Tal is a biologist with a PhD in genetics from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She has worked for Masa for three years, where she served for over two years as Chief of Staff. She took up her current position in 2016. She is also responsible for all data analysis within Masa.
She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two children.
Originally from Migdal HaEmek in the North of Israel, Liran Avisar Ben-Horin joined Masa Israel Journey as CEO in 2013, where she manages the joint project of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel that provides young adults immersive, life-changing internships, service-learning opportunities, and study abroad programs in Israel.
Prior to her appointment as CEO, Liran served as Chief of Staff of the Director General of Israel’s Prime Minister’s reforms. From 2004 until 2010, Liran worked in the Office, leading a number of governmental and civic Movement, and then as Director of the North American Aliyah Department for The Jewish Agency for Israel. She began her career as a legal assistant to former Israeli Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz. Liran completed her service in the Israel Defense Forces as a Company Commander for the women’s field units officers’ course, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Tel Aviv University, an LL.B with Honors from the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University and an LL.M from New York University. Liran is an almuna of the prestgious Maoz Fellows program for social change-makers.
Liran resides in Tel Aviv with her husband, Itay, and her daughter, Eshkol. In her spare time, Liran studies Judaism at Kolot, a pluralistic Beit Midrash.
The experience you get when you live, learn and work in a foreign country gives your career and life endless opportunities. Here are five reasons to study and intern abroad next semester.
When you spend a semester both studying and interning you can apply the knowledge from class immediately to the work environment which, makes your newly attained skills come to life. You'll understand it's okay to make mistakes and fail and that this semester abroad is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Unlike in your home country, where you understand the social and cultural norms, when you’re abroad, the context is changed, and your skill set naturally expands. From this point, you better know how to listen to others, understand how to adapt yourself to any situation and communicate across multiple cultural barriers. It's at this moment that you automatically challenge yourself and your senses become sharper than ever.
When you intern and study abroad you can have a transformative experience in your choice of career fields and get a taste of different jobs and work environments. It’s entirely okay to say you don’t like one path and then seamlessly switch to another, before it’s too late. So, whether you want to go to med school or work for a tech startup, you’ll get a dose of the real thing here in Israel.
Whether you’re in class or at your internship, you have the chance to develop your international network. Your coworkers, classmates, and professors serve as a new platform for connecting you with professional opportunities, resources and personal development in the present and the future.
Oh, the real world. Soon enough the four glorious years of college will have to come to an end, and there’s no way to better prepare yourself than by spending a semester in a beautiful country where you’ll live, work and study on your own. It is here where you get to experience real independence. You’ll finish the semester wishing you didn’t have to leave and go back to your dorm. Graduation never looked better.
Written By Ruti Alfandry, Masa Israel's Director of Academic Programs
When you think of Israel, many people only think of the beaches or religion, but seem to forget the diverse landscape. This tiny country offers more than many other countries in the world, and one thing that Israel has are amazing hikes!
Israel is truly a hiker’s paradise, from waterfalls and lush green mountains, to caves and salt mountains, and even canyons in the desert. What more can you ask for? Here are some of the top hikes you can do in Israel.
1. Nahal Jilabun
Photo credit: http://timeout.co.il/
Located in the Golan Heights (North), this is Israel’s second largest waterfall. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in Israel since it highlights the Jilabun waterfall and pools. It will take about 3 hours to complete with moderate effort, but is well worth it at the end. The best part, you can swim in the water right under the waterfall and even get a glimpse of the rainbow that reflects from the sun!
2. Nahal Amud
Located near Tzfat, this scenic hiking trail will keep you wanting more. It means “Pillar River” because the stream along the trail flows into the Sea of Galilee. It’s only 3 miles and at the end of the journey, many go into the pools!
3. Wadi Kelt
Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/Palestine,_Wadi_Qelt,_(Landscape_with_St._George's_Monastery)(10).jpg
One of the most popular destinations for tourists, this canyon trail, is often visited not only for the historic Greek monastery but also believe it or not, the natural pools. The best times to visit are on the weekends when everyone is together, and there is more life and other hikers on the trail.
4. Mount Sodom
Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8a/Sodom_Salt_Cave_031712.JPG/220px-Sodom_Salt_Cave_031712.JPG
Located in the Dead Sea area, this mountain is literally made out of salt. It has some amazing caves and views! You will be impressed at the many rock formations that look like they are out of this world. This 5-mile stretch can take up most of your day as you will be gazing at one of the rarest rock formations in the world.
5. Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
Also located in the Dead Sea area, this famous water hike is by far the most popular hike in Israel. Get away from the heat of the Dead Sea and jump into a waterfall that will blow your mind. After about an hour of hiking, which is fairly easy, you will get to the famous Wadi David waterfall which is breathtaking and refreshing.
6. Nahal Og
Photo credit: http://www.israel21c.org/
This hike walks you through many white chalk canyons that look straight out of a movie. The walk is very easy as most of the way its flat. On the other hand, there is one challenge, the almost vertical descend. Not to worry, there are rungs in place to climb down and very sturdy in case you are wondering about safety. This trail is best started during the mid-day and should end before sunset as you can see the colors of the sky and contrast of the white canyons.
7. Nesher Park
Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Nesher,_Park_Nesher,_Wadi_Katia_079.JPG
Located in Haifa, this is a hidden treasure that many have no idea exists. This park includes two steel bridges that hang above the ground with magnificent panoramic views. You can come here all year round and experience this awesome location!
8. Amram’s Pillars/The Black Canyon
Photo by Brian Blum
This hike is located in the south area of Israel in the Eilat Mountains. This challenging path can be long but definitely worth the trek. You can see amazing rock formations and canyons you filled with black granite rock and limestone.
