Meet Noa and Matan: Our JCC Shinshinim

January 25, 2024

Meet Noa and Matan, our JCC Shinshinim (Israeli emissaries). They have been here for five months, forging relationships and participating in projects with the Early Learning Center, Middle School Leadership Council, and teens in 4Front’s Diller program.

We appreciate these lovely ladies for helping bring Israel alive within our walls. Read more about them below and find out about their biggest culture shock.

What’s your most memorable experience so far?
Transforming the pre-k classroom into an airplane and “traveling” to Israel! Each child got a boarding pass and mini passport and we looked at the huge map we made as we marked the cities we visited. It was so much fun! The kids really liked it. We also enjoyed participating in Chanukahpella. We had different tables set up with games and information and we got to light the candles and meet people.

What’s the story behind your falafel stand?
There was a Holocaust survivor named Dugo. (He survived the death march). When he was hungry, his mom told him that when he goes to Israel, he will find this amazing, delicious food that is round shaped. Dugo found the falafel in Israel, and since then, every year on January 18, he decided to eat falafel to celebrate his victory. So, we made a falafel stand in the Owings Mills JCC lobby and gave out samples. We got to meet a lot of JCC members and told them about Dugo’s story.

What are some of your hobbies?
Matan: I’m really into arts & crafts and anything graphic design related.
Noa: I love hiking; it’s nice to be in nature when you’re having a rough day. I also enjoy being around people and socializing.
We both love working with kids and traveling and experiencing new cultures.

What was your biggest culture shock(s)?
Matan: Yeah, everything! We went to the [Maryland State] Fair our first month here and it was fried oreo, fried watermelon, cheesecake…
Noa: Watermelon was crazy. Pickles were my favorite.
Matan: We really love drive thrus! We don’t have them in Israel.
Noa: Only McDonald’s have them. There are two in Israel that have drive-thrus—in Haifa and Tel Aviv.

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