Blog  Meet Rotem, a Summer 2019 Shinshin

Meet Rotem, a Summer 2019 Shinshin

Summer 2019 is getting closer! In the mean time, we’d like to introduce you to Rotem – one of our summer 2019 staff who is a shinshin in Toronto right now.

Shinshinim, are Israeli’s who are completing what’s called a “Year of Service” before entering the Israeli army. Instead of going directly to the army after high school, these emissaries come to Toronto and work in the Jewish community, teaching students about Israeli life and culture and of course about Hebrew! At the end of the school year, the Shinshinim are placed at a Jewish summer camp to complete their Year of Service. Check out our interview with Rotem below!


Where in Israel are you from?

“I’m from Kfar Saba, a nice city 20 minutes from Tel Aviv.”

Where’s one place in Israel everyone should visit?

“Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv! It’s a beautiful neighbourhood in Tel Aviv with shops, restaurants and a cool vibe. Btw, it’s also where you can get the best ice cream in Israel!” 

Where are you working in Toronto and what’s the best part of your job?

“I’m working at Temple Sinai and Bialik Hebrew Day School. The bast part of my job is the people. The Jewish community in Toronto is so caring and excepting. I get to learn so many new things every single day.” 

What are your hobbies?

“I play the guitar and drums, but my true passion is singing. I used to be in my school band in Israel, but nowadays I mostly sing in the shower.”

What has surprised you about living in Toronto?

“The weather! I have to say, I didn’t know people actually could live in these temperatures – it’s SO cold!”

 What has it been like living with your host families?

“It is the best. I got the two most amazing host families that made me feel at home right away. I’m so grateful for the 2 new families I have in my life now, it’s the best gift I got from this year.” 

Have you ever been to or worked at a summer camp before? (If yes) What was your favourite part of the experience?

“I went to the scouts’ summer camp since I was in grade 4. It was a 9 day camp – but completely different from summer camps in Canada! We had to build our own camp and showers, and we slept under the open sky with our sleeping bags (this was also my favourite part!)”

What’s your favourite food that you’ve tried in Canada?

“Not poutine for sure! I think my favourite was the funnel cake Asaf and I had at Canada’s wonderland. It was SO good!” 

What Israeli food do you miss the most?

“Hummus! I haven’t yet found a really good hummus, if someone has recommendations, please send them to me!”

What are you most looking forward to about coming to camp this summer?

“I’m looking forward to having fun with the kids and the staff, eating a lot of s’mores and of course having the best time!”

What’s your favourite new English word that you’ve learned (and why)?

“ISH! I can’t stop using this word! I can’t believe we still don’t have it in Hebrew.”

What’s your favourite movie/ tv show?

“TV show – Games of Thrones (obviously.) Movie – Harry Potter (Go Hufflepuff go!)”

How are you finding the Canadian winter experience?

“Well, it’s special. I’m here only for one year, but I don’t know how you go through this kind of winter EVERY year!”

What’s on your Canadian “bucket list”?

“I’ve done almost all the things on my bucket list, but I still have to walk on the CN tower!”

Does your name have a special meaning and or were you named after someone special?

“I was named after a special plant that was mentioned in the bible. The Rotem has a special ability to survive in the dessert for a long time even without water! My parents wanted me to be a survivor like this plant, so they named me after it.”

Do you have a favourite band/ musician?

“Drake! A funny story, a few weeks ago I went to the raptors game, hoping to see drake, holding “My bubbie wants me to marry Drake” sign. Drake ended up not showing, and my sign was taken by security.”

What has been the same/ different about being Jewish in Toronto?

“I think Yom Kippur was really different for me. While here Yom Kippur is just a normal day for most of the citizens, in Israel everyone stops. No one drives in the streets, people wear white and there is a “Yom Kippur atmosphere” around. I guess that was also the time I missed home the most, It was really weird for me.” 

Anything else?

“Could I be more excited???????????? (The answer is NO!)”