Israel and Your JCC

Shaliach Program

One of the most valuable services JCC Association offers to our camps is the option to participate in the Cultural Exchange Summer Visa Program.  Two separate components make up the program; the Direct Placement VISA program, and the Summer Shlichim Program, or SSP.   In both cases, JCC Association works with the U.S. State Department to sponsor the VISAs that allow exchange visitors to legally enter the country and work at camp.  Please note that JCC Association is only authorized to sponsor VISAs for those who work directly with our campers in a counselor, educator, or specialist capacity.  We may not sponsor VISAs for maintenance, kitchen, office, medical or other camp staff.

The exchange program is designed to be a cultural bridge, both between the individual staff person and the campers with whom they work, but also between the staffer’s home country and the American Jewish community.  In summer of 2010, JCC Association sponsored a total of 658 VISAs for foreign staff coming to work in over 125 summer camps in 36 US states.

The Direct Placement VISA program allows camps to utilize JCC Association as the program sponsor for a J1 Camp Counselor VISA for staff coming to work in our camps from all over the world.   In the summer of 2010, 236 young men and women from Australia, Austria, Canada, Columbia, Czechoslovakia, Georgia, Hungary, Israel, Jamaica, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Venezuela came to America and worked at summer camp.

The Summer Shlichim Program is made possible by a partnership between JCC Association and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI).  The Summer Shlichim Program’s intentions are solely to promote and strengthen the relationship between Israel and Jewish Communities around the world by sending Israeli summer shlichim as counselors and specialists to summer camps as employees. Each summer shaliach goes through a tremendous amount of screening, interviewing, and training before leaving Israel.  It is important to make the distinction that an Israeli who DID NOT go through the SSP is not a shaliach, but simply a Direct Placement Exchange Visitor.  In summer of 2010, JCC Association sponsored VISAs for 422 young men and women coming through the SSP.

For more information about the Cultural Exchange Summer program, please contact Shara Perlman at

About Young Shlichim

Bring a young Israeli shaliach to your JCC to engage teens, to represent the real Israel, to enrich the Jewish ambiance, to connect with other Jewish organizations, and much more. Shlichim bring youthful energy and intensity to their work in the JCC, and are the personification of the Jewish State. The Areivim-Young Shlichim Unit of the Jewish Agency for Israel sends young, idealistic and dedicated Israelis between 21 and 30 years old who have completed their military service to work in Jewish comunities thoughout the world. We have young shlichim at JCCs in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Georgia, California, Washington DC, and Virginia, bringing the vitality and excitement of Israel to the American Jewish community.

JCC Association will support you with one-on-one training, supervision, and consultation. Our consultant, Michal Heskelovich, is available to interview shlichim, help them adjust to life here, develop their job descriptions, interact with supervisors, brainstorm about funding sources, and provide any assistance you need.

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