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Gap Year

From Gap Year Students to Millionaires">From Gap Year Students to Millionaires

Posted April 5th, 2017
Alon Moss, 19 from Sydney, Australia, and Ilan Lewis 18, from Brighton, England, are participants on Aardvark Israel Programs. Aardvark Israel is Masa Israel gap year program for Jewish students from around the world. One of the ways participants customize their experience on the program is by selecting  from a wide variety of volunteering and internship opportunities set up by Aardvark. 
 
Alon and Ilan intern for StarTAU, a non-profit organization which aims to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and the industries they hope to work in by providing educational resources. Alon works for the education department, while Ilan works for the international department. Near the end of March, they attended the first Israel food waste hackathon in Tel Aviv, which was sponsored by three main partners: StarTAU, Unilever, and the Ministry of Agriculture.
 
At the event, Alon and Ilan were sitting at the back of the room until they were asked to participate by their director. The two students were in competition with a room full of over eighty experts from various fields, the majority of whom, had a minimum of twenty years’ experience in their respective industries. They were rejected twice for collaboration—because they were students—until finally another competitor was willing to join Alon and Ilan’s team. 
 
As the competition began, their team chose to address the challenge presented by the Ministry of Agriculture—to help reduce Israel's food surplus of A & B grade produce. Cucumbers are one of the vegetables that has a high surplus. In Israel, over 310 million cucumbers (31,000 tons) go to waste each year. From this knowledge sprung Alon and Ilan’s idea to use cucumbers in cosmetic products. As the competition progressed, more and more mentors, whose assistance is a part of the process, were impressed by their idea and offered their expertise; from Procter and Gamble representatives to web developers, a wide range of mentors were willing to sit with the students and ask how they could help.
 
The outcome was Neshama. The Neshama company’s aim is to reduce Israeli’s cucumber surplus by taking cucumbers and drying them out for a powder to be used in cosmetic products, such as facial creams. Neshama would then produce cosmetics and sell through stores. 
 
On Thursday afternoon— only a couple of hours before the completion—they altered their business plan: Instead of being in control of the whole manufacturing process, they would just focus on producing the cucumber powder, which would then be sold to cosmetic companies. Alon (founder & CEO) and Ilan (co-founder & CMO), then pitched their idea to the judges. Out of sixteen teams, who all pitched their ideas in Hebrew, Alon and Ilan were the only ones to pitch in English; while this would appear to be a disadvantage, they like to think perhaps their accents actually played a part in their success. 
As the judges revealed the winners, they were stunned; everyone in the room had to tell them to go on stage—as students, they weren’t even expecting to be taken seriously, let alone actually win the two million shekel prize. “Surreal” is how they described it.
 
Now, their team is growing from the original three founders. Two additional members will be joining them on the Elite Launch, an exclusive accelerator course offered by StarTAU for the winners of the competition. Alon and Ilan are eager to make strides in the accelerator course, and thrilled that Aardvark provided them such an exciting opportunity with Star TAU.
 
Post written by Aardvark Staff. Find out more information about a dynamic gap year program with Aardvark Israel Programs here.
 

12 Must-See Works Of Israeli Street Art ">12 Must-See Works Of Israeli Street Art

Posted April 3rd, 2017

By Sydney Peters

 

Over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of traveling throughout Europe, Asia and just the tiniest bit of Africa. I love wandering down side streets and finding out all a city has to offer, even if it’s staring at a masterpiece on a brick wall. Sometimes it's just one graffitied word and other times it’s a whole building that has been transformed into a piece of art.

 

For these reasons, Berlin was my all-time favorite city for street art. That is, until I moved to Israel to teach English in Be’er Sheva on Masa Israel Teaching Fellows. Here in this gorgeous land that boasts a huge art scene, you can’t walk down a street without finding at least one speckled and worded up work of art plastered on the side of a building.

 

Israeli street art has a voice of its own. There are some pieces that have been up for decades because the government has found them to be that important. There are other areas where pieces may last only a few hours before someone has something else to say. After all, our people are known for being opinionated. So, enough with the text and on to the beauty of Israeli street art.

