ShinShinim program to Jewish Palm Beach! ShinShinim are cultural emissaries who have graduated high school but not begun their Israeli military service. These incredible teens bring their own unique perspective of history, culture and people of Israel to the Palm Beaches.



Meet your 2022-2023 ShinShinim

Tom Benisty

Hometown: Even Yehuda
School Majors: Arabic and Computer Science
Interests: Beach, sports, travel

“I strongly think the shlichut [emissary experience] is an amazing opportunity for me to bring my point of view on Israel and hear and learn how the Jewish people abroad perceive it. Israel has such beautiful views and history, and I think the shlichut is one of the best ways to keep its history alive. Together, the Jewish people abroad and the group of Israelis can think of new perspectives about Israel and get new insights. I believe that we are responsible for the world’s future and that in a joint effort, we can bring different groups together and show them the beauty and good that lies in Israel.”

Agam Ilovich

Hometown: Kefar Sava
School Majors: Architecture
Interests: Art, sports, working in a local café

“The shlichut for me is an opportunity to bring together those who have not been given the opportunity to live in Israel and to show those children why every child in the State of Israel enlists in the army at the age of 18 and what exactly they go out to defend. In the shlichut, I want to strengthen the unique character of the people of Israel, who are united no matter where and when. I feel that this is a commitment for me to connect the Jews abroad to our country and our heritage.”



Join Our ShinShinim Committee

We are excited about the arrival of our ShinShinim, and we would love for you to help us prepare. By joining the committee, you can be part of planning a welcome party, assist in the search for hosts and help the teens get situated with anything they may need.

If you’re interested in participating, please contact Marla Topiol at marla.topiol@jewishpalmbeach.org.

Would You Like to Host One of Our ShinShinim?

Opening your home to a ShinShin is an incredible opportunity to build a unique relationship that will last a lifetime.

Host families provide a spare bedroom, meals, and a welcoming and inclusive home. Your ShinShin will have her own car, supplied by the program. Each ShinShin will have three Palm Beaches host families, staying with each for four months at a time: August-November 2022; December 2022-March 2023; and April-August 2023.

If you are interested in hosting one of the teens, please read through the General Host Family Guidelines and complete the form below. Once your form is submitted, we will reach out to you to discuss the program and the role of the host family.

Throughout the application, there will be questions related to Jewish home observances, language, pets, allergies, etc. Please note, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. We are looking for ALL types of homes.

If you have any questions, please contact Marla Topiol at marla.topiol@jewishpalmbeach.org.

General Host Family Guidelines

  1. The ShinShinim will be placed in warm, loving, Jewish homes of all types.
  2. Family members should have time to dedicate for spending with their ShinShin. Regular family meals and activities are very important.
  3. Consider your family’s schedule and when you are available to include the ShinShin as part of your family. The ShinShin will be VERY busy and involved in the community, but the host family experience is also a crucial component of the program’s mission.
  4. The ShinShin will have a day off every week to spend with the family and will generally be home/available during the evenings at dinner time.
  5. The ShinShin MUST have a dedicated bedroom that is not used for other family needs (the family computer, the family TV, tutoring, etc.). During her stay, it’s preferred that the bedroom be a guestroom or other unoccupied space so that she is not displacing a member of the family. Additional private space, such as a bathroom or living area, is a plus but not required.
  6. The ShinShin will have her own car, and all expenses other than room and board will be covered by the program.
  7. Please note: In order to ensure the best placements for all involved, we cannot guarantee which ShinShin you will host.




Discussion Questions

The following are more detailed questions we may ask during an interview with prospective host families. You do not need to answer them on this form.

  1. Briefly describe your parenting style.
  2. Have all members of the family been included in the decision to host ShinShinim?
  3. Where will the ShinShinim be sleeping in your home? Will any additional spaces be available (bathroom, den, etc.)?
  4. Have there been or do you anticipate any major life events in your family within the next year (moving, house renovations, birth, bar/bat mitzvah, etc.)?
  5. Are there fixed times during the week that it would be important for the ShinShinim to be present with your family?