Shoshana Gottesman

Shoshana Gottesman

WUJS Israel
Hometown: Houston, Texas
WUJS Track: Jerusalem Internship & Arts
College: University of Miami Frost School of Music
Major: Music, International Studies & Public Relations
 
Why did you decide to take 6 months and come to Israel?
Since my sophomore year in university, I knew that I wanted to spend time in Israel after graduation. The only question was, which program was the right one for me. Luckily, I found WUJS and so far, so good!
 
What are you doing while on WUJS?
I am interning for Heartbeat Jerusalem, an international community of musicians, teachers, and students that are transforming conflict and creating mutual understanding through the power of music. In other words, Heartbeat brings together Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli youth to make music together and engage in peacemaking activities. As well, I plan on giving a recital at the end of the program on the viola.
 
What are you looking forward to the most?
It is hard to say what I’m necessarily looking forward to the most as I’m already living the dream. It will be exciting to see how my internship with Heartbeat Jerusalem progresses over the next few months.
 
Where else have you traveled in the world?
I am very lucky to have been brought in a family that loves traveling. In fact, many say that I have caught the “travel bug”. I have visited countries in South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. My most recent adventures were to Tunisia this past summer to run a music festival for Tunisian youth and to Damascus, Syria on a George Mason University course about Reflection & Practice in the fields of conflict resolution and citizen diplomacy.
 
What Israeli food are you hoping to eat a lot of during your time in Israel?
The hardest question of them all! There is a specific restaurant in the Old City that has the best hummus ever, so hopefully I’ll become a frequent visitor.
 

Abby Ravski

Abby Ravski

WUJS Israel
Hometown: Albany, NY
University: Fashion Institute of Technology – Advertising and Graphic Design
 
I chose to participate in WUJS…
After my husband and I made a last minute decision to come to Israel for the year. I was looking for a program that I could learn Hebrew, advance professionally, and still be able to travel and see the country as this is only my 2nd time in Israel. It was very important to me that I did not let this year go to waste professionally. I wanted to keep practicing graphic design, but break my way into the Jewish work world. I hope to return to the US and do graphics work for a Jewish organization (anyone want to hire me?). I work at Matan Media doing graphics for Young Judaea. I am currently creating a Facebook and Google Ad Campaign for Young Judaea’s gap year program, Year Course. In my field, Facebook and online marketing is very hot right now. Here I am in Jerusalem enhancing my resume and work experience and after work I can go to the shuk and haggle over a sweet potato. Life is good! 
 
What are the tracks like on WUJS?
It was not my original plan to participate in 2 tracks on WUJS, when I met the Ofra the art’s track teacher I immediately fell in love. With my years of Art History this opportunity to learn about the history of Jewish and Israeli art sounded amazing. And it is amazing! The classes and trips we have are well planned, interesting and I find myself sharing and teaching my family and friends what I learn in my classes. My passion and love for art was established in college. Now, as I participate in my WUJS art’s track classes they have helped strengthen my Zionist ideas and connection to the State of Israel.
 
What’s one of your favorite moments in Israel?
I loved spending the High Holidays in Jerusalem. One image I will never forget is seeing a orthodox man on his scooter and kittel (white robe) on his way to Kol Nidre. That’s when it hit me, I’m in Jerusalem, I’m a majority! The silence of the city for all of Yom Kippur truly enhanced the day, and as soon as the sun went down, and people enjoyed their food, the streets echoed with hammers and nails as residents built their sukkot. Where else in the world can you experience this? I am a New Yorker and am used to being surrounded by Jews, but I have found that there’s something in Jerusalem for everyone. Bars are packed at 3am on Thursdays with 20 somethings. H&M just opened in the Malka Mall, the restaurants are amazing, affordable,and Kosher! I have found that no matter what my friend’s level of observance is they have found a love for shabbat, sitting around the table with friends, eating, singing and drinking. What is usually said? “When in Rome do as the Romans do!”
 