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

12. My parents came to visit recently and while we were walking through the vibrant streets of Tel Aviv I came across this tag. One of my favorite things to do when I visit a new city is to grab a map, orient myself and wander in any direction. I always know I can pull my map out and become ‘unlost,’ but there is no better way to get to know a city than to get lost.

 

 

11. This fall, after a hectic first week of settling into our new city of Be’er Sheva, one of our first group activities was a scavenger hunt of the old city (yep, Be’er Sheva has one, too). As we walked by this piece, everyone immediately whipped out their phones, firing up Snapchat to share it with everyone back home. This piece is a friendly reminder of how much I’ve grown since the beginning of September and how much of a home Be’er Sheva has become.

 

 

10. One weekend I visited some Masa friends in Netanya and I was totally shocked when I was greeted by large murals like this one. Until then, Netanya didn’t strike me as the artsiest community, but now I’m counting down the days until I can visit again. This piece was such a wave of nostalgia; I always dreamed riding the Magic School Bus as a kid. And, let’s be honest, who didn’t want Miss Frizzle as their teacher?

 

 

9. This unique piece of multi-media street art can be found in Tel Aviv’s Florentin neighborhood. The frames are actually made out of wood, there are googly eyes on the bench, and stickers throughout. It adds a whole new level of dimension to the piece and keeps your eyes constantly wandering. I spent at least a half an hour at this wall, photographing it from every angle.

 

 

8. Do you know who all of these musicians are and why they’re memorialized here in Florentin? Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, to name a few. They’re all members of the 27 club, meaning they all died when they were the age of 27. You may be asking, who is the man on the far right? It’s believed to be the artist, Jonathan Kislev. According to my guide, there is some argument as to whether or not the pink paint over Kislev’s fast was done by Kislev himself or another artist. One rumor is that Kislev was so disappointed in all that he hadn’t accomplished by the age of 27, that he included paint to cover his face.

 

 

7. Ever since street art angel wings starting dominating my Instagram, I’ve been on the hunt for them. I even saw a post claiming that there was a set in Florentin, so I spent over an hour searching for them with no luck. However, did I get lucky when a friend in Netanya sent me a picture of these and they did not disappoint.

 

 

6. One of the things I find so fascinating about street art is how it’s constantly changing. This alleyway in Florentin, is one of the very places where you can see a piece one day and the next day it’s covered with something new. I could walk around this alley staring at the different tags for hours.

 

 

5. Technology has become such a permanent part of our lives in so many ways. I’ve seen this piece throughout Tel Aviv, but this photo was taken near Shuk HaCarmel. I think it’s a good reminder to put our phones down for a moment and appreciate everything that is around us. I mean, if you have your nose in your phone, would you even see this when walking by?

 

 

4. I decided not to save the world today.” Haven’t we all thought this? These are so many pressures in our lives, sometimes it’s just nice to not think about one. I also really love the typography on this piece, which I found meandering down the many streets of Florentin.

 

 

3. One of my favorite sayings is “I’m just one wanderlusting soul in this big, bad world.” If I asked someone to create a representation of that, this piece in Netanya would be a great pick.

 

 

2. Outside of Machane Yehuda, I haven’t seen a lot of street art in Jerusalem. While my parents were in town, we wandered down a side street and came across a lovely spread of street art. This tree of life was one of my favorites. I bought myself a tree of life ring during first solo trip to Europe in 2014, and I’ve found myself drawn to the symbol ever since.

 

 

1. It’s quite common to find the word ‘Coexist’ spray painted on walls near Tel Aviv’s Shuk HaCarmel. To me it represents the diversity and acceptance of Tel Aviv itself – a city, packed with tourists from every corner of the world and known for its vibrant the LGBTQ community. Here’s a pic of a spray painted ‘Coexist’ on RamBam Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney Peterson is a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Be'er Sheva, where she serves as an English teaching assistant in a local elementary school. Outside the classroom, she seizes every opportunity for adventure in Israel and around the world. She loves searching for street art, immersing herself in new cultures and eating her way through new cities.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally appeared in the Forward

 

8 Need-To-Know Hebrew Phrases To Learn Before Going to Israel">8 Need-To-Know Hebrew Phrases To Learn Before Going to Israel

Posted March 16th, 2017

Living abroad for any period of time can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know the local language fluently.


