What Israeli Universities Does Masa Israel Partner With?

<div class="masa-blog-title">What Israeli Universities Does Masa Israel Partner With?</div>

Did you know that Masa Israel provides grants and need-based scholarships to students who study abroad in Israel?

 

Whether it's a semester abroad during undergrad or a masters program after college we can provide up to $7,500 in grants and need-based scholarships to make it easier for you to study abroad in Israel.
 

 

Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University, Israel’s largest and most comprehensive academic institution, boasts a diverse and dynamic student body and a faculty of nationally and internationally renowned scholars and scientists. It consistently ranks in the top 20 universities in the world in terms of scientific citations and among the top 100 universities internationally. It is conveniently located in the vibrant city of Tel Aviv, a start-up hub, a cultural capital with a thriving arts scene, rich history, and world-class museums and galleries, not to mention incredible nightlife and scenic beaches.

 


Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Hebrew University is an internationally renowned institution with a rich history. It’s Israel’s second-oldest university and home to the world’s largest Jewish studies library. Four of Israel’s prime ministers are among the university’s notable alumni. With an incredible location in Jerusalem, one of the most dynamic and historic cities in the world, you’ll learn as much outside the classroom as in it. Just walking through the city streets and looking at ancient walls and buildings is a lesson in archeology.

 

 

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is the oldest academic institution in the country and a world-class university with students from Israel and around the world. It is ranked among the world’s top 50 technological universities and has been recognized for being a leader in creating a special ecosystem that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship. It is home to three Nobel Laureates and is also the birth place of many of Israel’s most exciting tech innovations. To enhance its international presence, Technion has established academic partnerships, including: the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute for applied science being built in New York City; the planned cooperatively run Technion-Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT) with Shantou University being built in Shantou, Guangdong; and research laboratories in Singapore under the CREATE project of the National Research Foundation of Singapore.


Technion is located in Haifa, a diverse port city where you’ll find stunning views, the magnificent Baha’i Gardens, and amazing cultural diversity: Arab, Christian, and Jewish cultures have coexisted here for centuries. In recent years, Haifa has emerged as an “Israeli Silicon Valley” with a booming tech industry (Microsoft and Google set up shop here not so long ago).

 

 

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University is a pioneering teaching and research center with more than 19,000 students, a large campus, and a welcoming dorm life. Located in Beer-Sheva—a growing city on the edge of the Negev desert that retains the feel of an exotic, distant land—this university is a great choice for students who want more than just the “same old, same old.”

 

 

University of Haifa

The University of Haifa is one of Israel’s most diverse academic institutions, with a student body of Jews, Arabs, Christians, new immigrants and native Israelis, all deeply committed to social responsibility and academic excellence. It also offers state-of-the-art research centers and boasts a renowned faculty. A diverse port city located on the Mediterranean Sea, Haifa offers stunning views, the magnificent Baha’i Gardens, and amazing cultural diversity.

 

 

Arava Institute of Environmental Studies


The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, located in Southern Israel, is the only institution which brings together students from America, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and from around the world, to cooperatively study the region’s environmental challenges. Accredited through Ben-Gurion University, the Arava Institute houses academic programs, research centers, and international cooperation initiatives focusing on a range of environmental concerns and challenges.

 

 

IDC Herzliya

Study with world-renowned faculty, engage with students from around the world and enjoy a wide array of extracurricular activities.
The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya was established twenty years ago as Israel’s first private university.  IDC Herzliya believes in ‘start-up academia’ and encourages its students to initiate, innovate, invent and create. Many successful startups in Israel today first came together on the IDC campus.

 

 

Bar-Ilan University

A world-class institution, Bar-Ilan University offers students a challenging and rewarding academic experience that emphasizes social responsibility and Jewish values. It’s currently the second-largest academic institution in Israel, with a dynamic student body and a renowned faculty.

 

The university is located just outside of vibrant Tel Aviv, a cultural capital with a thriving arts scene, rich history, and world-class museums and galleries, not to mention incredible nightlife and scenic beaches.
 

To learn more about Masa Israel's study abroad and post college programs, click here. 

