Masa Israel Journey Blog

February 13, 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 entertaining conversation, she was extremely happy that Jonathan, originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, had stopped by.

Over the next few weeks, they continued talking and growing closer, until Jonathan asked Jessica out...

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February 11, 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 the 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 turn...

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