We are very excited to welcome Lian Swissa, a talented and enthusiastic Israeli high school graduate, as our Israeli emissary (shinshin), to Richmond Jewish Day School.
“Shinshinim” is an acronym for shnat sherut, meaning “a year of service”. This word describes a program developed by the Jewish Agency for Israel, with the support of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, whereby Israeli high school graduates volunteer for a year of community work abroad with a school, synagogue, community centre and/or youth movement, and infuse students with a deeper connection to, and love for, the State of Israel.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Betty Averbach Foundation, three local organizations will work together to benefit from the shinshinim program. Richmond Jewish Day School, King David High School and Beth Israel have partnered, and will share our full-time shinshin, Liann Swissa (from Kiryat Gat). Lian will support and enrich the Jewish life programming and Israel education of all three of our organizations, and will divider her time between the three educating the community about Israel and Israeli culture.
Here is more about Lian, in her own words:
“Hello everyone! My name is Lian Swissa, I am 18 years old and I am from Kiryat Gat which is a small city located at the northern Negev of Israel. I come from a very big and musical family- I have 5 brothers and one sister, and each one of us either plays an instrument or sing, therefore my house is never quiet and always full of music and joy.
My hobbies include singing, listening to music, having fun with my friends and I am also involved in my city. For the last 3 years I am taking part at the student counsel of my high school and the youth counsel of Kiryat Gat. As part of these counsels throughout the years I have been working with teenagers in order to create social projects that will improve the conditions and life quality of teenagers mainly, but also for adults and children.
I have also taken part in 3 different programs of the Jewish Agency, which included delegations to Chicago. In these programs I have learned about myself, about my Jewish and Israeli identity and I was given the opportunity to get exposed to many different opinions and lifestyles. These programs pillars and key values are: Judaism and Jewish identity, Israel, Tikkun Ola’m (repairing the world), leadership, pluralism, etc. And I believe these values really turned into part of my personality. This year I am counseling the next cohort of “Diller Teen Fellows”‘, which is also one of the Jewish Agency programs, in which I have spent a year as a fellow, and as the counselor I have the responsibility for 20 hanichim (participants). Throughout the year I am teaching my hanichim, helping them and supporting them emotionally, I am creating activities and I am responsible of solving problems. This year is very challenging, but also teaching and full of satisfaction.
I am very excited and looking forward to the next year with you in Canada, and I can’t wait to meet you all! I hope we will have a meaningful experience together!“
Lian is joined in Vancouver with two other shinshinim, (shinshiniyot actually, as all three are young women) Tomer Tetro and Ophir Golombek, who will be working with other local schools and organizations. Here is a brief video that highlight‘s their enthusiasm.
I for one am very much looking forward to watching Lian work with our students and teachers, and help our school to bring the following core beliefs about Israel education to life:
- Israel should be integrated in a holistic way throughout many areas of school life, curriculum and programming.
- Israel should be presented as it is in real life: modern, beautiful, complex, and multifaceted.
- Israel should be developed as the one of the core pillars of modern Jewish identity
When you see Lian around the school, please introduce yourself and make her feel at home! For more questions about the shinshinim program, please contact the school office at [email protected]