Annie Lascoe

Annie Lascoe

West Coast Regional Director

JPost: Digging into Israel's melting pot

JPost: Digging into Israel's melting pot

JPost: Digging into Israel's melting pot

July 16, 2013

By Samantha Kubek
 
Aardvark Israel Study and Volunteer Program is positioning itself as "the melting pot" experience for students wishing to experience Israeli life.
As the range of programs on offer for youngsters wishing to get a feel for life in Israel continues to expand, the four-year-old Aardvark Israel Study and Volunteer Program is positioning itself as "the melting pot" experience for students.
 
Aardvark offers youth between the ages of 17 and 21 the opportunity to study, work, eat and sleep in Israel's two biggest cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in the company of fellow Jews from different walks of life. The staff of the four-year-old organization tells The Jerusalem Post that this program further provides students with the chance to learn about their Jewish identity, to immerse themselves in Israeli culture, and to contribute to the land of Israel.
 
Something Different 
Aardvark gets its name from the African mammal that must burrow deep into the earth to survive. Aardvark's staff hopes the students learn to do the same: to search deep within themselves to learn more about the world around them.
 
Liron Milbar, Aardvark's marketing and sales coordinator, distinguishes this program from others by what she describes as the melting pot nature of the program: "On other programs it's often the same types of communities coming together. We pride ourselves on giving kids the opportunity to meet Jews from all over the world. No matter what nationality or race, we welcome them onto our program. We've had people from Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, US, Canada, UK, Hungary, Holland, Germany, France, Belgium, China, Philippines, South Africa, etc." 
 
Keith Berman, Aardvark's co-founder and director, echoes Milbar's sentiments: "I grew up just being around Ashkenazi conservative and reform Jews, like most Americans do. And I came to Israel where you have all these people who are Jewish and have different customs and skin colors, and it opened up the whole meaning of what it really is to be Jewish. Here in Aardvark, having Jews from all over the world just adds a really nice aspect for us when we talk about identity and what it really means to be Jewish." 
 
In addition, Aardvark prides itself on offering exciting options for its participants. The program offers "add-ons", or enrichment programs that occur throughout the semester. "They're just a way for the students that want to do a little extra with a specific focus, to do that. We have the SeaQuest add-on, in which the students do water sports. There's also the Mind and Body Connection add-on where they volunteer with Magen David Adom, providing them with another way to give back to Israel," says Milbar.
 
Another add-on offers students a two-month long opportunity to immerse themselves in the Israeli army. Berman says "It's a simulated basic training in the army… And if any of the students do decide in the future to come back to Israel and want to actually serve in the army, the army will take two months off their service because of having completed the program." 
 
Berman's favorite add-on is the twice weekly, Tel Aviv-based entrepreneurship track. "It's quite well-known about all of the start-up companies and innovations that are coming out of Israel, particularly in Tel Aviv. Usually once a week the students will meet someone who started a company, and then the other day they will have some sort of workshop on how to be a better public speaker, how to write a budget, how to make a marketing plan, etc." 
 
Aardvark also offers different tracks to its participants. Aside from the basic, semester-long or gap year program, students can also take part in the international track, or the Selah track. The international track offers students the chance to travel abroad to eight different countries during their time abroad to learn about Jews and Jewish history outside of Israel. The Selah track allows the students to interact with educators with the goal of building a transformative relationship with the Torah. The program is targeted towards students seeking a deeper approach to the study of Judaism in Israel.
 
 

Tlalim Authentic Hebrew

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Program Description

Countries starts with people, the people begins with language. Languages can get into the history of nations, to slip through the border worlds, open the country.
 
Do you like the sound of Hebrew language? A language that for hundreds of years was not spoken in everyday life, and was reborn less than 100 years ago attracts you with its vitality. Do you want to discover these secrets? Would you like to become part of Israel, or start learning a second degree in Israel? All this will become possible on this program of intensive Hebrew Ulpan.
 

