USY News



Meet our Shinshinim in Tuscon 

Shinshinim are young Israelis doing a year of service before joining the IDF. They are representing Israel through the Jewish Agency for Israel. We are very lucky to have them working with our communities and with our USYers. Meet our Shinshinim in Tucson, AZ—Tamir Shecory and Chen Dinachi. Todah for all that you do!

My name is Tamir Shecory. In Israel, I live in a small village or “moshav” in Hebrew. Living in a moshav is very special and the experience of growing up in one really affected who I am today. I know almost everyone there and my friends are like family to me. This year of service I got by chance when I was scrolling down Facebook and I’m so happy I did! It is a great honor to be here in Tucson and I am very grateful that I got accepted into this amazing program. I was born in Portland, OR, thanks to the fact that my dad is an engineer for Intel and I was a counselor for four years before I got to Tucson. I love art and all kinds of sports and I incorporate these skills working here in the Jewish community. In Tucson, we volunteer in five different congregations where we teach Hebrew and Israeli culture. We work at the JCC, THA (Tucson Jewish Academy), Hillel and with different youth movements. USY is an example of a youth movement we work with to bring Israel to the people in a fun way and just connect with them, because essentially, what we came here to do is to make a living bridge between Israel and the Jewish community in Tucson. We believe the best way to do so is to connect a friendly and approachable face to the country of Israel. Working in the Jewish community has been amazing so far and staying with host families is a great and unique experience in itself. This journey is special and exciting and every day when we go to a different place to teach Hebrew or Israeli culture, we learn a lot ourselves, too.

Hi! My name is Chen Dinachi and I am the Shinshinit for Tucson, AZ. I live in Israel in a small suburb near Tel Aviv in a house with my parents, my brother and my dog, Mitzi. I am a dancer and have been dancing since a young age. I am also in the Israeli Scouts and I enjoy cooking. Being in the Shinshinim program has been my life dream since I was 14. One of my scout counselors got accepted and I fell in love with the idea of it. I have been in Tucson for five months now and my routine is volunteering in a combination of eight different organizations in the Jewish community, including a Jewish day school, the JCC, USY and such. Working with teenagers and kids during the most crucial part of the development of their Jewish identity is something I feel has the biggest impact in our year of service. We love hanging out with kids and being an Israeli bridge and an older sibling to any kid who wants to learn from us. This program has given the community a stronger connection to Israel and in my opinion, is a great way to make kids and teens feel proud of their Jewish identity and connection to Israel.

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Far West USY Madrichim Program Creates Future Leaders

This year, 27 USYers from Far West USY began their official training to be Madrichim. What is a Madrich? What does it mean? In the Hebrew language, the word Madrich comes from the root-word Derech, which means road, path, route or way. The adjective LeHadreech means to show the way. Therefore, a Madrich is a person who shows the way. In the context of a youth group, a Madrich (masculine Hebrew) or Madricha (feminine Hebrew) serves as a counselor and mentor for the younger age groups (in our case, Kadima and Jr. USY). The idea is that it is much easier for an 8- to 13-year-old to identify and look up to a teen, not much older than themselves.

As part of their training, they had their own schedule during our last regional event at Fall Encampment, learning different types of leadership, having teamwork workshops, learning together and much more. These 27 Madrichim will have their first regional experience being Madrichim this January and we are all very excited and proud to see our future leaders in action!

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Coming Next Month…Meet Katie Samiljan

Far West USY is proud to welcome Katie Samiljan as our new Assistant Regional Teen Engagement Director! She started in late December, right before accompanying Darren Klein and our teens to International Convention in Chicago. Check back here in February to learn more about her.

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