Perform the Mitzvah of Hospitality: Be a Host Family

If you’re interested in learning more about daily Israeli life from a true subject matter expert, we have a great lead for you.

Jewish Federation is gearing up to welcome two shinshinim to our community for the 2020-2021 year, and we’re currently seeking families to host these remarkable young Israelis during their time in Vancouver. These shinshinim are recent high school graduates who are choosing to volunteer and make a difference in our community for a year before their compulsory military service in the Israeli army.

Hosting a shinshin is an amazing opportunity to build strong relationships with impressive young people and also do a mitzvah for the community. The average hosting period is three months.  In addition, it’s a wonderfully enriching experience for your whole family. But don’t just take it from us, hear what other host families have had to say.

2020 marks the sixth year that Jewish Federation has supported the Shinshinim program as part of our commitment to building people-to-people connections with Israel. The impact that these young emissaries have had on our community has been significant. Their love of Israel is infectious, and their leadership skills have had a very positive influence on Jewish youth in our community. This year, for the first time, both shinshinim hail from Jewish Federation’s partnership region in the Upper Galilee.  

The highly selective Shinshinim program, which is run by our partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel, sends more than 100 Israeli post-secondary volunteers annually to provide Israeli culture, content and activities in diaspora communities for a year before their compulsory military service. Becoming an emissary is an elite opportunity for Israeli students. They must be top academic performers, and demonstrate unrivalled leadership and commitment to their community.

During their time here, the shinshinim build personal connections to Israel with young people throughout our community, engaging with youth and teens from our partner agencies—Beth Israel Synagogue, Beth Tikvah Synagogue, Camp Hatikvah, Habonim Dror Camp Miriam, the Jewish Community Centre, King David High School, Richmond Jewish Day School, Temple Sholom, Vancouver Talmud Torah—and all the other organizations Jewish Federation works with as a part of our Connect Me In initiative in emerging and regional communities.

Hosting a shinshin is a very special experience. Over the years, a number of our host families have formed strong bonds with the shinshinim and remain connected with them to this day. In fact, some host families have visited these young people in Israel, where they’ve been hosted by the shinshinims’ own families.

If you are interested in hosting a shinshin, we would love to hear from you. We are looking for families with school-aged children who have a home in Vancouver or Richmond with a spare bedroom. If this sounds like it could be you, please contact Nathan Brown, Jewish Federation’s Shinshin program coordinator, at