Tlalim Culinary Art

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Program Description

Culinary art - one of the most ancient in the world. The ability to create a beautiful meal can be equated to art, with organized international championships, exhibitions and competitions in the field of culinary and confectionery business. In order to achieve mastery, however, training and continuous improvement is necessary.
 
Masa "Culinary Arts" in Eilat will help you discover your talents, get professional skills and experience a taste of success. You will experience global cuisines in Israel and at the same time have the chance to discover the country.

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

Midreshet Harova

Program: 

Masa Israel Alumni North American Board Retreat

Masa Israel Alumni North American Board Retreat

August 9, 2013 (All day)  -  August 11, 2013 (All day)

  TBD, United States  - 

All Masa Alumni Board members are invited to attend the first annual Masa Alumni Board Retreat.
The retreat will focus on leadership development, programming techniques, and other skills alumni will need to engage fellow alumni in their area and run outstanding events! Details on Retreat location will be announced shortly. For more information or to start a Masa Alumni Board in your community, contact Dena Stein at denast@masaisrael.org.

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

Shalem

Program: 

3,000 Masa Israel Participants Gather for End-of-Year Conference

3,000 Masa Israel Participants Gather for End-of-Year Conference

3,000 Masa Israel Participants Gather for End-of-Year Conference

May 23, 2013

3,000 young Jews from around the world, participants in long-terms programs through Masa Israel Journey, attended the Masa Israel Journey Conference and End of 2012-2013 Academic Year Event at the Jerusalem International Convention Centre this past Monday.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL: The Masa program participants were addressed by the Israeli Minister of the Economy, Naftali Bennett, and Chairman of Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky. They also participated in a panel discussion with the outstanding Israeli sportsmen and women Ariel "Arik" Ze'evi, Karen Leibowitz, and Andi Ram. 
 
Olympic medalist, judoka Arik Ze'evi said, “After a year in Israel, you will be the best ambassadors for our country.”
 
Naftali Bennett, Minister of the Economy said: “I salute those of you who are planning on making Aliyah. We need every one of you. For those of you that are planning to return home, I am certain that after a year here, the State of Israel will remain close to your hearts and that you will continue to visit us.”
 
Natan Sharansky held an open dialogue with the students during which he told them: “Masa participants discover their roots while visiting Israel and they discover that the Jewish people is one family. It is very important to us that you feel part of our family and that you represent us upon your return home.”
 
Masa Israel Journey is a joint project of Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel. Its aim is to strengthen the connection between young Jews around the world and the State of Israel.  Participants spend 5-10 months in Israel and can choose from a wide range of programs involving volunteer work, studying or professional internships.  Over 10,000 young Jews from 60 countries participate in Masa programs each year. Upon their return to their home countries, many graduates become involved with their local Jewish communities and become ambassadors for Israel.
 

What Magen David Adom Has Done for Me

<div class="masa-blog-title">What Magen David Adom Has Done for Me</div>

By Adi Genosaur, Young Judaea Year Course
 
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine doing the things I’ve done in the past two months. My name is Adi Genosar, and I am a 19-year-old Israeli, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. I am currently in Israel on a gap year Masa program called Young Judaea Year Course. On Year Course, I was afforded the opportunity to volunteer with Magen David Adom for a short period. MDA was never something I saw myself being able to do.
 
 

Yeshivat Migdal HaTorah

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Program Description

Migdal will inspire our students with a desire to learn and become more knowledgeable in Torah as well empower them with the skills in order to do so. We ensure that our students leave the yeshiva with the tools they need for lifelong independent study in all areas of Torah scholarship. At Migdal, shiurim are not lectures, but are rather tailored learning experiences where questions and dialogue are encouraged. There is also great emphasis on chavruta style learning and allowing students to work through the entire spectrum of Jewish texts on their own under the guidance of their rebbeim.
 
Our goal at Migdal is to provide the best possible role models for our students. Along with a dedicated full-time faculty, many of our rebbeim maintain jobs in the secular world and lead by example on how one is to live as a Torah Jew in today's society. A primary component of the curriculum at Migdal is dedicated to examining the many issues that confront a person in the modern world from both a halachic and philosophic perspective.