Jewish Press: Hundreds of Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Jewish Agency Board of Governors Meetings in Paris

Jewish Press: Hundreds of Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Jewish Agency Board of Governors Meetings in Paris

June 22, 2016

By JNi Media

"France is home to the second-largest Jewish community in the world outside Israel, and Aliyah from France has topped the charts in recent years, with some 33,000 French Jews immigrating to Israel over the past decade, including 7,800 just last year. The Jewish Agency for Israel has increased significantly its presence in France, in order to handle the influx of French Jewish immigrants and has expanded specialized opportunities for French Jewish young people to experience life in Israel through the Masa Israel Journey and Onward Israel."

Vestnik Kavkaza: Jerusalem Day in Moscow

Vestnik Kavkaza: Jerusalem Day in Moscow

Vestnik Kavkaza: Jerusalem Day in Moscow

May 30, 2016

By Vestnik Kavkaza


"The festival was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, the Government of Moscow, the Moscow City Duma, the Federal Jewish National and Cultural Autonomy, RJC Women's League, the Moscow Jewish Community House, Masa, ‘El Al Israel’ and the Open Channel."



New Jersey Jewish News: At Y, celebrating Israel, honoring its fallen

New Jersey Jewish News: At Y, celebrating Israel, honoring its fallen

New Jersey Jewish News: At Y, celebrating Israel, honoring its fallen

May 18, 2016

By Elaine Durbach


"The event, jointly sponsored by the GMW federation’s Global Connections department; the Y, an agency of the federation; and Masa Israel, was funded with donations from the Halpern and Kramer families."


Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu's man in DC

Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu's man in DC

Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu's man in DC

May 14, 2016

By Herb Keinon


"The best thing that leaders in Jewish communities across America could do for Israel is to figure out how to lower the cost of Jewish education dramatically to make it affordable for anyone who wants it and to promote greater awareness of Jewish history for young people and adults. They should also continue to support terrific programs like Birthright and Masa that strengthen Jewish identity."

Times Standard: HSU, CR gear up for grad weekend

Times Standard: HSU, CR gear up for grad weekend

May 12, 2016

By Marc Vartabedian and Hunter Cresswell


"Senior Sharon Herslikovitz is readying for a 10-month trip to Israel with the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows where she will teach English to children.

'I’m very ready to graduate; I’ve had a memorable time here at HSU, but I’m ready for what’s next,' said Herslikovitz, a child development major with a minor in communications."

Jewish News Service: Standing in unity with Israel, flaws and all

Jewish News Service: Standing in unity with Israel, flaws and all

Jewish News Service: Standing in unity with Israel, flaws and all

May 9, 2016

By Jerry Silverman/


"It is toward unity that I believe we should strive—not a unity that is blind to Israel’s flaws, but a unity that inspires us to help Israel improve and continue to grow. And, so on this 68th anniversary of the State of Israel, I say Baruch Hashem, praise God that we have an Israel in our lifetime. Four out of five of my children have experienced a year in Israel on Masa programs. My nephew will be honored on Yom Ha’atzmaut for his exemplary service in the Israeli navy during a ceremony at President Rivlin’s house. He, his siblings, and his first cousins are my family’s next generation of Israelis." 

The Jerusalem Post: Israeliness is the answer

The Jerusalem Post: Israeliness is the answer

The Jerusalem Post: Israeliness is the answer

May 5, 2016

By Adam Milstein


"The great success of many programs, such as Masa Israel, Gap Year, and in particular, Birthright – with its half a million alumni – illustrate how visiting, exploring and experiencing Israel makes a transformative difference for young people. Research shows that attending a Birthright trip increases one’s desire to date Jewish and raise Jewish children, leads participants to feel more positive about their Jewish identity, and strengthens their connection to their Jewish homeland."



Massa Relev

Program Description

Same, Same But Different: July 4 v. Yom Ha'atzmaut

<div class="masa-blog-title">Same, Same But Different: July 4 v. Yom Ha'atzmaut</div>

Politics and international relations aside, the United States and Israel have quite a bit in common. Case in point: both countries know how to party like it's their birthday.


July 4 Swag

alt="Old Navy Flag T Shirt"

Photo Credit: Old Navy



Yom Ha'atzmaut Swag

alt="Israeli Flag Swag"

.קלַאסִי (that's classic in Hebrew)

Photo Credit: Real Jerusalem Streets


July 4 at the Beach

alt="American Flag Swim Suits"

Photo Credit: Alabama Media Group

Partying like it's 1776?


Yom Ha'atzmaut at the Beach

alt="Israeli Airforce Planes Fly Over Beach"

Photo Credit: Jerusalem World News

Partying like it's 1948?


