Eco-Israel

http://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/eco-israel_1.jpg

Program Description

Eco-Israel offers Jewish young adults the opportunity to embrace permaculture and sustainable living through intensive hands-on experience and coursework on an organic farm. Upon completion of the program you will receive an internationally recognized certificate in permaculture design. Based at the Hava & Adam Eco-Educational farm in Modi’in (located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv) Eco-Israel allows you to explore how ecology, Judaism, and Israel blend together in a working model of a self-sustaining ecological community.
 
The Hava & Adam Eco-Educational Farm is completely dependent upon the energy, creative resources, and time of its residents. All members of the farm, including a group of young Israelis on a year of service, share responsibility in running the site and making it their home. As a large family, you will cook with your fellow residents eat together and work alongside them.
 
 
For more information, contact:
Israel: +972-54-6773891
 

Featured Photos

Featured Photos

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

September 11, 2016

By Liran Avisar, CEO of Masa Israel Journey  

 

For all the Jewish day schools, summer camps, trips to Israel, anti-BDS conferences, and campus advocacy trainings, the American Jewish community continues to grapple with how to successfully foster long-term Israel engagement among the next generation of Jewish leaders. In recent years, countless resources from all corners of the community have been devoted to helping form or reinforce lasting bonds between young Jews and the State of Israel. And yet, from a political, spiritual, cultural and public relations perspective, most communal stakeholders remain mystified as to how to make Israel matter for millennials in the long run.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there is one proven solution to creating a solid foundation for a lifetime of engagement: spending months living, studying and working in Israel.

 

Over the course of 12 years leading the field of top immersive international experiences in Israel, we have learned some important lessons. Namely, that the firsthand encounter with day-to-day life in Israel, which can only be attained by being on the ground for a sustained, continuous amount of time, makes all the difference to our 120,000 alumni around the world.

 

When we look at what distinguishes loosely affiliated American Jews who understand what’s at stake when it comes to Israel’s future from their similarly affiliated peers, we consistently return to the fact that those “in the know” have spent a substantive amount of time experiencing Israel.

 

Our participants immerse themselves in their local communities in Israel, and as a result, spend time getting to know Israelis and end up caring more about the well-being of the State of Israel. Masa Israel Journey’s “off the bus” experiences empower individuals to embark on unique journeys that enrich their personal and professional growth, and create durable connections to Israel.

 

Israel is made up of a diverse mixture of communities: religious and secular, native-born and immigrant, Jewish and Arab, urban start-up and rural agriculture. Working with and among these populations for a significant time; learning and living Israel’s complex landscape, both past and present; and developing one’s own narrative belonging to this place and its people – one’s own People – is more valuable than any single injection of information or dose of emotion meant to immunize against Jewish and Israel apathy.

 

The courage to be “from somewhere” and to stand for something is no longer a given on Western campuses and beyond. This confidence is gained by participants learning, firsthand, that the whole Israel story is as multidimensional as the passengers on a Tel Aviv bus. It is gained by giving participants the understanding that they can navigate uncertainty, because they’ve now seen a whole society do so and thrive.

 

A recent study conducted by the Midgam Institute, an independent Israeli research and consulting firm, found that engaging in Israel through a Masa Israel experience fosters a level of depth which has concrete results. In surveying 1,480 Masa participants and alumni, it found that 91 percent of participants agree that the most effective way to strengthen the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jews is by spending a significant period of time living in Israel. Additionally, 82% said they think Israel’s reality is far more positive than its media image abroad, 79% said they are likely to visit Israel again, and 87% said they intend to take action to improve Israel’s image in their home country by being more active on campus, on social media, at demonstrations, and through donations.

 

Those who have participated in Masa Israel programs are more likely to take an interest in news regarding Israeli current events, to listen to Israeli music and podcasts about Israel, and to read Israeli books. The data suggests that young people need to develop a connection to Israel and Israelis in order to make their love for the country last, and that only happens when they get the chance to have their own unique journey there.

 

A major part of the reason we are able to successfully create the kinds of immersive experiences that lead to these lasting relationships with Israel, is because Israelis are an integral part of the story. Sustained exposure to long-term program participants gives Israelis the chance to interact with them in a wide range of contexts, and, of course, the reverse is also true – participants get to know Israelis in an authentic way. Our experiences bring Israelis and participants face to face while working together in the office, shopping in the supermarket on Friday afternoon, relaxing on the beach on weekends, and using public transit on a daily basis.

 

As a result, the same Midgam survey mentioned above found that out of 503 Israelis interviewed, two thirds said Masa experiences reflect the reality of daily life in Israel. Additionally, 94% agreed that “strengthening the connection with Diaspora Jewry is vital for Israel’s strength.”

 

The truth is, there is no single political viewpoint or cultural lens that can motivate young people to care about Israel. There’s no single approach or narrative for making it matter to everyone, and that is the intrinsic beauty in the situation: individuals find their way to connect to Israel by finding out here what matters to them, and where they can matter to Israel.

 

Giving young Jews the extended opportunity to experience and discover Israel for themselves is the best way to ensure the next generation will be invested in Israel’s future, with individual passion for a collective purpose.

 

Liran Avisar is the CEO of Masa Israel Journey, the leader of immersive international experiences in Israel, including gap year programs, study abroad, service-learning and career development opportunities. Masa Israel Journey is a joint project of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency.

