By Noam Gilboord, Career Israel, Toronto
You never know what experiences will change your life. Three years ago, I was finishing my undergraduate studies in archaeology when a local Hillel staffer asked me the question no college senior wants to hear. “So, what are you thinking about for next year?” While I squirmed to get out a half-decent answer, I hesitantly replied, “I’ve been thinking about going to Israel…but I don’t think I’ll be able to afford it.” He smiled and handed me a brochure for various Masa Irael programs in Israel – all of which offered generous subsidies.
Eight months later, with my passport in hand, I was on a plane to Tel Aviv about to participate in a 5-month program called Career Israel. Up until this point, friendly coordinators from the program had managed to find me an internship at the Israel Museum. While living in Israel, I not only had a chance to work in my field with Israel’s national historic treasures, but I used this opportunity to make contacts with curators and major cultural figures across the country. On the side, I was even involved with Israeli governmental projects creating awareness of the difficulties Jewish students face on North American college campuses.
Throughout my trip, I became fluent in Hebrew, traveled throughout the region on several ‘tiyulim’, enjoyed Israel’s religious and civil holidays, and met lifelong friends from all over the world. In addition, my valuable work experience within Jewish museums led me to pursue two graduate degrees at Brandeis University in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies and Jewish Professional Leadership upon returning from Israel. I look forward to contributing my education and experience to enhancing the cultural sector within the Jewish community and making Israel opportunities like the one I had a part of every young Jew’s life.