 

Career Israel: Daniel Vapne Profile

<div class="masa-blog-title">Career Israel: Daniel Vapne Profile </div>

Career Israel participant Daniel Vapne gave us an insight on his Masa Israel Journey and how it helped him grow professionally. After getting his B.A in Exercise Science from Kennesaw State University, Daniel decided to take an internship with Medix, a private physical therapy clinic in Israel.


During his internship, he was able to apply his knowledge as well as skills from his college experience. His personal struggle and understanding of taking initiative makes him stand out as an exemplary leader of his community. He developed a passion for helping people.  Israel’s diverse population requires more than the typical Hebrew skills but the understanding of different cultures and languages as well. His commitment to gaining knowledge helped him bridge that gap.


Daniel gained more than just experience; he developed a plan to give back to people back home and Israel. We asked him some questions about his journey and how it shaped his Jewish identity as well as leadership skills.


How did you end up on a Masa Israel program?


I did Taglit Birthright in December of 2013. A Masa Israel rep came on the bus one day and said, “if you liked Taglit, there’s a longer term program you can do.” They explained that you can choose what you want to do and that there are many options.


I was very touched by the whole Israel experience, so as soon as I got home I did my research. I saw all of my options and thought it would be great to go back and work in Israel. It seemed like I’d get a more hands on experience than I would in the U.S.


I couldn’t treat patients in the U.S. like I did in Israel. In Israel, I did whatever the physical therapists told me to do. In the U.S., I would’ve just been an aid.


In Israel, I was able to use my critical thinking, create treatment plans and facilitate them for my patients. I worked in a multi-lingual environment, speaking English, Hebrew, and Russian.
I think the patients trusted me more. In the U.S., if you don’t have Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy, patients won’t take you seriously.


In Israel, your bosses give you as much opportunity as you want. It’s up to you to prove to them that you’re capable and able to do the job. I’m treated more as an equal than as a tool. It was there where I was able to get the experience that helped me in grad school. There I was exposed to more and actually worked with patients. Now I know how to approach the American population, but also those from other countries. I’ve learned how important the patient relationship is.

 


You said you treat patients in English, Hebrew and Russian. How are you able to do this?


Before I came on this program, I knew very minimal Hebrew. But after two weeks of ulpan and learning every day at work, on the bus to work and struggling to learn the language, I’m able to actually treat patients in three languages.


My Hebrew is still pretty minimal, but I’m able to communicate with patients and give them directions on exercises and their treatment. In a month-and-a-half of work I was able actually do this already.


And where did you learn Russian?


I grew up speaking Russian at home, and I’m really lucky that I was able to use those skills and talents in Israel. It’s not common in the U.S., at least in my experience, for my Russian to be so useful.

 

Did you have any experience working in PT before you came to Israel?


I worked at a few different clinics before. During and after college, I helped out in the sports medicine department at my college, working alongside trainers and sports doctors that treated student athletes, on both rehabilitation and injury prevention


I also worked at PT solutions, a physical therapy chain back home. I was an aid there and worked with great young physical therapists who were just a year or two out of grad school. They coached me through the grad school application process.


I mostly just observed what they did and asked as many questions as possible, but I utilized the knowledge I gained from working there in Israel.


I also volunteered at the local Jewish Home, where my grandma lives, and the hospital nearby with in-patient rehabilitation unit. I met a lot of great professionals there that actually motivated me to pursue this path even more.


So, did you defer grad school for a year to come to Israel?


No. Before I went to Israel, I started the application process and I got my first interview at NYU. I also got my first rejection letter four hours before that, so it was a nice surprise.


What was your involvement in the Jewish community, or Jewish life – if any – growing up?


I had mild involvement in Hillel on my college campus. There weren’t many Jews at my college. I also went to young professional events, and went to events at my synagogue.


I went to a modern orthodox Jewish high school and really found my Jewish identity there. I played basketball there and really felt like part of the community. Even though I was very secular, they really accepted me.


(As I said, I was really secular, so I learned a lot of traditions and values there. My parents are beginning to become more observant. They started keeping a kosher kitchen and my mom isn’t working on Shabbat anymore – she runs her own business teaching piano lessons, so it’s kind of a big step for her. My dad still wants to be secular and we’re fine this way. We have a nice Jewish balance at home and it’s nice to have Shabbat and stay at home together.


