4 Ways to Portray Your Israeli Internship in an Interview

<div class="masa-blog-title">4 Ways to Portray Your Israeli Internship in an Interview</div>


An internship in Israel means being thrown to the wolves, in the most beneficial way. You didn’t spend your internship grabbing Starbucks for a stuffy CEO sitting in a 20th-floor office; you spent your internship conducting market research to launch the latest biomedical device to save lives. You were treated more as an equal rather than an intern.

The question is now, how do you communicate your Israel experience to potential employers when you’re back stateside? They may have a slew of questions for you that range from:

“Why did you choose Israel?”

“Weren’t you scared of being in the Middle East?”


Be sure your internship in Israel lands you your dream job and excels your career above and beyond. 


Follow our guidelines for portraying your Israeli internship effectively in interviews:


1. Be sure to communicate you were more than an intern. Explain to the interviewer that there is no such thing as interns in Israel and when you showed up for your first day of work (whether you’re at a non-profit, startup, or research company) you were treated like a real employee. In Israel, interns get in on the ground floor.




You were given projects that you were solely responsible for finding the solutions for.


You were part of the team and that your feedback on projects and strategies was valued.


If your mistake cost the company money or negativity in any way you owned it and also fixed it.


Your days were spent completing tasks that would determine the company’s future outcomes.


2. Describe, in the depth the Israeli work ethic, which you are now obsessed with. Show your boss that the new Sabra attitude you’ve acquired will be an asset to their team.



Explain to him that the Israeli mentality of working 10-12 hour days is your new normal, and you’re prepared to stay until the project is completed.


Touch on the fact the startup scene in Israel (and almost any company in Israel) has an organizational structure of chaos – but in some crazy way it works. From working in this environment of utter chaos, you know how to manage yourself and set personal goals in any atmosphere to be the most productive.


3. After spending a significant amount of time in Israel you’ve noticed Americans are almost too polite, and you’d rather stick with the “Israeliness” of being direct.


Explain to your potential employer that being in an environment where nothing is ever sugar-coated has heightened your self-confidence and you aren’t scared to share ideas, speak up and voice your opinion. 



4. In Israel, the terms “impossible” and “it can’t be done” simply don’t exist.


A great aspect you’ve gained while being in Israel is that you’ve mastered the art of hacking. Going back to point number one, you were never treated as an intern, you were given real projects from day one and figured everything out on your own even if you had no idea what you were doing.


Describe the awesome projects and outcomes you had while interning in Israel – you’ll knock the socks off your interviewers. 



Now let’s get into the trickier side of interview questions, like “why would you intern in Israel.”


First, start by explaining that it’s unbelievable for a country that is only 68-years-old to be as advanced in business, technology, healthcare and agriculture as they are. Not to mention that Israel has to be one of the most diverse countries since people from Africa, South America, Europe, Australia and even Asia call it home.


Next, you could point out that the cell phone which you’ve been emailing the potential boss on was invented in Israel, along with the 4G he’s so in love with and the voicemail service the company is currently using is also a product of Israel.


Besides all of this, there’s no better place to dive face first into innovation than the country who built the Startup Nation in a little less than 15 years. Plus, that cherry tomato this guy always gets on his salad, that’s an Israeli invention too.


As I said before, your internship in Israel should take your career above and beyond. Don’t let it go to waste and be sure to highlight the fact you spent time in the land that’s not only flowing with milk and honey but innovation too.



Looking for more specifics on how to portray your Israel experience? Check out our points below:

1. Scenario: You work at an organization that aids African refugees and helps newcomers to Israel find the support they need.


Resume Line: Coordinated projects for international NGO to aid absorption of refugees from Darfur, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.


2. Scenario: You volunteered in low-income immigrant neighborhoods and organized youth group activities.


Resume Line: Coordinate youth groups for 60 at-risk teens in Petach Tikqva to promote healthy relationships and community building.


3. Scenario: You spend four hours each day for the first month of your internship program in an intensive Hebrew course.  Five months later, you’re a pro at ordering in restaurants, bargaining in the market, and chatting with the cab drivers.

