Federation brings Israel to Rochester by welcoming a new cohort of ShinShinim each year.
ShinShinim—a Hebrew acronym for shnat sherut or "year of service"—are the best and brightest of Israel's recent high school graduates who defer army service for one year to become emissaries in Jewish communities around the world. They volunteer, engage people of all ages with Israel, build connections with community members, and bring Israeli culture to life through educational lessons, presentations, arts and crafts, and music.
The ShinShinim serve as a living bridge between the Rochester community and Israel. Each one brings their own unique energy, love of Israel, and fresh views to our synagogues, schools, preschools, JCC, and other institutions, both inside and outside the Jewish world.
Meet Our 2023 - 2024 ShinShinim!
We’ve handpicked this years four ShinShinim to be part of our Rochester community. We’re excited to have Uri, Dana, Ron, and Yael here in Rochester, and they can’t wait to meet you. Here’s a little bit about them:
Left to right : Uri Levy, Yael Sperling, Dana Peled, and Ron Kronberger Netzer.
Uri grew up in our partnership city of Modi’in with his parents and two older siblings. Uri majored in theater and Jewish philosophy at Yachad High School, a mixed religious-secular school, which is considered a flagship of pluralistic education in Israel. He loves music and plays the drums and bass guitar.
In his free time, Uri enjoys spending time with his family and friends and is an avid hiker. He prides himself on having hiked more than half the Israeli National Trail, which crosses the entire country from north to south. Uri has been a member of the "Tzofim" (Israeli Scouts) since the 3rd grade and has volunteered as a counselor for the past three years.
Uri is grateful for the opportunities he had as a counselor, where he developed great leadership skills and deep bonds with his scouts. Uri can't wait to bring these qualities to the Rochester community as a ShinShin.
What are three things Uri loves about Israel? “I love the warm feeling of family that you feel when you meet other Israelis. Even if you have nothing in common, you still feel that they are your brothers and sisters. It's amazing. I also love Israel’s beautiful and diverse nature. From the desert in the south, to ancient monuments, to a snowy mountain in the north. I also appreciate Israel’s mixed and diverse society, which brings together so many diverse cultures and the best in terms of culinary arts, music education and more”.
Dana lives in Modi’in with her parents, and two younger sisters. Dana attended Ironi Daled High School, where a new innovation center was inaugurated this past February. Her majors were engineering science, biomedicine and Biology. In her free time, Dana loves traveling, listening to music, and drawing. She also enjoys baking and spending time with her friends and family. During the pandemic, Dana developed a love for growing plants and has enjoyed tending to them ever since.
Dana has been part of the Israeli Tzofim (scouts) youth movement since the fourth grade and has volunteered as a counselor for the past two years. This past year she served as head of a team that plans events and fun activities for the counselors. Dana gained a great deal of experience during her years in the scouts, growing her leadership skills and creativity, and is looking forward to bringing these skills to Rochester as a ShinShinit.
What are three things Dana loves about Israel? “I love the mutual responsibility that Israeli people have for one another. It’s amazing how Israelis know how to put their disagreements aside when someone is in need. I also love Israel’s nature and landscape. Within a few hours of driving, you can move from snowy mountains to the middle of the desert. The third (and definitely not the last) thing I love about Israel is the richness of Israeli society. Jews from all around the world brought special things to Israeli culture, such as traditions, music and amazing food”.
Ron Kronberger Netzer
Ron lives in Modi’in with his parents, older brother and two younger sisters. Ron majored in chemistry and theater and attended the democratic school, a school which emphasizes individual choice and the development of a model society within the school. Last year, as part of a theatre contest, Ron preformed at Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel’s national theater.
Ron participated in the Tzofim (Israeli Scouts) youth movement from 4th grade through 11th grade, and was a counselor for two of those years. This past year Ron decided to focus on the Israeli National Trail project at his school, and served as head of logistics for his school’s trip. He loves hiking, especially in places he’s never been to before. In his free time, Ron enjoys playing soccer and basketball. Ron also worked as shift manager in a Hummus restaurant, and can’t wait to cook with everyone here in Rochester.
What are three things Ron loves about Israel? “One of my favorite places in Israel is the Western wall. I love the atmosphere there and the feeling of being at peace and alone with your thoughts. I also LOVE the beaches in Israel. Not only they’re the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, there’s a special vibe in the air and everyone is partying and having fun. The thing I like the most about Israel is the feeling of home. No matter where you are in Israel, you always feel welcome, and no matter who you meet, you can always call them your “brother”.
Yael lives in Modi’in with her parents and older sister Noa. She attended Yachad High School, and majored in diplomacy and computer science.
In her free time, Yael loves spending time with family and friends. Yael is an avid photographer and also enjoys cooking, baking, and traveling in Israel and around the world. Yael is also very interested in veterinary medicine and loves animals.
For the past four years Yael has volunteered at "Krembo Wings, the only inclusive youth movement in Israel for youth with severe disabilities. Yael served as a personal mentor to a student with special needs, and as a group counselor. More recently she served as head counselor for students in upper grades. Yael is proud of her work at Krembo Wings and the difference it makes in the world. She is looking forward to putting her skills and passion to good use as ShinShinit in Rochester.
What are three things Yael loves about Israel? “I love the sites and their connections to Jewish history. Being able to go for a walk and find remains from the “Maccabean” period for example, makes me feel like I truly am a part of this story. I love the atmosphere in Israel. Everyone you meet is kind and caring. No matter where you are, it feels like home. Finally, I love the intimacy that exists in Israel. You can always find someone that in some way is connected to you, and that feels amazing.”
Aviv, Ori, Avishag, and Alon (2021/2022)
As a parting gift to the Rochester community, these ShinShinim created their own Israel Travel Guide. It’s filled with recommendations on their favorite places to eat and hike, how not to look like a tourist, and other tips for seeing Israel like a local.