The Jerusalem Post: Masa Program to Bring 13,000 Jewish Youth to Israel in Coming Year

The Jerusalem Post: Masa Program to Bring 13,000 Jewish Youth to Israel in Coming Year

October 13, 2016

By Lidar Gravé-Lazi


Some 13,000 Jewish youth are expected to come to Israel this coming year to participate in Masa, the organization announced on Thursday.

Benjamin Netanyahu takes a selfie with Masa participants.

Benjamin Netanyahu takes a selfie with Masa participants.

(Photo Credit: REUTERS)


The program provides Jewish youth the opportunity to participate in over 250 immersive Israel programs ranging in length from six months to a year, which include internships, study abroad programs, and volunteer opportunities. These experiences aim to give participants practical academic or work experience while strengthening their connection to Israel.


The Masa program is set to officially launch on October 31st during a ceremony in Jerusalem with the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency.


“The youth arrive to Israel to participate in a wide range of Masa programs, from government, to economy and culture, hi-tech, teaching English, medicine and more,” Liran Avisar-Ben Horin, CEO of Masa said.


She noted that in addition Masa provides participants with tools to engage in hasbara (public diplomacy) for Israel, turning those who take part into informal ambassadors for Israel to the world.


“Every year they show that the year they spend in Israel – working, volunteering and being exposed the multi-layered and complex Israeli society – becomes the most meaningful in their lives,” she said.


According to a recent survey conducted by Midgam Institute and released by Masa, some 87% of Masa participants said they intend to actively work towards strengthening Israel’s image in the world, while 81% of participants said their vision of Israel “changed for the positive” because of participating in the project.


Slightly more than half, 58% of respondents, said they would “certainly” act against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.


Since its founding in 2004 by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency, over 120,000 young Jews from around the world have participated in Masa programs.



Originally published in The Jerusalem Post

The Roanoke Times: Lid: Finding My Spark – From Roanoke to Israel

The Roanoke Times: Lid: Finding My Spark – From Roanoke to Israel

The Roanoke Times: Lid: Finding My Spark – From Roanoke to Israel

October 10, 2016

Shaina Lidd taught English in Rahat, Israel, as a 2015-16

Masa Israel Teaching Fellow.

By Shaina Lidd


When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2015, I wasn’t full of joy, but panic. It was officially my graduation year, and I felt as lost as ever. In just five short months, I would be graduating with degrees in International Relations and Religious Studies from Roanoke College, but I had no “next step.” My friends seemed to have everything planned out – moving to new cities, finding jobs, getting engaged. I was confused as ever, as far from “figured out” as you could get.


I knew what I wanted to do long term – I want to go into academia, but I did not know what exactly I wanted to study, or where I wanted to study. The only thing I knew I wanted to do was to research peace and conflict. I spent most of my time senior year planning and executing the first ever Israel-Palestine Peace Month at Roanoke, which I coordinated with two friends – two of us Jewish and one Palestinian. I was learning more and more each day about the Israeli-Arab conflict, and knew that I wanted to learn more. It was much more complicated than I had ever thought, and I knew that I would never get the full story unless I went and experienced it myself.


One thing led to another, and I found myself on a plane to Israel to participate in a Masa Israel Journey program. Masa gave me the chance to choose from hundreds of programs through which I could intern at cutting-edge companies, volunteer, study or teach English. Through Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF), I was first trained in teaching English, and then I was tasked with my own classroom, teaching English in an Israeli school.


However, my program was different than for others who had done it before. For the first time, through a partnership Masa developed with the Ministry of Education due to the needs the ministry was observing in Arab communities, MITF would have a cohort of Americans teaching English in Rahat, a Bedouin-Arab city near Be’er Sheva in the desert while we also spent time learning together at the Bina Secular Yeshiva, an educational institution in Be’er Sheva.


I was drawn to the program in great part because of my experiences as a Jewish student at Roanoke College, a school where only 27 people self-identified as Jewish my senior year. Through a friendship with a Palestinian-American student whose family manages a coexistence project in Bethlehem, and my time organizing Israeli-Palestinian Peace Month, as well as my studies in class, I knew I wanted to explore co-existence in the flesh.


Seeing something is believing in it, but experiencing something is understanding it. I entered Al Huda School in Rahat with little to no understanding of the Bedouin culture or experience within Israeli society, but left with a love and appreciation for the culture and the people. I learned about the people, about the education system within Bedouin cities and Israeli society in general, and about myself. I began to understand the big issues at hand, but also the smaller, less obvious challenges and nuances. The more I seemed to learn, the more questions I had. And as I questioned the world and society around me, I began to understand myself more as well.


Going on my “masa” (which literally means “journey” in Hebrew) taught me that the world is much more complicated and interesting than it seems on paper. There is only so much we can learn from books. Moving to Israel opened my eyes to the world around me, and offered me a chance to explore not only the topics that I found myself drawn to during college, but also to the topics I hope to explore in the future.


My masa changed the direction of my future in many ways, and has allowed me to explore new possibilities. I am making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel) this December and hope to continue to work toward Jewish-Arab peace; I will be studying for my master’s degree in government at the Interdisciplinary Center in Hertzliya. Furthermore, I am excited to be a part of the people of Israel, and to further grow personally. Being in Israel gives me a spark I don’t feel anywhere else, a spark that pushes me to try new things, take risks, study harder and live more. I am so thankful for MITF for introducing me to a whole new world, and I’m so excited to see where my masa continues.


Shaina Lidd of Stafford County, is a 2015 graduate of Roanoke College. She recently returned from a year participating on Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, a program teaching English in Israel, and will soon be making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel).


Originally published in The Roanoke Times

eJewish Philanthropy: Applications Now Open for English Teaching Fellowships in Israel

eJewish Philanthropy: Applications Now Open for English Teaching Fellowships in Israel

eJewish Philanthropy: Applications Now Open for English Teaching Fellowships in Israel

October 7, 2016

College graduates ages 21 to 30 who are interested in teaching English to Israeli children are invited to apply to participate in the 2017-2018 class of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows.

The Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program is a partnership between Masa Israel Journey, Israel’s Ministry of Education, and The Jewish Agency for Israel. The prestigious fellowship provides young Jews from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand with a 10-month experience living in Israel and volunteering through teaching English in schools. The program aims to close the educational achievement gap in Israel’s education system through small group instruction and tutoring at schools identified as in need of additional assistance by the Israeli Ministry of Education. The Fellowship runs from late August to June.


The 2017-2018 fellowship class will be assigned to elementary and middle schools in Ashdod, Be’er Sheva, Beit She’an, Migdal Ha’emek, Nazareth, Netanya, Petach Tikvah, Rahat, Ramla, Rehovot, and Rishon Lezion as well as in a youth village providing a boarding school setting for immigrant and youth at risk. Applicants are asked to identify their top-choice location.


In addition to working directly with Israeli school children, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows also participate in a two-credit academic course, “Methods in Language Teaching: Theory & Practice,” taught by the academic staff of Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program. Throughout the program, the fellows will study under top international language instructors in Israel, focusing on understanding how individuals acquire a new language. The strategies learned through this program help fellows better connect with their students and address challenging classroom situations.


Eligible applicants must identify as Jewish and have at least an undergraduate degree by September 1, 2017. Applicants cannot be Israeli citizens or have spent four consecutive months or longer in Israel within the last two years.


To begin the application process, interested applicants should visit, and click “Learn More.”



Originally published in eJewish Philanthrophy

From Investigative Journalist to Israeli Consultant: Meet Aviva Gat

<div class="masa-blog-title">From Investigative Journalist to Israeli Consultant: Meet Aviva Gat</div>

My parents had been pushing me to go to business school since I finished my undergrad in journalism. I come from a family that collects degrees the way other people collect postcards or rocks, and my parents couldn’t quite understand why I had thought that a bachelor's degree would be enough. I don’t think however that they ever thought I would end up eventually getting that second degree half way around the world.

When I finished my undergrad, I was ready to be a journalist like the ones in the movies, investigating corrupt politicians, breaking shocking news stories and using my skills to shed light on things that were important to me. I quickly found out that jobs like that don’t really exist, at least not for a salary that would allow me to follow my other dream of living in New York City.

I did, however, find a great job as a journalist covering corporate bankruptcy for a magazine on Wall Street. A little less glamorous, but I did get to write about Blockbuster, Kodak, Hostess and even the city of Detroit. (Yes, cities can file for bankruptcy, Google it.)

It sounds dull, but I found bankruptcy more interesting than I thought I would. Writing about it meant reading a lot of financial statements, combing through numbers and writing about corporate strategies and why they failed. I spend half my day talking to lawyers and business men and every day someone asked me: Did you go to business school? Do you have a law degree?

Meanwhile, I was getting tired of living in New York and decided to move to Israel. While I did pursue journalism here and worked at a high-tech reporter, I thought moving to a new country might be a good time to change career paths and start something new.

I chose to study at Tel Aviv University because of the great offering of classes, and the career center, which I knew I would use to help me figure out what I wanted to do while I pivoted from journalism.

The Sofaer International MBA program was interesting and opened my eyes to different things that I hadn’t thought about. It also gave me a new lens to view my experience covering financial bankruptcy, now that I understood a little more about what went into running a business.

The best part of the program was that it helped me find a new career that allowed me to use my skills that I acquired as a journalist and let me practice new abilities that I learned in my MBA.

I started getting interested in consulting during the program and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what consulting means: what do consultants do on a day to day basis? Do they just sit around and think about business things? Do they spend all their time meeting with CEOs and showing fancy presentations?

It turns out they spend a lot of time interviewing people, analyzing data and organizing all of that to tell a story that will help a client achieve some business goal. It seemed more similar to journalism that I had ever thought: a career where my job was changing every day, where I could constantly learn new things and even help people achieve something that they didn’t know how to achieve themselves.

After graduating from the Sofaer International MBA program, I started working as a consultant at Tefen, an Israeli Management Consulting Firm, where I can honestly say I have yet to have a dull day. My job has taken me to a factory in Dimona to a Kibbutz next to the Kinneret and many other places in between. Not only that, but I have been exposed to so many things that I never knew about before, and I am constantly learning about new industries and ideas.


Without the MBA program, I don’t know if I would have discovered this job opportunity, or had the confidence to change my career path.


Written by Aviva Gat, Tel Aviv University Sofaer International MBA Alumna


New Collaboration Seeks to Address Academic Achievement Gaps in Israel

New Collaboration Seeks to Address Academic Achievement Gaps in Israel

September 22, 2016

New partnership allows Masa Israel Teaching Fellows to receive additional training at Tel Aviv University before entering Israeli classrooms


JERUSALEM – For the first time in the program’s prestigious history, a new cohort of Jewish college graduates from English-speaking countries will soon begin coursework at Tel Aviv University to learn best practices in classroom management, discipline and instruction to supplement their months-long fellowship teaching English as a second language to underserved students in every sector of Israel’s diverse society.


The fellows, college graduates aged 21-30 from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, are participating in the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program. MITF is a partnership between Masa Israel Journey, Israel’s Ministry of Education, and The Jewish Agency for Israel.


The MITF-Tel Aviv University partnership is a first of its kind agreement that will provide this year’s class of 135 Masa Israel Teaching Fellows with additional training over the course of their fellowship. The fellows will participate in a two-credit academic course, “Methods in Language Teaching: Theory & Practice,” taught by the academic staff of Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program. Throughout the program, the fellows will study under top international language instructors in Israel, focusing on understanding how individuals acquire a new language. The strategies learned through this program will help the fellows better connect with their students and address challenging classroom situations.


“Partnering with Tel Aviv University as part of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows’ pedagogical training program is yet another step toward achieving excellence that is the calling card of the teaching fellows program, and of Masa Israel’s programs as a whole,” said Tamar Zilbershatz, the director of Gap and Service Programs for Masa Israel Journey. “We aim to contribute to Israeli society while benefiting the fellows professionally, giving them the opportunity to be part of Israel’s prestigious academic ecosystem. It’s a win-win all around.”


Added Prof. Elana Shohamy, who chairs Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program, “We are very pleased to welcome Masa Israel Teaching Fellows to the Tel Aviv University family, and we look forward to providing them with a taste of TAU's academic excellence. This partnership provides us with a unique opportunity to impact the next generation of young professionals, and to do so in Israel.”


The goal of the fellowship program is to reduce the educational achievement gap of underserved Israelis. The prestigious fellowship provides young Jews who are native English speakers with a 10-month experience living, working and volunteering in Israel. Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are assigned to various locations across Israel, including Nazareth and Rahat. Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel, and Rahat is the first and largest Bedouin city in Israel. Masa started the programs in both communities at the urging of Israel’s Ministry of Education, which has labeled schools in these areas as underperforming. Masa is expanding its teaching fellows’ presence in both of these communities this year.


Accreditation for this course will be given to those who successfully complete all course requirements. Fellows who later join Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program will be exempt from this course requirement.




Masa Israel Journey is the leader in immersive international experiences in Israel. Masa Israel connects young people ages 18-30 who are seeking to enrich their personal and professional growth with the top gap year, study abroad, service-learning and career development opportunities. Through subsidized, individually tailored programs, developed and implemented in collaboration with The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel, Masa participants immerse themselves in the community and embark on a journey that will change both the course of their lives, and of the Jewish people’s future. More info at



Adam Muhlendorf, West End Strategy Team Cell: (202) 641-6216

5 Things to Know Before Teaching English in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">5 Things to Know Before Teaching English in Israel</div>

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 


10 Reasons to Spend 10 Months in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">10 Reasons to Spend 10 Months in Israel</div>

Whether you love to teach, know or want to explore a thing or two about Judaism or just want an excuse to live in Israel, spending ten months as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow is the perfect amount of time to soak up everything the Holy Land has to offer.  


1.September | Kick Off the High Holidays

Even though this year the high holidays are unusually late, nine times out of 10 September will be a month filled with opportunities to acquaint yourself with this new country at your fingertips. Since there’s no school during the holidays and the weather is still in summer mode, as an MITF-er you’ll be free to make the most of these days. Relax on the beach with an iced café, take a trip somewhere new, find a host family or randomly meet some amazing Israelis that’ll undoubtedly invite you to their family table for Rosh Hashanah dinners, or journey to Jerusalem for Yom Kippur.    


2. October | Forget the Candy Corn

Spending October in Israel means you can substitute the candy corn and Pumpkin Spice Lattes with fresh Israeli-grown dates and pomegranates…indicating that Sukkot is here and the fall harvest is in full swing. Every street you walk down is full of bamboo sukkahs that completely dominate any ordinary balcony or porch. Chances are, you’ll be eating in one of these at a local cafe at some point during October. But, remember, as a teacher in Israel, it’s also vacation time and the perfect chance to sneak in a hike at the Golan Heights or chill at the wineries up North.    


3. November | BYOT (Bring Your Own Turkey)


If you’re American or Canadian, then November is the month to let the world know it…I’m talking about Thanksgiving! Israeli’s don’t have any equivalent, although most would argue that a Thanksgiving-sized feast is a typical Shabbat. This is your chance to flaunt the “foreign” card and educate your students about American history, aka pilgrims, Native Americans, the value of turkeys, and of course, about being grateful. Throw some culture into your school, host a Thanksgiving play, watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, get creative and give these kids a Thanksgiving they’ll never forget!    


4. December | Devour those Donuts


Diets don’t exist when it’s December in Israel, usually around the Hanukkah season. Your motto this month is, if it’s fried you eat it. Israeli stores are overflowing with סופגניות (sufganiyot) or in English, donuts. You’ll be able to choose from the original Jelly donut to crazy combos like Oreo crème and Pistachio crumble. And these babies will exceed beyond your wildest dreams… the miracle of the oil is amazing.    


5. January | Put those Jackets On!


Now that it’s finally cold in Israel, something you didn’t believe could be true, it’s time to pull out your jacket. Whether you rock a pea coat, leather jacket, or Northface, make sure to keep it close by so you don’t freeze! Oh, and I almost forget, January welcomes the holiday of Tu’Bishvat which means the teacher’s lounge will be full of nuts and dried fruit, the perfect way to help you shed off those post-Hanukkah pounds!    


6. February | The 6-Month Mark


Yes, in Israel it’s still cold. However, I recommend warming up with Shabbat. February is your 6-month mark in Israel and if you haven’t spent endless Friday nights with friends or your host family eating yourself into a food coma… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Yes, you can celebrate Shabbat in your home country, but there is nowhere else in the world that does Shabbat like Israel. If you like to eat, Shabbat is for you. If you like to sleep, Shabbat is for you. If you like to do nothing or do anything, Shabbat is for you.    


7. March | Halloween Will Never Be the Same


If you thought you’d be missing out on Halloween for the year by moving to Israel for ten months, just wait until you get to Purim. Three weeks before the holiday even starts, students come to school dressed in costume and classes will flip topsy-turvey. You’ll be smiling from ear to ear eating delicious Hamantashen, enjoying the three-day vacation you’ll get to spend Purim party hopping. It’s guaranteed to be a holiday you’ll never forget… you’ll even keep your costume for the next ten years to prove it.    


8. April | Let the Adventure Begin


And just as Hamantashen leave the store shelves, boxes of matzah take their place. Passover is the theme for April as schools are off for two whole weeks in celebration of the holiday. Whether you choose to stay in the Holy Land and enjoy the warming weather while eating authentic matzah, or take full advantage of having two weeks off and go on a crazy European adventure, the month of April is promising as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow.    


9. May | Did Someone Say Street Party?

At this point, Israel is part of who you are. And what better way to express this passion and love than Yom Hatzmaut…Israel's version of the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day all pooled into one giant national pride holiday. Israeli flag swag will pop-up, and streets will bleed blue and white. You’ll be invited to more barbecues (which do not mean hotdogs and hamburgers) than you can count. You’ll be drowning in a sea of people who love Israel just as much as you do and want the world to know it. Celebrate the Independence of this beloved country like never before!  


10. June | And That's A Wrap!

The heat is back on, school years are ending and the goodbyes are commencing. You well up with emotion every time you see your students because you’re still in shock that it’s almost over. This is the month to go mad with everything you haven’t had a chance to do in Israel yet. Make the most of this month eating all of your favorite foods and saying meaningful goodbyes to friends and new family, promising each other it won’t be long until you meet again.  


Becoming a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow will change you. The ten magical months will be filled with love, heartache and passion, but they’ll be worth every second. Take it from me, live each of the ten months to its fullest.


Written by Allison Paisner, MITF Alumna


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