To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here.
5 Things to Know Before Teaching English in Israel">5 Things to Know Before Teaching English in Israel
1. Prepare to Pursue your Passions Speaking of passions, MITF is your chance to pursue (or even find) them! Yes, you’ll be teaching during the week, and you’ll be busy at school. But the day only spans from 8 am-2 pm in most cases. This means every day you can do something to fill your time outside of the classroom. Do you! Make some extra shekels by tutoring your neighbors in English, train for the Tel Aviv marathon, study Ulpan, start a blog, venture out of your city, or find a volunteer opportunity. I worked in one of Petah Tikva’s community gardens and joined the municipality’s Department of Environmental Education team. If you’re coming from University or a rigorous work environment, this ITF year is the biggest blessing you can give yourself… the time to focus on the things that effortlessly make you happy and what drives your passion.
2. Be Aggressive Moving to a new country is hard. It’s not only the verbal language that’s foreign; it’s the nonverbal—hand gestures and sounds are just as much a part of the Hebrew language as words. Miscommunications are inevitable, and the Israeli school system is guaranteed to be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Stereotypes are dangerous, and there’s always an exception to the rule, but for the most part, Israelis want things done their way. They tend to raise their voices, but it’s not because they’re yelling at you. They’re just excited and genuinely want to help you. When English isn’t the most efficient medium of communication (with teachers or students), you need to assume a different kind of leadership and find your voice in a creative way. Play the game Israeli style. Assert yourself and don’t be afraid to fight for what you want with persistence and by standing your ground, in the nicest way possible of course, and you’ll earn the respect you deserve.
3. בלגן: Balagan When translated, the word “balagan” comes to mean: mess, disorder, confusion, problems, difficulties. Mesh all of those together and you get the true meaning. Cut and paste this concept into an Israeli school and we’ve got a picture of utter chaos compared to what you’re probably used to. There are no lines when walking from class to class, sometimes not even a cafeteria, no hands are raised (just fingers), schedules are often meaningless, and all the teachers are called “the teacher” or by their first name. Discipline is not in these children’s vocabulary yet. And magically enough, the system works. However, it is your job to stay sane and adapt your teaching style to this new environment you’re in—step outside your comfort zone and create an English game, teach through pop culture, etc. Oh, and you’re about to become your school’s newest celebrity. Expect to be followed by mobs of screaming children, dying to ask if you’re friends with Justin Bieber or if you live in New York City or how much your Pandora bracelet costs. These kids will probably give you headaches, but they’ll also give you hugs and worship the ground you walk on.
4. Hebrew is on You! Okay, so you’re moving to Israel for a whole ten months and will be fully integrating into Israeli culture. You’re obviously going to come home fluent, right? Wrong. Your job is to be an English teacher, which means, no Hebrew in the classroom. You’ll have some Ulpan (Hebrew classes) to brush up your skills no matter what level you’re on, but it’s your job to maintain it. 99.9% of your Hebrew education is outside of Ulpan. Force yourself to communicate in Hebrew as much as possible—learn your vocabulary at the shuk, the mall, the bars, pretty much anywhere. Find a nice Israeli who wants to be your friend and practice your Hebrew on them and they’ll practice their English on you. There’s no osmosis that will magically make you fluent. Seek out opportunities and commit to the language if learning Hebrew is something you’re passionate about!
5. You’ll Fall in Love and Never Want to Leave Not only is this country going to be your new home, but you’re also going to have new friends, new family, a new community, and a new outlook on life. Even if you’re not coming from an educational background as a teacher, you’ll fall in love with your job and the energy was emanating from your students. Staff will be fighting over you to spend a Shabbat with their families, you’ll even get used to the Nescafé in the teacher’s room (which Israelis think replaces a real cup of coffee…it doesn’t). You’ll fall in love with your MITF cohort because they’ll have just been through this whole journey with you and will be the only ones who truly understand how you’re feeling.
Granted there are bound to be ups and downs, good days when you’ve successfully managed a conversation in Hebrew, and you feel like you can conquer the world, bad days when your bus is 20 minutes late, sad days when you’re missing home and the luxuries of dryers, peaceful days when you’re sitting on the beach watching the sunset with your year-long tan, and exciting days when you wake up and one in every 10 days is a holiday… The list goes on and on, but the most important thing you need to know before you become a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow is that the experience is what you choose to make of it, and the possibilities are all at your fingertips. You just need the chutzpah to grab them.
Written by Allison Paisner, Masa Israel Teaching Fellow Alumna
Doing a Masa Israel program is more than just going back after birthright, it’s actually experiencing the REAL Israel. It’s an actual journey! You will make friends from literally all over the world, see and feel things that are not found anywhere else, and you will want to keep coming back for more.
So enough of us trying to convince you to live your life or even get experience for your career, this time we will let our participants show you what this “journey” is all about. Follow these Instagram accounts to get the real deal from food to places you never even knew existed!
Participant: Julie Deutsch
Program: Career Israel
Participant: Kirill Trukhin
Program: Masa Tlalim
Participant: Tatiana Itskova
Program: Betar Mabat
Participant: David Jozef
Program: Top Israel Interns
Participant: Rachel Schwartz
Program: Career Israel
Participant: Ben Slutzky
Program: Israel By Design
Participant: Anastasiia Khodyrieva
Program: PMP Nativ Technion
Participant: Ariel Vainer
Program: Lej Leja
To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here.
4 Ways to Portray Your Israeli Internship in an Interview">4 Ways to Portray Your Israeli Internship in an Interview
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.
Mention: 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, and/or 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.
Mention: 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.