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A First Look At Israel Lacrosse">A First Look At Israel Lacrosse

Posted March 30th, 2016

By Glen Tobin

 

Being part of the Masa Israel Lacrosse internship has really opened my mind to building a sports program from the bottom up. Lacrosse is very popular in Ashkelon and Netanya, but the goal of the Israel Lacrosse is to continue to grow. One of the newest cities to open its doors to lacrosse is Kiryat Gat. The city is small but full of energetic youth and athletic complexes. The sports community as a whole believes in the benefits of keeping kids active in a safe, team-building atmosphere. When lacrosse was presented to the mayor and his cabinet, they were extremely positive and welcoming. Since the very start, there has been a lot of public support for the sport and the organization as a whole.

 

 

Setting up demonstrations at four of the city’s high schools, has presented extremely positive results in furthering the growth and positivity the sport brings. We practice in a variety of settings, which are all extremely open to the public (one soccer stadium, one synthetic field, and one park across from a busy street and mall). When people see this foreign activity they gravitate to it. Conversations always start, “what is this?” Recently there has been a shift in who explains what the sport is. First it was us, the coaches, who would explain how to play, but now the kids jump right in and speak of the fast, physical, fun nature of the sport. One can see the passion and excitement in their eyes as they hand off their stick to another kid or adult. This is especially evident when we have practice and a new player shows up. Everyone is a new player because of the short time we have been in Kiryat Gat, but those that know how to cradle, catch and throw will instantly offer advice and help the new player along. As a coach, and someone very passionate about the sport, it is extremely rewarding to see.


Aside from the rewarding nature of coaching the next generation of lacrosse players, this Masa Israel internship has taught me a lot of about logistics and all of the little things that go into planning to start a sport in a new city. Being the “new kid on the block,” we have to share space and practice times with the existent powerhouse - soccer. This can be frustrating because the times are late, or right after school, which gives the players little time to get to the field, or we have to delay practice because a soccer game runs late. All of these are the challenges we face but when looked at positively, are necessary obstacles that teach us how to communicate and relay what we need. The field managers see our hard efforts and see the joy on the kids’ faces. When we all realize why we are here teaching, it makes the small logistical problems disappear.

 



Another logistical issue we tackle on a daily basis is how to provide all these kids with protective equipment. Lacrosse is a physical sport, and requires a lot of protective gear. When every player needs a helmet, chest pads, elbow pads, and gloves this becomes a logistical issue. How do we get these pads from point A to point B? Fortunately we have a car that allows us to transport some of this stuff. But we have to pack the car early, get to the field early, fit kids with the equipment based on their size, and make necessary adjustments.

 

 

Additionally, a lot of forethought goes into running a practice on any given day. From this I have learned to be diligent and punctual. Another major challenge is to expect the same from the Israeli youth. In the laid back Israel atmosphere, many people take their time and show up five or ten minutes late. We have attempted to make this a priority with the kids we teach. In the world, when work starts at a certain time, it is expected a person show up early to get set up. When there is a professional game in any sport, it is expected that players warm up before the game not after it starts. This is another challenge, but allows us to instill positive, useable work ethics.

 

Now that lacrosse has been in the city for a few months, it is interesting how it has changed and how the perception of the sport has been almost fully integrated. We have had a few different youth matches in public areas and without promotion, they have gathered fans and interested bystanders. Speaking for myself and the players, it has been really fun to see it all come together when the game starts. To have people cheer you on, in a new foreign sport, not knowing the rules but witnessing the physical efforts, makes one feel really good inside. It makes me very proud as a coach and mentor for these kids to see their hard work, and smiles and to know that lacrosse is in Kiryat Gat for good!

 

Masa Israeli: The journey into yourself">Masa Israeli: The journey into yourself

Posted March 29th, 2016
By Jane Mustova, PMP Nativ Technion
 
A considerable number of people believe that those who wander are lost, however I believe that it is through traveling that you discover your true self.  With that being said, I believe that the main goal of Masa Israeli is to help each of us realize what we really want and where we stand in life.
 
“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”- Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
 
Throughout our Masa Israeli journey, we hiked along Jerusalem hills, trekked through the desert, strolled along the ancient streets of the Old City, built at the times of King David. We visited the place where David conquered Goliath, walked the streets of Tel Aviv and even spent Shabbat in Jerusalem. And each day, as we were discussing questions such as “Why are we here?” and “What does Judaism means for each of us?”, we started noticing how much do we actually have in common. Aside from the obvious fact that we all came from the FSU, we found that we shared much more: family history, interests, traditions, and beliefs. It was incredible to feel how over the course of a few days we went from being acquaintances to feeling like family.
 
