Written by: Gilad Golani, Community Shaliach in DC
This year Partnership 2000 strengthened it's relationship with the Jewish community of greater Washington. By having a new young Shlicha from Beit Shemesh and three ShinShinim (year-of-service emissaries)
In August, Michaela Cohen the community Shlicha of Northern Virginia and the three ShinShinim, Sivan Bachrach, Hadas Avigad & Amit Regev left their homes and their families and headed off to spend a whole year in the Washington DC area.
Michaela Cohen, the Community Shlicha from Beit Shemesh:
The Northen Virginia Jewish community were excited to welcome Michaela Cohen as she assumed the important role of the Shlicha in the JCC. Over the past two years, the Volunteer Shlichut Program has successfully brought Israel closer to the community and built a foundation for that role in the community! Now, Michaela is making her mark as she builds the program further by meeting with religious schools, organizations, synagogues and individuals to deepen the connections and knowledge of Israel.
Michaela's hometown is Beit Shemesh!. She's excited about her role in expanding the Partnership 2000 Program which builds people and program exchanges between Beit Shemesh and the greater Washington community that includes the Northern Virginia community.
Michaela served in the I.D.F. Army, receiving an award for excellence in her position as Command Room Sergeant. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Social Science from Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. Having worked for the Education Ministry and the Jewish Agency for Israel in several capacities, she has extensive hands-on experience administering programs and working with people of all ages.
The three ShinShinim (Young Emissary Project in Jewish communities abroad) has been in existence for the last few years, and is in it's second year in the Washington Community. It is part of the Partnership 2000 enterprise of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). Its goal is to bring together high school graduates from Israel and from communities in the US through a year-long program of volunteer activity and service in the community. The program recruits youth in the 12th grade in Israel. During their last year in high school, the youth participate in a program, which deals with their heritage, the Jewish sources and issues of Jewish national and religious identity.
The ShinShinim defer their military service by one year and are sent to a Jewish community in the USA, which is part of Partnership 2000, in order to meet and interact with young Jews.
Sivan, Hadas and Amit started their volunteer work in JPDS -Jewish Primary Day School and in the evenings and weekends in the greater Washington Community synagogues and Youth groups
Amit Regev from Moshav Tal Shachar says: "After having shinshinim in my high school in Israel I decided that I wanted to be a shinshin and that volunteering for a year is the right thing for me.
Simultaneously, I was active in various kinds of programs through P2K of Beit Shemesh- Mateh Yehuda. When I heard about the program that combines the two I decided right away that that's were I want to volunteer"
What do you like most from the last weeks that you here?
"I was so excited to have the warm welcome from all the people that we met and to see how exited they are to meet us. Being in DC is pretty cool as the community is very oriented with politics in the US and in Israel.
One of the best things is to know that you are making a difference, even the smallest one, for example: seeing how some kids turn their head when they hear that the shishinim are here…"
We encourage P2K to continue and extend the program that will add a great contingent to Israel education in the community.