Ari Brickman

Ari Brickman

Young Judaea Year Course
Name: Ari Brickman
Hometown: Skokie, IL
High School: Chicagoland Jewish High School
College: The Joint Program with Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary
 
Why did you decided to take a gap year in Israel?
I took a gap year for many reasons to be honest. But, the two main reasons are:
1) I wanted a year in which I could find out who I was. I needed to give myself an opportunity to mature in a way that I knew was not possible to do while in college.
2) I had been to Israel previously but all of my trips had been short (a month at the longest). I loved being in Israel and wanted an opportunity to explore it and to immerse myself in the culture.
 
Why did you choose Young Judaea Year Course?
I chose Year Course because it offered everything I was looking for. Not only did the program offer an array of options, but also the people that chose the program were very diverse. I had the opportunity to truly customize my year. Year Course gave me the ability to really explore and not to be restricted in what I did.
 
What was the best part of the year?
The best part of the year would have to be the community volunteering. I lived in Bat Yam and volunteered at a school for kids with special needs. I fell in love with the school, the kids, and the city. In addition to that, Bat Yam was a 20-minute bus ride to Tel Aviv and we had the ability to go there whenever we wanted!
 
What was your most memorable moment in Israel?
My most memorable moment in Israel was during my last week there. We were given one day off from volunteering to explore Israel and do something that we wanted to do before we left. I went with a group of friends to see Rosh Hanikra and then afterwards we ended up visiting Achzibland. What was special is that Eli Avivi, the president of Achzibland, drove my friends and I into the city where we needed to catch our train and spent 3 hours telling us all about his life, why he started Achzibland, and other random stories. Eli, while a bit crazy, had an absolutely fascinating story to tell. He truly exemplified the typical Israeli, who is hospitable and wants to share their love of the land and their story with others.
 
What was the greatest challenge you overcame while in Israel? 
Learning to live in a foreign country without the support system that I was used to having back home was quite a challenge. While I made a great group of friends quickly and we relied on one another to get through challenging times it was still a culture shock. From learning how to go grocery shopping in a foreign country to how you are supposed to act while in public was all very different from what I was used to.
 
What were the best skills I learned while in Israel?
I learned to be independent and more than that I learned about the person that I wanted to be. Being in Israel for a year, traveling and volunteering gave me insight into the type of life I wanted to be leading and the type of person I wanted to be. I grew up in a way I didn’t think was possible, and learned how to take control of my life.
 
How do you stay connected to Israel today?
Israel is still a huge part of my life. I am on the pro-Israel group on campus and advocate for Israel on an almost daily basis. In addition I have tried to share my love of Israel with others. I am currently the Israel Educator at Camp Chi in Wisconsin. I also help Young Judaea with recruitment for Year Course because of what a huge impact it had on me.
 
What is your favorite Israeli song?
Either Mi’mamakim or At Yafa.

Gabriel Seed

Gabriel Seed

Nativ
Program: 
While the whole year has been one amazing experience, one of the most unique moments that I will hold onto was spending Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. Although the services I attended were very moving, it was nothing compared to walking down Emek Refaim and Keren Hayesod streets, packed with pedestrians and bicyclists (and no cars) as even the traffic signals were shut off.  There is nothing more special than realizing that the entire city is observing the holiday along with you.
 
I feel that I have become more independent and prepared for life on a college campus next year through my studies, work, and all of the other experiences I have had this year. Being on Nativ and in Israel has exposed me to many different people and places, sights and sounds.  I will never look at many things the same way I did before this year as a result of the important life lessons I have learned.
 

Bucket-showers and brick-shlepping

<div class="masa-blog-title">Bucket-showers and brick-shlepping</div>

 
By Elana Stern
 
I looked down at the muddy floor again and, just to be sure, I gazed back at the water tap in the ceiling. Nothing. It was my second day in Rwanda, and there was no running water. I had listened to all the other advice we had been given but I hadn’t believed that running water would actually stop.
 
I spent the month of February volunteering at the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda.
 

Safety and security

Safety and security

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The safety and security of Masa Israel Journey program participants, staff and partners is our top priority.Masa Israel Journey maintains strict standards for safety and security on all program sponsored activities.
 
As a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa Israel programs receive updated information regarding safety and security regularly and are able to respond to official recommendations.

Videos

Hear participants talk about their daily life, take a virtual tour of your favorite program, and watch your semester of year in Israel unfold in front of you

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Yeshivat Yishrei Lev

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Program Description

Yishrei Lev provides its talmidim with a "classical yeshiva" experience, while embracing the realities of the contemporary Orthodox community. Yishrei Lev is marked by a high level of learning and instilling in its students a love for, and commitment to, Torah, Klal Yisrael, and Eretz Yisrael.
 
At Yishrei Lev, we provide a structure in the daily schedule which allows the students to realize tangible accomplishments in their learning. The program focuses on advanced Gemara study but emphasizes and includes daily study of Chumash, Halacha L'Maaseh, Jewish philosophy and Mussar. The students in the Yeshiva enjoy the benefits of totally accessible Rabbeim who guide them as they develop into well rounded, balanced Bnei Torah. Our Rabbeim and Kollel members live around the Yeshiva and the talmidim become part of their extended family.
 