You say you grew up secular, how did you end up in a modern orthodox high school?


I got a scholarship for basketball and academics – I was really good at math and the school liked giving scholarships to kids in the community, even if they weren’t religious.


Does your connection to Israel also come from your high school experience?


I had a slight involvement in NCSY, but I’d say my Jewish involvement really increased after Taglit Birthright. I wanted to be more involved in the community. I do have some family in Israel, but really, this is my homeland. I feel more connected to Israel sometimes than the U.S.


What was it like living in Israel?


It was great because every day I was able to use my Hebrew and even if I couldn’t get my idea across, everyone knows English and can help me out. I also got to live in the city, I’ve never really lived ‘in the city’ before, so that was great. I lived with five other people, around my age, in the center of Tel Aviv!


And how did Career Israel treat you?


Career Israel was great and my madrichim (counselors/residential advisors) were great. I don’t know if you know Itzik, but he’s the best. He’s tried to help my girlfriend find a job in the U.S. so we can continue the romance after the program (she’s Canadian).


I’ve also learned a lot about myself and what I can give back to the community, as well as what the community can give me.  I made tons of new connections. That’s one of the reasons I loved Birthright. Being in a college that didn’t have much of a Jewish life – it’s what I felt like it was lacking. I was in a fraternity, I was in Hillel, I was involved in academic clubs, but I felt different. I was still a leader of all of these clubs and student groups, but I couldn’t relate to people on a deeper level.


When I told people I was coming to Israel, all of my professors told me to be careful. They didn’t understand that I felt safer in Israel than in the U.S. or in Atlanta. I feel more with my people here.

 

 

What do you think of the Leadership Summit ?


So far it’s great, I have a great group – I mean they’re not too bad (looking back at friends sitting behind us)


It’s really thought provoking and relates to something I’m personally working on. I have the tendency of not asking questions and just taking control. I’m trying to be more of a facilitator and understanding people’s perspectives. For one thing, not trying to control the conversation all the time and trying to see where they’re coming from and accept it. It’s something I was really lacking before as a student leader on campus. It made it hard for people to work with me. I’m trying to learn how to be a more adaptive leader and how to adapt to the group. You know, get a sense of personalities in the group and figure out my own role, instead of asserting myself and claiming a role first.


Something I also learned, especially from the speaker the other night, is to adapt to your audience – the people who you’re with, your coworkers. Not everything is set in stone. Things are done differently,in Israel than in the U.S. So I’m trying to find a role – it doesn’t have to be big – to try to make the group dynamic work.


How do you plan to stay involved in the Jewish community when you go back to the U.S.?


I did get a letter from the Atlanta Jewish community – the Jamie A. Tritt Family Foundation Volunteers an Action Leadership program from the Jewish Family and Career Services for the Young Adults Division of this organization to run events.


It’s very hard to tell what my involvement will be because I hope I won’t be in Atlanta for too long when I get home. I’ve always been close to the JCC there. It’s where I worked out and played basketball. It’s where my first job was; at the concession stand and then as a lifeguard. It helped me find my interests, professionally, in aquatic therapy and orthopedic therapy. That’s where it all started.


My long term goal is to open up physical therapy clinics in the U.S. and open one that’s more nonprofit in Israel, somewhere where people need access to that kind of care.
I’ve noticed here that the best care comes from private companies. There is public physical therapy but when I ask patients, they say the care isn’t here. I know it’s hard to have a clinic in Israel; that’s why I want the capital to come from running clinics in the U.S. to open something in Israel. I want to give back to the State of Israel in my own way, but it’s not easy. That’s one of the sad things about Israel: there is a struggle  for people to take risks and in order to take those risks and be successful you have to have the large amount of capital.


That’s what I want to give back to Israel – my knowledge of medicine – to help those going through something traumatic – get back to the way of life that they want.

 

Is there anything else you wantto share about your Masa Israel experience?

