Masa Celebrates its Fourth Year, and Israel's 60th

Masa Celebrates its Fourth Year, and Israel's 60th

Masa Celebrates its Fourth Year, and Israel's 60th

April 29, 2008

Thousands of Masa participants, dignitaries and guests gathered in Latrun on Thursday night to celebrate Masa's 4th year and Israel's 60th anniversary.
Over 5,000 Masa Israel participants gathered in Latrun on the evening of May 22nd to celebrate their year in Israel and the contribution they have made while participating in a long-term Masa-affiliated program.  
Those in attendance were treated to a high-caliber show that included addresses by Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Ehud Olmert and the Chairman of the Jewish Agency Mr. Zeev Bielski, musical and visual performances by Israeli artists such as Teapacks and Tararam, and a laser light show and spectacular fireworks display finale.
"It was really cool that Masa went out of its way to put on something special for us," said Los Angeles native Jordan Kwok of OTZMA. "I was impressed by how big the event was and the whole energy it had about it. And it was great to see how many participants were there." 
0ver 25, 000 young Jews from around the world have participated in a Masa-affiliated program since Masa's conception in 2004. This year (2007-8) witnessed the largest participant numbers to date with over 8,000 participants coming to Israel from 50 countries.  
Deborah Laks of Costa Rica, who co-hosted Masa LIVE with fellow Building Future Leadership (BFL) participant Noah Serbin of the United States, confessed, "Living in Israel makes me feel I finally belong somewhere. Israel has given me so much. It has definitely become my home, and this has been all thanks to Masa."

Two cents on the benefits of a gap year

<div class="masa-blog-title">Two cents on the benefits of a gap year</div>

By John B. Boshoven, President of the Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling
I worry when a student comes to me and announces, "I am going to take a year off before college" unless the student has a definite plan for the year. Studies and empirical evidence highlight the virtues of "gap years" with programs that are organized, focused, and goal oriented.

Masa Wins Campus Coalition Award

Masa Wins Campus Coalition Award

Masa Wins Campus Coalition Award

September 27, 2007

At the Fall Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) consultation, Masa was presented with the 2007 Outstanding Israel on Campus Achievement Award for its Campus Grants Program.
The Israel on Campus Coalition is a partnership of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, in cooperation with a network of national organizations committed to promoting Israel education and advocacy on campus.
The Masa/Hillel Campus Grants program provides up to 20 Hillels with $5,000 each to support programming that increases Masa program participation. Masa Hillel grants have been used to organize Israel cultural fairs, Masa program organizer fairs, and a variety of other activities.
This year, the Masa/Hillel Campus grant recipients are: U. Virginia, Rutgers, Northwestern, Maryland, Indiana, Emory, Binghamton, Arizona, UCLA, U. Illinois, Wisconsin, UMASS, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, George Washington, Queens College, Vanderbilt, Brown, American, and the University of Ottawa.

And so it begins: Masa 2007-2008

<div class="masa-blog-title">And so it begins: Masa 2007-2008</div>

By Erin Kopelow
Nativ director Yossi Garr is standing atop a picnic table.

Top Ten Ways to Travel in this Country

<div class="masa-blog-title">Top Ten Ways to Travel in this Country</div>

10) With your eyes open.  
Especially at first, be aware of what’s going on.  Drivers are crazy and people tend to walk right into you without saying sorry.
9) Buy a map.  
It’s good to have an idea of where you’re going, especially if you’re going to take a taxi.

Top 10 Chagim Hikes

<div class="masa-blog-title">Top 10 Chagim Hikes</div>

Nothing is better than spending the Chagim in Israel outdoors!  Here is our list of the top 10 hikes during the chagim season.  Before you set out, however, it must be warned that every year many, many people get themselves into trouble while hiking in Israel for lack of proper training or preparation.  To avoid this it is advised to participate in an organized hike with a trained guide before setting out on your own.

Inside Look into Masa Israel through Executive Director Ezrachi

<div class="masa-blog-title">Inside Look into Masa Israel through Executive Director Ezrachi </div>

By Erin Kopelow
"Israel, is about to celebrate its 60th birthday," Masa Executive Director Dr. Elan Ezrachi says with an air of determination, "and the Jewish world of today is dramatically different than what it was sixty years ago."
The level of growth Israel has experienced over these past sixty years has significantly changed the face of this country.

Year Course 2007-2008 Constitutes Largest Class in History of Young Judaea

Year Course 2007-2008 Constitutes Largest Class in History of Young Judaea

August 16, 2007

Three new tracks give participants more options for a meaningful Israel experience.
When the 382 U.S. and Canadian participants in the 2007-2008 Young Judaea Year Course program leave for Israel at the end of the month, they will constitute the largest class ever and one that is an impressive 25 percent bigger than last year’s.
Coming from 30 states, Puerto Rico, and three Canadian provinces, they will be joined by 99 participants from Britain’s Federation of Zionist Youth and 17 members of the Israel Scouts. With the total class size nearly 500, this is the fourth year in a row that the Year Course attendance has grown to record numbers.
"Over the years, we have seen that the backgrounds of Jewish teens who are attracted to Year Course have become more and more varied. In light of this fact, we are offering more tracks than ever to address the special interests of Jewish North American teens," explained Shelley Sherman, coordinator of Young Judaea, the Zionist youth movement of Hadassah. "We believe we have something for everyone interested in spending a structured year in Israel – and that that shows in our numbers."
This year for the first time, 75 members of the class will participate in one of two new Olami tracks, which will not only take students to Israel but to countries around the world. Year Course Olami: the Zionist Revolution, will introduce students to five areas – France, England, Budapest/Prague/Krakow, Morocco, and Ethiopia – from where Jews risked everything to leave their homes and start anew in Israel.
Discovering remote Jewish communities of the world is the goal of Year Course Olami: the Lost Jewish Communities, in which participants will visit communities in Portugal, South Africa, India and Uganda. During the course of their academic year in Israel, students will alternate their travels with Year Course’s core components of classroom study, touring Israel and volunteering.
Year Course provides up to one year’s worth of college credit through the American Jewish University-in-Israel, while building leadership skills and developing and strengthening their relationship with the country’s land and people. Participants spend a third of their time in Bat Yam/Holon, where they engage in an array of educational activities with local school children, from teaching English to coaching basketball.
Another third is spent in the new Beit Ar-El, Young Judaea’s educational center in Jerusalem, where participants take courses in Jewish history, religion, language and current events. The third segment is spent doing hands-on volunteer work with organizations like Magen David Adom, the Israeli rescue service, an ecological farm, and the Israel Defense Forces, to name but a few. 

Reflections on a coming year abroad

<div class="masa-blog-title">Reflections on a coming year abroad</div>

By Rachel Schneider, Nativ
While most of my peers are entering college this fall, I am deferring for the year, to participate on Nativ, the Conservative Movement’s year long, post-high school leadership program in Israel for USY alumni.

Giving back to Jerusalem

<div class="masa-blog-title">Giving back to Jerusalem</div>

By Gabriel Seed, Nativ
As a participant in the Nativ program, I spent the first five months of my program living in the centre of Jerusalem while studying at the Conservative Yeshiva.