What’s been most challenging?
I thought it was really going to be hard keeping in touch with family and I’d feel 6,000 miles awaySkype has actually kept us closer, being able to see everyone’s faces on. Thanksgiving made the day go by much easier. What’s even better is when you’re in Israel so many people come to visit! I came to Israel really wanting to learn Hebrew. It’s harder than I thought it would be! Being in Jerusalem everyone speaks English so it’s very hard to practice. I loved our Ulpan program, the teachers are our peers and we play games and practice our Hebrew for practical situations. It has been a challenge keeping up with the work, practicing in between class and feeling confident speaking out on the street.
 
Tell us about your other world travels:
We had a short Hanukkah break. My husband and I took a trip to Paris. We don’t know a word of French, we passed a clothing store close to the Moulin Rouge. As we shopped we were nervous because we had questions, but how would be communicate in our non existent French? I look over and see a Hamsa on the wall, that’s usually a strong clue to speak Hebrew or defiantly NOT to speak Hebrew. I look closer and he has a “birkat hanoot” (blessing of the store) hung on the wall. Soon enough we said “Efshar medabear ivrit?” (can we speak hebrew?) His face lit up and started speaking Hebrew a mile a minute. Soon enough we were saying “le’at le’at” (slower slower!) He was an Israeli who grew up right outside of Tel Aviv and we know we made his night! This was not the first time our Hebrew has come in handy in our travels, now after 3 months of Ulpan I’m actually able to participate in these world wide encounters! After our year in Israel we are spending the month of June backpacking across Europe and visiting close to 9 different countries. We’re excited to continue to explore the world and then return to “normal life” back in the states in July.

Jesse Zryb

Jesse Zryb

Career Israel
Program: 
Graduating with a Masters degree in architecture from Tulane University in 2008, Jesse Zryb entered a terrible economy.  After losing his job in New York City, he decided to enroll in Masa Israel’s Career Israel.  “I could have stayed at home and experienced five months of uncertainty.  But instead, I decided to participate in a program that would allow me to gain valuable work experience and further explore Israel,” says Jesse.
 
Since his Birthright trip to Israel during college, Jesse had wanted to return.  “I was really impressed by the modernity of Israel, and the mix of the old and the new,” says Jesse.
 
Through Career Israel, Jesse interned at Stav Architecture, a midsized firm in Ramat Gan.  “I lack a native speaker’s Hebrew skills, but I was able communicate through mathematics and design,” says Jesse. “The work pushed me in the direction I wanted my career to take.”
 
When not at work, Jesse spent much of his time outdoors. “In Tel Aviv, we lived a block away from the beach and I was often walking or running along the Mediterranean. Tel Aviv is a bustling metropolis with tons of energy and a very easy place to immerse oneself,” says Jesse.
 
Jesse also sought out different music events, often finding that he and a friend were the only Americans in a crowd of Israelis.  When his parents visited from New York, Jesse invited them to a jazz festival in Caesarea.  “We spent the whole day in the heat, not knowing whether it was going to happen or not.  Then the sun set over the ruins and all of a sudden, it started,” says Jesse.  “It was my dad’s birthday, which made it really special.”
 
A few weeks after Jesse returned from Israel, he landed a job at Pink Inc., a Manhattan-based design firm with a focus on events.  “My Career Israel experience definitely gave me more employable qualities,” says Jesse.  “Being able to work in an international office shows a level of independence and initiative.  In a field like architecture, it’s a great thing to get different perspectives.”
 
Since his return to the U.S., Jesse feels much more connected to Israel.  “I’m much more aware of the realities of the country and I stay up-to-date through my friends who still live there,” he says.
 
Jesse is looking forward to becoming more involved in Jewish life in New York.  Before Sukkot, he will be leading tours around Sukkah City in Union Square, an international design competition to re-imagine sukkot.
 
“My experience in Israel definitely helped me grow personally and professionally,” says Jesse.  “I look forward to returning.”

Arielle Bendory

Arielle Bendory

Oranim Tel Aviv Internship Experience
 
Name: Arielle Bendory
Hometown: Parsippany, NJ
College: Professional Performing Certificate from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and BFA in Musical Theatre from The New School
 
Why did you decide to participate in a long-term program in Israel? Why did you choose Oranim’s Tel Aviv Internship Experience?
I chose to participate in this longterm program because I knew I wanted to spend a significant amount of time in Israel and never got a chance to in college. I visit a lot because I have a lot of relatives here, so it’s already like my home away from home. The other reason is that I wanted to get a new experience besides the background that I have in Musical Theatre in hopes that it will help my career. Musical Theatre is a tough field and the reality is that I don’t think I can live my life going from audition to audition without having a steady income. Therefore, I want to discover what my other interests might be. Furthermore, my parents who are Israeli just moved back to Israel. So it makes the move a little easier on me.
 