 

Growing up I had a communication disorder – I guess that’s what you call you it – I stuttered. Ever since I was in junior high I tried to put myself out there to overcome it so I could become a leader. I’ve always looked up to leaders – activists, politicians, etc. I worked really hard to overcome it. It still comes up when I’m really nervous like in job interviews and stuff.


Because of it, I’m always taking a strong role and working harder than the person next to me, putting in hours of preparation. This is what sort of made me a leader. This attribute that I thought I was lacking – I wanted to be able to be out spoken and be able to be a leader and inspire people to get out there and take action. It’s very important to me because growing up you get ridiculed for that. Now that I’m older I try to be eloquent and stand up for the people who can’t’ speak for themselves. So, that’s something that’s always been something close to my heart and every chance I get I try to work on it.


For example, the first day of the conference I volunteered to speak in front of 250 plus people. I try to get over that fear – it’s there for you to overcome it and it’s just another thing I’ve had to face in my life.


Also, and more related to the community thing, I tried getting extra scholarship from the Atlanta Jewish Federation, because I’d heard that some Federations do that, but they don’t give it. I found it very strange since it’s an affluent community. That’s something I’m trying to make happen because so many young people in Atlanta leave the community, but if they contribute more to this, these people will come back to Atlanta and give back to the community.

 
 

Neve Zion - Tiferes Zion - Year

Program Description

What Mothers are saying about Masa Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">What Mothers are saying about Masa Israel</div>

In the USA, Mother’s Day is a special holiday meant to celebrate your mother and shower her with compliments and gifts. Sometimes, a great gift can consist of you going on a long term program in Israel. In honor of Mother’s Day, our gift is to highlight how much impact a Masa Israel participant gives to their parent and the Jewish people. 

 

By Nancy Iankowitz

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother's Day from Masa Israel! 

 

To learn more about Masa Israel programs, click here. 

 

Out of Chaos, Total Clarity

<div class="masa-blog-title">Out of Chaos, Total Clarity</div>

 

A Yom Ha’Shoa tribute to my late grandmother (Esther Klein, 1918-2011), who did more than survive Auschwitz and Ravensbruck:  She defeated them.

 

To truly do justice to Esther Klein, I ought to invite you to my kitchen as I tell you about her. I would seat you in the corner on a rickety step stool, play some swing music, and let you peel some potatoes for my soup, or very slowly add the ground nuts into the egg whites for the highest rising Pesach cake in Bayswater, if not all of Queens.

 

While you were on that step stool, I would tell you stories about my childhood and my sisters and my parents, all gone. I would never cry. I would tell you in a way that never scared you or depressed you, but instead compelled you to bring the story forward, to your own kitchens, later.

 

I would sing along with the music and laugh at your jokes, whether or not they were funny, and I would tell you my distinct opinion on family life, world politics, fashion, economics, literature, or social etiquette.

 

Later, we would play Rummikub and I would scratch your back until you fell asleep. I would tell you stories about your father, when he was little, and how he reminded me in this way of my own father, and in that way, of you.

 

Without too much effort, I would tie you generations back, and tie myself generations forward, completely by the way, as you were dozing off.

 

You would never guess that my own wonderful childhood ended at the train tracks, until I would tell you that part, too. There was a perfect sense that nightmarish evil was absolutely real, and also that, most decisively… “Ve Von.”

We won because, when you are not sitting on that step stool, I am using it, well into my 80’s, to climb to reach things from the top cabinet, teaching you that it’s all about balance.

 

I tell you about my very religious and learned father who learned at the Shabbat table with my mother, back when most European women were learning the Tzena Re’enna. Who sent his sons to yeshiva and expected them to work, like he did. I would tell you how my mother, Nechama, prepared blueberry jam for stomach ailments, because she was known as something of a medicine woman around town, and, like my father’s dry-goods store, her kitchen was a regular stop for the local poor.

 

I would create a seamless flow from the Hershkowitz’s charitable and intellectual kitchen in Seredna to my short but horrific stay in Auschwitz and then Ravensbruck, where I was sustained by my nieces, teenagers of whom my sisters put me in charge… and then right back to the kitchen where we now sit, making potato soup.

