The SonShine foundation has premiered its new initiative to connect the Jews of the world to Israel, to be known as 'My Jewish Twin - Happy Birthday 2 You'. The foundation seeks to reproduce and reinforce the worldwide unity and kinship felt among Jewish communities around the globe during eighteen long days in 2014, when the world held its breath as Israel hunted for its three missing young men. To the Shaer family, that time was the closest they have ever felt to the Jews of the Diaspora.

"I will never forget the American who came to our door one Thursday afternoon during the search, announcing to me, 'I am here on behalf of my community. We stand with you and are praying for Gilad's return,'" says Bat-Galim, Gilad's mother. It was this heartfelt connection that prompted the bereaved couple to create the SonShine foundation in his memory.

Gilad should have celebrated his twenty-third birthday recently, surrounded by family and friends. His murder shook the country from end to end and left the parents to wonder how to celebrate the birthday of a son who is no longer there to celebrate. This new idea of how to do so is inspired by the nation's sudden unity and Gilad's enthusiasm for celebrating other birthdays, not just for his own.

"My Jewish Twin - Happy Birthday 2 You" seeks to connect the Jews of Israel and the Jews of the world by matching together those with the same birthday. "We wanted to find the same unity and closeness that we saw in the midst of tragedy repeated on a day of joy and celebration," said Bat-Galim.

The project is available online and allows for people sixteen and older to find someone with the same birthday as themselves. They will be able to exchange greetings and chat, and the project encourages the two to bond more deeply and even meet in person.

"Having the same birthday as another person creates an instant sense of connection," says Ofir Shaer, Gilad's father. "This project came from that idea, that we could turn that closeness into something even greater.

The project is available at, and maintains strict standards of information security and protection of privacy.