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Jewish Life: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Jewish Life: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Jewish Life: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

November 28, 2016

By Chandrea Serebro

 

Masa, the public-service organisation founded by the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Israel together with The Jewish Agency, has a myriad of projects offering South Africans the opportunity to spend some time in Israel. Gap year programmes, study abroad programmes, yeshiva programmes. But Masa also provides the opportunity for a stint at major high tech companies and exciting start-ups, doing real and amazing work. The Israel internship programme (which in SA falls under the Israel Centre’s JHB umbrella) gives budding professionals “hands-on opportunities” to work with some of the world’s most cutting-edge companies across Israel. It’s a chance “to spend a meaningful time in Israel”, not as a tourist or a kibbutznik, not as an out-of-pocket traveller trying to fund the next excursion, but rather to experience Israel like a real Israeli, as a professional, going to work each day, experiencing the after work leisure-time activities Israel has to offer, meeting friends, going out to eat, before doing it all again the next day – repeat. Might sound dreary, and like real-life has come knocking a little too soon, but when you think about the potential for that everyday grindstone to involve working as a newly qualified-but-green go-getter in the start-up nation of the world for an international high tech company or an on the pulse financial trading floor, I bet that endlessly repetitive groundhog day is looking up.

 

Ofer Gutman, Director of Marketing and Sales at Masa, calls it “The Journey”, an experience “beyond the bus”. You experience the business-side of living in Israel: the ups and the downs, the late for work, and even the kudos from the boss. But you experience all this in a position that you probably wouldn’t have gotten in the first five years of your career elsewhere, in the Jewish homeland, with the support and help that Masa offers you. And the progress they make gets attention both in Israel and back at home, wherever that may be, as the programme is being offered all over the Jewish world. “Living and working in a start-up nation, you are viewed as being one of the team – not someone just there to give the bad or menial tasks to,” explains participant Sam Kapp from New York, who wanted to explore Israeli society while gaining work experience. He’s getting an inside look at what it takes to build a successful start-up, working at a biotechnology software company in the heart of Tel Aviv. At present, he finds himself working on the technology to make a glowing plant (by combining the genome of a firefly with that of a plant) – “cool stuff”, he says, and while it might sound off-the-wall, only in Israel could one actually conceive of having this type of experience, in real life, fresh out-of-school. “They asked me what I want to get out of this (experience),” he explains, “and I told them I wanted to see how a start-up is run, and what you needed to do to build a successful company.” So, because he wanted an overview, he is interning at a company in marketing, getting a taste of just what goes on behind the scenes in every element of what makes a successful, exciting company tick, being “inspired every day by [his] colleagues’ passion for their work”. Who even knows, it might just be the next thing sold to some big international high-tech for billions.

 

Another participant, Jonathan Gerari from Denmark, with his Masters in Finance, chose to work at JP Commodities, a small commodities firm in Tel Aviv. There, he enjoys a lot of responsibility and can also get some insight into what actually goes on in every aspect of the business, which is why he has found the experience so enjoyable. He says, “It would take me five years to get this far in Denmark to achieve the same level of responsibility.” He was going to go home at the end of the internship, but he realised that in Israel, through this experience, he is learning more than he ever would elsewhere, which will enable him to hone his skills early in his career after which he hopes to become a specialist in his field. In addition to his internship, Jonathan has made close friends with other people who are abroad with Masa Israel Journey. This has made his experience “valuable and unforgettable” – an experience that “keeps surprising me”. Living in Israel and going to work every day with people who all have the “common goal of living and having a great time,” he says, “is living my life way above expectations.”

 