 

Which, if I were my grandmother, would bring me back to my mother, who told me on our first day in Auschwitz, when we were being processed into our potato sacks, to ignore the SS, just as I had ignored the goats and the cows back home. My mother had reminded me, in those two weeks we were together before she disappeared in a cloud over Poland, who was the human being in this situation, and what that demanded of me. I remembered, and reminded, every day since.

 

What it meant to be human was to have both determination and balance. Empathy and a sense of justice. Respect for the dead and a total dedication to the living. To living. A sense of reverence and a sense of humor. Balance. Living modestly but mindful of aesthetics. A dedication and deep gratitude to America, and a complete devotion to and support of Israel. Work outside the home well into her 70’s, and family always first. Being equal parts emotional, intellectual, and physical. Torah classes, survivor’s meetings, family events, the gym. Shul and the beach, both healing.

 

Being realistic and optimistic – living on that delicate edge of facing down yesterday and expecting a reversal tomorrow, while completely in the present, today. My Grandma was Zen before anyone knew what that was, except maybe my uncle.

 

My grandmother’s life, you would soon see, was a “Dayenu” story. Thankful and disbelieving of every victory, and also always pushing the envelope toward the next one, the one that her father demanded that she pursue.

 

Esther Klein did things on her terms. She accepted God’s will. But to the greatest possible extent, it would be God’s… and Esther’s.

 

It was the endless winter that began 1945. My grandmother and her nieces had just been marched through the snow from Auschwitz to Ravensbruck. The Nazis felt that the end was near, and the final solution needed final solving. To accelerate matters, they put the women in an outdoor tent in sub-freezing weather. The calculations were correct. Half died the first night there. The survivors, my grandmother told me, slept very little, and when they did, it was standing or sitting, huddled in groups.

 

They also didn’t let go of their tin cups, because that way, they could drink hot soup, when it was available. Being and asthmatic since age 13, my grandmother got sick. Very sick. She did the forbidden and fell asleep. She thought she would not wake up. But then something crazy happened. She had a dream.

 

In that dream, her father, whom she had not seen since getting off the train on Shavuot of 1944, was standing near a window in a long white robe. She said it looked like a kittel. He asked her to come look out the window. He pointed actively to a tree with white blossoms, and told her: When the trees start to blossom white, you and Ibby and Helen will be free. Please wait.

 

So she woke up. She stood up. And she waited. And encouraged others to do the same. As her father promised, they were liberated in spring. The Swedish Red Cross took my grandmother and her nieces back to Sweden. When they disembarked this more benevolent train, they found that they had arrived in an orchard in full bloom. On every tree, white flowers.

 

This story, which every Klein grandchild has heard more than once, was Grandma’s way of saying that you need an inner guide, one that is firmly planted in your own authentic roots, but that you make yours, and tell it your way. You need to hang on and believe in God, but you need to do your part to make it so. She believed in Divine miracles made real only via human effort, which is the message of the first Esther, too. She believed in bearing witness to the past, and she believed in writing your own story going forward.

 

Grandma, I miss you terribly. A world without you is a strange place. But you taught us what your idyllic life before Auschwitz, and your unthinkable time there, taught you: how to balance on a rickety step stool while singing and reaching higher.

 

What more could we have asked to know?
 

 

The Jerusalem Post: For those looking to explore Israel, emerging cities

The Jerusalem Post: For those looking to explore Israel, emerging cities

The Jerusalem Post: For those looking to explore Israel, emerging cities

April 26, 2016

By Shaina Oppenheimer

 

Integral to the choice of coming to Israel is the eagerness to give back to its people. Masa hopes to inculcate a sense of shared responsibility.

Every year, Masa Israel Journey enables thousands of young Jewish adults to come to Israel on various programs and experience the country as a local, diving deep into Israeli culture. However, the dynamic of these programs is starting to change; as more participants gravitate towards smaller cities, the focus is shifting from “my Israel” to “our Israel.”

 

A service and learning program incorporating gap years, study abroad, volunteer work and other post-graduate work contexts, Masa is starting to radiate waves of change throughout the Jewish community in moderately-sized metropolises, such as Beit She’an, Petah Tikva and Beersheba.

 

Read the full story on JPost.com. 

The Jerusalem Post: Hey America, 'ma Nishtana?'

