A ShinShin’s Experience at Alyth by Daniel Kavitzky

Written by Writings & Sermons by others — 1 April 2019

Shabbat Shalom!

My name is Daniel, I’m 18 years old and I am from Israel. I have been working at Alyth for the last 6 months in the Youth and Education team!

I am a ShinShin. What’s that?

We are a group of teenagers volunteering for one year after high school with the Jewish Agency abroad.

This week’s portion, Parashat Shmini, talks of when the Israelites finally opened the Mishkan, their place of community and worship.

What really is the Mishkan?

God’s home and a place for the people to seek support, build their families and give to others.

This parasha makes me question what we mean by home.

In the past 18 years I didn’t move even once.

I was born and raised in the same city, Ramat Ha Sharon.

Still, the word Home has never meant something big to me.

I used to find many friends in many different places – but still, never paid too much attention to the idea of home, you could say I took it a bit for granted.

This year of service, especially my time at Alyth, has changed this for me…

Many places can be called home. Here is my understanding:

  1. First, My home in Israel. The one that I was born and raised in. the people that I grew up with, my brother and my twin. In such a year of course you miss these familiar things.
  2. Second – my Komuna. The group that I live with. 5 girls and 3 boys in our flat in Golder’s Green – living the dream. These people are very close to me, they are my family here, we go through the same challenges together and I appreciate each one of them so much.
  3. And lastly, my newest home – Alyth

I am very proud to add to this list.

This synagogue has become my home in a way that is difficult to find words for.

I have never been a part of a community before.

There is a totally different culture.

I came here and studied a lot of new things.

I get to know here what true acceptance is,

What friendship and love are?

I am surrounded with a great staff team, that all accepted me in such a beautiful way.

I meet the community a lot, and everyone welcomes me with such a warm heart and smile,

You even invited me to speak with you tonight.

I can take so much from my experience here.

Part of my job here is to teach the wonders of the Hebrew language to the children of Alyth. It is a joy and privilege to share such a special part of my identity.

Sadly, I am half way through my service and in august I’ll have to go back to Israel and start my Military service.

I leave with love for my many homes and can easily say that I will never forget any of them. They will all impact the next stages of my life and I Hope to make the rest of the year as great as it can be.

The parasha tell us that when the Mishkan was finally opened, the divine presence of God came to dwell within it. In each of my home, I have found many ways to connect with this presence and I can summarize that in one word: community.

Shabbat Shalom.