What are your goals for this year?
My goal is to gain some knowledge from this new experience so that I can be able to use it for the future. I want to make some choices for my career that are more than what I have decided for myself at this point in my life.
 
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I am most looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and building connections in Israel.
 
How do you plan on celebrating the Chagim (high holidays) in Israel?
Probably with my family.
 
What are some of your post-program plans?
I don’t really have specific plans. That is probably the scariest thing about this. After the program, I fly back to America, leaving my parents and most of my family behind. I will probably continue trying to pursue my Musical Theatre career. But, I’m hoping that after this experience I will be more sure of what I want my future to look like and will be able to build my career in other ways as well.

Leila Hesselson

Leila Hesselson

Career Israel
Program: 
 
Name: Leila Hesselson
Hometown: Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada
Employer: SickKids Hospital
Program: Career Israel
 
What was the highlight of your internship?
I worked in a genetics lab at Tel Aviv University. I enjoyed working closely with a PhD student on her thesis project as well as spending time learning from other students in the lab. People in my lab were willing to teach and mentor me throughout my time in the lab. I am very thankful for all the time they dedicated to me. I still keep in e-mail contact with people in my lab.
 
What skills/lessons/etc did you take away from your internship that you still use today?
I am applying the skills and techniques that I learned in the lab to my research position now.
 
Is there a story or anecdote that you can share that reflects your experience in Israel?
When I went to Israel I did not know Hebrew, I only knew enough to get me through my Bat mitzvah portion. As you can imagine, there were not a lot of Hebrew schools in Battleford, Saskatchewan. For my 3-week ulpan I was placed in Aleph echat. After I completed my ulpan I signed up to do private Hebrew classes with a teacher. After my private lessons I always had homework to do, specifically I had to work on my oral pronunciation. One afternoon I was sitting in the lab reciting my new Hebrew words for the week and one of the masters students in my lab was sitting dissecting a mouse ear beside me. As he was working away he was listening to me recite my Hebrew sentences paying particular attention to my pronunciation as he was taking the time to correct me along the way.  Talk about multitasking!
 
What are you up to now?
Since returning to Canada, I have been working at SickKids hospital in Toronto, doing medical research with a neuro-oncologist. This fall I will begin medical school. In addition, I have started a book compilation project with Canadian Hadassah-WIZO. I am looking for stories in two categories, from either people who have travelled to remote and distant locations and connected with local Jewish populations, or Jewish travellers who have shared a unique experience with other Jewish travellers in remote pockets of the world while, for example, backpacking in South America or trekking in Nepal. I aim to publish a book with 50 such illuminating stories celebrating Jewish life from a Canadian perspective. The deadline has passed, however, I am still accepting submissions.
 
Has your time in Israel impacted your career/future plans?
Before going to Israel I knew that I wanted to apply to medical school. I thought that Israel would give me the opportunity to gain work experience as well as enjoy the opportunity to live in a new environment with local Israelis as well as other interns from around the world. I developed my book compilation project shortly after returning from Israel. Growing up in a remote location in Canada and meeting Jewish people from around the world sparked my interest in learning more about how Jewish people celebrate Jewish life in distant pockets of the world. All the proceeds from my book will go to Canadian Hadassah-WIZO whose mandate is to support a multitude of programs and projects for Children, Healthcare and Women in Israel and Canada.
 
If you could meet any Israeli from any point in history, who would it be and why?
I would say Yitzhak Rabin. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and came the closest to making peace.  I would like to find out what motivated him and gave him such a hopeful outlook. He would definitely be someone I would enjoy chatting with over a coffee at Aroma.

