Masa Israel Journey Blog

Published : December 06, 2012

By Mara Hochberg-Miller, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 
I decided to study in Israel because it is the place where my Judaism, interest in Middle Eastern politics, love for eretz yisrael, and career path in international relations happily meet. 
 
Back home in California, I could study Middle Eastern history and international diplomacy all I wanted, but the material felt very subjective. Different professors understand the history, politics, and conflict differently and teach them in different ways. 
 
To understand and form my own opinions and ideas, I needed to experience Israel firsthand. I wanted to gain a sense of what it was actually like to live in Israel outside the context of a classroom. In order to understand Israeli concerns, I knew I must put myself in Israeli shoes...
Published : December 03, 2012

By Michal Shany, Masa Israel Gap Year

“Your classroom is just down these stairs,” the principal of Amereem Elementary School in Be’er Sheva, Israel told me. I smiled and briskly walked downstairs. 
 
The time it took me to reach the final step was well coordinated with how long it took me to translate the sign posted on the wall: ‘Bomb Shelter’. 
 
A throng of smothering, excited children blocked the path to the makeshift concrete classroom.  We were underground and the only ventilation was a slow-rotating fan. Second-hand smoke wafted in through the long-since useable vents from the adjacent teachers room.  Sweat poured down the nape of my neck as I stuttered, “Shalom. My name is Michal and I arrived from California to help you learn English.”
 
The teacher, armed...

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