Noam Rabinovich may be a teen, but she already has a strong sense of who she is. She loves travel and art. She welcomes the adrenaline that comes from a run aboard a Magen David Adom ambulance in Israel.
When a paramedic tells her what item is needed for intubation, she hands it over. Quickly. She started volunteering with Israel’s national emergency service when she was 14.
The Israeli teen, a Milwaukee shin shin for 2020-2021, would have been in Wisconsin by now if not for the pandemic. A shin shin is a young emissary who comes to Milwaukee (or some other community) from Israel for a year to spend a pre-army year abroad. The shin shin program is funded and organized locally by Milwaukee Jewish Federation in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, and it has been connecting Wisconsin with Israel for decades.
Rabinovich is serving as a shin shin remotely, at least so far. Rabinovich is visiting with local schools and synagogues virtually, possibly coming to Milwaukee physically in the future. The shin shin program typically has two young Israelis visit Milwaukee annually. A second shin shin may join Rabinovich later, according to the Israel Center of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
“I love the museums in Israel,” she said. “I usually go with my mom. They have really great exhibitions.”
During a family trip to Spain, mom took Rabinovich for a separate jaunt to Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado, also known as the Prado museum, where the teen picked up a thick tome on the museum’s art, “The Prado Guide.”
“Every time I went to a painting, I opened it and started to read it,” she said, grabbing it from a spot in her room during a Zoom interview. “This is the best thing.”
Rabinovich loves traveling and has been to Germany, Japan, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Poland, United States and Italy.
“My whole room is full of stuff from places I visited,” she said. “We’re a traveling family.”
After her shin shin service, Rabinovich will serve in the Israel Defense Forces, just as nearly all young Israelis do. She’d like to serve as a paramedic in the IDF. In addition to graphic design, she majored in biology in high school.
Young Magen David Adom volunteers like Rabinovich can start with assisting medics on a basic life support ambulance in Israel, she said. The next step up is assisting paramedics with intensive life support, which Rabinovich said she got started with at 15.
“Not everyone gets that opportunity and I’m so happy and grateful for that,” she said.
Rabinovich’s volunteer shifts with Magen David Adom are typically eight hours long. A shift can be 6:45 a.m.-3 p.m. or 2:45 p.m.-11 p.m. “There is a night shift, but because I’m not 18 yet I’m not allowed to do it,” she said.
“You arrive early; about 15 minutes, to check the whole ambulance to see that everything is OK and ready to go and that nothing is missing,” she said.
Emergency calls come in and you go with your team, she said. It’s “eight hours of really harsh work,” Rabinovich said.
“We have medical training. But we’re not going to do an IV,” she said. “During emergency time, everything has to go fast. They call it the golden ten minutes.”