Here at Masa Israel we understand the struggle and therefore we came up with 8 words/phrases that will make your Masa Israel journey a smooth ride. Oh and not only will you know the local slang, but Israelis will think you are literally a local.

 

Let’s get started with our first local Hebrew lesson:

 

1. Achi/ Achoti = Brother/Sister

A.k.a. Bro, Dawg, Homie, Girl, Gurrrrl, etc…

 


2. B’emet = Really?


A.ka. For real tho?

 


3. Mesiba = Party

 


4. Motzash = After Shabbat

 


5. Mehamem = Gorgeous

 


6. Metzuyan = Excellent

 


7. Sababa = Cool

 


8. Yalla = Let’s go!


A.ka. Hurry, Get Moving

 

 

To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here.

 

Bereshit

http://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/1.jpg

Program Description

  • Main Subject: Professional Studies
  •  
  • Keywords:
  • Environmentalism 
  • Duration:
  • 8, 9 Months 
  • Age:
  • 17-30 
  • Language:
  • French 
  • Organizer:
  • Sachlav Educational Experience 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • Bereshit 
  • Accommodation:
  • Included 
  • Meals:
  • Included 
  • Program Dates:
  • November 01,2017 - June 30,2018, , $13800   Apply to this program

ARTZI - The Artistic gap year in Israel

http://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/Atzi%20Photo_0.png

Program Description

Artzi combines the Arts, Judaism and Israel in a way that allows students to deepen their connection to Judaism and their inner selves, hike and volunteer all over Israel while developing their artistic talents. Artzi offers 4 arts tracks: Music, Dance, Theatre and Visual/Fine arts where students get to work alongside famous artists to create a professional portfolio and explore their talents.

 

Artzi is co-ed and pluralistic, allowing students to learn in an open environment, challenge themselves to fully reach their potential and have fun! Artzi also runs alongside True Spirit, the artistic Israeli pre-army academy, which allows students to really integrate into Israeli society, learn high level Hebrew, and make new international friendships.

 

Northern Hemisphere gap year- Aug 27th- May 31st

Southern Hemisphere gap year- Feb 4th- Oct. 28th 

 

Highlights

Artzi is the ONLY program where students get to live with Israeli peers, learn Art on a high level and experience an amazing gap year (hikes, learning, volunteering, etc.)

 

  • Main Subject: Art
  •  
  • Duration:
  • 9 Months 
  • Age:
  • 17-21 
  • Organizer:
  • ARTZI AMI-Neshima 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • ARTZI - The Artistic gap year in Israel 
  • Price:
  • $ 23500 
  • Accommodation:
  • Included 
  • Meals:
  • Included 
  • Program Dates:
  • September 03,2017 - May 31,2018  Apply to this program

GOUR ARIE - October 2017

Program Description

  • Main Subject: Gap Year (Programs)
  •  
  • Duration:
  • 8 Months 
  • Age:
  • 17-25 
  • Organizer:
  • The Israel Experience- Educational Tourism Services Co. LTD 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • GOUR ARIE - October 2017 
  • Price:
  • $ 13500 
  • Accommodation:
  • Included 
  • Meals:
  • Included 
  • Program Dates:
  • October 17,2017 - June 11,2018  Apply to this program

Habonim Dror - Shnat - Tlalim

Program Description

  • Main Subject: Experiential Programs, Volunteer Programs, Youth Movement Studies
  •  
  • Keywords:
  • Kibbutz 
  • Duration:
  • 8.5 Months 
  • Age:
  • 18-19 
  • Language:
  • English 
  • Organizer:
  • Tlalim Conference, Events & Recreation Ltd. 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • Habonim Dror - Shnat - Tlalim 
  • Price:
  • $ 19300 
  • Accommodation:
  • Included 
  • Meals:
  • Included 
  • Program Dates:
  • September 04,2017 - May 22,2018  Apply to this program