Jacob Kieval

Jacob Kieval

WUJS Tel Aviv Internship
Name: Jacob Kieval
Hometown: Sharon, MA
Employer: Mark Burnett Productions
University: Washington University in St. Louis
Major: Film and Media Studies
 
How did you decide that going to Israel was the right option for you?
I hadn’t been in several years, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after college at the time, so I started looking into programs.
 
What Masa Israel program did you participate in?
 
Why did you decide to participate in WUJS Intern Tel Aviv?
I wanted to do something productive while in Israel, not just tour around.  I wanted to do something relevant to my career path, and feel like a real working Israeli.
 
What did you do while on WUJS Intern Tel Aviv?
I was an assistant technician at Meirav Productions in Ramat Gan. I also made a weekly video update about the other WUJS participants’ internships.
 
What was the highlight of your internship?
In my internship with WUJS, it was getting to read/hear the feedback from my videos each week as I put them up.
 
What skills/lessons did you take away from your internship that you still use today?
During my internship at Meirav Productions, I learned a lot about technical editing and post-production equipment, that are all very relevant to what I do now since it’s mostly the same stuff.
 
Is there a story or anecdote that you can share that reflects your experience in Israel?
Most of my group went to an American bar to watch the Superbowl with other Americans.  It was great, because after five months in Israel, absorbing their culture, we suddenly had a night where all the Americans came out of the woodwork to join in a true cultural event for US.  It was also great because the game started at 1 AM and went until 5.
 
What are you up to now?
Now I’m living in Los Angeles, working as a Post Production Coordinator at Mark Burnett Productions.  I’m new to the city and adjusting to life here.
 
Has your time in Israel impacted your future/career plans?
Pretty directly, for two reasons: 1) I met the guy who hired me through a friend of Mike Mitchell, director of WUJS, and 2) I was hired for this position partly on the basis of what I did at Meirav Productions in Israel.
 
If you could meet any Israeli from any point in history, who would it be and why?
Eliezer Ben Yehuda.  I’m not sure if he counts as an Israeli, but he did reinvent the Hebrew language, so I’m kind of awed by him.

Hannah Schafer

Hannah Schafer

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
While growing up in the United States, Hannah Schafer learned of the struggles that Israelis faced each day during the Second Intifada and wished she could help.  After focusing on environmental studies in college, Hannah decided to spend a year studying at the Arava Institute in Israel.  Her studies at Arava, which included projects to improve the environment and conflict-resolution activities with Jordanian, Palestinian, Israeli, and North American students were instrumental in making Hannah feel like she could make a difference in Israel—both as an environmentalist and as a Jew.  "All of a sudden, I could participate in solving Israel’s problems in a way that was personal," Hannah says.  
 
One of Hannah’s most meaningful experiences at the Arava Institute occurred during the end of her environmental law course. For their final project in the course, Hannah and her fellow students researched the effect of Eilat fish-growing cages on coral reefs.  While some students were assigned to prosecute the fish-cage companies, others were assigned to defend them;  assigned to the companies’ defense, Hannah traveled to Eilat to meet with one case company’s managers and workers in order to gain a wider perspective on the issue.  “It just so happened that several kibbutzim owned the company I was assigned to, and many of the kibbutzniks consider themselves to be big environmentalists,” Hannah says, explaining the complexity of the situation.  The project culminated in a mock trial and made Hannah realize that there was an abundance of environmental work to pursue in Israel.
 
A few years after completing her studies at the Arava Institute, Hannah returned to Israel and began working for Zalul, an environmentally-focused non-profit that works to protect and maintain clean water in Israel.  As a result of her studies at Arava, Hannah arrived in Israel fully prepared to help Zalul in its work to protect coral reefs.
 
Hannah believes that environmental work can bring about significant change in Israel.  "Here, the environmental situation is 10 to 15 years behind that of the United States,” Hannah says.  “In Israel, I can do more with my knowledge and skills than I could in America."
 
Arava also made Hannah realize that environmental work in Israel is a conduit for peace in the Middle East. "Everyone has a common goal when it comes to the environment," Hannah says.  "Nature has no borders. A contaminated river that flows in Israel not only pollutes Israel, but it also flows through the West Bank and disrupts the Arabs’ lives. We all live in one world, physically undivided by political lines."

