Masa Israel Journey Blog

July 31, 2015

After arriving in Asheklon in September 2009, Allison Wolkin Samis and Max Samis met during the Hebrew immersion placement exam for their Masa Israel Journey volunteer experience. Neither of the two strangers knew much Hebrew. They didn’t even have to wait for their test results to find out that they were placed in kita aleph, the beginners’ class. So, they left the exam and headed to their first volunteer project.

The new acquaintances were paired with two local volunteers to deliver Rosh Hashanah meals for families in need. Throughout their deliveries, Max and Allie began talking and getting to know one another.

“A few weeks later, during the Sukkot break, Allie was going to Egypt with a few people and invited...

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July 30, 2015

Benjamin Winik and Samantha Sisisky in Tel Aviv


Just weeks into her Masa Israel Journey, Samantha Sisisky, 25, found herself lost in a new city in a new country. Little did she know she was about to find her future husband, Ben Winik, 24.


A participant of then Gedera-based Yahel Social Change Program, Samantha had traveled to Rishon LeZion, to visit a friend who was a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in the city.


“My friend didn’t know where I was, so she handed the phone to Ben, saying ‘my roommate goes running all the time and knows the city,’” Samantha, a Richmond, VA native, explained. While Ben remembers giving her great directions to the apartment, Samantha remembers things a bit differently.

“He said to go straight and...

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July 29, 2015

Jessica Band and Jonathan Gerafi in northern Israel


In September 2011, WUJS Israel participants Jessica Band, 26, and Jonathan Gerafi, 28, lived in the same city, in the same building, just one floor apart. Yet, they never spoke to one another during their first month in Tel Aviv. A month later, their friends went out on the town and the two strangers, who both happened to stay in for the night, met by chance and have been together ever since.


As Jonathan explored the quiet halls that October night, he paid Jessica an unexpected visit. “I was like, ‘oh man, I don’t want to talk to anyone right now,’” Jessica, a native of Rockville, MD, remembers. However, after a long and...

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