Resume line: Developed near-fluency in spoken Hebrew within five months, proficient in reading and writing.


4. Scenario: You interned for a start-up and helped with their marketing efforts in launching their newest product.


Resume Line: Created and implemented a social media strategy across multiple platforms to launch XXX’s latest app. Through the product launch, the startup successfully secured venture capital.


5. Scenario: You spent five months interning at Google in the software engineering department


Resume Line: Researched, conceived and developed five software applications to extend and improve on Google’s product offering.


6. Scenario: You spent five months creating blogs and editing photos and videos for an Israeli news site.


Resume Line: One Line Content Associate who wrote daily blogs and edited photos and videos to deliver quality news content to English-speakers in Israel and throughout the world.


7. Scenario: You devoured the internet for information about your employer’s future sales processes.


Resume Line: Identified quality leads and prospects through the company database and conducted independent research and network analysis of competitors.

Written by Andria Kaplan-Aylyarov

Andria 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.



eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

September 11, 2016

By Liran Avisar, CEO of Masa Israel Journey  


For all the Jewish day schools, summer camps, trips to Israel, anti-BDS conferences, and campus advocacy trainings, the American Jewish community continues to grapple with how to successfully foster long-term Israel engagement among the next generation of Jewish leaders. In recent years, countless resources from all corners of the community have been devoted to helping form or reinforce lasting bonds between young Jews and the State of Israel. And yet, from a political, spiritual, cultural and public relations perspective, most communal stakeholders remain mystified as to how to make Israel matter for millennials in the long run.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there is one proven solution to creating a solid foundation for a lifetime of engagement: spending months living, studying and working in Israel.


Over the course of 12 years leading the field of top immersive international experiences in Israel, we have learned some important lessons. Namely, that the firsthand encounter with day-to-day life in Israel, which can only be attained by being on the ground for a sustained, continuous amount of time, makes all the difference to our 120,000 alumni around the world.


When we look at what distinguishes loosely affiliated American Jews who understand what’s at stake when it comes to Israel’s future from their similarly affiliated peers, we consistently return to the fact that those “in the know” have spent a substantive amount of time experiencing Israel.


Our participants immerse themselves in their local communities in Israel, and as a result, spend time getting to know Israelis and end up caring more about the well-being of the State of Israel. Masa Israel Journey’s “off the bus” experiences empower individuals to embark on unique journeys that enrich their personal and professional growth, and create durable connections to Israel.


Israel is made up of a diverse mixture of communities: religious and secular, native-born and immigrant, Jewish and Arab, urban start-up and rural agriculture. Working with and among these populations for a significant time; learning and living Israel’s complex landscape, both past and present; and developing one’s own narrative belonging to this place and its people – one’s own People – is more valuable than any single injection of information or dose of emotion meant to immunize against Jewish and Israel apathy.


The courage to be “from somewhere” and to stand for something is no longer a given on Western campuses and beyond. This confidence is gained by participants learning, firsthand, that the whole Israel story is as multidimensional as the passengers on a Tel Aviv bus. It is gained by giving participants the understanding that they can navigate uncertainty, because they’ve now seen a whole society do so and thrive.


A recent study conducted by the Midgam Institute, an independent Israeli research and consulting firm, found that engaging in Israel through a Masa Israel experience fosters a level of depth which has concrete results. In surveying 1,480 Masa participants and alumni, it found that 91 percent of participants agree that the most effective way to strengthen the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jews is by spending a significant period of time living in Israel. Additionally, 82% said they think Israel’s reality is far more positive than its media image abroad, 79% said they are likely to visit Israel again, and 87% said they intend to take action to improve Israel’s image in their home country by being more active on campus, on social media, at demonstrations, and through donations.


Those who have participated in Masa Israel programs are more likely to take an interest in news regarding Israeli current events, to listen to Israeli music and podcasts about Israel, and to read Israeli books. The data suggests that young people need to develop a connection to Israel and Israelis in order to make their love for the country last, and that only happens when they get the chance to have their own unique journey there.