Shana Dorfman

Shana Dorfman

Otzma
Age: 23 
Hometown: Santa Rosa, California, USA
Program: OTZMA
Hobbies: Writing & running
 
How did you get to OTZMA?
I was on Birthright in January of that year, 2006, and I was in Haifa with my aunt, and she was an adoptive mother for a participant, and she introduced me to her and she told me about the program, so that's how I found out.
 
How much family do you have here?
My dad's whole family lives here, they all made Aliyah in the 60s and 70s.  All his cousins and aunts and uncles.
 
Had you been to Israel before Birthright?
Well, as a baby, but that doesn’t count.
 
And you liked your Birthright experience?
Yeah, I loved it. It was so much fun.
 
Do you remember your first impressions of living here when you were on OTZMA?
I thought Israel was absolutely ridiculous, it's kind of like America but backwards, kind of, I guess. I don’t know, I loved it and I loved that people would invite us over for dinner all the time, that always happens, and I liked the cultural differences, like the food and the bus experience and it's just different. I don’t remember what it's like now because it's so natural to me because I've been here so long.
 
What are the main differences between living here and your experience on Birthright?
I mean, we actually saw Israelis on OTZMA. On birthright you're surrounded by Americans and you see them everywhere. And then when you come back and your actual self-conception is changed from a tourist to actually living here, it's different because you see Americans on the street and you don’t feel like you have something in common anymore, because they're a tourist but you live here, so that's different. On birthright we'd always see other Americans and we'd be like "ooh, where are you from?" and when you're on OTZMA and you see other Americans you just pretend that you're not like them, because it's so different. I don’t know, you take your time more with experiencing Israel because you know you're going to be here a while, it's just different.
 
Do you remember any big moments of culture shock?
Yeah, my cousin took me to a wedding. I knew that Israeli weddings were supposed to be orthodox, so I was expecting like an orthodox synagogue and a service. And it was a DJ running the whole thing and there were fireworks and confetti and a dance floor and alcohol all over the place. The whole thing was absolutely nuts and I was obsessed with Israeli weddings after that, I want to have one.
 
What do you think you did right at the beginning of your program?
I focused on ulpan. I pretty much skipped volunteering just to really work on my Hebrew, and that helped me a lot for the rest of the year. Like, being in Kiryat Shmonah and being able to communicate with people at stores was just really, really helpful for me because I didn’t know any Hebrew when I got here.  So I'm glad that I came here and actually took my Hebrew lessons seriously.
 
Can you think of anything that you would do differently?
Looking back, I wish I had taken more initiative from the very beginning, just to make a difference. Because, you're in OTZMA, and you're there to do community service and to really try to help people and to use your skills to your advantage, and it's so easy to get caught up in enjoying Israel and enjoying the people around you, that you sometimes forget why you originally came here. And I feel like I came here with a lot of experiences in other jobs that I could have applied to being here.
 
Like when I was in college I helped teach this Toastmasters public speaking class and I could have used that to help other kids with public speaking, and we eventually did a speech competion in Kiryat Shmonah, but it could have been something that we worked on the entire time, instead of just pulling it together the last few weeks that we were there.  I like writing and I could have actually worked with newsletters from home or something and gotten my writing out there but I didn’t, just that kind of thing. It's hard to think of that when you're caught up with everything else. I wish I had done that.
 
How would you describe the relationship our friends and fellow program participants have had with Israel?
I don't want to get political. One thing I’ve noticed with American Jews is we're taught to love Israel and be Zionists and to love it unconditionally, and you get here and you see all the great things and you sometimes ignore the negative sides of Israel. Maybe you'll see that certain groups are prejudiced against in this country and you make excuses for it, or ignore it, or talk about the wars and the way certain people are treated and you try not to think about it because you want to love Israel, and I think what a lot of Diaspora Jews miss out on is the fact that it's important to be critical of Israel but at the same time love it, and a lot of people just completely miss that and I'm kind of fascinated by how that works and how Zionism is going to change in the coming years to reflect that.
 
