A Sufganiya a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

<div class="masa-blog-title">A Sufganiya a Day Keeps the Doctor Away</div>

 
Hanukah is right around the corner and Israel is definitely getting ready for this crazy, cheerful, and festive holiday! Wherever you are, nearly any shop you enter, you will always find these mouth-watering and famous doughnuts for this upcoming celebration! I really just want to warn all of you that you won’t be eating one or two souvganiot, but more like eight or ten! This is the tradition in Israel. If I remember properly, I ate about two a day for a full week—and yes, my stomach was basically made out of flour, butter, sugar and tasty strawberry jam. If you are a fan of jelly, don’t expect for the souvganiot to have a lot of it. That’s just how they’re made. Don’t worry though; they are still finger-licking sweets. It’s crazy to see how generous Israelis are as they hand them out, and they just can’t wait for you to eat it and get another one. And trust me; you will definitely come back for another one. 
 
 
Are you living with your parents? Roommates? Boyfriend or girlfriend? Whoever it is, be sure to bring souvganiot back home, it will make everyone’s day a little better. 
 
 
Living in Herzliya for the past year, I had the chance to taste the different souvganiot each stores gave out (yes I wasn’t lying about having two souvganiot a day). Whether powdered with sugar, chocolate or sprinkles, I was so amazed to see the variety of everywhere I went. The bakery that really stood out for me is one called ‘’Maafim Hamishpaha’’ meaning “the Family’s Bakery” in Hebrew. They have had their business for over 40 years now and are still doing excellent in terms of selling succulent pastries. The bakery, which also sells croissants, chocolates, pastries and amazing drinks, have the most delicious souvganiot for Hanukah. You’ll be able to smell them simply passing by. The moment you bite into one you will feel the tenderness of the dough and taste the sugary and honeyed flavor; it is SO good! The family definitely has magic tricks when it comes to their amazing recipes.  If you think you can discover their secret, I invite you to head over there yourself and have one or two souvganiot. That will definitely light up your entire week of Hanukah. Hag Sameach everyone! 
 
Written by Sharon Brand, Communications Student at IDC Herzliya
Read more about her Journey at her blog, brandtravels.com.
 

Top 16 Masa Israel Moments of 2016

<div class="masa-blog-title">Top 16 Masa Israel Moments of 2016</div>

 

Each year we find ourselves turning the pages of the calendar more quickly, and what packed pages they are. Here at Masa Israel we have had yet another amazing year of programming and events, both in Israel and across the globe. Now in our 13th year, we’ve surpassed 120,000 alumni, and have begun a number of great new initiatives.

 

Take a brief look at the Top 16 Masa Moments of 2016:

 

1. Make Your Journey Matter Gap Fair


On February 21st we hosted a back-to-campus fair for our Gap Year participants bringing representatives from Israel Advocacy and Jewish campus organizations to show participants the many opportunities available to them when they return from their year in Israel.

 

2. Samsung Tel Aviv Marathon with #TeamMasa


On 26 February over 100 Masa participants, alumni, organizers, and staff participated in the annual Samsung Tel Aviv Marathon as part of the first ever #Team Masa. 
 

3. Masa L’Maaseh  


In March, 40 of our Yeshiva students went on the first Masa L’Maaseh, a four day journey , cosponsored by Yeshiva University and WZO, to explore Israel's ever-changing landscape as they visited places and met people that are driving a positive change in Israeli society, while enjoying an exciting group experience with participants from many different Jewish Studies programs. 
 

4. Yom Hazikaron Ceremony at Latrun


This May 5,000 participants and Masa partners mourned Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror together at our impactful Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) Ceremony at Latrun, the largest English language ceremony in Israel.
 

5. Ventures in the Capitol: JLM Young Professional Night


May 30th over 200 post-college & academic participants gathered at JVP Media Quarter in Jerusalem for a night of professional development sessions with top Israeli professionals, followed by a networking cocktail hour with top Israeli companies.
 

6. Culture Shuk


With a dozen performers, authors and artists, from legendary author Amos Oz, to Ethiopian hip hop sensation Café Shahor Hazak, 1,000 participants took an inside look at Israeli Culture. 
 

7. Global Program Fairs


From Brazil to Berlin, the UK to Ukraine, our global team of Regional Masa Representatives have spoken to tens of thousands of potential participants at their events and fairs throughout the world.
 

8. MasaID


In partnership with the Genesis Philanthropy Group, Masa takes thousands of Russian-speaking participants on 5 day journeys to explore Israel and Jewish peoplehood and identity through experiencing land, history, and people.
 

