Masa Israel Journey Blog

Published : May 21, 2012
By Zoe Goldstein-McKay, Young Judaea Year Course
There are many Jewish holidays.
They involve huge meals (I’m talking at least six courses), lots of praying, and personal reflection. I’ve celebrated them all in the States and thought I knew my favorites; however, I am fortunate to be in Israel where there are a multitude of Israeli holidays which have no connection to Jews outside of Israel.
One of them is Lag B’omer, a holiday that includes bonfires, meat, and a nice story...
...Of course, no Jewish holiday would be complete without food, and this one is no exception. Year Course provided quite a picnic spread: hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken kababs, salad, potatoes, rice, fruit and lethal amounts of hummus.
We were on top of a hill in Jerusalem at night time overlooking the valleys below and under the stars above.
There was a roaring bonfire (fear not, there were marshmallows) and two men playing the drums. I mean real drums. Not those pathetic school band drums, but proper authentic ones. 
Published : May 18, 2012
By Eric Eingold, Ma'ase Olam North American Manager
Unsurprisingly, things have been busy for Ma’ase Olam’s Israel Teaching Fellows this spring.
After kicking off a three-week break coinciding with Passover that started with a tiyul, or tour, of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, our Fellows took the chance to get some travelling in. Some of the Fellows traveled back to the US, while others traveled around Europe, including two participants who backpacked through Vienna and Berlin.
Before their break, our Teaching Fellows were invited to spend a really special night with one of the members of the Israeli Peer Group that Ma’ase Olam participants work with.
The groom, Gideon, his family and friends, made sure that our Fellows were welcomed at the event, which Fellow Alan Borenstein described as “one of his favorite things that he did this year,” adding that it was a really “great cultural experience.” The Fellows were made to feel incredibly welcome, and for our group of Fellows, it was a really terrific experience for them to spend together.
As the program itself begins to wind down (our end date is in late-June), our Fellows are doing some really exciting end-of-the-year projects.
Brian Levenson, who has been teaching his students English through songs, is planning a day-long event in his school. Brian is working with fifth-grade students in his school to prepare for a school-wide concert for the students to perform in front of their families and classmates.
This work has pushed Brian to work with larger groups of students than he had been working with before. Brian’s average class size has doubled, from around 6 students at a time, to now working with no less than 12 students. Exciting stuff and he’s excited about the work.
We’re excited to see 10 year old Israeli students crank out hits from Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, Beatles, The Fugees, and Jason Mraz. According to Brian, “Students come up to me every day begging to sing.”
At Alan’s school, he and his co-Fellow Rachel recently held an event they called English Day.  
For English Day, Alan and Rachel’s 3rd grade students sang songs about colors, their 4th graders performed short plays, and their 5th and 6th grade students competed for a region wide spelling bee, wrapping up a competition that has been taking place since January. English Day took up a serious amount of time for Alan and Rachel, unsurprising, as it was such a major project. 

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