The Jerusalem Post: Hey America, 'ma Nishtana?'

The Jerusalem Post: Hey America, 'ma Nishtana?'

April 24, 2016

By Liran Avisar, CEO of Masa Israel Journey

 

Today, there are more options available than ever before for young people to experience Israel, whether for days, weeks, months, or an entire year.

Every spring, Jewish people across the United States and around the world sit at a table with their friends and family to retell the story of our exodus from Egypt. The first leg of our journey back in time begins with the “Ma Nishtana” (“What has changed?”), also known as the Four Questions.

 

As we prepare to retell the story of the liberation of the Israelites and the birth of the Jewish people, it is also worth exploring the current state of our Tribe. This Passover, I have four slightly different questions for the American Jewish community.

 

These are the four major questions that are worth asking:

 

1. How can we increase young American Jews’ interest in Jewish life and Israel? 

 

If you just read the headlines, it might seem that engagement is on the decline and anti-Israel activities are expanding. But the sky isn’t exactly falling.

 

One thing we do know is that it takes a transformative Israel experience with a lasting impact for Jewish young adults to reestablish, or even establish for the first time, their personal connections to the Jewish people and to Israel – to discover the Tribe.

 

Now, I am not talking about a single event, happening, or “aha” moment. Though for some it may only take one spark to reignite the Jewish fire inside. I’m not talking about the classic structure of organized Israel trips that include a bus tour of the country’s sites like Masada and Yad Vashem, meeting Israelis, learning to count to 10 in Hebrew and stuffing your face with more hummus and falafel than you ever thought possible.

 

These are clearly cornerstones to a young Diaspora Jew’s introduction to Israel – the state, the land and the people. However, the personal moments, conversations and observations enabled by a long-term Israel experience are the lasting connections that help our young people realize they are part of something bigger than themselves – Am Yisrael.

 

I’m talking about your first trip to an Israeli mall, when you see the clothing and accessories covered in Stars of David instead of crosses. The grandmotherly women you encounter on the bus that offers unsolicited life advice and a bite of their snacks as if you were their own grandchild.

 

The way in which everyone wishes you “Shana Tova” in the fall, not because they’re religious or on the way to synagogue, but because it’s as natural as wishing someone “Happy Holidays” in the winter in America.

 

These are the local Israeli moments that stay with young Jews as they go back home and reflect on their experience and newfound connection to Israel and their Jewish identities. They are what make that connection durable.

 

2. How do we empower our students to authentically change the Israel conversation on college campuses across the country?

 

Young Jews who spend substantial amounts of time living in Israel are much more equipped to deal with the often hostile anti-Israel rhetoric and activities on campus. Having spent significant time in Israel, they know more about what’s happening (and has happened) on the ground. As such, they are not only able to take part in discussions and debates, but also have the knowledge and tools to change the tone and content of the conversations.

 

By bringing their own Israel stories and experience into campus dialogue, these students have the power to change a combative debate into a personal conversation. Having a trove of deeply personal experiences on the ground in Israel allows individuals to speak more knowledgeably and comfortably about Israel and its politics.

 

Spending significant time in Israel also enables young Jews to better differentiate between legitimate criticism and uninformed, misguided hatred. Rather than feeding into the entrenched, polarizing propaganda war, these students are empowered to respectfully confront dissenting viewpoints. They can go beyond traditional hasbara (public diplomacy) efforts and pro-Israel talking points to have nuanced and intellectual conversations about the reality of the challenges facing the State of Israel, its leadership and its people.

 

3. What will the US Jewish community’s professional and lay leadership look like in 10 years?

 

With the number of unaffiliated Jews in America on the rise, one might think that the American Jewish community’s professional and lay leadership is shrinking or narrowing. However, the pipeline is actually expanding. One key indicator of young Jews who remain engaged and take on leadership roles in Jewish life are those who have spent an extended amount of time in Israel.

 

The variety of opportunities to spend meaningful time in Israel has consistently grown over the past several years. Today, there are more options available than ever before for young people to experience Israel, whether for days, weeks, months, or an entire year.

