Celebrate like a local: festivals during Sukkot 2012

<div class="masa-blog-title">Celebrate like a local: festivals during Sukkot 2012</div>

 
Sukkot—the holiday of gathering. No matter where in the world you are, people will be by your side, celebrating in many different ways. And of course, there is no better place to celebrate Sukkot than in Israel, the best and biggest “sukkah” of them all!
 
Make this Sukkot special and exciting at the many different activities going on all over Israel.
 

Israel Campus Beat: Bridging the Gap - Campus Activists Empowered After Year in Israel

Israel Campus Beat: Bridging the Gap - Campus Activists Empowered After Year in Israel

September 10, 2012

By Emma Goss, ICB Reporter
 
A gap year program in Israel may end after 12 months, but participants say the experiences that they bring back to campus endure throughout their college careers.
Ariella Axler, a sophomore at Stanford University, said that she was already very supportive of Israel prior to participating in a Young Judaea gap year program before starting Stanford. Returning from the program has “made me more excited to share my thoughts with people," she said. "I’m not necessarily an advocate, but more of a cultural representative of Israel.” 
 
Axler said that Israel is a “very politicized” subject at Stanford, where each year Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights (SPER) urges the University to divest from companies that support Israel.
 
According to Stanford junior Noah Linfield, the divestment initiatives “definitely wore out a lot of Jewish students,” but Linfield’s decision to go on a gap year to Israel mid-college gave him the fuel to sustain his strong support of Israel on campus.
 
While most students who participate in gap year programs go before starting college, Linfield went to Israel after his sophomore year, studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion
 
Linfield said that taking a break to study in Israel gave him a new perspective and “a new resolve to come back to campus and be involved in any way I can. I’m looking forward to going back [to campus] and getting involved.”
 
Students who study for a year at Israeli yeshivas and religious seminaries typically learn about Israel through a religious lens, yet many students also bring back to the United States an enhanced understanding of Israeli political and cultural issues.
 
At the University of Maryland, sophomore Naham Shapiro, who spent a year studying at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and is president of Shalom Zionists of University of Maryland (SHAZAM), said that although he went on a religious gap year program, his energies on campus are focused on advocating for Israel in a political, nonreligious context.
 
“The Jewish community at the University of Maryland is very much dominated by the Orthodox, and many of the various Jewish or Israel groups are centered in Hillel," Shapiro said. SHAZAM, he said, seeks to engage a broader cross-section of the campus community.
 
According to Linfield, who also went to Israel for religious studies, some yeshivas work to encourage students to advocate for Israel both on spiritual and political levels. 
 
“There were several classes and programs that focused on college advocacy and transferring what we’ve learned at the yeshiva back to campus, both in terms of current Israeli-Palestinian issues” in addition to Jewish issues, he said.
 
Often students enter their college campuses post-gap year as independent Israel advocates, without a strong support network.
 
Columbia University sophomore Joshua Fattal was studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion when he spearheaded Engaging Washington from Abroad (EWFA), a program designed to prepare students on gap year programs to become campus leaders in Israel advocacy through continued contact and meetings with peers from other gap year programs.
 
Fattal started EWFA in November, 2010, when he, along with friends and support from AIPAC, reached out to hundreds of students on gap year programs in Israel, and brought approximately 150 students to hear a presentation by AIPAC's director of leadership development, Jonathan Kessler.
 
Fattal said the initial meeting in Jerusalem was “a stepping-off point” for future meetings among gap-year graduates back in the US. This network helps students who advocate for Israel on their college campuses feel like they are part of a larger group of like-minded people.
 
Columbia sophomore Daniel Cohen who also was involved in the creation of EWFA, said that when students start college after a gap year program, they often feel more confident in advocating for Israel because, at least for a year, Israel was their home.
 
“You were there, you saw it on the ground, you made your conclusions. You feel much more qualified to tell yourself that you can be an activist on campus than if you’re just popping out of high school and being told Israel is awesome,” Cohen said. “You feel much more empowered.”
 

Masa Alumni Shabbaton

Masa Alumni Shabbaton

January 18, 2013 (All day)  -  January 19, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

Want to reconnect with Masa in Israel? Want to reunite with your fellow Masa Israel friends? Want to share your experiences since you've graduated with us? Join us to help shape Masa Israel’s alumni activities in Israel.
The events is designed for alumni who are already in Israel. 

Public Diplomacy on the American Campus Seminar

Public Diplomacy on the American Campus Seminar

May 6, 2013 (All day)  -  May 9, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

A joint project with the Foreign Ministry, this seminar will better prepare you to advocate for Israel on your campus.
Learn from leading experts the secrets of advocacy, how to fight delegitimization, how to effectively convey a message and much more.
 
Open to North American Gap Year participants

Public Diplomacy on the American Campus Seminar

Public Diplomacy on the American Campus Seminar

February 3, 2013 (All day)  -  February 5, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

A joint project with the Foreign Ministry, this seminar will better prepare you to advocate for Israel on your campus.
Learn from leading experts the secrets of advocacy, how to fight delegitimization, how to effectively convey a message and much more.
 
Open to North American Gap Year participants

Public Diplomacy on the American Campus Seminar

Public Diplomacy on the American Campus Seminar

January 28, 2013 (All day)  -  January 31, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

A joint project with the Foreign Ministry, this seminar will better prepare you to advocate for Israel on your campus.
Learn from leading experts the secrets of advocacy, how to fight delegitimization, how to effectively convey a message and much more.
 
Open to North American Gap Year participants

Masa Conference and End of the Year Event

Masa Conference and End of the Year Event

May 20, 2013 (All day)

  Jerusalem, Israel  - 

The Masa Conference features interactive discussions and lectures from leading figures in the Jewish and Israeli world. 
Come join us as we celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of your next journey.  

Commemoration Ceremony for Israel's Fallen Soldiers

Commemoration Ceremony for Israel's Fallen Soldiers

April 14, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

Join us for a special ceremony, created just for Masa Israel participants, to learn about and pay tribute to a few of the many fallen soldiers and victims of terror. 
Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) begins with a siren at 8:00 pm.

A Taste of Israeli Culture

A Taste of Israeli Culture

February 18, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

Explore Israeli culture firsthand. Take part in a variety of workshops and meet Israeli artists, singers, writers, dancers and actors.
Cost – 35 NIS
 

Enrichment Evening for French Participants

Enrichment Evening for French Participants

January 24, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

Come meet fellow French participants from various Masa Israel programs while enjoying an evening of lectures and workshops. 
Open to Masa Israel participants on French-speaking programs