A major part of the reason we are able to successfully create the kinds of immersive experiences that lead to these lasting relationships with Israel, is because Israelis are an integral part of the story. Sustained exposure to long-term program participants gives Israelis the chance to interact with them in a wide range of contexts, and, of course, the reverse is also true – participants get to know Israelis in an authentic way. Our experiences bring Israelis and participants face to face while working together in the office, shopping in the supermarket on Friday afternoon, relaxing on the beach on weekends, and using public transit on a daily basis.


As a result, the same Midgam survey mentioned above found that out of 503 Israelis interviewed, two thirds said Masa experiences reflect the reality of daily life in Israel. Additionally, 94% agreed that “strengthening the connection with Diaspora Jewry is vital for Israel’s strength.”


The truth is, there is no single political viewpoint or cultural lens that can motivate young people to care about Israel. There’s no single approach or narrative for making it matter to everyone, and that is the intrinsic beauty in the situation: individuals find their way to connect to Israel by finding out here what matters to them, and where they can matter to Israel.


Giving young Jews the extended opportunity to experience and discover Israel for themselves is the best way to ensure the next generation will be invested in Israel’s future, with individual passion for a collective purpose.


Liran Avisar is the CEO of Masa Israel Journey, the leader of immersive international experiences in Israel, including gap year programs, study abroad, service-learning and career development opportunities. Masa Israel Journey is a joint project of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency.


Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy

Jewish Journal: Reinventing Education in Israel

Jewish Journal: Reinventing Education in Israel

September 8, 2016

By Michele Chabin


Business man helps create degree programs for English speakers. 


"Lifshitz hopes Jewish organizations and institutions in the U.S. will help their employees with the tuition costs. (Some scholarship funds may be available, as well, and Jewish students can explore scholarships through Masa Israel.)"


Read the full article in the Jewish Journal

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

September 8, 2016

By Lakshna Mehta


College is expensive, whether you go to school five minutes from home or 500 miles away.

"Masa Israel (masaisrael.org/grants) provides grants or need-based scholarships for study abroad programs to Israel. Different amounts are available for participants from different countries. Study abroad participants from North America can receive up to $4,500, depending on the length and cost of their program, and need-based scholarships go up to $3,000. Gap year participants between the ages of 18 and 21 can receive $500."


Read the full story in the Jewish Journal

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Hero Yanush Ben_Gal remembered by Limmud FSU

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Hero Yanush Ben_Gal remembered by Limmud FSU

September 9, 2016

By Sarah Levi


Weekend event boosts Jewish identity in Tatarstan. 


"The event benefited from the help and past efforts from Taglit Birthright, the Jewish Agency, [Masa] and Chabad to reconnect Russian Jews to their roots that were severed during communism."

Read the full story in The Jerusalem Post

So This Is Where We Live

<div class="masa-blog-title">So This Is Where We Live</div>

By Ally Cohen, Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Ashdod  


We spent our third day of the program touring the two cities we are stationed in: Ashdod and Ramle (also know as Ramla). We started with a tour of Ramle. We had an adorable tour guide named Kostas who is an Arab Christian. He told us all about the history of Ramle. As we walked out of the museum, a woman asked which of the fellows were stationed in Ramle. She is one of the neighbors and always “adopts” one or two fellows, having them over for dinner and celebrating holidays with them. This kind of interaction has not been uncommon. Everywhere we go people have been so nice to us, especially when they find out we are the teaching fellows. People want us to be here and go out of their way to make us feel at home. Almost everyone we meet has offered us their phone number and told us to call them if we need anything.  




On our tour of Ramla we visited the museum, my favorite thing there was a wall that had pictures of every fallen soldier from the city dating back to the 1940’s. The families of the soldiers had all made them scrapbooks, filled with family photos and mementos. It was moving to see that these were real people who died defending their country, that they were more than just a name and a statistic.   As a bit of a history nerd being in Israel is an incredible experience. So much has happened here, and the evidence of that is everywhere you go. Walking through the shuk in Ramle we saw an old mailbox from the British Mandate period.