 

Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy

 

Habonim Dror - Shnat - Tlalim

Program Description

 

Workshop - Tlalim

Program Description

Meet Maya Pollack: Masa Israel Gap Year Alumna

<div class="masa-blog-title">Meet Maya Pollack: Masa Israel Gap Year Alumna</div>

Over Passover break this past year in Israel, I was watching the movie, "Tangled" and eating ice cream. I wasn't paying attention because my ice cream was really tasty, until I heard this sentence, "I've been looking out a window for 18 years. What if it's not what I dreamed it would be"?

 

I realized that that is a fear that I had before going on Netzer Olami's gap year program through Masa Israel. I have quotes from my 9th-grade angst teenage diary saying, "I hate high school. I can't wait to go to Israel on my gap year.”

 

So apparently, by 15 I had already decided to go on a gap year.

 

Anyways, this year is something that I had been anticipating and building up in my head for over five years. What if it weren't everything I thought it would be? What if it was a waste of time?

 

Now I'm not going to lie to you, the first week of my gap year, I thought that that fear had come true. I remember sitting in a circle doing a program at Beit Shmuel, in Jerusalem, thinking, "How embarrassing would it be if I went home now? Would plane flights be expensive"?

 

I'm not sure what it was, but something wouldn't let me truly acknowledge how I felt. I think I was probably in denial because I wanted it to work out so much. And I'm glad I was in denial. Because after giving it a little time, I realized that this journey was one that I was meant to go on.

Maya with her parents in Jerusalem. 

 

Every one of the 255 some odd days that I lived in Israel, I learned something new because of the people I lived with and because of the amazing country. Through Netzer Olami, I learned how to communicate effectively, love unconditionally, how to get angry and then move on, how to sing with all my heart, and how to feed my endless hunger for knowledge.

 

Speaking of knowledge, one of my main goals for my gap year was to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which I was able to meet during my Gap Year. In high school, I was the only Jewish person in my school and because of this, I became the unofficial representative of all things Israel and Jewish. Everyone asked me questions and more questions and at that particular time I felt I couldn’t answer them to the best of my ability. However, thanks to the events hosted by Masa Israel during my Gap Year I am confident to answer all questions regarding Israel now.



There was one event that I know sparked my interest; it was our trip to Gush Etzion where we spoke to a Palestinian and a Jewish Settler.

 

While asking these gentlemen questions, I realized that this was what I came to do. I came to Israel to learn about the country that I loved. I left that event feeling like I was definitely on the path that my heart wanted me to go on.

Photo: Maya Pollack

 

From the experience I’ve had on my Gap Year, I am now studying Middle Eastern politics and am currently involved in making a documentary about Israel on college campuses and how it is portrayed.

 

Written by Masa Pollack, Masa Israel Gap Year Alumna


 

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

September 8, 2016

By Lakshna Mehta

 

College is expensive, whether you go to school five minutes from home or 500 miles away.

"Masa Israel (masaisrael.org/grants) provides grants or need-based scholarships for study abroad programs to Israel. Different amounts are available for participants from different countries. Study abroad participants from North America can receive up to $4,500, depending on the length and cost of their program, and need-based scholarships go up to $3,000. Gap year participants between the ages of 18 and 21 can receive $500."

 

Read the full story in the Jewish Journal

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Hero Yanush Ben_Gal remembered by Limmud FSU

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Hero Yanush Ben_Gal remembered by Limmud FSU

September 9, 2016

By Sarah Levi

 

Weekend event boosts Jewish identity in Tatarstan. 

 

"The event benefited from the help and past efforts from Taglit Birthright, the Jewish Agency, [Masa] and Chabad to reconnect Russian Jews to their roots that were severed during communism."


Read the full story in The Jerusalem Post
 

The Jewish Standard: Fingerhut on Hillel

The Jewish Standard: Fingerhut on Hillel

The Jewish Standard: Fingerhut on Hillel

September 1, 2016

By Joanne Palmer

 

College organization's president to speak in Closter

"'We want them to go on Birthright. We are big promoters of Onward Israel and Masa. We want them to learn as much as they can, to engage as much as they can, so when the issues arrive, they can respond effectively.' (Birthright Israel takes Jews between 18 and 26 years old to Israel on a free 10-day trip. Onward Israel is the next step, a six- to ten-week immersive program in Israel; it is not free but is heavily subsidized. Masa comes next; it offers five- to 12-month internships, volunteer opportunities, and other programs in Israel. Hillel works closely with all these organizations, and others as well.)"

 

Read the full article in The Jewish Standard.

 

The Jerusalem Post: Life After Birthright

The Jerusalem Post: Life After Birthright

The Jerusalem Post: Life After Birthright

September 1, 2016

By David Brinn

 

Under the banner of IACT, Jewish organizations int he US are coming together to engage university students before, during and after their trip to Israel.

"Almost all of the IACT coordinators have been inspired to pursue a path of Israel activism following a Birthright experience of their own. Many of them have returned to Israel multiple times, with some having served in the IDF, studied at Israeli universities and even made aliya. 'I spent last semester in Israel as a MASA intern at Yad Vashem,' said Hannah Salzburg, a beginning IACT coordinator at the University of Vermont and a 2014 Birthright alumnus. 'I could have stayed in Israel and been happy, but I came back to the US because I wanted to fulfill my soul – by making other people love, appreciate and respect Israel.'"

 

Read the full article in The Jerusalem Post