Eco-Israel

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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

 

GOUR ARIE - October 2017

Program Description

 

ARTZI - The Artistic gap year in Israel

Program Description

The Jewish Voice: In Search of the Next Big Thing

The Jewish Voice: In Search of the Next Big Thing

February 16, 2017

By Ariela Katzman-Jacobson

 

Ariela Katzman-Jacobson

 

The plane ride to Israel tells you almost everything. You don’t even need to get off the plane to have a true Israeli experience.

First, you are lectured extensively about suspicious objects and persons (delaying the flight by at least an hour). Then, the older woman seated beside you spends half the flight trying to set you up with her grandson, and after only a few hours of sleep, you are awakened at sunrise to the shuffling of feet in prayer.

 

But when the plane lands, everyone claps and cheers and you find yourself joyfully embracing that woman beside you and agreeing to a Shabbat dinner invitation.

 

After spending the past two months on BINA’s gap year program, which partners with Masa Israel Journey, The Jewish Agency for Israel and the government of Israel, to provide transformative long-term Israel experiences for young people across all areas of interest, I’ve learned that, in fact, the plane ride itself is emblematic of the Israel experience.

 

I’ve spent my days learning at BINA’s South Tel Aviv-based secular yeshiva, applying ancient Jewish texts to our understanding of contemporary Israel. The gap year program attracts international students and Israelis alike, all interested in creating a rich relationship with Judaism outside of its traditional religious expressions. We then apply our studies in the classroom to our neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, working and learning alongside African refugees and immigrants.

 

I don’t remember where I came across the quote “the next big thing will be a lot of small things,” but this simple statement has become incredibly relevant during my past few months in Israel. The idea that life is simply a collection of moments is not an original one, but I’ve come to understand that the clichés you find as the catchphrases of quirky boutiques are often just as wise as the quotes you find in the classics.

 

When selecting the right gap year for me, I found myself focusing on the “next big things” – the hours I would spend in the classroom poring over Jewish texts with which I’d never quite been able to connect, the volunteering experience in schools that need an extra hand and the effort I’d put into learning Hebrew.

 

Nevertheless, the cliché stands true. I’ve been lucky enough to find tremendous meaning in my classes, my preschool volunteer placement and Ulpan (Hebrew language study).

 

But I have found that the heart of Israel is most present in my local falafel joint. And in the feeling I get every Saturday when my world reminds me to sleep in and take it slow. It’s in the smell of sunblock, sunflower seeds and the Mediterranean. I find it in the bus ride to Jerusalem, and the graffiti of Tel Aviv. It’s in Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah,” and in the Israeli radio show “Galgalatz.”

 

And as I’ve come to develop a more complex and complete relationship with Israel, I also recognize that Israel’s heart is sometimes present within my apartment’s bomb shelter and at border control. It’s in my friend’s army uniform and the sound of a siren.

 

My time spent in Israel has not brought clarity, only more confusion. I often find myself defending and attacking Israel in the same sentence. I recognize the overwhelming beauty, and hurt, in the history and people of Israel. I realize that the Israeli flag can represent both pride and pain.

 

My confusing first two months in Israel have been illuminating. I initially came to Israel exploring and pursuing answers, but I now strive for improved questions. Israel has forced me to abandon my certainties and embrace ambiguity. The very things that make the Israeli experience difficult also make it enormously rewarding.

 

The true Israeli experience is made up of a collection of moments – moments that will challenge and change you. Moments that celebrate the color and complexity of life.

 

This place is special – you’ll know it from the moment you step on the plane.

 

Ariela Katzman-Jacobson, a 2016 graduate of Classical High School in Providence, R.I., will be attending Bard College in fall 2017.

 

Originally published in The Jewish Voice

eJewish Philanthropy: Creating Conditions for Growth: A New Hub for Masa Educators

eJewish Philanthropy: Creating Conditions for Growth: A New Hub for Masa Educators

February 15, 2017

By Yehudit Werchow

 

 

[This is the sixth and final article in a series written by participants in the inaugural Senior Educators Cohort at M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education.]

