Top 5 Father’s Day Gifts to Bring Home from Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">Top 5 Father’s Day Gifts to Bring Home from Israel</div>

As programs wind down and Masa Israel participants prepare to head home, here are a few ideas for last-minute Father’s Day gifts to pick up before heading to the airport:

 

1. A cheesy tourist t-shirt

 

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via israeli-T

 
 

Young Judaea Academic Year Course

Program Description

Stacey Abendstern

 

Israel Highway - Do It Your Way

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Program Description

Israel Highway: Do It Your Way, is exactly what the name suggests. This brand new exciting gap year program for Australians, South Africans, and Brits allows you to choose your Israel experience.
 
Whether you want to volunteer in Tel Aviv, live on a kibbutz, hike Israel’s beautiful landscapes, or play sports all day in the sun, this program is for you.
But don’t worry, we won’t just drop you off in Israel to fend for yourself!
 
This 5 month adventure starts off in the country’s capital, Jerusalem, where you will be studying Hebrew in an Ulpan. Next you’ll go off to the cultural hub of Israel, Tel Aviv, to volunteer with some truly incredible organizations.
During this initial part of the program, there will also be an inspiring trip to Berlin and Poland where you will have the opportunity to further connect with our Jewish roots. The rest is up to you!
 
The program includes touring in all of the important sites in Israel, Jewish and Israel studies, Ulpan lessons, challenging hikes, heritage tour to Berlin and Poland and much more.
 
In addition to all of that ,as the program's name suggests, we have a wide element of choice as we want to offer the single participant the ability to take his own "Highway" in Israel.
 
 
The “Israel Highway” program runs around three main circles:
 
1) Me and my identity - the participants will spend a full month in Jerusalem, will tour all the important sites, study Hebrew in Japan and will also investigate various topics with the help of their leaders and top speakers.
The topics include Jewish identity, Zionism, the Israeli-Arab conflict, engagement on campus and more.
To conclude this part of the program, the participants will embark on a 5 days challenging hike in the desert where they will be divided into small squads and will be required to help each other and use their leadership skills in order to “survive” the trip.
 
2) Me and my community - the focus is on giving back to the community after defining yourself. The participants will live in apartments in central Tel Aviv where they will be responsible for cooking, cleaning and the rest of the house hold chores.
Every day the participants will volunteer in various places such as: Save a Child's Heart, SPIVAK ( working with the disabled) , soup kitchens, animal shelters and schools. In order to break the routine, the participants will go on a one week army experience - Gadna.
 
3) My own way - the participants get to choose what is the “Highway” he or she wants to take.
 
 
Sport and Healthy Lifestyle Highway - Walk alongside Israel’s top athletes at “The Wingate Institute, Israel’s National Centre for Physical Education and Sport”, where you will learn how to maintain your body and combine sports into your daily life.
 
-Kibbutz Highway - Take on the lifestyle of a kibbutznik and help the kibbutznikim with their daily responsibilities.
 
-Walking Israel's national path Highway- Discover Israel through your feet as you hike the length of Israel from top to bottom while you carry your home on your back (will open with minimum of 15 pax)
 
- UIA Volunteering Highway - Join one of the UIA’s youth villages and volunteer with Israeli students from all around the country. You will volunteer with the students in order to build the future face of Israel’s periphery in a young and vibrant environment.
 
 
 

Carlie Dobkin -Israel Way Intern Tel Aviv

Carlie Dobkin -Israel Way Intern Tel Aviv

Israel Way-Internship Tel Aviv

 After graduating from college a year early, Carlie Dobkin was looking for something different to do while all her friends were still in school. She found Masa Israel's internship program though Destination Israel and decided to leave her hometown of Chicago for this unique experience that she hoped would be a great transition into the working world as well as an opportunity to go abroad.

Playbuzz is an online media platform that creates entertaining and shareable content. They engage users all over the world with funny quizzes, lists, polls, and more. Being a content writer, Carlie is the person who creates those quizzes and lists.

Playbuzz treats Carlie as a valuable employee and she loves that if she has an idea she has the independence to run with it without asking permission from her supervisor beforehand.

"At Playbuzz, I always feel appreciated and challenged. I am constantly busy and I'm always doing real work for the company. I don't feel like an intern, I feel like an employee," Carlie says.

Halfway through the internship, Carlie has already started looking into ideas for next year. She applied to several online media jobs in the states as well as graduate programs in fine arts and screenwriting. Of course, Carlie hopes she can continue freelancing for Playbuzz from the US.

When summing up her invaluable experience, Carlie says "I've been in Illinois all my life. I grew up in the suburbs and then went to Northwestern for school. I've never been far from home. This was a brave thing for me to do and I am happy with my decision. I've met AMAZING friends here that I hope to keep for a long time. Living abroad is something everyone should do once in their lives. It teaches us to be independent and also immerses us in a totally different culture. Israel is a really cool place, Tel Aviv specifically. The weather is awesome, the outdoor fitness is wonderful, and the food is the best. I know when I get back; I will never be able to eat Sabra hummus again!! "

 

Tamar Brendzel-MITF

Tamar Brendzel-MITF

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows

Growing up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, it is understandable how Tamar Brendzel, 24, can have a hard time with the “sabra” nature of Israelis. It’s a far cry from the “Minnesota nice” nature of the community she grew up in. However, the ups and downs she faces during her year in Israel are all part of the experience that has had a huge impact on her life.

Tamar grew up attending synagogue and Hebrew school, but it was her Taglit-Birthright trip, during her freshman year of college, that exposed her to Masa and the idea of spending an extended period of time in Israel. This Indiana University Bloomington biology major was inspired. Her parents both lived in Israel for a year after college and their connection to Israel motivated her to find her own connection, leading her to choose the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program. Her interest in serving neglected communities in Israel by encouraging education made the MITF Rechovot program a perfect fit for her.

