The Jerusalem Post: 4,000 Jews gather to celebrate Masa opening

The Jerusalem Post: 4,000 Jews gather to celebrate Masa opening

The Jerusalem Post: 4,000 Jews gather to celebrate Masa opening

October 27, 2015

By Josh Dell


An electric atmosphere filled Jerusalem's Pais Arena Monday night, as some 4,000 participants from Masa programs across Israel celebrated the launching of the organization’s new year of activities at the annual MyMasa Event, which included an address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a performance by Ivri Lider. 

The prime minster commented that, “You know that you’re here because something very special is happening here, because you are the Jewish leaders of tomorrow, and we appreciate the fact that you are giving yourself a wonderful opportunity not just to help, but to learn.”


Since 2004, more than 100,000 people from all over the world have taken part in Masa programs, ranging from volunteering to studying and interning at companies and institutions throughout Israel.


At the core of Masa’s success has been its ability to reach out to the Jewish Diaspora. Its 12,000 participants taking part in programs this year alone come from France, South Africa, the US, Latin America, and CIS nations.


One is Yevgeniya Ivanova, 23, from Odessa, Ukraine, who is taking part in a 10-month Masa program organized by the group Real Life Israel.


She is spending five months learning Hebrew in an ulpan in Jerusalem and five months interning in Tel Aviv. She reports that Masa allows her “to gain work experience and find out about my heritage, as well as gaining life experience that I’ll only get here.”


Alon Gamzu, CEO of the Tel Aviv-based tech start-up Roundforest, praised Masa interns’ impact on his company’s development, noting how “Masa has played a big part in our journey. Being based in Israel can be a challenge in our industry. Masa interns from the US help us to better understand and engage with our target users.”


Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky told the gathering: “You should remember every moment of our life here.


You should remember how you enjoyed this great atmosphere.


You should remember how you enjoyed life in this proud, democratic, Jewish state.” He looked to the crowd and told them, “You are our ambassadors.”


Masa CEO Liran Avisar commended the tenacity of the current tranche of Masa participants, noting that “these days it makes it even more special to have this event in the heart of Jerusalem. We don’t have participants who’ve left since what happened security-wise, and it feels good that so many registered and so many are coming.”



Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Israel Hayom: Masa brings record 12,000 Jews to Israel this year

Israel Hayom: Masa brings record 12,000 Jews to Israel this year

Israel Hayom: Masa brings record 12,000 Jews to Israel this year

October 26, 2015

By Yori Yalon


This year has seen a dramatic 63% increase in the number of Masa participants from South Africa. The number of participants from Latin America is also continuing its upward trend of recent years.

New Jersey Jewish News: English tutor learns lessons from Israelis

New Jersey Jewish News: English tutor learns lessons from Israelis

New Jersey Jewish News: English tutor learns lessons from Israelis

October 22, 2015

By Robert Wiener


After finishing 10 months in Israel in June, Lindsey Skerker returned to her home in Randolph having learned as much from the elementary school students she taught in Netanya as they did from her.

“Students are the best teachers,” she told NJ Jewish News. “They loved us trying to speak their language while they were trying to speak our language.”


Skerker was one of 25 American and Australian Jews working as teaching assistants in Netanya, where they helped third- through sixth-graders learn English.


They were part of a cohort of almost 200 young people involved in Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, a program for Jewish young adults between the ages of 21-30 to teach English in Israeli schools. Skerker was also involved in the Masa Hillel Fellowship, a fellowship program run by Hillel and Masa Israel to help build the next generation of Jewish leaders.



Continue reading Lindsey's story in New Jersey Jewish News.

Pratik Thakker

Pratik Thakker

Digital Marketing & Website Manager

Masa Israel Alumni Fellow of the Week: Sarah Wesson

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

alt="sarah wesson"Born and raised in Stowe, Vermont, Sarah Wesson was a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Rehovot during the 2013-2014 school year.


Introducing: The 2015-2016 Masa Israel Alumni Fellows

<div class="masa-blog-title">Introducing: The 2015-2016 Masa Israel Alumni Fellows</div>

The Masa Israel Alumni Fellowship is an opportunity for a select few outstanding alumni to represent Masa Israel Journey in their home communities and on a national level.

This exclusive program provides Fellows with unmatched leadership training as well as opportunities for personal and professional development and networking with Jewish communal leaders.

Each fellow will attend the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly (GA), as well as his or her choice of a major national Jewish conference. Through these events and exclusive shabbatonim, the Masa Israel Alumni Fellowship creates a community of practice and the future leadership of the Masa Israel Alumni Community.

Over the course of the next year, each Fellow will create and implement a unique impact project in order to increase alumni involvement or help recruit new participants to Masa Israel programs in his or her community.

Stay tuned over the next few months, as we highlight an Alumni Fellow every week.

Here are this year’s Masa Israel Alumni Fellows:


alt="aaron white"alt="alex willick"

alt="amy altchuler"alt="andria kaplan"

alt="arya marvazy)alt="axel angeles"

alt="erica bergstein"alt="gidon frank"

alt="grant kudert"alt="jennifer handel"

alt="jordan goldschmidt"alt="joshua entis"

alt="molly radler"alt="samantha shevgert"

alt="sarah wesson"


From Israel Government Fellows to Hillary for America

<div class="masa-blog-title">From Israel Government Fellows to Hillary for America</div>

Masa Israel alum Joel Wanger (left) with colleagues from the Hillary for America, Nevada team 



Amy Albertson

What Can You Do With Your Etrog After Sukkot?

<div class="masa-blog-title">What Can You Do With Your Etrog After Sukkot?</div>

The etrog, also known as the citron, is one of four plants mentioned in the Torah in association with Sukkot, or the Feast of the Tabernacles.

But, what can you do with your etrog after Sukkot, when it’s fulfilled its ceremonial purpose? Why, you can eat it, of course!

Here are four of the tastiest recipes that we came across for repurposing your etrog:

1. Candied Etrog


5 Towns Jewish Times: It All Begins with Baseball

5 Towns Jewish Times: It All Begins with Baseball

5 Towns Jewish Times: It All Begins with Baseball

September 25, 2015

Baseball took Josh Scharff from St. Louis to Yale, and now it’s placed him in the heart of Israel.

For now, he is alone.


"I’m kind of like the crash test dummy over here,” he says over the phone, his voice stretching across eight time zones back to the United States. “We’ll see how it all shakes out.”


Scharff, 25, is the first participant in the fall pilot for the Masa Israel Sports Initiative’s Baseball Program. His primary focus will be teaching baseball to the country’s youth, many of whom have never seen the game played before.



Continue reading Josh's story on the 5 Towns Jewish Times' website