By Stephen E. Lipken
Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester (JCCMW) Arts and Talks Director Stephanie Risa Balkin welcomed over 80 people from the community and Shinshinim (Israeli emissaries) from Jewish Agency for Israel and Westchester Jewish Council, partnering with Arts and Talks on Thursday, October 3rd presenting the Israeli movie The Other Story, dealing with the oft-delicate negotiations of a “Vort” (preliminary meeting of families during an engagement). In the picture, the future groom Shachar was allegedly a substance abuser, although currently a yeshiva student.
“We came here to know the amazing community of JCC of Mid-Westchester, to know the people. We heard many great things about this place,” Shinshin Eden Cohen stated.
“Our mission is to connect Israel to the Jewish community of Westchester to do Israeli engagement in Jewish institutions, such as day schools, synagogues, JCC’s and more.
“We hope that we’ll get to know the people and this way will be able to connect with them personally and show them the different side of Israel that is young and fresh. We would love to hear from anyone willing to host the Shinshinim for any amount of time.”
Cohen noted that most of the 8 Shinshinim are 18 years old; 7 will join the Israeli Army with one doing national service for Israel, once their Shinshinim tour is concluded. The Shinshinim are Shai Aroeti; Elian Batito; Eden Cohen; Tomer Cohen; Brtukan Ezra; Ofir Harlev; Ofek Rimon and Tamar Segal.
“We work with 31 organizations across the County from Day Schools, JCC’s and Synagogues,” according to fourth Shaliach Nadav Shimon Shachmon (Israeli emissary and Shinshinim supervisor). “Each of our Shinshinim work in 6-8 organizations, some in pairs and some individually. Our headquarters is at the Westchester UJA Federation.”
JCCMW Director of Development Director Beth Grafman noted that Shinshin Ofek Rimon participated in their 6:00 a.m. “Spin Class” (Stationary Exercise Bike), realizing that he was coming from Pelham, where he was staying. “He had to get up very early to get here and was loading American tunes onto his “Shazam” Smart Phone,” Grafman smiled.