We also visited a 700-year-old tower. We all made it to the top, and after climbing all the stairs, we were feeling the burn. Kostas told us a story about how the neighboring city of Lot once tried to steal the tower; they obviously did not succeed.  



  We also went on a rowboat ride underground in the Pool of Arches...  




The boats were pretty large for the small space, so we kept bumping into things. Eventually my boat decided to embrace this and try to start attacking people, unfortunately for us we had a lot of trouble navigating and were unable to catch anyone. However, we did get some good snapchats, so all was not lost.  


After we had eaten lunch an Israeli tour group on a scavenger hunt asked us to dance the hora with them, they were a bit surprised that we knew what that was. It was a reminder of how cool it is that people from all over the world reside in Israel, and we all share many cultural things; it’s a lot like reuniting with your long lost cousins.  


By the time we made it back to Ashdod we were all exhausted from the combination of Jet lag and running around all day in the hot sun. I feel very bad for our next tour guide because we were not the best group for him. It was like he was giving a tour to the walking dead. We did a large part of the tour from the bus because Ashdod is a lot larger than Ramle, the fifth largest city in Israel to be exact. Luckily I will have a lot more time to explore Ashdod in the upcoming months.


Tomorrow I will attempt to open an Israeli bank account, so stay tuned.    


Originally published on AllyTakesIsrael.Wordpress.com September 7, 2016.


The Magic of Masa Israel by Julie Katz, Career Israel Alumna

<div class="masa-blog-title">The Magic of Masa Israel by Julie Katz, Career Israel Alumna </div>

I learned more in my five months in Israel than I did in all four years of college.

My parents don't enjoy hearing this (sorry Mom and Dad!). Of course, college was incredibly valuable in many ways. But you learn by experiencing, and I have never experienced more than I did through Masa Israel.

Masa Israel is one of those beautiful organizations whose sole purpose is to give: to give money, to give awareness, and to give the beauty of connecting with your heritage and a story that goes back thousands of years. They want to invest in you, and they go above and beyond to do so.

One of the most important things I was given was a deeper understanding of Israel. My Masa Israel program, Career Israel, did an especially impressive job of exposing us to all different aspects of Israeli society. We heard from politicians on the left and on the right, Palestinian school children, Ethiopian community leaders, religious scholars, leading army figures, and African asylum seekers, just to name a few.

I was continually amazed by the vast array of opinions and knowledge, and my program's willingness to show us Israel’s strengths and weaknesses.

Masa Israel also gave me several other opportunities, one of which was my internship with Innovation: Africa. Innovation: Africa brings Israeli solar technology to African villages, using the principle of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world, as its guiding force. My colleagues at Innovation: Africa were generous in their willingness to teach and guide me, they also entrusted me with a huge deal of responsibility.

I worked on several research projects, as well as the organization’s social media and donor outreach. I also attended several conferences, where I learned how Israel’s incredible start-up industry and culture of innovation was applied to the humanitarian sector. These included the Israeli-California Water Partnership , IsraAID’s seminar on Haiti’s post-earthquake development, and a competition involving inventions geared towards improving the quality of life in Africa. The uniqueness of these experiences and the skills I learned, helped me land my current job.


Through their Global Leadership Institute, Masa Israel gave me exposure to Diaspora Jewry and the ability to tap into the incredible potential of our upcoming generation. My first experience with GLI was the Global Leadership Summit, a week-long conference where we explored the concept of adaptive leadership. The quality of speakers and seminars was unbelievable, and I gained incredible knowledge and insight.

Masa Israel was very intentional about having participants from every different background, and I walked away with friends from Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, Russia, England, and France, just to name a few. Masa gave us the opportunity to turn our thoughts into action at the GLI Shabbaton, where we reunited with friends and discussed our role in tackling the challenges that face global Jewry.


A few moments from Julie's year in Israel!


These experiences allowed me to learn, discuss, and connect with many special people. I think back on them often, and I also find myself talking about Israel frequently. Sometimes it's about one of these experiences, but usually, it turns into me urging someone to go, to just do it, and not to worry because Masa Israel will help you make it happen.

Most people politely nod their heads at my insistence. They can tell the enormity of the impact it has had on me, but can't quite understand the magic of it.

