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

NYU Poly Masters in Israel

A New Year, A New Community

<div class="masa-blog-title">A New Year, A New Community</div>

By Chris Khoury, Michigan State University student, studying abroad at the Rothberg International School – Hebrew University of Jerusalem
 
Rosh Hashanah. The new year. This was the first time that I observed the holiday, and being in Jerusalem made it all the more incredible. The holiday was eerily appropriate, coinciding with the start of my year-long study abroad in Jerusalem—truly the start of very new year for me.
 

American students bring Thanksgiving's message of coexistence to the Middle East

American students bring Thanksgiving's message of coexistence to the Middle East

November 21, 2011

This Thanksgiving, holiday traditions and messages are going farther than the family dinner table. 
In fact, they are going all the way to the Middle East as American young adults spending time abroad will be spreading the message of coexistence throughout diverse communities by recreating the Thanksgiving feast from their childhood. 
 
Masa Israel Journey, a project of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Government, sends more than 6,000 young Americans to Israel each year to study, intern, and volunteer, as well as spread a peaceful and harmonious message. Diverse groups of people such as Arabs, Israeli Jews, Palestinians, Europeans, and American peers are all positively affected by the introduction and blending of Thanksgiving traditions.
 
Samuel Morris Azner
MITF - Masa Tlalim, 2011-2012
Emily Shelton
MITF - Masa Tlalim, 2011-2012

Kayla Kahn

Kayla Kahn

Oranim Tel Aviv Internship Experience
 
After her bat mitzvah, St. Louis-native Kayla Kahn was fairly certain her Jewish education was over.  But following her graduation from Johns Hopkins University, Kayla traveled to Israel with Birthright and everything changed.
 
“I had no previous Israel experience and nothing close to a feeling or connection to Israel, but Birthright really worked for me,” says Kayla.  “In the Jewish country, surrounded by Jewish people my own age, I felt completely comfortable being Jewish. As soon as the trip ended, I started looking at Masa Israel programs in order to return and by August, I was back.”
 
Kayla chose to participate in Masa Israel’s Oranim Internship Experience, which set her up with an apartment in Tel Aviv on Ben Yehuda Street—two blocks from the beach—and an internship as the international campus coordinator at Tel Aviv University’s student union.  “I knew I wanted to stay in the realm of student life because I’d been the social chair of my sorority and had done event planning for Johns Hopkins, so the internship was perfect for me,” says Kayla.  During her five months in Israel, Kayla met with students and department heads to understand their needs and planned events for the international student body.
 
“The internship helped me tailor my professional persona, and drove home the point that I really wanted to pursue a career in student life and higher education,” says Kayla.
 
Through her internship, Kayla forged some of her closest friendships with co-workers and  students, and enjoyed traveling with them outside of the city to camp at the Kinneret, Dead Sea and Jordan River.
 
Towards the end of her time in Israel, Kayla decided that she wanted to look for work in the Jewish world when she returned to the States.  “In Israel, I didn’t have to try to be Jewish because Judaism was all around me,” says Kayla.  “But, I was worried about returning to a life without Judaism and going into a career that had no Jewish connection.”
 
Back in St. Louis, Kayla was happy to get an email from a Birthright NEXT staff member who wanted to meet with her to hear about her Israel experiences.  “I told him that I now wanted to pursue a Jewish career path and he put me in touch with a lot of relevant people,” says Kayla.  Through these contacts, Kayla found out about a job at Penn State Hillel and was hired to be an engagement associate, through which she helps Jewish students feel comfortable about getting involved in Jewish life, and leads Birthright trips to Israel and alternative spring breaks.  She calls it a “dream job.”
 
“This is the first thing I’ve done that I know I’ll stay with,” says Kayla.  “Working in the Jewish world means that Israel and Judaism are part of my everyday life.”

Shauna Gamsey

Shauna Gamsey

Otzma
 
Growing up in a small Jewish community in St. Augustine, Florida, Shauna Gamsey attended Sunday school and celebrated the Jewish holidays with her family, but it wasn’t until college that she became involved in the Jewish community on her own.  Shortly after graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in anthropology, Shauna traveled to Israel for the first time with Birthright.
 
“Before then, I hadn’t spent a lot of time surrounded by Jewish culture, and as an anthropology major, it was fascinating to meet Jews from all over the world,” says Shauna.  “A whole new world opened up for me and I knew that I needed to experience more of it.”
 
Shauna stayed a few extra months to travel the country and made plans to spend that year saving up for her next extended stay in Israel through Masa Israel’s OTZMA, a 10-month service program.  In August 2010, Shauna set out for Israel, where she would spend the first two months living in an immigrant absorption center and learning Hebrew in Ashkelon, and the next eight months teaching English in Yerucham, a small development town in southern Israel.
 
“The periphery was interesting to me because of its diverse populations—Russian, Moroccan, and Indian Jews,” says Shauna. “I also knew that it was the right place to work on my Hebrew.”
 
Shauna spent her days tutoring students at the local public school in English and preparing them for their national exams.  “About one percent of the Yerucham population speaks English so there was definitely a huge language gap, but we did have breakthroughs,” says Shauna.  “There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the community to distract us and we were really able to dedicate ourselves to our work.”
 
On Shabbats and holidays, community families welcomed Shauna into their homes for meals and celebrations.  During Passover, Shauna volunteered in Ashalim, helping build homes with Ayalim, an organization that promotes the development and settlement of the Negev and the Galilee, and then returned to Yerucham for Mimouna, a North African celebration held the day after Passover.
 
“It was incredible to literally build the desert and be part of an idealistic Zionism, and then to return to Yerucham to take part in a tradition in which everyone opens their doors to their neighbors and visits each other,” says Shauna.  “Though I was very far from my family, the experience really made me feel at home.”
 
Now back in Florida, Shauna will soon be returning to Israel to continue her education in a Masters program at Ben Gurion University.
 

Tlalim & School of Geographical Photography

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Program Description

The program specializes in professional and quality training of skilled photographers who want to gain skill and knowledge in the field of photojournalism and art photography.
 
Combining education and professional practice with the ability to travel Israel, the program give you the opportunitt to get acquainted with the traditions and culture of the Jewish people, to study Hebrew, and engage in volunteer activities. The program is suitable for those who want to turn a hobby into a profession that is in demand, to combine art, creativity and career development to become a professional photographer.
 
This program is conducted in Russian.
 

Tlalim - Cisco Networking Academy - Computer Studies

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Program Description

This program offers participants an amazing opportunity to combine the world of knowledge, career opportunities and travel to Israel.
 
During an intensive period of training, participants receive quality vocational education in the field of computer technology and networking in the academy of Cisco Systems, Inc, a leading global company in communications equipment.