If you’re looking to get healthy this summer, try bringing hiking into your heart like Shin Shin Omer Brymok has.
As a shin shin, Brymok is a young cultural emissary from Israel. He is now at the tail-end of a year spent in Milwaukee – with side trips elsewhere.
He took nature walks wherever he went over this past year – including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. He even got to hike through Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest.
It was amazing: “Just the nature of the forest,” he said. “When you walk there it’s so calm, quiet, so isolated.”
He was struck by “when you get to the top of the mountain and you see yourself above the clouds.”
“I love deserts,” he said, recalling a canyon hike earlier this year in Arizona. “Walking in the desert between the cacti and then reaching this hidden waterfall was incredible.”
He should know deserts. He’s hiked all over Israel.
His advice for those who are getting started hiking is to “just do it.”
“When you get to those places, just appreciate what the world has given to us,” he said.
He paid for most of his own travel, sleeping on couches and making things as cheap as possible. The Puerto Rico trip was a gift.
Shin shins like Brymok come annually from Israel to stay with host families here. The shin shin program is facilitated by Milwaukee Jewish Federation in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel. They spend their time in area public and religious schools, interacting with American teens, spending time with Hillel Milwaukee and at synagogues, among other activities.
He’ll next spend this summer at the Steve & Shari Sadek Family Camp Interlaken JCC, where he’ll work as a camp counselor. Afterwards, he’ll come back to Milwaukee for a week, take two months off in Israel and then enter the Israel Defense Forces.
“It has been amazing. I had so much fun being here,” he said. “I’ve got so many memories that I will never forget.”