Tamar works at Sinai Elementary School, a religious school with a primarily Ethiopian and Yemenite student population, teaching English to grades fourth through sixth. Many of her students come from low socio-economic status. Along with her teaching and biweekly Ulpan classes, she volunteers once a week at a Matnas (community center) in Rehovot.

            Tamar feels that one of my most important jobs as an English teacher is to show the students that she values them and is rooting for their success. Many of her students do not get this level of love and support at home. Her biggest successes have been getting disengaged students to reengage by showing them how fun and important English can be through songs, plays, and games. Something that gives Tamar hope is that even with all the problems her students face, both in school and in Israeli society, they are smart, fun, resilient, and loving and she believes they can be successful in the future.

            Currently, Tamar is searching for a job in the science and education fields. Even though the year is coming to an end, Tamar is thankful for everything she has learned, the amazing friends she has made, and the unique and meaningful experience that will last her a lifetime.

Blake Yospa-ITF

Blake Yospa-ITF

Israel Teaching Fellows

Growing up in Baltimore, Blake Yospa, 26, felt connected to Judaism through the Reform synagogue where his mother worked and he attended Hebrew school. However, after his bar mitzvah, Blake grew less affiliated.

“Being part of a religious minority, I considered myself an outcast,” Blake explains.

However, that all changed in the winter of 2014, when Blake travelled to Israel for the first time with Birthright-Taglit Israel. “I honestly did not feel a connection to Israel or any Jewish community until I went on Birthright,” the Towson University alum remembers.

Blake extended his trip to stay with a friend from home who was living in Netanya as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow. During his stay in Netanya, Blake spent a day in school with his friend, and decided that he too wanted to come back to Israel and teach for a year. Dissatisfied with his career path and looking to make a difference, Blake had nothing holding him back; Masa Israel Teaching Fellows made sense at that point in his life. “This teaching program offered me a chance to live abroad for an extended period of time, while giving back to those in need,” Blake explains.

Now, a little over a year later, Blake lives in Rishon LeZion as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow. He teaches at a primary school in a mid-to-low socioeconomic neighborhood right outside of Rishon LeZion, where his students make him laugh and the faculty members are warm and welcoming. ”I come to school with a smile on my face every day,” Blake says.

Outside of the classroom, Blake tutors some of his students, which allows for him to grow extremely close with both the children and their families. “I have developed such a close relationship with them that I’ve been invited over for the Pesach seder.”  On top of the tutoring, Black volunteers at a school running sports programs for the students. In his spare time, he explores Israel on organized tours with Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, and on spontaneous adventures with his friends.

Today, after several months as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, Blake feels that his experience on the Masa program has changed him in many ways. “After living here for almost seven months, I’m happy to associate myself with Israel and being Jewish,” Blake says. He also feels that this experience has been self-enriching and has helped him grow spiritually and mature as a person.

When Masa Israel Teaching Fellows ends in June, Blake plans to return to the States to pursue a career in the field in which he earned his degree, sports management. “I would love to get a job with my local JCC in the recreational sports department and then perhaps move to minor or professional sports,” Blake says. Still, Blake remains open to any interesting opportunity that comes his way and he would have never said that two years ago. 

Daniel Spector-IGF

Daniel Spector-IGF

Israel Government Fellows
Weight: 
-80

Born in Massachusetts, Daniel Spector, 22, grew up in a non-traditional home. His family belonged to a reform synagogue but was not very connected to Judaism. That all changed when Daniel first traveled to Israel on Birthright. Daniel found that he identified with Israelis not only on the basis of religion and culture but also in their readiness to discuss issues with a sincerity and genuine passion that he had never experienced before. It inspired him to engage with the issues confronting Israeli society and he knew that he wanted to go back to Israel at some point.

               

In the year before coming on the Israel Government Fellows program (IGF), Daniel directed his efforts as an advocate for the David Project, tasked with making his experience with Israel part of the conversation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was studying for a Bachelor of Business Administration in Operations and Information Management. He also attended the AIPAC policy conference in Washington DC out of a desire to get directly involved with the political issues surrounding Israel and started teaching himself Hebrew.

 

Daniel knew that he wanted to gain professional experience by working in Israel. The Masa Israel Government Fellow program caught his eye because it would give him the work experience he wanted, boost his resume, and give him the financial assistance that he needed.

 

Now, as an Israel Government Fellow, Daniel is interning at the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Economy, where he works alongside the Director of the Strategy & Economic Research Unit.

 

 

 

Nativ - Hebrew University Track

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Program Description

Nativ is a challenging academic year program dedicated to creating and inspiring the Conservative Jewish leaders of tomorrow. Nativ, which means “path” in Hebrew, provides its participants with a unique opportunity to explore new directions on the journey to becoming a Jewish adult. From September to May, Nativ participants are immersed in the rich and diverse society of Israel, exploring the land and enjoying a fulfilling Conservative Jewish lifestyle. The program includes academic university classes, intensive Hebrew classes and innovative leadership training. Nativ enables recent high school graduates to earn college credits for their studies while living in a classroom without walls.

A year of true exploration, Nativ provides the freedom for personal discovery as well as the security of a carefully structured program. This unforgettable experience is created through an intricate balance between academics and volunteer work, learning and teaching, personal challenge and community living. Participants on Nativ return from the year with a stronger attachment to the land of Israel as well as a deeper passion for Judaism, enthusiastic to share with their North American communities what they have learned.

Meital Goldberg

Meital Goldberg

English Speaking Desk Representative

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