Enrichment Day for Masa Israel Program Staff

Enrichment Day for Masa Israel Program Staff

December 5, 2012 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

Are you a staff member of one of Masa Israel's programs?
Join us for an enrichment day designed just for you! Meet other program staff, share ideas and experiences, take part in team-building exercises, and learn conflict resolution techniques, marketing skills, and much more.

Enrichment Day for Masa Israel Program Staff

Enrichment Day for Masa Israel Program Staff

November 5, 2012 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

Are you a staff member of one of Masa Israel's programs?
Join us for an enrichment day designed just for you! Meet other program staff, share ideas and experiences, take part in team-building exercises, and learn conflict resolution techniques, marketing skills, and much more.

MasaFest 2012 featuring the Idan Raichel Project

MasaFest 2012 featuring the Idan Raichel Project

October 29, 2012 - 19:00

  Jerusalem, Israel  - 

Join us as we kick off the 2012 – 2013 season! Meet new friends from all over the world and begin your journey with the rest of the Masa Israel Community.
Idan Raichel is a widely acclaimed Israeli singer/songwriter and founder of the Idan Raichel Project.
 
Cost – 40 NIS
 

Project Keshet

Project Keshet

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

  TBA, Israel  - 

Project Keshet is acollaboration between Masa Israel, Machon L'Madrichim, UJIA, UJS and the British youth movements to bring Zionist Jewish youth together.
(Open to Shnat British participants)

Project Keshet

Project Keshet

January 13, 2013 (All day)  -  January 15, 2013 (All day)

  TBA, Israel  - 

Project Keshet is acollaboration between Masa Israel, Machon L'Madrichim, UJIA, UJS and the British youth movements to bring Zionist Jewish youth together.
(Open to Shnat British participants)

Yachad Gap Year

Yachad Gap Year

Program: 
 

Yachad

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

Program Description

Yachad Gap Year is the ultimate Israel immersion experience, offering you the opportunity to learn, volunteer and explore Israel in Israeli Mechina programs with Israeli peers.   For more than 20 years, these prestigious programs have been offering amazing experiences for Israeli high school grads, and now you can join them!  And there's a Mechina program for every taste—non-religious, Reform, Orthodox and mixed; and any place in Israel you like.
 
If you're ready to create strong and lasting bonds with Israeli peers—if you're ready to have a deep and meaningful experience that you'll cherish for a lifetime—if you're ready to give back to Israeli society and to the Jewish people—then Yachad Gap Year is for you!
 
Yachad Gap Year represents the following Mechinot:
- Beit Yisrael (Jerusalem)
- BINA (Tel Aviv)
- B'nei David – all-boys Orthodox (Eli)
- Galil Elyon (Upper Galilee)
- HaEmek (Beit She'an Valley, Northern Israel)
- Lachish (Negev Desert, Kibbutz Beit Guvrin)
- Meitzar (Golan Heights, Kibbutz Meitzar)
- Nachshon, Mehina Israelit (Northern Negev Desert)
- Rabin (Kiryat Tivon, near Haifa)
- Telem (Jaffa, Tel Aviv)
- Tzahali – all-girls Orthodox (near Ashkelon)

Highlights

Your year in Yachad consists of Learning, Volunteering, Exploring Israel and Life in the Group:
 
Learning: Each Mechina program has a talented and highly-trained teaching staff that will conduct discussion-based classes on Israeli society, Zionist history, Jewish studies, Jewish identity, philosophy and more.
 
Volunteering: You'll be active in the community where you live, by working in public schools and after school programs, visiting with elderly populations and contributing to the community through special projects.
 
Exploring Israel: Throughout the year you'll have seminars for several days to explore different parts of Israel. And some Mechina programs hike the "Israel Trail," which spans all of Israel from the southern tip of Eilat, all the way to the most northern point of the Galilee.
 
Life in the Group: You'll be part of a self-governing community in the Mechina program that makes all the major decisions governing life in the group.  You'll serve on committees that determine everything from how to divide up the group food budget, to planning trips and seminars, to inviting guest speakers and performers for cultural evenings.
 
