Masa Israel Journey Blog

July 11, 2011
After graduating from Lehigh University with a degree in political science and mass communications, Alex Kadis knew he wanted to spend the year volunteering before entering the work world.
“Even though I’ve never been that involved in the Jewish community, I’ve always believed that Judaism is about community activism,” says Alex. “When I found out that I could volunteer in Israel, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to further explore my Judaism.”
Alex enrolled in Masa Israel’s Otzma, a year-long service oriented program for college graduates. For the first three months, Alex lived in an immigrant absorption center in Ashkelon and spent his mornings studying Hebrew in an intensive ulpan course.  Then, Alex moved to Beit She’an, his hometown of  Cleveland’s...
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July 06, 2011
By Leor Kushner
The months I spent at Masa Israel’s Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Zion were the most unbelievable ones of my life.
Soon after our arrival last August, we entrenched ourselves in Jewish learning. But a few weeks later, the yeshiva announced that Sept. 14 would be devoted to hesed work: helping underprivileged people build sukkas. While assisting an elderly woman, two friends and I hesitantly climbed the scaffolding on the outside of her one-bedroom apartment and attached the schach (covering) to the sukka.
When the sukka was completed, the woman’s face glowed with appreciation and gratitude. Being able to assist a woman in fulfilling one of the simplest mitzvot in the Torah really struck me, and doing it in Israel, where every house within...
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July 06, 2011
By Rina Gluckman, Otzma
I chose to participate in Otzma at the age of 23 because it had everything I wanted in an experience abroad.
During the first part of the program, I lived in northern Israel with other Otzma participants and volunteered at the Nazeret Elite absorption center with new Israeli immigrants. With my economics degree and business interests, I was in heaven. Living in a development town, I acclimated to day-to-day life with the help of the locals, while learning about how they got to Israel, what made them want to come in the first place, and what skills they expected to use to find a better life for their children.
Three months later, I headed to MetroWest’s partner town of Ofakim, 20 minutes south of Be’er Sheva, with two other Otzma participants from MetroWest. While...
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