Shai was born in Tel Aviv and raised on Kibutz Beit Guvrin. During high school, Shai vounteered for the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement. After high school, Shai attended Shnat Sherut (an Israeli gap year) at Havat Hanoar Hatzioni in Jerusalem. During this time, she volunteered as a big sister - role model to 8th graders who made Aliya without their families from the former soviet union. In 2016, Shai began her compuslory army service as a commander in basic training for Bedouin soldiers. She finished her service in the IDF as an Education Development head on her base. Immediately after her release from the army, she started to work with 12th graders from New Jersey in Israel. In the summer of 2019, Shai flew to Pennsylvania to become a counselor in Camp Ramah in the Poconos.