Chad Schaeffer

Chad Schaeffer

Oranim Tel Aviv Internship Experience
 
When Orange Coast College student, Chad Schaeffer was considering his study abroad options, he learned that he could intern at an international marketing firm in Tel Aviv, gain professional experience for his merchandising and marketing major, and earn college credit. He jumped at the opportunity and enrolled in Masa Israel’s Oranim Internship Experience.
 
Having previously traveled to Israel with Birthright, Chad says that he is, “getting an experience that no one else can give me right now.” At SKS Innovating People, Chad oversees the US/UK market, finding leads and making sales. 
 
“I adapted quickly to the Israeli work culture because it is similar to California’s; people are laid back, but hard working,” says Chad. “Then again, Israelis are a little more blunt.” 
 
Chad’s co-workers quickly accepted him as a member of the company. “In Israel, a person’s ideas and hard work are valued rather than his experience,” says Chad. In addition to putting Chad in charge of recreating the product catalog, which included reformulating the company’s mission statement, the firm is working with Chad on a joint business venture. When he returns to California, he will become the US-based distributor.
 
“As a person, I’ve grown tremendously from my internship,” says Chad. “I’ve become a lot more confident and a better leader.”
 
Aside from the professional experience Chad gained in Israel, he has been able to get to know Tel Aviv alongside new Jewish friends from Russia, Canada, Norway, and Germany. “I feel like a local here,” says Chad. “I know where everything is, and I also love the fact that everyone’s Jewish. People don’t question others about their religion, and there’s a lot of room for growth.”
 
Although Chad returns to California in a month, he believes his relationship with Israel is only beginning. “Hopefully I’ll be returning to Israel a bunch. It’s a booming market,” he says. 
 
He also looks forward to becoming more involved in Israel-related events in California. “I have a ton of Jewish friends who were always really involved in Israel, while I wasn’t,” says Chad. “But, now here I am—interning in Israel and loving it."

Bella Shapiro

Bella Shapiro

Israel Government Fellows
 
As much as I love the movie Forest Gump, I do not agree that, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” After returning from Masa Israel’s Israel Government Fellows, a 10-month Israeli government internship program, with the decision to pursue a career connected to Israel and the Jewish people, I believe that life is more like a cake in which layers are slowly built and stacked one on top of the other. 
 
My evolution was definitely not predictable. While I grew up in the Bay Area with a certain awareness of my “Jewishness”—my parents told me I had to marry a nice Jewish boy and we celebrated the high holidays in our own way—I never cared or even knew about the politics, history, or depth of my own rich heritage. 
 
Like many Jewish youth, it wasn’t until midway through college that I began getting involved in Jewish life. I attended St. Mary’s College of California, a Catholic liberal arts school, and decided to take the one introductory Judaism course that my school offered. While studying abroad in England, I participated in a rally protesting Holocaust deniers’ speaking engagements at the university. After returning to the States, I became active with UC Berkeley Jewish groups (as none were available at St. Mary’s) and saw the challenges facing Jewish students on college campuses. The more I took part in various activities, the more I realized how much these issues personally resonated with me. 
 
By the time senior year came along, I started thinking about my passions and how I could apply them to a career. Though my liberal arts degree did not provide me with much of a focus, I realized that ultimately I felt strongest about issues relating to Jews and Israel. With that in mind, I decided to test my theory and spend a year in Israel. I literally wanted to do everything – work, travel, learn the language, and immerse myself in the culture, history, and politics. 
 
Through Masa Israel Journey, I found the one program that was exactly what I was looking for – Israel Government Fellows, a unique 10 month internship in the Israeli government, which also included weekly educational seminars, meetings with top governmental officials, tours around the country, ulpan classes, and community service. 
 
My experiences during those 10 months were diverse and incredible. Not only did I have great internships at the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), but through my internships, I also had the opportunity to meet accomplished Israeli government officials, such as Shimon Peres, Nir Barkat, and Moshe Yaalon. Still the most important outcome of the year was my own personal growth. 
 
During my time in Israel, I found an independence and individual strength, which I was not aware that I possessed. Living alone in a foreign country and not knowing the language proved to be extremely difficult. Everything from opening a bank account to ordering a cup of coffee was a challenge. In the beginning, I distinctly remember feeling like I would never figure out the city or feel like a ‘Jerusalemite.’ Yet, by the end of the 10 months, I had a pub to call my own, was able to maneuver throughout the city with ease, and knew which vendor to go to for the best avocados in the shuk. Though they may seem like minor accomplishments, these were the things tested my resolve the most. 
 
