Charlotte van der Mark

Charlotte van der Mark

WUJS Institute in Arad
Age: 23
Home country: Netherlands
Profession: Student
Hobbies or interests: Travel
Masa program: WUJS Institute in Arad
 
Although she is Jewish, Charlotte "had no Jewish upbringing whatsoever." After graduating from college, she decided that there was no better place to discover her Jewish heritage than in Israel.
 
"This program made me think about the possibility of building a future for myself in Israel. The program is giving me a lot, but mostly a sense of home. The WUJS Institute staff stands behind me and the Arad community is very welcoming. I acquired a lot of knowledge due to the wonderful teachers of the Institute, which is very important to me."

Rachel Present

Rachel Present

Otzma
Program: 
Age: 23
Hometown: Rochester, NY (USA)
Profession: Student, activist
Hobbies/interests: American politics, cooking
Masa program: Otzma 
Future plans: Work on Capital Hill in Washington DC
 
Rachel came to Israel after the war with Lebanon as a volunteer to help with Israel's recovery. As an Otzma participant, Rachel worked with Druze, Arab-Israeli, Palestinian, Christian and Jewish children in the pediatric oncology ward at Haifa's Rambam hospital. 

Sarah Fried

Sarah Fried

Career Israel
Program: 
 
Age: 23
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Profession: Writer
Hobbies or interests: Art, writing, meeting new people
Masa program: Career Israel
 
"Before I got here I told everyone back home that I would go anywhere a job took me.  Now I think I'll stay in Israel regardless and see what happens. I have to say that the best experience so far has been spending time with other participants on the program.  It's so amazing that a group of 37 people from 15 different countries have been able to not only communicate with one another but actually become a family."
 
Sara interned at the Jerusalem Report, the highly-acclaimed news magazine covering Israel and the Middle East.  

Cleveland Native Forges Connections in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">Cleveland Native Forges Connections in Israel</div>

 
After graduating from Lehigh University with a degree in political science and mass communications, Alex Kadis knew he wanted to spend the year volunteering before entering the work world.
 
“Even though I’ve never been that involved in the Jewish community, I’ve always believed that Judaism is about community activism,” says Alex.
 

Annie Lasco

Annie Lasco

Otzma
Program: 
 
After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis where she majored in Women’s Studies and Italian, Annie Lascoe knew she wanted to spend the year volunteering in Israel.
 
"I’ve spent a lot of time in European countries and have really enjoyed myself, but when it’s time to leave, I’ve always felt ready," says Annie. "Between trips to Israel, I’ve only felt those aches to return, like there was something missing in me."
 
Having previously traveled to Israel with her family, Birthright and Young Judaea summer programs, Annie wanted a longer and more immersive experience, so she enrolled in Otzma, a year-long service-focused program. "I believe in Israel and think that Jews should spend time there and feel like they have a personal stake in the land,” says Annie. "My goal for the year was to take part in contributing to Israel in significant ways."
 
During the first three months, Annie lived in an absorption center in Ashkelon, learning Hebrew, and volunteering in a foster center and a nursery school at the local Conservative synagogue. Within those first few months, Annie started to feel at home.
 
"I loved speaking Hebrew everyday and I loved having the time to develop my political opinions regarding Israel and Zionism," says Annie. "But my favorite thing was just seeing the guy selling vegetables on the corner of the street, knowing that the cucumbers and the irrigation tools used to grow them were both created in Israel. Each week, he’d wish me a Shabbat Shalom and it was a clear indication that all my experiences in Israel served the purpose of cultivating my Jewish identity."
 
In January, along with fellw Otzmaniks from New York and Los Angeles, Annie moved to Rehovot and volunteered at an after-school center for students with special needs, Naamat, a women’s organization, a high school where she taught English, and an Ethiopian community center. There, she also had the opportunity to perform in a Hebrew play alongside Ethiopian teenagers. The only non-Israeli in the play, Annie found it challenging but was thrilled when her friends filled up two rows of the theater.
 
"To have friends in a foreign country loving you and supporting you and believing in what you’re doing is really unique to Otzma,” says Annie. “The choice to contribute to a country for 10 months is a result of altruism and ideology."
 