One of the highlights of the trip was the night in the desert. Sitting around the fire, looking at the stars, we felt like characters of the Lion King movie, thinking how “the great kings of past look down on us” and although we have all been running away from our past, and our history, it is the time to learn from it.
 
While in Tel Aviv we attended a solo theatrical performance “Apples”, based on the story by Dina Rubina, and directed by Nadezhda Greenberg. The play tells the story of a typical Jewish family, whose history went through the devastating years of Second World War and the holocaust. This story raises the question of memory, which is universal to all of us, regardless of where we came from. When I was standing next to the Kotel in Jerusalem, I thought about my own family, particularly about my great-grandmother, who came to Jerusalem as a pilgrim, over a hundred years ago. Throughout history, there were people who were coming here, regardless of the politics, wars, and struggles. These people built the foundation on which the Israeli society stands todaya nation connected through language, culture, and the history of Jewish people.
 
In our fast-paced environment, full of hi-tech developments and scientific achievements, it is necessary to take a step back once in a while and think of the important things in life. This is what programs such as Masa Israeli are made for.
 
Masa Israeli is a beautiful journey, which leads you to your roots, gives you the opportunity to walk the paths of your ancestors, re-think why you are here and what your next step in life is. It is the chance to experience the individuality of each person, and at the same time, to feel as a part of something greater. All this is possible to due to the tremendous work of the talented guides and madrichim, as well, as the personal contribution of each participant.
 
Thanks to all of you! It was spectacular!
 
 

Haifa University - MA in Archaeology with focus on Prehistoric Archaeology

http://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/Haifa%20University%20Archaeology.png

Program Description

Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a biosphere reserve, the Mount Carmel area reveals a nearly 500,000 year-long sequence of human evolution exposed in caves, rock shelters and open-air sites along mountain valleys and the nearby coastal plain. Unlike any other region in the world, Mount Carmel’s key sites, such as the Tabun and Skhul caves, preserve evidence of both modern human and Neanderthal populations, at sites less than 100 meters from each other. As such, situated atop the Carmel Mountain, Haifa University provides students with an ideal setting for the study of Prehistoric Archaeology and an invaluable opportunity to take part in field research all over Israel’s historic landscape.

Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded a Master of Arts in Archaeology from the Faculty of Humanities and the Department of Archaeology.
 

Highlights

The program focuses on the prehistory and paleoenvironment of the Mount Carmel region and each student can choose to specialize in one of many relevant topics, such as lithic, faunal, geological and palynological studies. Students will benefit from a rich variety of courses focusing on prehistoric studies, as well as from a range of additional key topics including environmental archaeology; archaeological theory and method; and archaeology of the Southern Levant. The one-year program is taught in English over three consecutive semesters from October until September.

Students wishing to pursue the thesis track will need to submit a research thesis within one year of completing their coursework and may require remaining at the university for an additional one or two semesters.
 

  • Main Subject: Graduate Academic Studies
  •  
  •  
  • Keywords:
  • Historical Conservation 
  • Duration:
  • 10, 12 Months 
  • Age:
  • 20-30 
  • Language:
  • English 
  • Organizer:
  • University Of Haifa - International School 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • Haifa University - MA in Archaeology with focus on Prehistoric Archaeology 
  • Accommodation:
  • Not Included 
  • Meals:
  • Not Included 
  • Program Contact Information:
  • Tomer Udi 
  • (p):972 4 828 8042 
  • infograd@univ.haifa.ac.il 
  • http://uhaifa.org/index.php/graduate-programs/ma-in-prehistoric-archeology 
  • Program Dates:
  • October 15,2017 - October 12,2018, HAIFA, $10000   Apply to this program

Israel Way: Hebrew Ulpan Etzion Jerusalem

http://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/Israel%20Way%20Ulpan%20Etzion.jpg

Program Description

  • Main Subject: Ulpan Hebrew Language Studies
  •  
  •  
  • Keywords:
  • Intensive Hebrew Language 
  • Duration:
  • 5 Months 
  • Age:
  • 18-30 
  • Language:
  • Russian 
  • Organizer:
  • Israel Way - Eductional Initiatives 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • Israel Way: Hebrew Ulpan Etzion Jerusalem 
  • Price:
  • $ 5500 
  • Accommodation:
  • Included 
  • Meals:
  • Included 
  • Program Contact Information:
  • Yana Vashkevich 
  • (p):972 73 231 3981 
  • yana@israelway.ru 
  • israelway.ru/masa 
  • Program Dates:
  • July 16,2017 - December 15,2017  Apply to this program