July 4 Tradition

alt="Nathan's Famous Coney Island"

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY.


July 4 Parade

alt="Colonial Marching Band"

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Kickin' it old school.


Yom Ha'atzmaut Parade

alt="IDF flag parade"

Photo Credit: Alamy

Fancy flag formations.


July 4 Fireworks over the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

alt="Fireworks Over the U.S. Capitol"

Photo Credit: TV Insider

Oh say, can you see...


Yom Ha'atzmaut Fireworks over the Knesset in Jerusalem

alt="Fireworks Over the Israeli Knesset"

Photo Credit: Israel Today

כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה...
(As long as deep within our hearts...)


What a Difference a Year Makes

<div class="masa-blog-title">What a Difference a Year Makes</div>

By Rachel Greenberg, Nativ alumna


When the plane touched down in Israel, I could not have imagined the impact my gap year would have on my eighteen year old self. Nativ College Leadership Program is a nine month academic gap year program for Jewish high school graduates dedicated to creating and inspiring the Conservative Jewish leaders of tomorrow. Nativ, which means “path” in Hebrew, provides a unique opportunity to explore new directions on the journey to becoming a Jewish adult. The year is divided into multiple parts, learning, traveling, volunteering, and seminars. My experience was comprised of studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and volunteering on Kfar Hasidim.



First semester on Nativ, we had the choice of Ulpan, studying at the Conservative Yeshiva, or the track I chose which was studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I was able to get a full year of university credit in the United States for the semester I spent at Hebrew University. Hebrew University was my first college experience. Each day began taking public transit from our home for the semester in central Jerusalem to Mount Scopus for class in the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University. The people in my Ulpan (Hebrew Class) were from ten different countries, and there were only fifteen students in the class! We also took a class called “Jerusalem Through the Ages” in which we learned about Jerusalem for credit while traveling to the historical landmarks that were all around us. Every other course was each of our individual choice, so I chose Israeli Politics, Perspectives of Islam, and Issues in Israeli Society. These courses gave me a very detailed understanding of Israel, a knowledge I did not have prior to studying in Israel.



While other students chose to attend classes throughout the day, I decided to map out time to volunteer in my busy schedule. In my spare time, I chose to volunteer for Yad L’Kashish, Lifeline for the Old, a place that gives work to elderly immigrants in Jerusalem. I worked in the workshops with people from Ethiopia, Russia, and America. As I listened to their stories, I began to understand what living in Israel really meant. While leading tours for Birthright groups, I felt proud to call Jerusalem my home. Riding public transportation in Jerusalem gave me the confidence to travel independently around the world.



During my time on Nativ I also had the opportunity to volunteer in a small youth development town called Kfar Hasidim in Northern Israel. Kfar HaNoar HaDati, is a place that uses animal therapy and a kibbutz, boarding school environment to give disadvantaged students from across northern Israel a sense of responsibility for something greater than themselves, despite their difficult upbringings. My friends and I were assistants to the workers of Kfar HaNoar HaDati. Whether we worked in the olive fields, petting zoo, kitchen, school, gan (nursery), special needs school, or refet (milking cows), we were working with people who dedicated their lives to giving these disadvantaged youth the chance to take responsibility for something bigger than themselves and hopefully turn their lives around.



While living in Kfar Hasidim, I got to know the Bnei Menacshe community on a very personal level. This community was about one hundred new immigrants from northern India, who recently found their Jewish heritage, and were brought to this agricultural youth village in Israel to learn Hebrew, and feel more connected to their homeland. Aside from my volunteer work, I decided to become the program coordinator for the Bnei Menasche community to bridge the gap between my North American peers and them. We played games with the Bnei Menasche children and had discussions with the adults. The stories we were told through these programs were incredibly moving and changed my perspective on Jewish people around the world. I saw that no matter what country you are from, or how different your culture is, all Jewish people are connected through the land of Israel. Israel became an even more amazing place in my eyes after meeting these new immigrants and hearing their stories. I saw Israel without the politics and saw it as a place of rebirth and freedom. Assimilation is different in Israel than it is in other parts of the world. Everyone in Israel is an immigrant, the child of an immigrant, or the grandchild of an immigrant, so everyone is accepted because everyone understands. Israel is a place that any Jewish person can go to for refuge or to make a new life for themselves.


A native of Marlboro, New Jersey, Rachel Greenberg received full college credit for her gap year in Israel. She is a rising senior at the University of Maryland where she studies Government and Politics with a minor in Global Terrorism studies.


For more information about gap year programs, click here.