Aside from adapting to day-to-day life in Israel while on Israel Government Fellows, I also reaffirmed my desire to commit my professional life to the Jewish people and the Jewish State. Israel Government Fellows provided me with unique insights into the workings of the Israeli government, while living in Israel allowed me to gain perspectives, which can only be acquired from first-hand, immersive experiences. As a result of this effective combination, I now have a better understanding of the type of job I would like to be doing and how I need to focus my passions. After taking part in a seven-week Hebrew immersion program at Middlebury College, I enrolled in Brandeis University's dual masters program in Jewish professional leadership and Middle East Studies. 
 
What started out as a vague notion of Jewish identity turned into a genuine love and desire to make a difference. Undoubtedly, living in Israel played a huge role in my personal development and impacted every aspect of my life. Looking back on this whole process, I see all the small steps I took which brought me where I am today. This is precisely why I do not agree with Forest Gump. I know exactly what I’m “going to get” because I have been the one building the layers. Though there is still progress to be made, I look forward to the day when I can finally put the cherry atop my cake.

Avigail Hurvitz-Prinz

Avigail Hurvitz-Prinz

Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
About a month ago my Talmud class did an exercise where we shared our reasons for studying Gemora. Everyone had their own reasons, and my list came up to a total of 21 reasons as wide ranging as “intellectual challenge” and “to have a sense of the Rabbinic world” or “to find myself a teacher” – but the top of that list was empowerment.
 
As an adult who first seriously encountered this quintessential Jewish book one-on-one only a few months ago, building skills in Jewish text study was one of my major goals when I came to learn at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies this fall. I wanted to know how to access sources, make sense of them in relation to each other and answer how it is that the Jewish world we live in came to be the way that it is. Imagine my surprise when, at the beginning of the semester, I was actually learning a few different Hebrews all at once (Tanakhic and Mishnaic Hebrew) decoding a new typeface (Rashi script) and a whole new language, Aramaic! My limited modern Hebrew was only minimally helpful. Thankfully, every day my chevruta (my learning partner) and I get a little practice and I get a little more familiar with where to go for help. And you need lots of help when you’re a beginning Talmud student!
 
First stop, the dictionaries. Is this a technical Talmud? If yes, turn to Frank (The Practical Talmud Dictionary by Rabbi Yitzchak Frank). If not, try the Jastrow (A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature by Marcus Jastrow). Is the little snippet of what you’re learning right now mentioned? Yes? Well, then, dingdingding! You’ve just found a Jastrow Jackpot and you and your chevruta should high-five across the table. But if you didn’t find your answer in Jastrow, try your neighbors who are in a level above you. The Beit Midrash study hall is a cooperative place, where learning happens not just from teachers but from fellow students – and hopefully they can help to point you in a good direction. Interruptions are part of the fun of learning in the Beit Midrash and the place has a totally different atmosphere than the silent library carrels of my undergraduate days. The Beit Midrash at Pardes is also an incredible place for its uniqueness among the landscape ofyeshivot and midrashot – men and women learn together. There are times when I forget just how radical that is – but the truth of the matter is that women have not had consistent access to these Jewish texts for very long, nor is it commonplace for us to be able to sit with male learning partners. At Pardes that is the norm, and it still strikes me as hugely important to the community’s ethos.
 
The more I learn, the more I realize how much more there is to know. I have spent the last nine months learning only the most basic tools of what is intended as a lifelong endeavor. I’m lucky for the time I have spent finally doing Jewish learning not just from handouts prepped by informal Jewish educators like me, but straight through a chapter of Masechet Megilla and all of the tidbits it contained. Among my gleanings: the answer for why we repeat a verse in the special Torah reading for the new month, sources for why women may or may not read Torah publicly (depending on your interpretation of the sources) and some insights into behaviors Jews in the Mishnaic period considered heretical (round Tefillin or dressing like “separatists” only in white or wearing no shoes!). Many of these gleanings are interesting to me anthropologically, as they describe the history of Jewish practice. But even more important to me than some of the particular facts I’ve learned is the way I am able to simply open the page and make my way through the Talmud, albeit slowly and with lots of support. My work is not done, but my pursuit of Jewish literacy got a huge boost from the time I have spent at Pardes. Learning from my teachers, my peers and from the sources has been an invaluable way to spend my year – and one whose treasures I look forward to discovering as my Jewish journey continues.
 