In the United States, Annie had worked with nonprofits organizations as well, but often felt like she could not support their whole mission. “So many of them totally vilify Israel though their causes have nothing to do with Israel,” she says. "It was nice to finally be able to work in organizations that I believed in, while being an open Zionist."
 
A strong feminist, Annie spent her last three months in Israel interning for Galia Albin, a well-known Israeli businesswoman. Annie helped organize her annual Live Hatikva project, which unites people around the world to sing Hatikva on Israel’s Independence Day. Annie appreciated all the advice she received from her accomplished boss. When Galia told her that no matter what she decides to do, Annie should work with people, Annie listened.
 
Though she previously assumed she’d go into business, Annie realized that in order to do the kind of work she hoped to do—be it in a woman’s organization or in a nonprofit that seeks to end human trafficking—she needed a graduate degree in social work. Now living in Manhattan, Annie will begin her studies at Columbia’s School of Social Work in January.
 
"I was sitting with one of my best friends in a bar in Tel Aviv and talking about the things that were most important to me—women’s studies and my personal relationships," Annie says. "I’d spent the past several months helping people and I knew that’s what I wanted to continue to do. I’m so thankful Otzma helped me realize that."

Getting ahead, and giving back

<div class="masa-blog-title">Getting ahead, and giving back</div>

 
By Rina Gluckman, Otzma
 
I chose to participate in Otzma at the age of 23 because it had everything I wanted in an experience abroad.
 
During the first part of the program, I lived in northern Israel with other Otzma participants and volunteered at the Nazeret Elite absorption center with new Israeli immigrants. With my economics degree and business interests, I was in heaven.
 

English Tutor Bonds with Students as They Help with Hebrew

English Tutor Bonds with Students as They Help with Hebrew

July 5, 2011

By Rebecca Apelowicz
 
A number of young people from around the world, including Canada, spent time in Israel on Masa Israel programs. This is the second in a series of stories as told by some of the Canadian participants.
My first thought as I stepped off the plane in Israel following my graduation from college was, "What have I gotten myself into?" But now that I am only weeks away from returning to Canada, I know that enrolling in Masa Israel's Career Israel was one of the best decisions that I ever made.
 
Having graduated in December 2009 from Humber College with a Child and Youth Work Diploma, I began my job search but could not find anything that suited me. I had always wanted to spend an extended period of time in Israel, so I decided to head to Israel for five months to gain some professional experience.
 
During my first month with Career Israel, I studied Hebrew. Then I jumped into my internship at Bialik Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, a school for children of Jewish and Arab Israelis, new immigrants, foreign workers, and refugees from Darfur, where I was an English tutor for students, ages 8 to 18.
 

Safety and security

Safety and security

FAQ Weight: 
0
The safety and security of Masa Israel Journey program participants, staff and partners is our top priority.Masa Israel Journey maintains strict standards for safety and security on all program sponsored activities.
 
As a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa Israel programs receive updated information regarding safety and security regularly and are able to respond to official recommendations.

Post College

Masa Israel offers university graduates and young professionals a range of transformative career development, internship, community service and graduate academic experiences in Israel.
 
Immersing yourself in the culture of another country adds a valuable dimension to your professional and academic experience. Choose from a variety of internship opportunities and gain the knowledge, skills and experience you need to be competitive in today’s global economy.
 
Take action through community service and develop skills as you explore your passions in a place where 3,000 years of history come together with global leadership in technology, business, green energy, scientific research and the environment. 
 
Your adventure in Israel awaits. Find it here.
 

Krav Maga Israel: Get the Best Workout of Your Life

<div class="masa-blog-title">Krav Maga Israel: Get the Best Workout of Your Life</div>

 
Sensei Dror Shalom, founder of Masa Israel’s Krav Maga Israel, was given a name that means both peace and freedom for a reason.  Born during the Six Day War in 1967, his parents prayed that Israel would be able to defend itself.
 
Not only did their hopes come true within days, but their son, Dror went on to become a martial arts expert, finishing first in karate in Israel’s national competition, and becoming the chief instructor of Krav Maga in the Israeli army.