Workshop - Tlalim

Program Description

  • Main Subject: Experiential Programs, Volunteer Programs, Youth Movement Studies
  •  
  • Keywords:
  • Kibbutz 
  • Duration:
  • 8.5 Months 
  • Age:
  • 18-19 
  • Language:
  • English 
  • Organizer:
  • Tlalim Conference, Events & Recreation Ltd. 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • Workshop - Tlalim 
  • Price:
  • $ 18050 
  • Accommodation:
  • Included 
  • Meals:
  • Included 
  • Program Dates:
  • September 04,2017 - May 22,2018  Apply to this program

The Top 8 Beaches in Israel">The Top 8 Beaches in Israel

Posted March 5th, 2017

Written by Andria Kaplan-Aylyarov

 

Yes, BRRR. The weather is cold outside and as you kindle the Hanukkah flames and spin that dreidel, warm yourself up and imagine you’re under the Tel Aviv sun, soaking up the rays on one of these beaches.


…Because seriously, where else would you rather be?

 

1. Banana Beach
Located on the southernmost edge near Jaffa this beach is home to Friday night drum circles, hula hooping-bikini wearing girls, endless games of Matkot and sunbather after sunbather. Think of it as a Bohemian paradise right next to Tel Aviv.

 

2. Gordon Beach, Frishman Beach, Bograshov Beach
Welcome to beach-mania. These three beaches offer endless white sand, beautiful people and the perfect dose of sunshine. Located right in the center of Tel Aviv these beaches offer a great getaway with tons of bars and restaurants. Each beach is the perfect place to catch the addicting Tel Aviv sunset plus, there’s a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream stand at Gordon Beach. #YUM


3. Trumpeldor Beach
Walking down the beach in Tel Aviv you’ll spot an unusual statue and you know you’ve arrived at Trumpeldor Beach. This is a quieter beach amongst its neighbors since there are no facilities or lifeguards.


4. Jerusalem Beach
Formerly known as Geula Beach, Jerusalem Beach is located right off Allenby Street and near the very well-known Opera Tower building. You’ll find falafel shops and bodegas everywhere, so don’t worry about packing snacks for the day. It’s not touristy and is the perfect spot to meet all your friends for a relaxing beach day.



5. Tel Baruch Beach
Tel Baruch Beach may be one of Israel’s cleanest beaches. Fully equipped with green lawns, outdoor workout area, and seaside café it’s the perfect escape from a long week of classes or a big night out. 


6. Metzitzim Beach
If you wake up early enough on a Friday or Saturday morning,  take a stroll down Namal Tel Aviv, and  grab a coffee while you check out Metzitzim Beach. It’s more family oriented but offers three volleyball courts and an outdoor workout area. If that’s not your thing, however, keep walking north and you’ll catch twenty-something Israelis sipping Goldstar and hanging out.


7. The Surfer’s Beach at the Hilton Hof HaGolshim
Besides beautiful people watching all day long check out The Surfer’s Beach and prepare to be amazed at the skill, the surf, and the boys. It’s a hot spot to kayak or learn how to paddle board too!

 

8. Coral Reef Beach(Red Sea):
Okay, so this beach isn't in Tel Aviv but it's a sun worshipper's paradise. You can go from sand to snorkel to world-class resort within minutes. The best part? There's a good chance your Masa program already has a trip to Eilat planned. #GetReady



Andria Kaplan Aylyarov is a Masa Israel Alumna and content marketing specialist for Masa Israel Journey. She loves a good glass of white wine and wishes she was 85-years-old and living in Boca, but she currently resides in New York.

 

To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here. 

 

How to Reach Ivy League Levels of Tech Innovation">How to Reach Ivy League Levels of Tech Innovation

Posted February 2nd, 2017

By Oren Toledano, co-founder and CEO of Israel Tech Challenge

 

We’re called the “startup nation.”