Tzofim - Garin Tzabar

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Program Description

Garin Tzabar is a unique program, founded in 1991 and run by Tzofim Tzabar Olami, with the support of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, The Prime Minister of Israel's office, The Social Security Department, The Jewish Agency For Israel and Masa Israel Journey. Garin Tzabar members are Jewish Americans and children of Israelis living in the Diaspora who choose to move to Israel and serve in the IDF. Upon their arrival in Israel, the group is adopted by the Israel Scouts and placed in a hosting kibbutz, whichquickly becomes their home away from home throughout the duration of their army service.
 
Garin Tzabar creates a group framework of guidance and support for young Jews and Israelis living abroad who choose to return to Israel or make Aliyah for the first time in order to serve a full and meaningful service in the IDF. This is done by a mental and emotional preparation process that starts in the countries of origin and continues with their arrival to Israel and their absorption into the Kibbutzim, Israeli society and through the processes of military pretrial recruitment. The core of the program is carried out during their military service where they continue to live as a group and receive from the group constant guidance and support.
 
Garin Tzabar main office in NY -
•  garininfo@israelscouts.org / Garin@israelscouts.org
•  (p): +1.212.339.8130 X304/5  )
 

Highlights

The Preparation Process
In this initial stage, the prospective Garin members meets for preparation seminars throughout the year to discuss and reflect on issues pertaining to the move to Israel, including study of the cultural, political and social characteristics of Israel and a thorough introduction to the IDF and its social role in Israeli society. Each individual is encouraged to undergo a personal process of maturation towards moving to Israel and joining the IDF.
 
The Absorption Process in Israel
The first three months in Israel are dedicated to absorption in the kibbutz, Hebrew Ulpan studies (for those who need supplementary Hebrew studies) and handling of all the bureaucratic issues of absorption in Israel and the IDF.
 
Service in the IDF
Upon joining the army, each Garin member follows his/her individual path within the IDF system. The Garin continues to exist as a support group and members continue to meet in the kibbutz over weekends, during the holidays and on time off from the army. All Garin staff--both from the kibbutz and from the Israel Scouts, continue to work with all members throughout their army service period. Additional seminars and programs are designed and implemented to maintain the framework of the Garin.
 

Beit Chana - Emissaries to the World

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Program Description

Beit Chana offers a special Chassidishe Torah-orientated learning and teaching program for students from abroad. The teaching training program at Beis Chana Sefad Chul expects admitted students to excel in Chasidishkiet, Tzniyut, Yirat Shamaim, Tefilla, Hiskashrus and more. Those who complete all the obligations of the program receive a “Morot Lagolah” certificate from the government.
 
The seminary was established primarily for Israeli-Hebrew speaking high school graduates, so most classes are in Hebrew and applicants must have full command of the Hebrew language.
 

Tzofim - Shnat Sherut Tzabar

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Program Description

Want to spend a year working with teens and children in development towns, boarding schools, or community centers in Israel before enrolling in college? On Tzofim Shnat Sherut, you will lead an authentic Israeli life, speak Hebrew, serve the community, and live with Israelis your age.
 
As a participant, you will live as a group in communes with the rest of the Tzofim Shnat Sherut participants from Israel. Participants must be fluent in Hebrew, have prior experience working with children and youth, and have visited or lived in Israel for an extended period of time. Participants from North America interested in joining the program will need to attend pre-preparation seminars in the United States.
 

Midreshet Emunah v'Omanut

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Program Description

Advance your learning in a challenging Torah program taught by outstanding educators.
Develop your creative artistic ability in a rich array of art and music courses and experiences.
Discover your spiritual potential in a reflective, supportive and inspiring environment.
 
Are Torah, art and music significant parts of who you are?  Midreshet Emunah v’Omanut dedicates itself to integrating Torah, Art and Music into a single religious pursuit. Choose to concentrate in either our Art or Music track while enhancing your creative experience with additional courses in Drama, Dance, Film and Creative Writing. 
 
Your Torah study will concentrate on the traditional areas of textual study in order to expand your breadth of knowledge, advance your independent learning skills and deepen your religious understanding. Build your perfect schedule with a combination of high level text courses and discussion based learning. This will provide you with a reservoir for authentically Jewish artistic expression. 
 
A rich array of experiences beyond the classroom deepens your education and encounter with Israel.  Chesed opportunities encourage you to give back to Israeli society, while gallery visits and concerts show you the best of Israel’s art and music. We travel extensively, Tanach in hand, learning about ancient and modern Israel and about your part in it. 
 

For information, contact:

Midreshet Emunah V'Omanut
33 Rabinowitz, Kiryat Yovel, Jerusalem
US: 866-253-1025
Canada: 877-606-8335
Israel: 077-433-0860 or 052-522-7017