As much as I want to be able to explain, I can't. So thank you Masa Israel, for allowing me this experience that was so incredible it became unexplainable. And to whoever is reading this, don't just nod your head. Go, just do it, and experience the unexplainable magic for yourself.


Julie Katz is a Career Israel 2015 - 2016 Alumna who currently resides in Marietta, GA.




Meet Devorah Serkin, Sofaer International MBA Alumna

<div class="masa-blog-title">Meet Devorah Serkin, Sofaer International MBA Alumna</div>

Before pursuing my MBA, I worked in the non-profit sector as the Director of Young Leadership at Save a Child’s Heart, an Israel-based organization dedicated to providing life-saving pediatric cardiac surgery to children from developing countries. The position encompassed a range of activities from fundraising to marketing and program development. When the time came to move on, I opted to pursue a higher degree where I could learn about the business world, which by and large supports non-profit organizations.



Several aspects of the Sofaer International MBA program appealed to me, aside from the prime location in Tel Aviv.  It is a full-time, one-year program, which meant that I could be fully dedicated to my studies without taking off too much time from my professional life. Also, during the application process, I found that Sofaer looks at applicants as the whole of their experiences and their potential, not just their grades, and I greatly appreciated that mindset. The diversity of the student body was also highly appealing. In addition to it truly being comprised of an international population, there was also diversity in the professional backgrounds of the students. Finally, the course structure provided exactly what I was looking for: a broad introduction to many areas of study to which I had little or no prior exposure while at the same time courses and tracks that would help me to delve more deeply into specific areas.


Moreover, Sofaer offered small class sizes, creating a conducive atmosphere for developing strong friendships and professional relationships. I still have many friends that I met in the program, and have many fond and fun memories of the time spent with my classmates.  The small class size also allowed me to form relationships with my professors.  One of my strongest memories is a discussion with a professor during which I asked something along the lines of “Why do you teach in this program; do you enjoy it?” The response was memorable; they liked the approach international students take towards school and learning. Many Israeli students have to stretch their studies out over a period of years while balancing work and in some cases families. Their attention and their dedication are divided, while students in Sofaer are focused on school and they pour themselves into the program. This was a gratifying conversation because I understood that the professors cared about the quality of education they were able to provide.



As my year at Sofaer was drawing to a close, I was unsure of my professional direction because my views on non-profits had shifted and my initial reason for pursuing my MBA was less relevant. Ultimately I opted to make the transition to the business world. I leveraged my years of experience in the non-profit world and landed a job at a fantastic company in Israel.  After three years, I was ready to move on in every sense. I moved back to New York City in January 2016 and soon secured a position at the great company, which also happens to be a customer of my previous company in Israel.


My year with Sofaer pushed me, engaged me, challenged me, and exposed me to many new things. The intensity of the program taught me how to prioritize, time manage, manage relationships and more. These are just a few of the core experiences Sofaer provided that have allowed me to advance my career. 



San Diego Jewish Journal: Inspired to Give Back

San Diego Jewish Journal: Inspired to Give Back

San Diego Jewish Journal: Inspired to Give Back

August 29, 2016

By Caline Chitayat


Jamie Gold, a San Fernando Valley native, was 25 years old when she went on Birthright.

“I actually had no desire to [go to Israel], but I was in a job that I couldn’t stand and I wanted to go on vacation,” Gold recalls. A couple of her friends convinced her to join them on the trip to Israel. “I was the naïve person who thought there would be camels everywhere. I really had no concept of Israel; it just wasn’t on my radar.”


When Gold arrived, she says she immediately fell in love with the country.


“The community, the culture, everything just hit me, and I realized I wanted that in my life.”


During her trip, Gold bumped into a girl on another Birthright trip who told her about Masa Israel, a public-service organization that offers unique study, service and career development experiences to young Jewish adults from around the globe. Gold learned of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program, which combined what she wanted to do with where she wanted to be, and was very affordable option for a life change. Gold applied to the program and was accepted when she landed back in the U.S. She quit her job and moved to Israel five months later.


