Six years ago, Nancy Hudes and her family of Owings Mills, made the decision to host a shinshin, an 18-year-old Israeli emissary, putting into action the central Jewish value of welcoming people into one’s home. What they discovered about the experience was how much it enriched their lives as well…so much so they decided to host again this past summer.
What made you decide to become a host family? When were you hosts?
We hosted August 2012- January 2013. And then again January 2017 – August 2017.
I think we decided to host because we heard about the program and knew it would be fun to have an Israeli live with us. We love Israel and it was another way for us to have that connection.
In what ways has your family benefitted from having a shinshin stay with you?
We have made lifelong connections with our shinshinim. They became part of our family. They taught us about Israel and Ashkelon. It can be challenging raising Jewish families in America today, so it was great for our children to be exposed to other cultures. We loved getting to know them and learning about their families, schools and interests.
What would you say was the biggest take-away for the shinshinim from their experience staying with you in Baltimore?
I think they both really got to know us and our kids – which was great. They also learned a lot about American Jewry – which I think is really important. They grew up a lot while they were here, and I think they left having learned a lot about themselves.