 

Despite being smaller than the state of New Jersey, Israel has more Nasdaq-listed companies than any other country in the world except the U.S. and China. Our businesses are quick to grow and to create. They are built on a mentality eager to take risks.

 

But, what is the secret sauce behind Israel’s success? What magic touch do we have that universities around the world are now acknowledging is highly effective and desirable?

 

This is a question others have asked before – most notably Dan Senor and Saul Singer in their best-selling book. One answer they give: it starts in the military. More specifically, in the unique training program for the young recruits of 8200, Israel’s elite military unit where thousands of bright, technically minded soldiers study deeply and master cutting-edge technology. Having served in that unit, reaching the rank of Major, I’d like to go into this a bit more.

 

Over the last three years alone, several start-ups founded by 8200 graduates were purchased by tech giants, including Adallom (purchased by Microsoft), Onavo (purchased by Facebook), and CyActive (purchased by PayPal).

 

In 8200, the idea of “being thrown into the deep end” is taken to a completely new level. The soldiers are expected to learn new skills super-fast and solve complex military problems with limited personnel, in a short time and with surprisingly little guidance. It is a quick, hands-on, intense learning process that leads straight to success.

 

During their training, the average day begins at 6 a.m., soldiers get exactly five minutes in the morning to wake up and dress themselves – and they get another 10 minutes, on the clock, for breakfast. The rest of their day is just as intense, as well as intellectually challenging and rigorously scheduled – an exhaustingly high-level program of study that generally continues at full force until 11 each night.

 

If you can keep up with the demands of this program for its full five months, you come out on the other end as a tech master at the age of 18, and with more technical know-how than an average American college graduate with a degree in Computer Science.

 

And it works particularly well. The unit’s alumni come away with the skills and mentality that are a natural fit for the start-up ecosystem.

 

The thinking and training of 8200 can be applied anywhere around the globe.

 

At Israel Tech Challenge, for example, we teach an international group of students about cybersecurity and data science. Working in closed cohort groups, with intensive training and close mentorship, and given the keys to a strong professional network, the students flourish. The method we use creates open-minded, autodidactic, independent thinkers who can even come up with solutions before the definition or emergence of the actual problem.

 

It is an approach that can help all of us, as an international community, react quickly, adapt to the needs of the market, and create in-demand applications.

 

Today, American universities have started to recognize the need for educational models spearheaded by 8200-like tech boot camps and crash courses in coding. However, this is just a single application of the kind of new thinking brought to the forefront by the 8200. Israel’s experience can and should be leveraged to jumpstart not only the adoption of a new pedagogical system, but also as a groundbreaking model of international problem solving.

 

By adopting 8200’s intense, focused, and uncompromising training methods, American companies and organizations can create a workforce that is better prepared, more disciplined, and capable of overcoming technological gaps quickly, adapting in an agile fashion to changing realities, and learning, without judgment, but with great depth, from past mistakes. And they could do this faster, with fewer resources, attracting only the most talented and challenge-ready employees.

 

Applied effectively, the potential is here for a powerful tool that can shift the way we approach some of the larger issues facing the international community, throwing the most motivated, mentally resilient, and brightest human resources at the problem, while making better use of other resources, like money and time. In other words, we could attack real world problems by engaging technology, and its best practitioners, to help solve national priority issues.

 

Not only could this model prove lucrative and economical, it could be a game changer in terms of results – tech products for a safer planet chief among them.

 

Oren Toledano is co-founder and CEO of Israel Tech Challenge, a partnership between the Jewish Agency, The Government of Israel’s Cyber Bureau, and Masa Israel Journey. Prior to his current position, Oren spent three years as Head of the Aliyah delegation of the Jewish Agency in France-Belgium, and before that served for nearly a decade as an officer in an elite technological unit of the IDF, reaching the rank of Major. Oren holds an MA in Political Science and Security Studies from Tel Aviv University, and a BA in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.