 

In 10 years, the majority of Jewish adults in the United States will have participated in an immersive Israel experience. We are talking about an unprecedented reality for the American Jewish community.

 

Throughout my and my American colleague’s meetings with our numerous Jewish communal partners, from Jewish Federations to Hillels to synagogues and beyond, it becomes more and more apparent that alumni of immersive Israel experiences, particularly those who have spent between five to 12 months in Israel, are overrepresented in the Jewish professional world. They are everywhere, in every organization, and they are the future leaders of the Jewish community.

 

As a result, they are and will continue to be more determined to connect Israel to all aspects of Jewish life. More than anything, they will make Israel travel an integral part of Jewish life and Jewish experiences. That, my friends, is revolutionary.

 

In a decade, these same young leaders will hold influential positions, whether in the Jewish world, business world, the philanthropic world and beyond. They will be the ones calling the shots and making important decisions. To have their Israel stories to tell and an unforgettable experience to look back on will mold these discussions and decisions before they even begin.

 

4. Yalla, nu, when are you coming?

 

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Masa Israel Alumni Fellow of the Week: Molly Radler

<div class="masa-blog-title">Masa Israel Alumni Fellow of the Week: Molly Radler</div>

alt="molly radler"After graduating, Molly did a Masa Israel Volunteer Program, for 10 months in the city of Akko, as well as various Druze villages in the North. There she taught English and other subjects in both formal and non-formal settings to young Jewish, Arab, and Druze teenagers. The connection Molly built with the students from different backgrounds was what lead her to want to further facilitate connections for students in the United States. Soon after she joined The David Project and became a Senior Campus Coordinator with, working with college campuses throughout the state of Florida. She helped guide pro-Israel college students to advocate for Israel on campus to the non-Jewish community, speaking on behalf of their own narratives and connecting those to their peers, making the Israel discourse on campus more inclusive and relatable.

 

Molly will be going to graduate school to pursue a Master's in Social Work with the Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work (GRC MSW) Program of Nazareth College and The College at Brockport, SUNY. 

 

 

What was the most meaningful aspect of your Masa Israel experience?


The most meaningful aspect of my Masa Israel experience was the network of people and connections I was able to take with me after my year with Masa. The bond that we formed while doing the truly amazing and unique work of our program is something that has bonded me to the group of my peers that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In addition, Masa provided opportunities to connect with other Masa participants throughout the whole country of Israel, and some of my closest friends and some of the most inspiring people I have met are ones I met on Masa.

 

What inspired you to become a Masa Israel Alumni Fellow?


I have become a very passionate advocate for Masa and have actively been suggesting that my students and friends apply for Masa programs. I was very active in all the opportunities that Masa provided in addition to my actual program, and love to share my experience with others to hopefully get them involved as well. I hope to help connect the network of Masa alumni across the country in years to come after their volunteership, as well as advocate for many other Jewish people to be able to have a similar experience.

 

Each Masa Israel Alumni Fellow is required to create an Impact project to bring back to their local community, either to increase local alumni involvement or help recruit new participants for Masa Israel programs. What ideas do you have for your Impact project, should you be chosen as a Fellow?

 

I would love to create a network between the various Israel and Jewish organizations for young adults to learn about ways to get back to Israel through Masa. In Boston, there are already things in place for this to be successful, but on a very broad scale. If chosen I would love the opportunity to use this as a resource to start a specific project for students to find their perfect program to get back to Israel and explore their Jewish identity and connection to Israel through Masa.

 

To learn more about Masa Israel Volunteer Programs, Click Here. 
 

 

Masa Israel Alumni Fellow of the Week: Samantha Shevgert

<div class="masa-blog-title">Masa Israel Alumni Fellow of the Week: Samantha Shevgert</div>

Samantha Shevgert knew she was Jewish but didn’t know what it meant to live a Jewish life. She decided to learn about her Jewish roots in a 10 ½ month Neve Yerushalayim Seminary in Jerusalem, Israel. During her time in Jerusalem, she learned about the importance of Judaism, Torah, and gained friendships for a lifetime. She also gained experience in her career while in Israel by volunteering every week in a Jewish nursing home using her Russian speaking skills to assist those in need.