“Everything in my life has changed as a result of the program – personally and professionally.”


Find out how Masa Israel Teaching Fellows can help you change careers.


Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows program is a 10-month program for college graduates between the ages of 21 and 30. The program allows these graduates to teach English to Israeli students and to immerse themselves in Israeli society. Masa coordinates trips to various destinations around Israel throughout the 10 months. The organization also provides participants with an apartment. Gold lived with five other girls.


“I was in Rishon LeZion. My necklace has the coordinates, so it’s always near my heart,” she says. “In the first month or two, we did ulpan and then [Masa] gave us 100 hours of teaching preparation, in order to make us feel comfortable in the classroom. There was no requirement for going on the program – you didn’t have to have any teaching background at all – so they wanted to make sure all of us were comfortable.”


After the High Holidays, the Teaching Fellows arrived in their classrooms. Most were assigned to elementary school, but Gold landed in a middle school. Her experience was probably different because of that, she says. Gold would take out groups of between eight and 10 students, typically a mix of very advanced English learners and some intermediate ones. The goal was to have the advanced learners motivate the intermediate students.


Although it was a very exciting time, Gold says she thought she was going to quit on the first day.


“The school environment in general is so different. It’s crazy to me because some of the smartest, most innovative people in the world come out of that country.”


She remembers kids running around, throwing things and talking to each other incessantly. It was very different from the way she grew up in California. Gold does note that the students completely respected her. Even though they seemed to look at her as more of a peer, she says she could tell they truly wanted to learn from her.


“It was really cool because they looked at me like I was a gift. If they got chosen to go with me, it was special because not everyone was able to. It was also cool that I didn’t speak a lot of Hebrew because if they wanted to talk to me, then they really had to force themselves to speak English. I found that naturally, they were doing better in their English classes because they wanted to converse.”


Gold was participating in the program during Operation Pillar of Defense through the fall of 2012.


“That was really hard for me. But it was amazing because I got to go and talk to these students and they were having conversations about these really deep, meaningful things. They made me feel better. I was teaching them English, but they were also teaching me.”


At the end of the school year, Gold watched her students go through graduation. The program came to a close, and it was time for her to head back to the States. As exciting as it was to see her family and friends, Gold says it took her many months to adjust back to life on the American West Coast.


“I just feel so much more connected to Israel than to America. I can’t even compare the two,” she says. “Even when I went on Birthright, it felt more like home. I know everybody says that, but it’s true. It’s a feeling that I didn’t have in America.”


In the five months between Birthright and the Teaching Fellows program, Gold sought to find a community like the one she had in Israel.


“I didn’t have a community prior, and I wasn’t involved in a Jewish community by any means. I had a friend who went on Birthright with me and told me we should go to a Moishe House event. I had never heard of [the organization], but I ended up going and it was great because I really connected with the people who lived in the house. I think that’s really important,” she says.


Moishe House is a nonprofit organization that provides a vibrant Jewish community for young adults in their 20s and facilitates a wide range of experiences, so that they have the leadership, knowledge and community to enrich their Jewish journeys.


“I ended up going to all of their events during those few months, and naturally I became friends with them.”


Eventually, Gold heard about an opening at the West L.A. Moishe House, so she moved in and lived there for the next two and a half years. Gold did a teaching program called DeLeT at Hebrew Union College and was able to earn her teaching credential. It was the perfect transition from Masa, where she went from teaching in an informal setting to formally teaching. However, after working in a Jewish day school, Gold realized that while she loved the social and emotional aspects of teaching, she wasn’t set on academics for 40 hours each week.


“While I was in the teaching program realizing I didn’t want to be a teacher, I had all this responsibility as a Moishe House resident. I was planning seven events each month for the community and doing a lot of outreach. I really, really cared about it, and my roommate asked me, ‘What are you not doing this for a job?’ I started thinking about it, and was really passionate about working in the Jewish community.”


Moishe House approached Gold while she was still a resident and informed her of a job opening. After three months, she moved from L.A. to San Diego for the job and has been with them for nine months now.