Yachad is the ultimate Israel immersion experience, because you're in totally Israeli programs with Israelis your own age the whole time!  You and your Israeli peers govern every aspect of life, from dividing up the group food budget, to planning seminars and trips.  And you can choose between a broad variety of programs, for every level of observance, and in every part of Israel!

 

Filling the gap: Year after high school creates opportunities for learning, exploring in Israel

Filling the gap: Year after high school creates opportunities for learning, exploring in Israel

Filling the gap: Year after high school creates opportunities for learning, exploring in Israel

August 9, 2012

By Sue Hoffman 
 
For Rebecca Levinsky of Beachwood, the idea of going to college – even to an Ivy League university – right after high school didn’t spark the excitement she was looking for.
A graduate of Gross Schechter Day School in Pepper Pike, Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights and @Akiva Hebrew High School in Beachwood, Levinsky postponed starting Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in fall 2010 to spend the school year at Mechinat Beit Yisrael, an educational program for Israeli high-school graduates who defer their army service for a year.
 
“I had an incredible experience learning about Israeli society and culture in a way that few Americans my age can say that they have, and I became completely fluent in Hebrew,” said Levinsky, who just completed her first year at Yale. She’s back in Israel this summer for an internship at the Israel Museum and to coordinate the Yalies in Israel summer program.
 
When she was a high-school junior, Levinsky had visited Mechinat Beit Yisrael during a trip to Israel with Write On for Israel, an advocacy and journalism program of The AVI CHAI Foundation, @Akiva and Cleveland Jewish News.
 
“I remember thinking that the kids at the mechina were doing the coolest thing I’d ever seen my age doing, and I wanted to be part of it,” Levinsky said. “Falling in love with the program, more than anything else, was what motivated me to pursue taking a gap year.”
 
During her year in Israel, she said, “We lived in a public housing project in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem and spent about half our time volunteering with children in the neighborhood and half our time studying. We also took three trips around the country – one to the north, one to the south and one to the West Bank. We lived together as a group and did everything together, from cooking our meals, to making decisions about what topics we wanted to study.”
 
Levinsky, who will return for her second year at Yale this fall, is one of several Cleveland-area teens who have found fulfilling “gap-year” opportunities in Israel and elsewhere before starting college. “If you’re considering taking a gap year, you should do it,” Levinsky advises others. “I can’t think of anyone I know at school who has regretted taking a gap year, but I have so many friends who wish they had. But choosing the right program is crucial.”
 
Opportunities abound
Opportunities for a gap year in Israel abound, according to Masa Israel Journey regional coordinator Mirit Balkan at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Masa (Hebrew for “journey”) is an umbrella organization with more than 200 different programs that involve study, travel and volunteer work in Israel.
 
The inspiration for Masa, which started in 2003, came from former prime minister Ariel Sharon, Balkan said. “He said every Jew in the Diaspora needs to spend an immersive year in Israel.
 
“Today, we see more and more kids going on a gap year,” said Balkan, an Israeli who lives in Shaker Heights with her husband Yaron and children Ori, 6, and Romi, 4. “The gap year is a win-win. Students are having fun and relaxing, and they are more motivated to go to college. Parents are happy because the experience strengthens their Jewish identity.”
 
After spending a gap year in Israel, 79% of students say that being Jewish is very important to them, and 66% say they want to marry someone Jewish, Balkan said. The program also inspires contributing to the community.
 
Students earn 12 to 15 credits during their Masa gap year and have a multi-cultural experience. Masa gives $1,000, and different programs offer ways to help financially. All Masa programs provide accommodations.
 
“I hear more businesses say, given two similar resumes, they’d prefer the one with the gap year,” Balkan said.
 
Balkan also referred to Harvard University’s positive view of the gap year. The college of admissions has recommended a gap-year experience for 40 years, according to the university’s website, which continues: “Perhaps the best way of all to get the full benefit of a ‘time-off’ is to postpone entrance to college for a year … Normally a total of about 50 to 70 students defer college until the next year. The results have been uniformly positive.”
 

Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Reaffirms Its Commitment to Connecting Young Adults To Israel

Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Reaffirms Its Commitment to Connecting Young Adults To Israel

June 26, 2012

Generous donation will fund recruiting position dedicated to increasing participation in the Masa Israel Journey program.
WASHINGTON – The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, long-time supporters and creators of young adult engagement and programming, is proud to announce the addition of a full time professional to serve as an ambassador for The Jewish Agency for Israel's Masa Israel program. This program connects Jewish young adults to gap year, study abroad, post-college, and volunteer programs in Israel. 
 
Matching funds from the government of Israel will be paired with a generous contribution from a local donor to support the program for two years. The new professional will have two primary focus areas including 1) double the local participation of young adults in the Masa Israel program from 130 to 270 participants by implementing a wide range of recruitment activities and 2) connect with Masa Israel participants upon their return to Greater Washington to help successfully integrate them into Jewish life. The creation of the new position will be crucial in reaching important goals that will more meaningfully connect young adults to Israel and Jewish life.
 
Federation President Stuart S. Kurlander stated “Greater Washington continues to lead the way in its unwavering commitment to young adults. We recognize that exposing this constituency to Israel in meaningful ways will create a solid foundation for a next generation of Jews who will exhibit strong support and commitment to our homeland.”
 
Since its inception in 2004, Masa Israel has brought more than 65,000 young adults to Israel. The program has grown by 1,000 or more new participants each year. One of Masa Israel’s major growth areas is the post-college age cohort (21–30) with more than 50% being alumni of Taglit-Birthright Israel. Masa Israel participants have many opportunities to engage with one another through special seminars, holidays and Shabbat observances. These activities build connections with Israeli peers and other Jewish young adults.
 
"Masa Israel is thrilled to enter into a new partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to achieve our mutual goal of increasing the number of Taglit: Birthright Israel returnees and other young adults who participate in immersive Israel programs.  Our new staff person will also play a vital role in ensuring that alumni of Masa Israel programs in Greater Washington become activated and engaged as emerging Jewish communal leaders" shared Avi Rubel, Masa Israel North American Director.
 
Steven A. Rakitt, CEO of The Federation shared, “We are grateful to the generous donor whose commitment will make it possible for more Washingtonian young adults to take part in this important immersive Jewish experience." This gift exemplifies Federation’s interest and willingness to approach philanthropy from a new perspective. We believe that more and more donors will see us as their partners prepared to respond to their interests and turn their philanthropic dreams into reality." 

Washington Jewish Week: Bringing young Jews to Israel

Washington Jewish Week: Bringing young Jews to Israel

June 13, 2012

There's an incredible program that has brought more than 65,000 Jewish young adults to Israel since it started in 2004.
It is called Masa Israel, and its focus is on post-college age Jews. Well over 50 percent are alumni of Taglit-Birthright Israel.
 
Masa Israel Journey is a partnership of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the government of Israel and a partner of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Masa brings more than 10,000 young Jews per year to Israel on a range of gap-year, study-abroad, and post-college internship and volunteering programs. There are more than 140 Washington, D.C.-area participants this year on Masa Israel programs.
 
One of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington efforts to bring as many Jews as possible "under the tent" involves young adult engagement and programming. To that end, a local donor is matching funds from the government of Israel to support Masa Israel by hiring a new professional for two years. That person will have two primary focus areas - doubling the local participation of young adults in Masa Israel from 130 to 270 participants and connecting with Masa Israel participants upon their return to the Greater Washington Jewish community to help them successfully integrate into Jewish life.
 
Integration into Washington-area Jewish life should be underlined here. I know that a nephew of mine went to Israel via Birthright. He came back and announced it was the best 10 days of his life. That was three years ago. Since then, nothing. Not a word about Israel, not an expression of desire to return to the Holy Land.
 
When I asked him if he had been contacted or if there was any follow-up, he admitted that there had been contact, but that he didn't return the call or the email.
 
Federation President Stuart Kurlander has said from day one of his presidency that opening up Federation opportunities to young adults was a huge priority.
 
"We recognize that exposing this constituency to Israel in meaningful ways will create a solid foundation for a next generation of Jews who will exhibit strong support and commitment to our homeland," said Kurlander.
 
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