After her Masa Israel Journey, Samantha returned to South Florida and has helped strengthen the Jewish community. Samantha’s knew found knowledge and connection with Judaism helped her start and become part of many Jewish organizations and communities. She is a founding member of the Moishe House Aventura, Chabad of Ft.Lauderdale, and Yehudi of South Beach. Her efforts in the Jewish community have surpassed the norm and have made her an outstanding leader in the Jewish community of South Florida.


Sam holds a BA in Public Health and Associates Degree in Occupational Therapy. Her experience in Israel has helped her with her career as an occupational therapist. She focuses in In-Patient Rehabilitation Hospitality as well as working with children with autism.
 

What was the most meaningful aspect of your Masa Israel experience?


Every moment of the Masa Israel experience was incredibly meaningful! These 10 months changed my life and shaped who I have become. Being able to spend an extended amount of time in Israel allowed me to not just learn about what it is to be Jewish and how to lead a Jewish life but also how to integrate it into who I am and live it. It truly shaped me; it was the catapult to my now Jewish involvement.


What inspired you to become a Masa Israel Alumni Fellow?


I applied to be a Masa Israel Alumni Fellow because being a part of the Masa experience myself it changed my life. I am so passionate about Israel and bringing awareness to people and learning about Judaism. I would love nothing more than to become a great leader in my community. I want to help send people to Israel to have as much of a meaningful experience as I did!


Each Masa Israel Alumni Fellow is required to create an Impact project to bring back to their local community, either to increase local alumni involvement or help recruit new participants for Masa Israel programs. What ideas do you have for your Impact project, should you be chosen as a Fellow?


I am a member of the Moishe House in Aventura, Florida. I would love to incorporate all of the Israel opportunities to that experience. Masa has a lot to offer to our house and we are able to use the house to spread the word on what Masa does!

 

 

Learn more about the Masa Alumni Fellows Program.

 

 

Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay

<div class="masa-blog-title">Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay</div>

In honor of International Women’s Day, we decided to highlight our fellow Masa Israel alumnae and their amazing accomplishments. Here at Masa we know our participants have the potential to not only make a difference in their own lives, but in the lives of others. Giving back is the focus this month and it’s the perfect time to mention a few alumnae who have done just that.

 

1. Kayci Merritté, Yahel Social Change Program 2014-2015 Alumna

 

 

“After my Masa Israel experience, I returned to my hometown of St. Louis to serve as an AmeriCorps member assisting in refugee resettlement. Once-a-week I pick up new arrivals from all of the world – Congo, Iraq, Cuba, the list goes on – from the airport and bring them to their new homes. Throughout the rest of my week, I help these new residents of my city access the medical care that they need. I’m not sure I would have applied for this position if it were not for my experiences in Ramat Eliyahu.”


Learn more about the Yahel Social Change Program.

 


2. Jamie Gold, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows 2012-2013 Alumna

 



“As a result of her Masa Israel Teaching Fellows experience, Jamie chose to pursue a career in Jewish education. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Jamie moved into the Moishe House in West L.A. and enrolled in the DeLeT program at Hebrew Union College. “Masa Israel Teaching Fellows is the only reason I was picked for the HUC program,” Jamie says. She believes it gave her the necessary Israel and teaching experiences to be a top-notch Jewish educator.”


Learn more about the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows Program.

 

3. Rachel Pope, MSIH 2011 alumna

 


“Rachel is completing a two year fellowship in Malawi. She is learning how to repair obstetric fistulas and working with the next generation of Malawian residents at the newly created Malawian OB/GYN residency program. Rachel is currently living in Lilongwe, Malawi and working for the government hospital, Kamuzu Central.”

 

Learn more about the The Medical School for International Health (MSIH).

 


4. Ashleigh Talberth, Pardes Insitute of Jewish Studies 2014-2015 Alumna

 


“A serial green-tech entrepreneur, Ashleigh has pioneered initiatives for a broad range of leading companies, startups, and institutions for over 12 years. She currently consults for emerging companies primarily in California and Israel, the world's leading green-tech and startup hot spots.” ("Israelcagreentech." Israelcagreentech. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.)
 

Learn more about the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.