“If we want to grow in our practice, we have two primary places to go: to the inner ground from which good teaching comes and to the community of fellow teachers from whom we can learn more about ourselves and our craft.” (Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach)

 

As Director of Education at Masa Israel Journey, I feel honored and privileged to work with a team of professionals and partner organizations to co-create one of the most unique and exciting experiential Jewish education opportunities in the world: immersive experiences in Israel for young adults. My colleagues and I work with young adults to shape and co-design their own personal and professional transformative journeys while living in Israel with their peers from around the world and immersing themselves in a diverse array of Jewish and Israeli cultural experiences.

 

Our goals include building authentic and lasting relationships and connections between Masa participants, with Israel and Israeli society, with Jewish life, and with peers from around the world. Perhaps the most inspiring results of this work is hearing from our participants about the impact that these experiences have on their lives and their identities, and the ways in which they are motivated and inspired to play more active leadership roles in their communities once they return home from their time in Israel.

 

Since embarking upon my own journey with Masa, I have sought to understand how the Masa team and its partners can better work together to fulfill this monumental educational mission, particularly within the context of our fast-paced, complex and globalized world and the challenges it presents for us and our participants both as individuals and as a people. In order to fulfill this mission, over the last two years, Masa’s organizational leadership has consulted with our diverse community of stakeholders in Israel and from around the world and as a result of this process we are implementing a new set of pedagogies and core principles, diverse professional learning opportunities and an evaluation process that will better serve our participants.

 

One part of this process has involved my participation in M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education’s first Senior Educators Cohort (SEC) as well as a partnership we have formed with M² to create the Hub for Experiential Jewish Education at Masa. We’ve recognized that implementing our new pedagogical approach can only be realized if we invest in the growth of one of Masa’s biggest assets – the educational leadership that works with our participants. To that end, we invited a group of Masa’s educational partners to join the Hub and participate in a series of three two-day-long professional development seminars, all developed with M². At these seminars we have sought to nurture our educators’ passion, curiosity, creativity and skills, while building a community of leading practitioners. In turn, each Hub educator is better equipped to lead their teams and develop the educational vision for their programs.

 

We launched the first two seminars in January and early February and have already noticed that this model has enabled us to do something critical for our practice: creating a space for reflection and self-exploration as an organic and core practice for our field. In addition, throughout the first two seminars Hub educators learned new and diverse ideas, pedagogies and skills to explore their own personal and professional beliefs and values, as well as those of the institutions for which they work. They considered the ways in which these precepts influence the choices they make and the actions they take as educators. As a result, Hub educators reported that these activities helped them reconnect to and reaffirm their sense of purpose. More practically, the first seminar strengthened their sense of agency and helped them identify conflicts or disconnects between their educational goals and the approaches they value and the content of the experiences they design. In addition, the reflective space made all participants more aware of and sensitive to their strengths, weaknesses and comfort zones.

 

Another important goal of the seminars was to create a sense of community and shared sense of purpose among the educators. This was critical as we learned through this process that the educators often feel isolated, drained, and in competition with each other. These perceptions and conditions have built barriers between colleagues and blocked their abilities to share ideas and best practices, ultimately limiting opportunities for growth and innovation. This dynamic also makes it extremely difficult for them to share honest and constructive feedback with one another – an unfortunate and unnecessary barrier that we must tear down in order to build a resourceful network of practitioners and leaders who can help each other to succeed in fulfilling our shared mission. We learn best from trial and error and we need support and encouragement from the field in order to take risks and we can only do that when we trust one another.