Video Premiere

Program Description

  • Main Subject:
  •  
  •  
  • Keywords:
  • Visual Arts 
  • Duration:
  • 6 Months 
  • Age:
  • 17-30 
  • Language:
  • French 
  • Organizer:
  • The Israel Experience- Educational Tourism Services Co. LTD 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • Video Premiere 
  • Price:
  • $ 10500 
  • Accommodation:
  • Not Included 
  • Meals:
  • Not Included 
  • Program Contact Information:
  • Arie Abitbol 
  • (p):972 2 621 6543 
  • iepaiement@israelexperience.org.il 
  • www.programmisrael.org 
  • Program Dates:
  • October 17,2017 - April 17,2018  Apply to this program

Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay">Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay

Posted March 8th, 2016

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. 

 

eJewish Philanthropy: We Don’t Need a ‘Jewish Peace Corps’, We Already Have One">eJewish Philanthropy: We Don’t Need a ‘Jewish Peace Corps’, We Already Have One

Publish Date: 
March 3, 2016

By Tamar Zilbershatz, Director of Gap and Service Programs

 

We don’t need a ‘Jewish Peace Corps’, we already have one in Israel and around the world.

Instead of creating yet another organization or institution to compete for Jewish millennials’ attention, the Jewish world must leverage and promote the plethora of existing Peace Corps-like opportunities that are offered and subsidized around the world and particularly in Israel. It is extremely important to myself and my colleagues that you and your readers know about all of the service-learning opportunities available to them in Israel. And not just that, but that thousands of Jewish millennials are engaging with Israel not out of anger, but out of a genuine desire for personal growth and professional development.

 

Service to Israel is integral to helping participants of long-term Israel programs to truly experience Israel for all of its beauty and complexity. In exposing them to the challenges and issues facing Israeli society, service and volunteer projects foster participants’ personal connections to the land, the State and its people. They see Israel for themselves, ask difficult questions, form educated and nuanced opinions and learn to navigate uncertainty.

 

Every immersive Israel experience includes social action and community service components, as well as Jewish studies. Whether studying abroad in Be’er Sheva, learning at a yeshiva in Jerusalem or interning at a start-up in Tel Aviv, each participant of a 2-10 month Israel program has a meaningful and eye-opening service experience that informs his or Jewish identity and relationship with Israel.

 

More specifically, gap year and post-college service-learning programs encompass a significant segment of the vast programmatic offerings available in Israel. As I write this piece – and right now, as you read it – more than 1,500 Jewish millennials are living and learning the values of tikkun olam in Israel. They are working directly with disadvantaged Jews and impoverished Israeli Arabs, as well as African refugees and asylum seekers – in both central Israel and the periphery.

 

Youth movement and non-denominational gap year students are Diaspora Jews from around the world who come to Israel for a year of service and self-discovery after graduating high school. They live, volunteer and study in a few different cities throughout their year in Israel, including underprivileged communities like Bat Yam, Yerucham, Kfar Chasidim, and others.

 

College-educated individuals work in underserved elementary and middle schools across Israel, helping Israeli teachers to improve students’ English learning outcomes. They serve Bedouin communities in Rahat and Be’er Sheva and Israeli Arabs in Lod, as well as Ethiopian, former Soviet Union, and other immigrant communities throughout Israel.

 

Other service-learning programs like Solidarity of Nations – Achvat Amim, the Yahel Social Change program, Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Israel Corps – Project TEN are specifically built around the issues of human rights, social justice and environmental activism. Diaspora Jewish participants of these programs work with local nonprofit organizations in various cities and communities. They also engage in renewed dialogue surrounding Zionism in the 21st century with their Israeli peers.

 

For Jews at risk around the world, heavily subsidized Israel programs provide those interested in making Aliyah with a soft-landing. From developing a foundational knowledge of the Hebrew language, to networking and relationship-building, to getting a foot in the door in one’s industry of choice or field of study, long-term Israel experiences serve as a pre-Aliyah immersion for thousands of Jews from places like Ukraine. For those who do not make Aliyah, they return home with extensive leadership skills and experiences and a built-in global network of global Jewish leaders.

 

Post-program research shows that alumni of immersive Israel programs of all ages, who come from across the Jewish spectrum, emerge more connected to their people and more invested in their Jewish identity. They are three times more attached to Israel and twice as engaged and informed about Israel than their peers. Empowered by a transformative, independent experience, alumni volunteer with Israel advocacy groups almost three times more than people who do not participate in similar programs and are 100% more likely to take a leadership role inside or outside the Jewish community.

 

Although long-term Israel programs are not the same scale as the Peace Corps, or maybe Yossi Beilin’s vision, a wide array of existing programs offer Jewish young adults numerous to take part in inter-racial, inter-religious and international humanitarian work in Israel.

