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Coming full circle in Israel after college">Coming full circle in Israel after college

Posted November 18th, 2010
After her Birthright trip to Israel during college, Short Hills, NJ-native Lindsey Rothschild knew she had to return.  “I know it’s cliché, but I just really fell in love with it,” she says.  “While at the Kotel, I ran into a recent Northwestern alum who was on a Masa Israel Journey program and I thought to myself, this has to be me next year.”
With the encouragement of the 

A slice of life in Israel on OTZMA">A slice of life in Israel on OTZMA

Posted November 17th, 2010
By Lauren Zink, Otzma, Berkshires
This time last year I was just beginning my senior year of college at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. Like every student getting ready to graduate, I was thinking ahead to what I was going to do after I received my degree in public relations and marketing.
I thought about choosing the more typical path and looking for a job. But I knew in my heart that this was not the path I wanted to take yet. Ever since I was little I had wanted to carve out some time in my life to volunteer, and I wanted that volunteer work to be done in Israel.
Growing up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts I had attended Hebrew School until I was 18. I was also an active member of United Synagogue Youth (USY). One summer I participated in USY on Wheels, a six-and-a-half week cross-country journey with other Jewish young adults. It was this trip, along with Birthright, which made me realize how much I love being in an environment with Jewish peers, learning and sharing new experiences.

Security Issues Shabbaton">Security Issues Shabbaton

Posted November 15th, 2010
Last weekend ten of our program participants went to Jerusalem for a Security Issues Shabbaton sponsored by Masa Israel. The weekend featured speakers from security, military, and journalistic perspectives who brought professional expertise and personal experience to the conference.

Photo Essay: Masa Israel North America Yom Kef">Photo Essay: Masa Israel North America Yom Kef

Posted November 10th, 2010
Before winter hit, the Masa Israel North American team decided to have a Yom Kef (staff day). Being part of an Israeli organization, we did what any Israelis would do—a hiking trip! We woke up early and headed up to Bear Mountain.
After scaling the rocks, we stopped for a break.
Of course, no staff day would be complete without a snack and a call to our Israel office.
Halfway through the hike, are we having fun yet?
We made it to the top—what a view!
Now, if only we knew how to get back. Trail markers aren’t as good as they are in Israel…
Rescue arrives!
We had a great Yom Kef, spending time outside the office and enjoying the tail end of fall.
Now back to work getting more people on Israel programs!

No Longer a Void">No Longer a Void

Posted November 8th, 2010
By Jake Shillman, WUJS Intern Tel Aviv, Roslyn, NY
There is a fitting passage written by Yair Lapid in describing my early thoughts on Israel: “It’s the only country where, if you despise politicians, abhor clerks, hate the situation, are disgusted with the taxes, loathe the standard of service, and detest the weather, it’s a sign that you love it.”
My name is Jake Shillman and I was raised in R

Reflection and growth on Dance Journey">Reflection and growth on Dance Journey

Posted November 2nd, 2010
By Judit Eliosoff Ferrero, Argentina, Dance Journey
In all honesty, its very difficult to write about something so relevant that modified the lives of each one of us that who became involved with it.
My name is Judit, and I’m 23 years old and arrived to Israel from Argentina.  At the very beginning of the program, no participant actually knows what will be happening.  You know that you will dance the entirety of every day. People, languages, a beautiful place, massive studios… The body hurts, the mind is confused and the soul feels full, happy.
Slowly things start to become homey, because your true house is far away. Suddenly your neighbor and fellow participants becomes your sisters, and the teacher reminds you of an aunt. The kibbutz’s cafe is your meeting place and the forest becomes a place to relax.
The night. Friday night (Shabbat) dinner. And around you everything is dance, dance, dance.   Surprises arrive all time and make the journey more interesting. Trips and performances, new classes or opportunities to push yourself higher. Experienced teaching and professional dancers are a few of the things that make this a professional place to study.
Life during this 5-month period moves by so quickly that being thankful for it should be said every morning.  And when its all done, you discover that it was so intense and has most definitely left a strong mark on yourself. Between each step, people that you never imaged knowing abated your tears and shared your happiness. Progress and growth are noticed, body changes…
Israel is around you and shows its face daily, with a lot of amazing people who help show you the way, or the difficulties to live in the incomprehensible conflict. Beautiful places stay in the eyes, and tradition knocks the door of the room from time to time.
Decision. The best decision that I could ever have done. A trip to the inside. A trip to discover your body. A trip to push your limits… and the best thing? Being in the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company´s home.
Together… always it will be like this.
Jewish Agency for Israel