And it is slowly catching on with South Africans as a foot in the door to the international business world, which we might otherwise have been left out of. “It’s good for your CV, and you can work in a place you wouldn’t have been accepted to otherwise without having previous working experience,” says Tanya Izaki, Israel Programmes Coordinator at the Israel Centre JHB. Even though the internships are not paid, they are offered the opportunity to gain a lot of hands-on work experience, advance their career, and to live abroad. It is expensive, but once you’re over 21 you get an automatic $3000 scholarship from Masa, regardless of your financial situation, unique to this internship programme and which, depending on your financial situation, could be even higher. But still, the final cost could be about $2000-3000, plus your air ticket and spending money – which is no small sum, but the doors that it opens and the experience that it offers has blown the old work-and-travel London experience out of the water, and has given new graduates a reason to excel at what they do so they can find themselves miles ahead of the counterparts they leave behind. Tarryn Snoyman from Johannesburg wanted to do the Israel Teaching Fellows programme (the only programme that is almost fully-subsidised and even reimburses the air ticket) because she wanted to be exposed to a different teaching environment other than in South Africa. Sh describes it as both a stimulating and positively challenging experience for her. “I have enjoyed the personal and professional growth of the journey. Not only has this experience been focused on teaching English but I have been privileged enough to have been involved in many other initiatives that Masa offers, including a global leadership summit, a leadership shabbaton, and being part of the World Zionist Organisation fellowship track, all of which fostered personal and professional development though skills-based training.” Living in Israel, specifically Be’er Sheva which is one of Israel’s fastest growing cities with a large, vibrant student population, Tarryn has enjoyed the social and cultural scenes, which offer many opportunities for anyone to get involved in, from student events and initiatives to enjoying a buzzing, melting-pot of cultures, nightlife, and joining the Ben Gurion University’s international club.

 

The programmes run from five months up to a year, and many of the interns land their dream job and stay on to achieve greater things. And if you don’t find what you are looking for in the internships that they offer, there is always the opportunity to customise an internship in your field, helping you to find the perfect opportunity just for you. It’s a no-brainer, and just might be the key you were looking for to unlock the potential to be part of the next billion-dollar success story that Israel is so famous for producing. For more information contact Tanya Izaki at the Israel Centre JHB on 011 645 2560. For more on the Masa internship programme go to: postcollege.masaisrael.org and for more on the Israel teaching fellows programme go to: Israelteachingfellows.org

 

Originally published in Jewish Life

 

Beit Midrash TLV

Program Description

The Top 8 Beaches in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">The Top 8 Beaches in Israel</div>

Written by Andria Kaplan-Aylyarov

 

Yes, BRRR. The weather is cold outside and as you kindle the Hanukkah flames and spin that dreidel, warm yourself up and imagine you’re under the Tel Aviv sun, soaking up the rays on one of these beaches.


…Because seriously, where else would you rather be?

 

1. Banana Beach
Located on the southernmost edge near Jaffa this beach is home to Friday night drum circles, hula hooping-bikini wearing girls, endless games of Matkot and sunbather after sunbather. Think of it as a Bohemian paradise right next to Tel Aviv.

 

2. Gordon Beach, Frishman Beach, Bograshov Beach
Welcome to beach-mania. These three beaches offer endless white sand, beautiful people and the perfect dose of sunshine. Located right in the center of Tel Aviv these beaches offer a great getaway with tons of bars and restaurants. Each beach is the perfect place to catch the addicting Tel Aviv sunset plus, there’s a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream stand at Gordon Beach. #YUM


3. Trumpeldor Beach
Walking down the beach in Tel Aviv you’ll spot an unusual statue and you know you’ve arrived at Trumpeldor Beach. This is a quieter beach amongst its neighbors since there are no facilities or lifeguards.


4. Jerusalem Beach
Formerly known as Geula Beach, Jerusalem Beach is located right off Allenby Street and near the very well-known Opera Tower building. You’ll find falafel shops and bodegas everywhere, so don’t worry about packing snacks for the day. It’s not touristy and is the perfect spot to meet all your friends for a relaxing beach day.



5. Tel Baruch Beach
Tel Baruch Beach may be one of Israel’s cleanest beaches. Fully equipped with green lawns, outdoor workout area, and seaside café it’s the perfect escape from a long week of classes or a big night out. 


6. Metzitzim Beach
If you wake up early enough on a Friday or Saturday morning,  take a stroll down Namal Tel Aviv, and  grab a coffee while you check out Metzitzim Beach. It’s more family oriented but offers three volleyball courts and an outdoor workout area. If that’s not your thing, however, keep walking north and you’ll catch twenty-something Israelis sipping Goldstar and hanging out.


7. The Surfer’s Beach at the Hilton Hof HaGolshim
Besides beautiful people watching all day long check out The Surfer’s Beach and prepare to be amazed at the skill, the surf, and the boys. It’s a hot spot to kayak or learn how to paddle board too!