 

So before we jump to write off the existing landscape of Israel engagement, perhaps we should take a closer look at the impact currently taking shape.

 

Tamar Zilbershatz serves as Masa Israel Journey’s Director of Gap and Service Programs. You can learn more about Masa Israel Journey’s volunteer programs by visiting MasaIsrael.org, IsraelTeachingFellows.org and PostCollege.MasaIsrael.org.

 

Originally published on eJewish Philanthropy

Image: 

Connecticut Jewish Ledger: Spotlight on Daniel Hammerman ">Connecticut Jewish Ledger: Spotlight on Daniel Hammerman

Publish Date: 
March 3, 2016

By Cindy Mindell

 

When Daniel Hammerman of Stamford graduated from American University in May, he decided to translate his BA in international relations into just such an opportunity. He was accepted to the Yahel Social Change Program, a nine-month service-learning immersion experience of Masa Israel Journey in the Arab-Israeli community of Lod and the Ethiopian-Israeli community of Ramat Eliyahu, Rishon L’Zion.

Hammerman chose Lod.

 

“I wanted to get some experience either with an organization that works with Israel or doing work that’s improving Israel on the ground,” he says. “I studied the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict in college and working with Arabs on the ground and Jews on the ground and make positive change seemed like a great opportunity.””

 

Read the rest of Daniel's story here

 

Image: 

The Other Side of Purim: #MasaGives">The Other Side of Purim: #MasaGives

Posted March 2nd, 2016

By Yehudit Werchow, Director of Education

 

 Jan Lievens' "The Feast of Esther" (Via Wiki Media Commons)

 

"וַיֹּאמֶר מָרְדֳּכַי לְהָשִׁיב אֶל אֶסְתֵּר אַל תְּדַמִּי בְנַפְשֵׁךְ לְהִמָּלֵט בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ מִכָּל הַיְּהוּדִים. כִּי אִם הַחֲרֵשׁ תַּחֲרִישִׁי בָּעֵת הַזֹּאת רֶוַח וְהַצָּלָה יַעֲמוֹד לַיְּהוּדִים מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר וְאַתְּ וּבֵית אָבִיךְ תֹּאבֵדוּ וּמִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם לְעֵת כָּזֹא הִגַּעַתְּ לַמַּלְכוּת." (מגלית אסתר פרק ד)


“And Mordechai told the palace messenger: Tell Esther – don’t think about your own wellbeing at a time when the lives of all Jews are in the balance. Because if you are silent now, salvation will surely come to the Jews from another source anyway, and your legacy, and your father’s, will be lost to history. Who knows if this is the entire reason you were made Queen?” (the Scroll of Esther, Chapter 4)
 

In this excerpt from the Book of Esther, Mordechai, Jewish leader and a relative of the newly-chosen young queen, asks Esther to do something bold: Advocate for her hated People, even as she has kept her nationality to herself until this point.

 

Edwin Longsden Long's "Esther Haram" (Via Wiki Media Commons)

 

How many times have we found ourselves struggling, avoiding, or resisting action? At times it could be because we are not sure if we understand the motivation behind the action or its purpose, sometimes it’s because we feel that the call for action is external or that the timing is not ideal.


There are times when our resistance emerges from our fears of change, disapproval, insecurities (are we talented enough, strong enough, safe, resourceful) or from our fear of being successful, from letting our talent be present and seen.


Esther, just like many of us, is, before approaching the King on behalf of her People, which she had kept secret, facing her own moment of inner struggle and transformation. In her case, the call for action is coming from Mordechai. It seems that at first, she struggles with it. Perhaps it’s because of the scope of the act, the circumstances, which are understandably intimidating and obviously threatening.

 

Aert de Gelder's "Esther and Mordechai writing the second letter of Purim" (Via Wiki Media Commons)

 

Yet, she embraces the call and acts on it with courage and beauty, giving of herself, using her emotional intelligence for the greater good.


Calls for action don’t necessarily need to come from within, and this doesn’t mean that these are any less legitimate. It feels like Esther connected with her inner truth and motivations to act and these powerful sources empowered and liberated her from the paralyzing fears driving her to act so courageously and resourcefully, to come to a place of giving.


Purim and the Megilla are invitations to reunite our personal and collective deepest values, motivations and strengths. Invitations to give back to our family and friends, to Israel, our own communities and the Jewish people. Let’s embrace these invitations and grow with them. 


This Purim, join the Masa Israel community and show the world where you’re living and giving:

 


Download the sign here, write your city on the map and share your picture using #MasaGives.