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The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle: Ten Months in Israel for Shorewood native">The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle: Ten Months in Israel for Shorewood native

Publish Date: 
February 3, 2016

By Rob Golub

 

Marissa Steinhofer, 23 is not best friends with Miley Cyrus.

Yes, the pop star who played “Hannah Montana” is from Franklin, Tennessee, which is in the United States, which is where Steinhofer is from. But, really, that doesn’t mean they hang out.

 

As Steinhofer was getting over this first hurdle of explanation while teaching children English in Israel, she came to realize her students were fascinated with America.

 

“I feel like a celebrity every day when I go to school,” said Steinhofer, who is mid-way through a ten-month teaching stint in Ashdod, Israel. “The kids are so excited to see me every day.”

 

Steinhofer grew up in Wauwatosa and then moved to Shorewood and attended high school there. She spent many summers at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the Reform Jewish camp in Oconomowoc. She attended University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, double-majoring in Jewish studies and communication. She was president of Hillel Milwaukee before graduating in May of 2014.

 

All of that has led her to this moment: She’s in a classroom at Retamim School in Israel, looking at her watch. She’s waiting for a small group of her Israeli students, ranging from 3rd to 6th grade, to stop talking. They see her eyeing her watch. They trail off and stop.

 

When that happens, she has everyone sit in silence for exactly as long as she timed them talking.  “See, this wasn’t very fun,” she says, “so let’s not do this again.”

 

Though she’s got to control the class, she loves her job and the kids are great, she said.

 

“They want to learn English,” she said. “They want to put in the effort. They’re excited.”

 

Her role is to teach typical Israeli students as part of the Masa Israel’s Teaching Fellows program. The program is a 10-month teaching and volunteer fellowship in which college graduates teach English to Israeli children. More information is available at IsraelTeachingFellows.org.

 

Steinhofer is using weekends to travel around Israel, to see Israeli and American friends from camp and elsewhere.

 

Steinhofer is well aware of the litany of attacks in Israel. “A lot of what’s happening right now in Israel is in Jerusalem, Ashdod’s pretty far from that,” she said. “You go about your life. I guess you could kind of compare it to shootings in America in a way. Yeah, something might happen but you can’t just stop living. But I’m definitely more aware. I pay attention more. I look around more.”

 

Steinhofer can see herself working in the Jewish community after she’s done with her 10 months.

 

“I don’t want to make aliyah,” she said. “I love Milwaukee but I’m planning on applying to jobs all over the country. Milwaukee will always be my home.”

 


 

From Steinhofer’s blog: EatPrayLoveIsrael

 

  • On her first Israeli wedding: “First thing that I learned was that gifts aren’t a thing here. Everyone brings money to the wedding and writes on the envelopes that were provided for us.

 

  • You know you’re in Israel when: “Winter means 60 degrees and big puffy winter jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves have all come out.

 

  • On a ceremony in October:  “As the kids started singing this beautiful song to remember Rabin, it started to rain lightly. It was a beautiful moment like Yitzhak Rabin was listening and started crying because these kids were singing so beautifully.

 

Originally Published in The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle.

 

 

 

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Hillel International: Welcoming the 2016 Masa-Hillel Fellows">Hillel International: Welcoming the 2016 Masa-Hillel Fellows

Publish Date: 
February 4, 2016

We are so excited to welcome our third cohort of Masa-Hillel Fellows. The fellowship is a six-month professional development seminar designed to prepare current Masa Israel participants for Hillel work. 

Through Hillel’s partnership with Masa, Hillel provides a Fellowship experience for current Masa participants who were at the Masa Israel Leadership Summit in November. The goal of the Masa-Hillel Fellowship is to build a talent pipeline and populate Hillel’s professional cohort with talented individuals and budding leaders who are actively exploring Israel and reinforcing their Jewish and Israel connections. Learn more about the Fellowship and the 2014 and 2015 cohort’s on our blog.

 

Meet the Masa-Hillel Fellows on the Hillel International Blog.

Secrets of the Machane Yehuda Market">Secrets of the Machane Yehuda Market

Posted February 2nd, 2016
On weekdays, the alleyways of Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market are a bustle of shoppers and sellers, a place bursting with sights, sounds and smells. Weekday evenings are similarly busy, with recently opened restaurants and bars attracting young people out for a night on the town. But on Saturdays, the Jewish day of rest, the market has traditionally been empty and silent, with the shutters of the stalls rolled down and locked.
 
When the shutters are down and the market is closed, it becomes just as colorful as it is when it is open because of one artist, Solomon Souza. He started this project in January 2015 and throughout 2015 and into early 2016, Souza has painted over 140 of the shutters — some are of famous people, and others are of biblical and other scenes. Up until now, it hasn’t been difficult to get the permission of the shopkeepers to paint their shutters. Some have asked Souza to paint a favorite rabbi or the family patriarch who was the original owner of their stall.
 
Albert Einstein

Scar Face

Crazy Lady

Supposedly John Travolta

Moshe turning his staff into a snake

Famous Rabbi 1

Famous Rabbi 2

Women Carrying Fruit

Working the land

So when you are in Jerusalem on Shabbat, take a stroll through the Machane Yehuda Market and see all different pieces of art. If you’re visiting it in the winter, make sure to bundle up!

 

Blog post and photos by Garrett Davis who is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Beer Sheva and Masa Influencer. Follow Garrett's Journey on his blog: https://g13israel.wordpress.com/
 

The Eco-Israel Experience: A Hungarian Perspective">The Eco-Israel Experience: A Hungarian Perspective

Posted January 29th, 2016

My name is David, I’m 18 years old and from Budapest, Hungary. I take part in a program called Eco-Israel, which is a five-month program on a sustainable community farm near the city of Modi’in. We are a group of eight “Ecos”, living and volunteering together with the local young Israelis.

 

 

Living on the Land: Vegan Tu B’Shvat Recipes from Eco-Israel ">Living on the Land: Vegan Tu B’Shvat Recipes from Eco-Israel

Posted January 25th, 2016

Tu B’Shvat is the Jewish new year of the trees. In Israel people get together and celebrate by eating delicious foods made with the 7 species of the season.

 

Masa Israel's Eco-Israel prgram embraces this holiday every day of the year by living on and off-of the land. Participants learn permaculture and agriculture while living sustainably on an organic farm.

 

 

Top 10 Masa Israel Moments of 2015">Top 10 Masa Israel Moments of 2015

Posted December 29th, 2015

Wow! We can hardly believe 2015 is already coming to a close and we’re sure you’re all reminiscing on the year that has passed. Both in terms of achievements and experiences, here at Masa Israel we have had a pretty incredible 2015. Let’s look back on this year and recap our 10 best Masa Israel Moments!

 

1.Our 2015 AIPAC Policy Conference Delegation