 

8. Coral Reef Beach(Red Sea):
Okay, so this beach isn't in Tel Aviv but it's a sun worshipper's paradise. You can go from sand to snorkel to world-class resort within minutes. The best part? There's a good chance your Masa program already has a trip to Eilat planned. #GetReady



Andria Kaplan Aylyarov is a Masa Israel Alumna and content marketing specialist for Masa Israel Journey. She loves a good glass of white wine and wishes she was 85-years-old and living in Boca, but she currently resides in New York.

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Masa Israel Journey!

<div class="masa-blog-title">Happy Thanksgiving from Masa Israel Journey!</div>

Masa Israel participants from the Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit celebrate Thanksgiving from Israel thanking those who inspired them to take their journey and become today's leaders:

 

 

 
Masa Israel Thanksgiving Video

Masa Israel participants from the Masa GLI Global Leadership Summit celebrate Thanksgiving from Israel thanking those who inspired them to take their journey and become today's leaders! Watch and share! #Thanksgiving #MyMasa #Leadership #Thanksgiving2016 Masa Tlalim Career Israel BINA Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture Destination Israel The Jewish Agency for Israel

Posted by Masa Israel Journey on Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 

 
 

Midrash Noviembre

Program Description

Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit: What A Week!

<div class="masa-blog-title">Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit: What A Week!</div>

This past week, I had the incredible opportunity to take part in a life changing summit on leadership, hosted by Masa.  I came home with a loss of words (literally and figuratively, as I had lost my voice) at how this week has changed my life. This summit brought together 200 young adults from all over the world to learn together about leadership, adaptive change, and how we can use these topics in our lives here and when we go back home.  I met people from North and South America, all over Europe, Africa, and Israel that had all chosen to take a week from their lives to come together and share in this experience.
 
 
 
Within the 200 people, we were all split into groups of around 25 people, and my group truly became my family during the week.  #FruitSalad #Group3isthebest! We spent at least one or two sessions together everyday not only to learn and overcome different challenges, but we spent time discussing challenges some of the group members were currently having in their various Masa programs.  I presented a challenge I felt that I am facing, and the group was so incredibly supportive and had an amazing brainstorm session of ways I could tackle and overcome the problem.  For lunch on Wednesday, many of us went to a hummus place, because there’s no more Israeli way of solidifying new friendships than sharing hummus!  5 days was not nearly enough time to spend with this wonderful family I now have.  I cannot wait to be able to spend weekends in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and elsewhere in Israel visiting these people.  We have only been apart a few hours at this point, and I am already missing them so much!
 
 
When I was not with my home group, we split into different elective workshops.  My favorite one was learning about narrative development and how we can effectively use our stories to create change in the world.  During this workshop, our facilitator spoke briefly about the best way to tell our stories, and then we spent a majority of the time practicing these skills in small groups.  Since this workshop happened to be on the last full day of the summit, I had become quite close with everyone, I decided to write mine on invisible disabilities and my recent Lupus diagnosis.  I used this platform to talk about how it is important to be supportive of everyone you meet, because you never know what challenges they may be facing.  My small group then encouraged me to share my story with the entire workshop group.  It was so uplifting to be able to feel comfortable to share my story with everyone, after only learning about my Lupus a few months ago.  Afterwards, I had multiple people come up to me and say how inspired they were, because they were facing similar challenges, and it showed me how important it is to be open about this part of my life.
 
Overall, I truly believe that words cannot even begin to skim the surface of explaining the experience I have had this week.  From the new friendships I have gained, to the skills and knowledge I learned, the Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit has given me tools that I am now able to take into the rest of my life.  I do not remember ever attending a conference that has been so helpful.  To all of my new friends, I cannot wait to come visit you soon!
 
Written by Tami Greenberg who is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Migdal HaEmek. To follow her Journey read more at her blog wherethefalafelami.wordpress.com.
 

Jewish Journal: Election Night 2016: The Sights and Sounds in Los Angeles and Israel

Jewish Journal: Election Night 2016: The Sights and Sounds in Los Angeles and Israel

November 10, 2016

By Orit Arfa, Contributing Writer

 

11:41 a.m. PST (9:41 p.m. local time), Abraham’s Hostel, Tel Aviv

 

“Let’s make America great again!” shouts an 18-year-old Texan, standing near the DJ booth as three screens hover above the dance floor of the Abraham Hostel.