 

To this end, the community-building aspects of the seminars have been critical. Throughout the Hub seminars, we have prioritized teamwork and experimentation to build upon and highlight the cumulative wisdom and talent we all offer as individuals and as a network of dedicated leaders and educators working toward the same purpose. During the seminars we have experienced new ideas, experimented with theories and pedagogies, and shared fun experiences that build trust and create conditions for building personal relationships, all leading to further collaboration and the strengthening of the experiential Jewish education ecosystem in Israel and beyond.

 

Lastly, Hub educators are encouraged to bring back their learnings to their teams and to adapt the content, skills and ideas they gain to their local settings and individual programs. At the end of each seminar, the group generates a list of shared insights and action items that will inform their immediate and future work and, at the same time, help build sustainable bridges between educators from our wide variety of programs and ensure that they continue learning and working together between seminars.

 

While this initiative has just begun, we are excited to see the medium becoming the message and are learning for future Hub cohorts that authentic and creative experiences, when reflected upon, encourage the development of a creative mindset, authentic relationships, and energized networks. Our hope is that this process will help guide Masa and our partners to create even more focused, intentional, scalable educational experiences for our participants and end-users.

 

Rabbi Yehudit Werchow is the Director of Education of Masa Israel Journey, an initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel, and a participant in the inaugural Senior Educators Cohort (SEC) at M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. SEC is generously supported by the Maimonides Fund.

 

Applications are now open for Cohort 2 of the Senior Educators Cohort. For more information and to request an application visit www.ieje.org.

 

Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy

Masa Israel Happy Hour - Indianapolis

Masa Israel Happy Hour - Indianapolis

February 22, 2017 - 18:00  -  February 22, 2017 - 20:00

Triton Brewing CompanyIndianapolis, Indiana  - 

Join Masa Israel and NEXTGen for an evening to remember!

First drink is on us for everyone who registers at www.masaisrael.org/2017HappyHour

Come drink with your friends and hear about awesome opportunities to get back to Israel or to share your Israel experiences.

LOCATION: 

Triton Brewing Company
5764 Wheeler Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46216

TIME: 6-8PM

Partner organizations: NEXTGen, AEPi, ZBT

Masa Israel Happy Hour - Montreal

Masa Israel Happy Hour - Montreal

February 22, 2017 - 18:00  -  February 22, 2017 - 20:00

Bier Markt MontrealMontreal, Canada  - 

Join Masa Israel for an evening to remember!

First drink and vegetarian and kosher appetizers are on us for everyone who registers at www.masaisrael.org/2017HappyHour

Come drink with your friends and hear about awesome opportunities to get back to Israel or to share your Israel experiences.

LOCATION: 

Bier Markt
1221 Boulevard René-Lévesque O, Montréal, QC 

TIME: 6-8PM

Partner organizations: CIE Birthright, Hillel Montreal, GenMTL, Onward

Masa Israel Happy Hour - Virginia Tech

Masa Israel Happy Hour - Virginia Tech

February 22, 2017 - 18:00  -  February 22, 2017 - 20:00

  Blacksburg, Virginia  - 

Join Masa Israel and Hillel for an evening to remember!

First drink (21+) and vegetarian appetizers are on us for everyone who registers at www.masaisrael.org/2017HappyHour

Come drink with your friends and hear about awesome opportunities to get back to Israel or to share your Israel experiences.

LOCATION: 

622 North
622 N Main St, Blacksburg, VA 24060

TIME: 6-8PM

Partner organizations: Hillel at Virginia Tech, and Onward Israel

Masa Israel Happy Hour - San Diego

Masa Israel Happy Hour - San Diego

February 22, 2017 - 18:00  -  February 22, 2017 - 20:00

The Local Pacific BeachSan Diego, California  - 

First drink and vegetarian appetizers are on us for everyone who registers at www.masaisrael.org/2017HappyHour

Come drink with your friends and hear about awesome opportunities to get back to Israel or to share your Israel experiences.

LOCATION: 

The Local Pacific Beach
809 Thomas Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

TIME: 6-8PM

Partner organizations: Jewish Federation San Diego NEXTGen and Congregation Beth El's Chai 20/30's