The purpose of the Israel and Wider Community Committee is to link the congregation to Israel, to the downtown Jewish community, including the Downtown Jewish Community Council, and to the broader community in which we find ourselves.
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
· Participation in the Downtown Jewish Community Council
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 five years to currently include 14 young emissaries in 2012-2013. 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 this year, Re’em Korin and Adi Novak, arrived in late August 2012 and have been participating in many aspects of our shul and the schools since then.
The 14 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 this year.
What are the objectives of the UJA Shinshinim Program?
1. To engage young people in synagogue life;
2. To reduce the gap between Diaspora and Israeli culture, society, and Jewry by nurturing
a real personal connection between young Israelis and Canadian Jews;
3. To teach about Israel as an integrated and crucial piece of our Jewish identity;
4. To provide Canadian Jews and in particular our youth a more complete understanding of
the complexity which is Israel;
5. 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
6. 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?
Here’s what Re’em and Adi are involved in at the shul:
• Shabbat services for our kids: Adi and Re’em 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: Re’em and Adi 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: Re’em and Adi participate in all the BBM classes, bringing their
unique perspective to this important life-cycle event. They have the opportunity to develop
relationships with the BBM 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
Micky Fraterman at Israel@narayever.ca.