As Director of Alumni Engagement, Gold is able to reflect on her own experiences as a resident and what she wants from the program as an alumni.


“I love developing and cultivating deep and meaningful relationships. We have 820 alumni at the moment, and we’ll have more alumni than residents soon, so my job is really just to connect with people who have lived in the house and find out what they want to see.”


Gold notes that she feels so lucky because she has the resources now and can bring her own creativity to the job.


“It’s not like a large corporation where if you want to do something, you have to wait. At Moishe House, if they hire you, they trust you and give you that creative freedom. I feel that there is such an untapped market right now that I have so much potential to create so many great things.”


When asked if Gold would ever consider moving back to Israel, she says that if she would go back, she would definitely want to have a purpose for being there.


“The first time it was Masa, but now I’m in a different place in my life, and I would want to have a job lined up there. But yes, I would definitely consider moving back – at least for a short amount of time. Israel will always be my second home, and my kids will be raised with it. It will always be a place that I am constantly thinking about and visiting when I can.”


Originally published in the San Diego Jewish Journal.


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Bring on the Tears, an MITF Story By Allison Paisner

<div class="masa-blog-title">Bring on the Tears, an MITF Story By Allison Paisner</div>

And so, one by one the goodbyes commence. Doors are closing and I’m currently in this limbo where none are yet opening. Goodbye to school, to Petach Tikva, to Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, to Israel Experience, to my volunteer project with the Petach Tikva Department of Environment Education, and to my friends and family in this special country.


The first farewell was at Yeshurun for the end of the school year. The week before our last day, one of the 7th grade classes we work with threw us a surprise party! We walked into the classroom unsuspectingly, only to be bombarded with 30 students and balloons, singing, food, and an Israeli style מסיבה (meh-see-ba: party).


We all shared our summer plans and what we loved about working together. Hopefully, some of our students will stay in touch. We took our balloons with us out of school and released them together in our own little goodbye ceremony. As for the rest of the classes, we didn’t really have an official goodbye, but Emily and I made a video for the Petach Tikva MITF closing ceremony with some of our favorite 8th and 9th graders, which you can check out HERE. The purpose? To debut the video as a thank you from our school to the rest of the Petach Tikva MITF. It was my first time experimenting with iMovie… let’s just say I won’t be the next Spielberg.



The next goodbye was to my actual role as a teacher. Israel Experience had us plan a closing ceremony, in which we thanked our host teachers, host families, and the people who helped make our transitions this year into the Israel and teaching worlds easier. My host teacher, Shlomit (another teacher we work with who is amazing), and the librarian Batia (whom we got very close to throughout the year) all showed up. We closed out the year together with the rest of the English team (or the “E-Team” as we call ourselves) at Chagit’s house with a little get-together. Potluck style, we shared our thank you’s as well as received many (in addition to beautiful silver Shabbat candle holders) and had a last shebang recapping the year and sharing our future/summer plans. Will miss my Yeshurun community dearly, and only leave with fond (and funny) memories!


Another goodbye that went out with a bang was with the Petach Tikva Department of Environmental Education. As you’d know if you’ve been reading my blog throughout the year, this center has become one of my homes in Petach Tikva. From volunteering at the garden on Tuesdays and getting a glimpse of the composting program at the gans (kindergartens) in Petach Tikva, to working on a lecture on Adaptive and Resilient Cities with the office staff, it was nothing but a pleasure (in the end). Frustrating for me at times, because of the Israeli work style and process, is topsy-turvy from the States, I learned patience, sympathy in the workplace, and the importance of synergy among a group of people from all different backgrounds and ages.


As part of the culmination of my volunteer service, the director of the office and I set a date for me to present my lecture on Adaptive and Resilient Cities to members of neighboring municipalities… in English, of course. For nearly 2 hours I presented on concepts of vulnerability, mitigation, adaptation, resiliency, and sustainability, drawing case studies from around the world for best practices and policy implementation strategies. The entire audience was interactive, welcoming, and receptive to the material so it was overall an amazing experience for me to be able to present my research in a more formal setting to people. The following week I said my final goodbye to the office, where they presented me with a memory jar (sustainably made, obviously) and warm wishes for my future. I know we will continue to stay in touch, and I am genuinely interested to continue seeing the innovative educational initiatives the department comes up with.



