Allie Darrow of California spent five months interning at a microbrewery in Tel Aviv on Career Israel.
Israel has a magnetic effect on Allie Darrow.
Growing up in the Reform movement in the Bay Area, she first caught a whiff of Israeli culture through a synagogue youth group leader.
So when she had a chance to visit Israel for herself on a Birthright trip in 2009 she jumped at the chance. After that she was hooked.
“I’ve always wanted to come to Israel,” said the 25-year-old Californian who recently completed a five-month Career Israel program, one of the more than 180 opportunities offered through Masa Israel. Career Israel is a five-month professional internship program open to college and university graduates from all over the world that offers an online database of more than 300 internship opportunities in a variety of fields, including law, medicine, media, economics, politics, public relations, education, social work, engineering and more.
“Our goal is to establish connections between young Jewish professionals abroad and their Israeli counterparts and to enable young Jewish college graduates to experience in depth real life in Israel as they advance their careers,” said Elana Glickman, director of registration and placement services for Career Israel, a program of the Israel Experience Company, an Educational Tourism Services that is a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency.
The desire to delve deeper in Israeli society was planted after Darrow’s Birthright trip. Already working as a synagogue youth group director, she then led a teen Jewish Federation mission to Israel. When she returned to California, she decided she wanted to return to Israel – this time for a significant period. So she applied for Career Israel.
“I was beginning my adulthood and figuring what I want. I said to myself, ‘Why not in Israel?’” said Darrow, a 2006 graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Darrow specifically asked for a position that would hone her skills in marketing, public relations and event planning. In the end, the coordinators found the perfect match: A new microbrewery in the heart of Tel Aviv called the Dancing Camel. Darrow worked there for over five months, helping with their social media, running events, and acting as their publicist.
“It was an amazing experience to work for this brand new up and coming microbrewery,” said Darrow. She also learned something more intangible that is built into the Israel experience: flexibility. And a sense of humor.
Like when she would get work calls at 10:30 p.m. and would have to put on her “PR person happy face.” Or when she’d send materials to a printer and then the very next day stop by to pick them up only to find the printer no longer existed.
“This stuff doesn’t translate to America. Here it is all about being flexible and you realize that in the end it will all work out – just in a different way and pace than you are used to,” said Darrow.
She was also exposed to another, deeper side of Israel.
“It’s humbling to be an American and realize how many things we’ve gotten so easily,” she said. “Being here puts in perspective what life is about, that there are bigger issues than you’ve been hung up on.” Now that her Israel experience is over and she is heading back to California where she hopes to land a job in Jewish nonprofit and fundraising, she is committed to supporting Israel in a different way–through Israel advocacy.
“The bottom line is I am going back home and I want to make sure I am in some kind of position to help create positive experiences for Jewish young people with Israel,” she said. “Every impression that is made is part of creating Jewish identity, so from the synagogue to friends to parents, from the small scale to the large scale.
And she credits Masa Israel for giving her the foundation that will enable her to bring back to her community. “That is what my internship did,” she said. “Everyone walked away knowing and loving Israel.”
Originally posted on the Jewish Agency for Israel website.