Masa Israel Journey Blog

Published : June 19, 2012
What's Lauren doing with a blog, you might ask?
Well, considering I'm leaving August 25 for 10 months, I thought it might be a good idea to keep everyone updated on what I'm doing! Why am I starting it now?
I'm trying to get in the habit of blogging now rather than trying to start while I'm gone. I've never had a great track record of keeping up with a journal or diary, so my goal is to actually keep this as updated as possible!
So - in a nutshell - here is a few bullet points of what I am up to currently:
- Working as the administrative assistant at Temple Akiba in Culver City, CA
- Spending Memorial Day Weekend in New York
- Preparing to spend 10 months in big deal, right? WRONG.
Clearly, the fact that I'm moving to Israel at the end of August is pretty big. A lot of people have been asking me why, and what exactly I'm doing. Well, let me tell you all about it!
After graduating Indiana University in May 2011, I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do with my life.
I spent a second summer at URJ Camp Kalsman in Arlington, WA as a counselor, and then came back to Los Angeles with no job or idea of what I wanted to do. I finally started working at my current job, but still felt like I needed more.
I always had regretted not studying abroad during college, and knew of many post-college programs in Israel through Masa Israel, an organization that provides gap year, study abroad, post-college and volunteer programs in Israel.
I looked through many programs, and applied to quite a few, but the one that stood out for me was Israel Teaching Fellows, through Ma'ase Olam. I'm going to try to do another post soon with more information about what I am doing, but as an overview, Ma'ase Olam is an organization that promotes projects focused on Israel's disadvantaged communities - and I will be participating in the Israel Teaching Fellows counterpart.
Israel Teaching Fellows' main goal is to close the achievement gap in the Israeli education system. I will be volunteering as an English teacher's aide in the city of Rehovot, but this opportunity can be found in many other cities. I will be part of a group of 25 peers, and we will be living in the same house. 
I could go on and on about the program, but as it gets closer I will blog more and more (let's hope!) about this experience. I have only been to Israel once, through Birthright in 2009, so this is a completely new and different experience for me.
I'm nervous and excited at the same time. I cannot wait to see old friends from camp who live in Israel, and cannot wait to meet the other fellows that I will be living with from August 26 to June 30.
It's going to be a life-changing experience, and hopefully I will be able to share it with you all :)
Lauren will be blogging about her experience on Israel Teaching Fellows on her blog Lauren Goes to Israel.
Published : June 18, 2012
By Livnat Blum, Career Israel
I graduated from college wanting to experience something different, to have a little adventure and give back to a needing community. I applied to the Peace Corps, but I realized that I could do all of that as well experience Israel through a Masa program: the Career Israel internship program.
Livnat and Negin in the Negev!
I chose to participate in Career Israel because of the flexibility it offered – I could use their help when I needed it (housing, internships, etc), but be on my own when I wanted.
Although I was born inIsrael, experiencing the country with other Jews my own age from around the world was incredible. Many of the fellow participants are now my closest friends. I can honestly say that I took advantage of every moment and really integrated into Israeli life.
Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), my internship placement, was an amazing place to learn about the nonprofit world as well get the chance to interact with the children receiving life saving surgeries. When I came on Career Israel I planned to pursue an MA in Public Health.  
Ultimately, during this internship I realized that I wanted to be more directly involved in healthcare and re-inspired me to pursue a career as a clinician.  
Being truly touched by the mission of the organization, I continued to be involved once I returned back to the US. Along with another past volunteer, I started a Boston SACH chapter to help spread the mission of the organization.

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