As far as relating to Israelis, I think that it's kind of hard for Jews in America to come here and meet Israelis who are Jewish and don't act the way that we consider to be Jewish. Like I have a friend who I worked with who is from a kibbutz and he was telling me that on Yom Kippur he makes it a point to eat pork. And it's such a Jewish thing to do here because that's certain people's way of standing up against religion but still being Jewish at the same time. And if I were to go back and do that in the States, that would be so not Jewish at all, like there's no way to make that a Jewish act. So it's kind of funny to see the differences between our cultures and trying to talk to Israelis about that sort of thing.
 
How would you describe your Jewish background?
I was raised going to a Reconstructionist synagogue, and that's where I had my Bat Mitzvah, and then my parents went to Reform after that, but only on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana. We didn't go, ever. We would go through phases where we did Shabbat for a few months at a time and then we'd forget about it. I mean, everyone in my family is atheist, everyone is not into tradition. I never really had any Jewish friends until college.  I didn’t have a strong Jewish background at all. I went to camp though – Camp Tawonga, it's in California. It's like a hippie, outdoorsy camp, so I got that. It's a Jewish camp. I always knew I was Jewish and I identified with it and I was pretty active in Hillel in college, but not the religious side of it. I'm more of a cultural Jew.
 
How did being in Israel affect your Jewish identity?
I always knew that there's more than one way to be Jewish and you don’t have to be religiously Jewish, and you can be culturally also, but I think being here just reinforced it just because you see so many people who are completely secular and yet they still are very, very Jewish, and you can tell they are in the way they act.  It's just making me think about how I want to practice Judaism when I get home, and I'm realizing that I don’t have to be religious or go to synagogue or anything, like I don’t even know if I'm going to go to high holy days this year, but there are other ways of being Jewish. I kind of like the Israeli way of it more.
 
Do you have staple traditions or observances that you do in order to maintain your Jewish identity? Is it easier for you to be Jewish in Israel?
Yeah, for sure, because when you're in America and Yom Kippur rolls around, if you don’t go to services, that's such a non-Jewish act in itself because all the Jews are going to be in services, why aren't you? But if you're here, there are Jews who go and there are Jews who don't. Just because you don't go that doesn’t mean you're not Jewish, it just means you're a different kind of Jew. It's harder to have different kinds of Judaism in the States, I think, than it is here.
 
What are the main things you’ve learned from this experience?
I don’t know, the whole year is just one big learning experience, like I didn’t really know that much about Israel before I got here, like I had read a couple books about it and I have so much family here, but I still didn’t know really about it, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you what daily life is like. And now I've experienced it and I can put together a map of Israel, I know where everything is because I've been there. You’re always learning here.
 
Do you consider yourself to be a different person?
Yeah, for sure. It's impossible to be here for a year without growing in some way. It'll be interesting when I get back to see how my friends react.  I feel like I've gotten more Israeli, and more blunt. I feel like, my uncle always said that it was really annoying when he would meet me or my brother because we were taught to be very diplomatic about everything, and when you're here you don’t beat around the bush, you just get right to the point. I feel like I've learned to be more like that just from being here. And I think I'm more independent – I mean I was independent when I got here because I had already been through 4 years of college, but not to the point of being in a foreign country and being able to navigate my way around it without really knowing the language.
 
What are your plans for when you back?
I'm going to study for the GRE and apply to graduate school and hopefully not look for work, because I don’t really want to get a job yet.
 
How do you plan to stay involved with Jewish issues and Israel?
Indirectly, like I'm not going to go back and work for a federation or for Hillel, but through writing or anthropology research I think I want to stay involved just because I find it really interesting. The Jerusalem Post asked me to do a blog for them, which should be interesting. Whatever I do, I want it to relate to Israel in some way, for example, if I'm writing or doing research, because I'm really interested specifically in the relationship between Israeli Jews and Diaspora Jews.  But I'm trying not to think about the future yet.
 
Was the interest there before you came here?
I came here to figure out what I want to do with my life, I didn’t know anything, I thought I wanted to go to graduate school in sociology. So it's kind of related, I knew I wanted to study some kind of group of people but I didn't really know what. I didn’t think I'd get that involved, I thought I'd find some fascination with poverty, or something normal that people do research on. But I just think Israelis are really cool

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
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. 
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