The purpose of the Israel Community Committee is to link the congregation to Israel.
The committee meets periodically and is comprised of 5 to 7 members.
Activities this year include:
- Israel focused speakers
- Participation in the UJA Shinshinim Program
- Participation in the Walk with Israel with the other key organizations in the downtown Jewish community
- Yom Ha’atzma’ut and Yom Hazikaron programming
What is the UJA Shinshinim Program at the First Narayever?
In late 2009, the First Narayever Board of Governors learned about the UJA ShinShinim Program. The program was established to help Jews living outside of Israel develop stronger connections to Israel through informal approaches to education in our day schools, supplementary schools, synagogues and Jewish camps. This personal and relevant education was to be delivered abroad by young Israelis who choose to do a year of national service (shnat sherut – thus “shinShinim”) before joining the army
The UJA ShinShinim Program began in 2007 with 2 high school graduates, and has grown over the past nine years considerably. The First Narayever participated for the first time in 2010-2011, partnering with the Downtown Jewish Community School and the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School to bring our “pioneer” shinshinim, Reut Rozner and Yuval Gur, to the vibrant downtown Jewish community.
Our ShinShinim arrive each year in late August and quickly get involved with many aspects of our shul and the schools.
The ShinShinim, in Toronto work in over 25 institutions, including day schools, synagogues, supplementary schools, youth movements and camps. They teach about Israel informally through stimulating programs, informative lessons, challenging discussions, and interesting activities, all bringing an authentic experience of Israel to a large range of members in our community. They each live with 2-3 host families throughout their stay in Toronto, thus providing an intense life experience for over 40 host families each year.
What are the objectives of the UJA Shinshinim Program?
- To engage young people in synagogue life;
- To reduce the gap between Diaspora and Israeli culture, society, and Jewry by nurturing a real personal connection between young Israelis and Canadian Jews;
- To teach about Israel as an integrated and crucial piece of our Jewish identity;
- To provide Canadian Jews and in particular our youth a more complete understanding of the complexity which is Israel; To personalize Israel so that Jewish Canadians and in particular our youth develop an authentic relationship with Israel, which will then allow them to be motivated to be involved as proud advocates and defenders of Israel; and
- To share with the shinshinim what is unique about Toronto Judaism, and Toronto’s Jewish community, so that they are more informed leaders in Israel, specifically in the realm of Jewish expression and Jewish pluralism
What are the Shinshinim providing to our shul community?
- Shabbat services for our kids: The ShinShinim offer a program for the teenage group, the Chalutzim, designed to engage the kids in discussion about the parsha of the week as well as topics relevant to their age group which are brought up by the parsha.
- Shabbat services and Kiddush: They provide their unique perspective on Israel through their weekly ”60 seconds about Israel” from the bima, and later at kiddush present their “Israeli Place of the Week” giving information about a location in Israel that has some historical or cultural importance. And of course they are always schmoozing with Narayever members during kiddush!
- The Narayever Chalutzim: The first Narayever Youth Group, initiated by our pioneer shinshinim Re’ut and Yuval, and built up by our 2011/12shinshinim Roni and Itay is a group of kids (Grade 8 and up) who get together regularly to learn about Israel through a variety of activities, to develop a strong peer group who can identify with Israeli youth and to have some fun! The activities include a movie night, an Iron Chef cooking class, and hanging out at Snakes and Lattes.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes: They participate in all the Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes, bringing their unique perspective to this important life-cycle event. They have the opportunity to develop relationships with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah kids at this turning point in their Jewish life and with the parents who are themselves going through a major life-cycle experience.
We welcome new members to our committee! If you would like more information, contact at Israel@narayever.ca.