Enrichment Day for Masa Israel Programs’ Staff

Enrichment Day for Masa Israel Programs’ Staff

September 19, 2011 (All day)  -  September 20, 2011 (All day)

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Are you a staff member of one of Masa Israel’s programs? 

Join us for an enrichment day designed just for you! Meet other program staff, share ideas and experiences, take part in team-building exercises, learn conflict resolution techniques and marketing skills and much more.

Opening Event featuring the Idan Raichel Project

Opening Event featuring the Idan Raichel Project

October 30, 2011 (All day)

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Join us as we kick off the 2011 – 2012 season! Meet new friends from all over the world and begin your journey with the rest of the Masa Israel Community. Idan Raichel is a widely acclaimed Israeli singer/songwriter and founder of the Idan Raichel Project.

 

Cost 40 nis

‘Israel will always be an important piece of my Jewish identity'

‘Israel will always be an important piece of my Jewish identity'

August 17, 2011

By Rosa Stall, Jewish Tribune
A number of young people from around the world, including Canada, spent time in Israel on Masa Israel programs. This is the third in a series of stories as told by some of the Canadian participants.
 
“Why would you ever choose Jerusalem over Tel Aviv?” a representative asked me at McGill’s meeting for students studying abroad at Israeli universities. At the time, I had no response. I had never even considered Tel Aviv University
 
The representative proceeded to tell me how much more fun Tel Aviv was than Jerusalem, and how it was a “city that never sleeps, a city where the party never ends.” But, after being here in Israel for five months, I know that when I am in Tel Aviv I can forget I am in Israel; but when I am in Jerusalem, I never forget where I am.
 
My experiences studying at Masa Israel’s program at Hebrew University and living in Jerusalem have both confused and solidified my Jewish identity.
 
The first time I came to Israel with my family in 2004, I landed in Ben Gurion Airport, expecting to feel something, but I did not. Israel is a beautiful country, but to my 13-year-old self it was no more special to me than any other place I had visited. 
 
This past January I arrived in Jerusalem, a city where I have spent very little time in the past. For the first few weeks, I felt complete culture shock. Being a Jew from Toronto I could not help but feel out of place in the sea of Orthodoxy that can encapsulate Jerusalem.  Yet as the weeks passed, I started to really enjoy living in Jerusalem. As a Canadian who loves waiting in lines and appreciates order, I soon became accustomed to the bustling shuk and the benefits of chaos. Yet, even though I experienced a greater appreciation for the country, I still did not feel more connected to my Jewish identity...
 

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

Living Routes: Peace, Justice, and the Environment at Kibbutz Lotan

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

Jerusalem College of Technology

Jacob Isenberg
2010-2011

Sophie Krentzman

Sophie Krentzman

University of Haifa
Program: 
 
After taking part in the Masa Israel program at the University of Haifa, Sophie Krentzman began her journey as a young Jewish professional. Three years later, she works at Hillel International.
 
Growing up right outside of Boston, Sophie Krentzman enjoyed celebrating the Jewish holidays and Shabbat but had almost no connection to Israel.  “I knew that the country existed,” says Sophie.  “But aside from the little I learned about Israel in Hebrew School, I didn’t know much about it.”
 
Once Sophie transferred to a pluralistic Jewish high school, things began to change.  “For the first time, I was exposed to the importance of Israel as a Jewish state,” says Sophie, who first traveled to Israel with her family as a freshman at UMass Amherst.  But it was a Birthright trip to Israel during her sophomore year that convinced Sophie she needed more than 10 days in country.
 
“I was considering studying abroad in Australia because I’d heard from friends how beautiful it was,” says Sophie.  “But after Birthright, I became a lot more curious about Israel.  I wanted to explore it further, and I really wanted to study Hebrew in a much more intensive way.” 
 
For the second semester of her junior year, Sophie headed to Israel and enrolled in the Masa Israel program at the University of Haifa, because she believed the small international program would be conducive to learning Hebrew.  While living in a suite with two other North Americans and three Israelis, Sophie took courses that included "Women in Israel," "Arab Israeli Relations," and "Globalization and the Politics of Identity."  She also took an intensive Hebrew ulpan four days a week.
 
In her down time, Sophie had the opportunity to explore the city with an Israeli friend, who had lived with Sophie’s family as an exchange student while they were in high school.  She also enjoyed celebrating the Israeli holidays that she’d previously learned about.
 
“In the change at the end of the day between Yom HaZikaron (Remembrance Day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), there was a palpable shift in the country’s energy,” says Sophie.  “First everyone spent the day mourning the fallen soldiers, and then, suddenly, everyone exploded with happiness.  It was incredible to see such intense and seemingly opposite emotions felt by an entire country within 48 hours.”
 
Also during her semester in Israel, Sophie took part in Masa Israel’s Building Future Leadership course, where she created a plan for a Jewish textual learning group.  Now in DC, Sophie has put her plan into practice as co-coordinator of the DC Beit Midrash, an open, pluralistic learning environment.  She also works for Hillel International as the Human Resources Associate. 
 
“While studying in Haifa, Israel changed from an idea to a real, dynamic and nuanced place,” says Sophie.  “It’s no longer just a country that I’m told to love, because I have forged my own connections with the land and the people.  Now, even if I don’t always agree with everything the government does, I know that I truly support the existence of the country.” 
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