Meet the St. Louis Shinshinim: Inbar Bachar


Bill Motchan, Special To The Jewish Light

A Shinshin is an Israeli emissary, usually 18 or 19 years old, who defers their army service for a year to volunteer in Jewish communities abroad to help educate people there about Israel and Israeli culture. They teach at various local Jewish organizations, bringing their authentic Israel experiences to the community they serve.

“Largely, they work with the young population, ages 4 through 18,” explained Cynthia Wachtel, manager of Israel Emissary Initiatives at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. “The fact that these children and teens are meeting an Israeli closer in age to them helps foster better connections, find similarities and learn from each other. It works both ways though. For the Shinshinim, they get to live here and absorb what Jewish Americans are like, and they bring that back to Israel with them and hopefully share that with friends and family.”

The latest and sixth cohort of Shinshinim will leave return to their homes in Israel in August, after spending the year in St. Louis. The Jewish Light sat down with the four Israelis in this cohort – Guy Dobrin, 19, Alma Cohen, 18, Inbar Bachar, 18, and Inbar Bloch, 18 –to find out more about them and how their time here is going.

Where in Israel are you from?


What is your job in St. Louis?

I work at United Hebrew Congregation and with the Israeli scouts. And I do different jobs at United Hebrew. I teach kids about Israel. I teach Hebrew, all sorts of stuff. And at the Israeli Scouts, I’m kind of like the educational director there. So I’m the one guiding the counselors and making the decisions, handling events.

What has been your impression of St. Louis?

I just have the best time in St. Louis so far. Like, the people here are so warm and welcoming, and I feel so wanted, and I feel like people want to listen to my things and they care about what I say, and I’m so happy.

What do you miss most being away from home?

My mommy’s food.

What are some foods you’ve tried here that you enjoy?

I’ve tried gooey butter cake.

What American musicians and entertainers are you fans of?

I like Taylor Swift. We’re going to her concert. We got tickets from being online for hours.

The students that you work with in your respective synagogues, what have you learned from them and what do you hope they learn from you?

I think the kids teach me so much, even if it’s about how to say the word right in English, or if they want to tell me about this very cool thing they did over, I don’t know, winter break that I’ve never heard of in the states.

What’s an example?

This kid told me about what they did in Florida. I don’t even remember. They love sharing the things they do, and I don’t know some of it. And it’s so fun to listen to them. And I feel like they want to learn from me so much. They are so curious and always ready to listen and try something new. And it’s the most amazing feeling ever.