Masa Israel Journey strives to engage talented young adults in the global Jewish community, bolstering the next generation of Jewish leadership with a cohort of passionate, innovative individuals who have deep, personal connections to Israel.
Through the Masa Israel Community
, participants have access to leadership training during your time abroad. Now that you’re back, you have access to conferences, networking opportunities and leadership development programs .
Many Masa Israel participants come up with ideas about how to improve the global Jewish community while they are in Israel, and some have the chance to explore those ideas further on Building Future Leaders
(BFL) shabbatonim and seminars with Masa Israel staff. A number of Masa Israel alumni are already proven thought leaders, bringing innovative new ideas to the Jewish world and taking part in a variety of prestigious incubator programs. Even if you didn’t get a head start in Israel, there are many organizations that offer outstanding opportunities for Birthright and Masa Israel alumni to develop and launch initiatives within the Jewish world.
PresenTense Social Entrepreneur Fellowship
The PresenTense Summer Institute, an intensive six-week bootcamp for entrepreneurs in Jerusalem, brings together innovators on the cutting edge of creativity: programmers and designers, informal educators and rappers, nonprofit managers, biotech visionaries and anyone with a vision and a portfolio of innovation who is dedicated to solving problems facing the Jewish People and the world. Fellows receive training in the practical skills of social start-up development and guidance from PresenTense and the PresenTense Network in launching their ventures into the world.
Spotlight: Matt Bar, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies Alumnus
While studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studie, Matt Bar was selected to be part of Masa Israel’s Building Future Leadership (BFL) Seminar Series, a professional and unique leadership seminar that enables participants to develop an educational-social project for implementation in Israel or back in their communities of origin.
There, and at the PresentTense Institute for Creative Judaism, Bar developed the Bible Raps Project
, which aims to excite young Jews about Judaism and Jewish text. Bar approaches selected biblical narratives and quotes set to a modern beat. The Bible Raps Curriculum is now used in more than 150 classrooms in 20 cities and six countries, garnering Bar a nomination as a Jewish Community Hero
Joshua Venture Group
The Joshua Venture Group invests in leaders with unique ideas that they believe will significantly impact the Jewish world. Social entrepreneurs selected to participate in the group’s Dual Investment Program receive more than $100,000 in funding and support – including training, exposure and access to networks in the Jewish world – which equips them to realize their visions and transform the Jewish landscape. To learn more about the Joshua Venture Group, visit joshuaventuregroup.org
Spotlight: Eli Winkelman, Young Judaea Year Course
After participating on the Young Judaea Year Course gap year program in Israel, Eli Winkelman launched a program called Challah for Hunger
as an undergraduate at Scripps College. The idea started out small: bake fresh, delicious challah every week and sell it to students and faculty to raise money for hunger and disaster relief. The program was a hit (even former President Clinton took notice
) and began to spread to other colleges.
By 2009, Challah for Hunger had chapters on 30 campuses across the country and had raised more than $130,000, with half of the proceeds going to American Jewish World Service’s Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund
and half going to local, national, or international organizations chosen by campus organizers. Eli has participated in the ROI summit, was a PresenTense Fellow in 2007, and was recently selected as a Joshua Venture Fellow. She was named one of the NY Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” in 2010, attended the White House Jewish American Heritage Month reception, hosted by President and Mrs. Barack Obama. To learn more about Challah for Hunger, visit www.challahforhunger.org
ROI Community for Young Jewish Innovators
Founded in Jerusalem in the summer of 2006, ROI is a global community of outstandingly creative individuals who have a personal vision about how to make the Jewish world a better place. Built around intensive networking and skill-building activities in Jerusalem, online, and around the world, ROI enhances its members’ ability to re-create community in their own image. ROI embraces the diversity and dynamism of Jewish life, with a youthful energy that represents its best hope for the future.
Spotlight: Olga Skulovich
Now an ecological analyst working on her Ph.D, Olga Skulovitch spent five months on a Masa Israel program in Haifa , an experience she recognized as linking her future and her community’s future to Israel’s. After moving back to her home in Belarus, Olga and her sister launched the “Mind Games” project, which utilized a popular quiz show model to promote Jewish education in the Belarussian Jewish community through questions on Jewish history, Jewish tradition and Israel. Olga is a member of the ROI Community and attended the ROI Summit in 2009.
Masa Israel is continuing to foster innovation and leadership in the Jewish world through the first annual Masa Israel Leadership Summit, taking place on July 18th, 2010 in New York City. Successful Masa Israel alumni and community members will be there to tell you how you can get involved, launch your own initiatives and assume leadership roles in the community.