Another tough goodbye was with my host family in PTK. Although I have a lot of blood relatives in Israel, I was also lucky enough to share a host family with two of my roommates. Genuinely some of the warmest and most giving people I know, I will miss Sigi and her wonderful family dearly. I spent a few amazing Shabbats there, but throughout the year we’ve come to get to know each other pretty well, and even though my host mom and dad barely speak English (as well as my two younger “host brothers"), it hasn’t stopped us from connecting and growing closer. I’ve had a taste of the best Yemenite food I’ve had in Israel (by far), the longest Shabbat dinners (seriously talking 6 hours here people), and running out of ways to express that I’m full and don’t want more food. So thank you Sigi for welcoming me into your beautiful family, and for treating me like one of your own <3  


And then came the goodbye to MITF at HaYarkon Park in TLV. All of the Israel Teaching Fellows from around the country came to hear the CEO of Masa Israel and our Pedagogical Advisor from the Ministry of Education, among others, thank us for our work and spend a relaxing night celebrating the end of our experience. With free booze, a diploma and dope portable speakers as a little parting gift, it was a beautiful night and atmosphere, with lots of goodbyes to my friends from other cities.


The last MITF goodbye was just with Petach Tikva and Rishon, thanks to Israel Experience and our closing tiyul. This is the group we started off with August 27th when we met in Kiryat Moriah for the first time, and it’s the same group we are ending with on June 27th. Thankfully (and amazingly), we had some money left over in our budget, so Israel Experience spared no expense on this one! We rafted down the Jordan River (which had more than 6 inches of water in it this time!), enjoyed a BBQ buffet by the water (wow, how I miss BBQ), spent one day at a beautiful “resort” on the Kinneret, and ended the trip back at Zichron Ya’akov where we had our first seminar back in September. The meals were lavish, and I ate enough kosher meat to last me until my next trip to Israel… or so I say for now.


In addition to the physically packed schedule was the equally emotionally packed one as well. In a series of reflection activities, our group shared the ups and downs, favorite and worst moments, and highlights and regrets of the year. The 14 fellows in Petach Tikvah also had our own reflections, where we filled out private notes for each other in little memory boxes, crafted by our Madricha, Amit. I even debuted my ukulele playing skills (or lack thereof) when one of the Petach Tikvah Fellows performed a song he wrote for the group. The whole tiyul was surreal because of a lot of the people in the cohort I really didn’t get to know so well even after a year. It was a strange feeling for the final doors of MITF to be closing, and the tears and sobs began. Two weeks later, and I’m magically hydrated enough to cry nearly every day.


But the journey isn’t over yet. I’m still here until July 18th, and after all of these goodbyes to MITF, I still had all of my closest friends and family. For our last Friday Shabbat dinner altogether, we had a giant potluck at one of my friends’ boyfriend’s apartment in Tel Aviv. Roi and I contributed with Mac and Cheese (which apparently Israelis aren’t too familiar with), homemade onion rings, and my favorite Israeli salad with nishnooshim (it’s good, trust me).


Emily and I brought the skits we wrote for our English day, and after a few drinks, we had our boyfriends and friends act them out! Hands down one of the funniest things I was lucky enough to witness. Another favorite game is a three-round combination of taboo, one-word giveaway, and charades with the same series of words/phrases. Major כל הכבוד to the Israelis in the house whose first language (and for some, even second language) isn’t English. Truly a night filled with laughter and love that I will never forget.



And with that, I'll end the last bit of my Masa experience. 10 of the most amazing months that were the best gift I could've given myself. Rolling into July, I am lucky enough to have three weeks of "Israel Closure." Stay tuned for following posts about my trip to Eilat, my goodbyes to friends, family, and loved ones, and for my closing tiyul (self-planned) to Jerusalem at Neve, a Women's Jewish Learning Program. While the tears are still coming, it's time to start getting excited about the future because... no one knows what it will hold...