 

Tonight, Masa Israel Journey, which brings young adults to study, intern and volunteer in Israel for several months, united participants through an election viewing event expected to go until 2 a.m. local time (4 p.m. in Los Angeles). Another participant repeats Trump’s campaign slogan.

 

“I don’t know who’s being sarcastic anymore,” says 24-year-old Michigan native Josh Linden, currently teaching English in Israel. He cast his absentee vote for Clinton. “I haven’t met anyone here voting for him yet but I haven’t been asking.” (The Texan, by the way, voted for Clinton.)

 

As a DJ tried to rev up the crowd with some hip-hop, with results still hours away, most of the people were lounging around, schmoozing over beer, or playing pool or table soccer. None seemed too worried about the United States, either way.

 

Maybe their comfort playing “Israeli” for the past two months has contributed to a feeling of detachment in the air. And while Abraham Hostel is so named for being a place that fosters peace among people, the crowd doesn’t seem to need the reconciliatory touch. Judging from a straw poll, Sara Eisen, the program’s chief communications officer, said most of the participants are Clinton supporters. But she attributes their laid-back attitude tonight to the nature of the program.

 

“I think, in general, people come to Israel to grow and to expand and to change — minds are wider,” she said.

 

Max Moser, 27, of Los Angeles and currently a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, didn’t want to reveal his choice.

 

“I’m not excited about the election like most Americans,” he said. “I feel like there’s really a lack of leadership in the United States government.”

 

Does this make him more inclined to make aliyah? Israel’s newest holiday, Aliyah Day, celebrating immigration to Israel, fell on Nov. 8.

 

“I’m considering aliyah but not because of the national election, at all.”

 

Originally published in the Jewish Journal

72 Hours with Masa

<div class="masa-blog-title">72 Hours with Masa </div>

The Hebrew word Masa translated to English literally means journey and the staff of Masa have spent the last 72 hours on an epic one. Our Masa North America team landed in Washington D.C. on Sunday for the GA, the Business Development team is leading a delegation of top U.S. university professionals through the startup nation and 200 Masa participants have begun the Masa GLI Global Leadership Summit in Jerusalem.


You may be thinking, wow, one company in so many places but for Masa, it’s the norm. Check out the images below for a closer view of our staff, participants and most of all the good vibes from the last 72 hours!

 

Masa GLI Leadership Summit Gala:

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2016 North American Career Development Delegation:



 

Masa North America at the GA:

 

To stay up-to-date with Masa Israel Journey, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @MasaIsrael!

 

eJewish Philanthropy: Thousands of Masa Israel Participants Gather for Welcome Event

eJewish Philanthropy: Thousands of Masa Israel Participants Gather for Welcome Event

November 2, 2016

Masa Dance Party

Masa Israel Journey 2016-2017 gap year participants start an impromptu dance party in the lobby of Jerusalem’s ICC, in preparation for Masa Israel’s annual welcome event; photo by Ran Biran.

Masa Israel Journey held its annual Welcome Event on Monday evening in Jerusalem.

 

Masa Opening Event

Participants (including interns, volunteers, and students) celebrated the transformative experiences that await them together; photo by Ran Biran.

 

The gathering serves to officially welcome thousands of the 12,000 18-30 year-olds who have recently arrived in Israel to participate in dozens of long-term Israel programs including gap years, study abroad, internships, teaching English to young students, and other post-college initiatives.

 

Masa Hatikva 6

Israeli reggae band Hatikva 6 on October 31, 2016, at Jerusalem’s ICC; photo by Ran Biran.

 

With Israeli TV personality Jason Danino Holt as emcee, participants were entertained by live music from Yemenite electronic folk band A-WA and Israeli reggae group Hatikva 6. American-Israeli comedian Benji Lovitt hosted a Jewish geography game show.

 

Masa Opening Event

Participants from the United States and Russia show off their national pride; photo by Ran Biran.

 

“We bring thousands of Masa Israel Journey program participants together at this pep rally-style event, so they can get a taste of the exciting journey they each have ahead of them,” said Masa Israel Journey CEO, Liran Avisar. “We want all of our participants to understand that they are now part of a community larger than themselves, and a network that goes far beyond the specific programs on which they are enrolled. Together, we will celebrate Israeli culture and get our participants excited about experiencing Masa Israel their way – “My Masa” – so they can make the most of the transformative time in Israel to come.”

 

Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy