Marissa Joseph

Marissa Joseph

Dance Journey
Program: 
During the whirlwind of her 10 day Birthright Israel experience, Marissa Joseph, McLean, Virginia-native, vaguely remembers visiting an artists’ kibbutz. “I don’t remember what it was called or where it was located, but I do remember thinking that if Israel had a kibbutz for artists, it had to have one for dancers too,” says Marissa, then a student at SUNY Purchase’s dance conservatory. “Right then, I made a decision that I would dance there one day.”
 
Three years later—following the discovery of a Facebook ad about a program for international dancers on Kibbutz Ga’aton in Israel and a semester in Holland, where Marissa danced alongside and befriended an Israeli dancer—Marissa returned to Israel to take part in Masa Israel’s Dance Journey. For five months, she would live on the Dance Village in the Galilee and study dance with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KDCD).
 
“I couldn’t believe that I was finally there,” says Marissa, who quickly grew accustomed to her dance-filled days. “I lived and breathed dance. In the mornings, we woke up to classical music drifting from the first company’s ballet classes. In the evenings, I took yoga and pilates classes that catered to the KCDC aesthetic. When I had a stroke of creativity at 11pm, I ran over to the studio—which was only a block away.”
 
During her time in Israel, Marissa says that she felt artistically free. “The Israeli fearlessness and tough love definitely rubbed off on me,” says Marissa, who was given the opportunity to choreograph her own dances and then perform them throughout the country. “The kibbutz was like a creative rehabilitation center for dancers. It was invigorating.”
 
Marissa and her peers also enjoyed their down time, cooking dinner together after a long day of work and drinking mint tea on their veranda while watching the sunset. On Passover, Marissa attended a host family’s seder, which was unlike any previous seder she had attended. “The house was filled with singing and laughing and even when the whole family was situated around the table, I had no idea how the seder would begin,” says Marissa. “Then the grandfather said the blessing over the wine and everyone screamed, ‘Amen!’” What followed was a hagaddah-speed reading, African drum performance, tons of food, and an impromptu dance party in the kitchen. “It was like a microcosmic Israel experience with everyone so happy to celebrate the Jewish holiday together, without it feeling forced,” says Marissa.
 
 
Now living in New York, Marissa is working on a few collaborative dance pieces—one focused on artists’ experiences during the tough economy that will be performed in an Off-Broadway show in March. She also works as a personal trainer. Even though her days are filled with activity, she thinks about her Masa Israel experience every day and jumped at the opportunity to help lead one of the Dance Journey auditions in New York this fall. 
 
“Dance Journey was a dream,” says Marissa. “I can’t wait to go back to Israel.”

Sagan Zavelo

Sagan Zavelo

Oranim Tel Aviv Internship Experience
Growing up in Kansas City with one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent, Sagan Zavelo always enjoyed Shabbat services, but never knew how much more his heritage had to offer. Then, as a student at the University of Kansas, he traveled to Israel with Birthright.
 
“Israel was incredible. The culture, the people and the openness all really appealed to me,” says Sagan. “I suddenly realized that I wanted my Judaism to be more than just about going to synagogue, and I knew I needed to return.”
 
After graduating from college with a degree in communications, Sagan enrolled in the Masa Israel-accredited Oranim Tel Aviv Internship Experience. While living in Tel Aviv alongside peers from around the world, Sagan interned at Parents Circle – Family Forum, a grassroots organization of bereaved Palestinians and Israelis that promotes reconciliation as an alternative to hatred and revenge. There, Sagan wrote grants and created potential programs to engage the community to support peace. “Interning at the organization really gave me a good understanding about the conflict and Israelis’ diverse views on it,” says Sagan.
 
Also while in Israel, Sagan got involved in an American football club of both Israelis and Americans. “This gave me a solid group of friends,” says Sagan. “I not only played football with them throughout my months in Israel. I also spent the holidays and Shabbat with them.”
 
Being in Israel gave Sagan the opportunity to more openly enjoy his Judaism than he was previously able to. “While I never felt like I had to hide my Judaism in the States, I was very happy to be around people who shared my identity and interests,” says Sagan.
 
Now back in Kansas City, Sagan works for the Kansas City Chiefs football team. “I love my job, but I can’t wait to return to Israel,” says Sagan. “Going on Birthright and then taking part in my Masa Israel program gave me a connection to Israel that changed my life. These are opportunities that other Jewish young adults should not pass up.”

Cornell Non Profit & Government Fair

Cornell Non Profit & Government Fair

February 23, 2012 - 13:00  -  February 23, 2012 - 17:00

Statler Hotel BallroomIthaca, NY  -  United States

Meet Masa Israel representatives and learn about post-college career development and service opportunities.
Cornell's 2012 Nonprofit and Government Career brings local, state, and national organizations to discuss full-time positions, volunteer roles, internships, and summer jobs. The event is open to Cornell and area college students who have a current student identification card; student registration is not required.

Syracuse University Nonprofit and Government Career Fair

Syracuse University Nonprofit and Government Career Fair

February 22, 2012 - 11:00  -  February 22, 2012 - 14:00

Panasci Lounge, Schine StudentSyracuse, NY  -  United States

Meet Masa Israel representative Zev Rose and learn about post-college career development opportunities in Israel.
This free event connects employers with students interested in pursing careers in nonprofit, government, education, health care, and more. Register now.

UC Davis Internship Fair and Career Fair

UC Davis Internship Fair and Career Fair

February 15, 2012 - 10:00  -  February 15, 2012 - 14:00

  Davis, CA  -  United States

Meet Danna Rubin, Masa Israel Northwest Regional Director, and learn about post-college opportunities in Israel.
The Internship & Career Fairs at UC Davis is open to UC Davis undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and alumni only. 

Brett Goldman

Brett Goldman

IDC Herzliya - MA in Government
In 2004, shortly after joining Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity as a freshman at Farleigh Dickinson University, Brett Goldman first visited Israel on a Taglit-Birthright trip. “After that, everything changed,” he says. “At first, I really didn’t know how to channel what I’d just seen and done, but then I figured I’d just find ways to stay involved and to keep going back.”
 
Over the next few years, Brett attended AEPi’s Israel Amplified Conference for Israel as one of the first representatives from ZBT, which opened the door for him to take part in JNF’s Alternative Spring Break trip to Israel in 2007 and 2008. After graduating college, Brett led a Birthright trip before deciding to head back for a longer period of time.
 
The day after finishing his work on a Philadelphia-based political campaign for the 2008 general election, Brett, who received his BA in History and Politics and an MA in Education, headed to Israel to begin an MA in Government, specializing in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security at IDC Herzliya through Masa Israel Journey.
 
“I first traveled to the IDC in 2008 after staffing a Birthright trip and I remembered leaving the campus for the first time and having this feeling that this beautiful city, this university, and above all this program were a perfect fit for me,” says Brett. “And back then, I didn’t even know about all the networking opportunities that you get at the IDC or the amazing schwarma place in the center of Herzliya, near where I lived.”
 
In addition to taking a full course load at the IDC, Brett wrote a dissertation about cyber warfare and took on two internships as a research assistant at the IDC’s International Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) and Institute for Renewable Energy Policy Center (IREP). Through the ICT, Brett helped plan the institute’s annual conference.
 
“I studied with people from all over the world while at the IDC,” says Brett. “My closest friends came from England, Scotland, Germany, India, the US, you name it. We even studied alongside diplomats from the Nigerian embassy--talk about getting a global perspective on things, these guys weren’t just learning about diplomacy, they were practicing it and by the time we finished our program they were our friends like anyone else. Where else would I ever have the opportunity to meet people like this from all over the world?”
 
Brett also enjoyed having the opportunity to experience life in Israel as a local. “You can read and study all about Israel, but until you actually spend a significant amount of time there and know about all the little nuances--like the crazy bus drivers in Tel-Aviv--and what gets on your nerves--like the cheese lady at the supermarket, you don’t really know what it’s like,” says Brett. “Now that I’m back, I often find myself talking about the little things that I miss with friends of mine who are in the same boat.”
 
Since returning to Philadelphia, Brett has worked on several political campaigns and has used the experience he gained while interning at the Institute for Renewable Energy Policy to launch the American Israel Business Lab (AIBL) of Nova-Comm Strategy Group, LLC, an Incubator for Israeli clean tech companies in the Philadelphia-area. “The Philadelphia region is slated to become the silicon valley of clean tech--power valley, so it’s a great place for these Israeli companies to be located,” says Brett.

Videos

Hear participants talk about their daily life, take a virtual tour of your favorite program, and watch your semester of year in Israel unfold in front of you

Ben Gurion University Honors MBA

Lara Sultzman
Josh Zuckerman
2008-2009

Spend Next Year Volunteering in Israel with Yahel 9-month program for $1,000 (flight & housing included)

Spend Next Year Volunteering in Israel with Yahel 9-month program for $1,000 (flight & housing included)

February 1, 2012

Are you interested in making a difference in Israel? The Yahel Social Change Program gives Jewish young adults an unparalleled opportunity to live, learn and volunteer alongside Israelis in a predominantly Ethiopian Israeli neighborhood. 
Interested? Applications are now open for 2012 program September 2012 - June 2013. Our first deadline is April 1, 2012 (*preference will be given to early applicants) Click here to apply! 
 
Program Highlights
 
- Live as part of the local Ethiopian Israeli community and experience the community's culture, tradition and way of life
- Volunteer with a grassroots organization to learn first hand about social change and community empowerment, and contribute in a sustainable manner to these efforts through direct service  
- Grow professionally by teaching in the local schools, working with at-risk youth, working in community gardens and cultivating deep relationships with your peers and community members
- Explore the country and engage with Israeli social change initiatives through meetings with social entrepreneurs and policy makers
- Create and build a vibrant community that learns and works together, forming the basis for individual and mutual growth
 
Do all of this and more for only $1,000 (flight, housing and all program expenses included). Spots are limited so apply now! 
 
Want to know more? Contact Rachel Zieleniec, Yahel Social Change Program alumna and current Yahel Recruitment Associate, at Rachel@yahelisrael.com or 216-466-1764.