Avigail Hurvitz-Prinz learned at Masa Israel’s Pardes in 2010-2011. Avigail grew up in San Diego County, the daughter of two Reform rabbis, attended Reed College where she graduated with a degree in Religion and subsequently worked as Senior Assistant Dean of Admission. From January 2008 until her time at Pardes, Avigail worked as a program associate on Hazon’s Food Programs.

Successful Intern Offered PhD in Science from Tel Aviv University

Successful Intern Offered PhD in Science from Tel Aviv University

Successful Intern Offered PhD in Science from Tel Aviv University

July 19, 2011

Career Israel is a 5 month internship program that led Nathan to intern in his chosen field of Endocrinology, working toward the development of a new cancer treatment. “I had nothing to lose, and possibly a career to gain,” he said.
Career Israel offers professional internship placements in leading companies and organizations in the private and public sectors in Israel. Internship opportunities are available in a number of fields, including law, medicine, advertising and public relations, hi-tech, education, social work, engineering, hotel management and computer science.
 
After graduating from UNSW with an Honours in Science Nathan felt the next step was to gain some professional experience and chose Career Israel to help him do just that!
 
“I was not only motivated to develop my CV, but also to be able to continue to contribute to the fight against cancer in my internship, in the land of our forefathers,” he said.
 
On Career Israel, Nathan worked with Dr. Gary Weisinger, a fellow Australian who made Aliyah thirty years ago and now works as a senior researcher at the Sourasky Medical Centre specialising in thyroid cancer research.
 
Nathan said that Career Israel has given him “a first-hand experience of life and work in another country. Skills, such as coping with stress in the workforce, and tolerance of other's opinions, especially other's that you may completely disagree with, are developed on the program. I now also have a completely different perspective of life in Israel. Taglit-Birthright Israel introduced me to it, now I have lived it.”
 
Nathan’s highlights on Career Israel include both professional and social aspects. Nathan worked 9 hour days, five days a week and speaks passionately about all the new results he observed under the microscope and is excited to begin his research later next year.
 
Career Israel also provides the opportunity for its participants to travel which led Nathan to Stederot and Ashkelon. “We were shown Caterpillar-shaped bomb shelters, rockets collected that were sent from Gaza, followed by stories from some who have been relocated after the Gaza withdrawal.”
 
Nathan speaks fondly of his experiences outside the laboratory which include his many Shabbat dinners with Dr Weisinger’s family in Israel and Shabbat dinners with other like-minded young professionals, all participating on their own 5-month internships."
 
"You make friends from across the globe. None of the (Career Israel) participants knew each other beforehand, and yet we still formed, within hours, our own Jewish community,” Landis said.
 
Career Israel offers international students in invaluable opportunity to seek out experiences that can develop your professional career and lead to opportunities that may otherwise not take place.
 
“No matter what your intentions are to go on Career Israel, they will be met, and more. Your madrichim will make sure of that. The most important thing is to take every opportunity the program offers,” Nathan said.
 
Career Israel understands that there is no better way to get your foot in the door than with an internship and international experience is extremely valuable especially in Israel as an innovative leader in such fields as technology, business and science.
 
“I cannot thank Masa Israel, Career Israel, and the Department of Endocrinology enough for giving me this life-changing opportunity. I am eternally grateful to all of them,” he said.
 
Nathan Landis has been offered a PhD in Science from Tel Aviv University after completing a successful internship at the Sourasky Medical Centre in Tel Aviv as a participant of  Career Israel

Ayalim Entrepreneurs - Pioneers in the 21st Century

<div class="masa-blog-title">Ayalim Entrepreneurs - Pioneers in the 21st Century</div>

 
By Caylee Talpert
 
The sun has not yet fully risen, yet there is a buzz in the usually quiet desert landscape. It’s 5:30 a.m. and students are slowly beginning to emerge from the caravans and tents where they slept the night before. They sleepily spread chocolate spread onto their Matzot, while sipping Turkish coffee as they prepare themselves  for another day of hard work in the hot desert sun.
 

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.