9. Masa Desert Project


This summer part of our Masa Ambassador’s team set up shop in popular Taglit spots Kfar Hanokdim and Han Hashayarot to share with over 750 Taglit-Birthright groups how they can get back to Israel.
 

10. The Matzpen Program


Focusing on building capacity in the field, our educational department implemented a series of day-long seminars for our program organizers. The curriculum focuses on pedagogical principles, skill building, current trends and issues in the field of education, and best practices for identity building in emerging adults.
 

11. My Masa Mega Event


Over 3,000 Masa participants gathered in Jerusalem for our annual My Masa event to kick-off our 2016-2017 year of programs. Word on the street is that this was one of the best events yet!
 

12. MITF Levinsky Teaching Certificate Program


With a class of 18, this October marked the beginning of our new English Teaching Certificate Program for MITF participants in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education and Levinsky College.
 

13. Partnership with The Forward


People are talking about Masa and The Forward decided they want to as well. This year we officially began a partnership with their new lifestyle section, Scribe. Check out 2 articles by Masa participants here and here.
 

14. JFNA General Assembly


Our alumni delegation networked with GA goers, and helped spread the word about Masa at our awesome expo booth. We also held an inspiring meeting with Natan Sharansky and a very well-attended (and fun!) joint VIP reception with Onward Israel. 
 

15. Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit & Tracks


This November our Masa-GLI Leadership Accelerator put on another successful Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit, in Jerusalem, with generous support from the Wilf Family Foundation. We are particularly proud of the growth of the exposure tracks which allow participants to take their training into the field. Here are this year's tracks: 

  • FSU Participants Masa-GLI Leadership Fellowship, with support by the Genesis Philanthropy Group
  • Hillel Masa-GLI Leadership Fellowship 
  • JFNA Masa-GLI Leadership Fellowship
  • WUPJ / HUC-JIR Masa-GLI Leadership Fellowship
  • Israel Dialog Masa-GLI Leadership Fellowship
  • WeWork Masa-GLI Business & Innovation Leadership Fellowship
  • Masa Influencers

 

16. North America Career Development Delegation


This November our Director of Business Development International, Adi Barel, and Director iof business Development North America, Adi Hila, hosted career development professionals from North American Universities for a week in Israel, taking them to visit various professional development programs, and immerse themselves in the Israeli start-up ecosystem.

 

Written by Amy Albertson, Creative Content Manager, Masa Israel Journey
 

 

The Forward: 8 Foods You Didn't Know Jews Eat During Hanukkah

The Forward: 8 Foods You Didn't Know Jews Eat During Hanukkah

The Forward: 8 Foods You Didn't Know Jews Eat During Hanukkah

December 8, 2016

This piece was contributed by Masa Israel Journey — for more information, click here.

This year, like every year since I was a child, I started counting down the days to Hanukkah before the first blow of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. I just can’t wait for the one week when it’s socially acceptable – and dare I say expected – to eat fried foods every day. Most Americans crave the smells of pine trees and gingerbread — I crave the smells of latkes and jelly-filled donuts

 

In recent years, especially after meeting my Sephardic husband and participating in a Masa Israel program, I’ve come to learn there’s much more to Hanukkah than latkes and donuts. For example, we included rice in this year’s Pesach meal (which in my book is a total win #AshkenaziProbs) and during Sukkot we ate pumpkin-filled samsas (the Bukharian version of Samosas).

 

If you’ve ever been in Israel during Hanukkah, then you know every bakery window from the North to the South are filled with more flavors of sufganiyot (doughnuts) then one can imagine. But you probably didn’t realize Jews around the world also eat these delicious treats during Hanukkah:

 

Keftes De Prasa

 

Keftes De Prasa

Wikimedia Commons

 

Keftes are any form of fried vegetables or other ingredients (ie: croquets, patties, pancakes, fritters) in Sephardic cuisine. Keftes de prasa are fried leek patties - Imagine a latke, but swap the potatoes for leeks - traditionally eaten on Hanukkah. For a Syrian twist on the keftes de prasa, sauté the leeks in spices like allspice and cinnamon.

 

Recipe Here

 

Bunelos

 

bunelos

Wikimedia Commons

 

Buñelos (also known as bimuelo, birmuelo, bermuelo, burmuelo, bonuelo or bunyol), are fried balls of dough finished off with a sweet topping, like orange or anise glaze. Originating in Spain, these sweet treats can also be found in South American, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. From Egypt to Ecuador, Sephardic Jews traditionally eat buñelos on Hanukkah, while their Christian and Muslim neighbors eat them on Christmas and Ramadan.

 

Recipe Here

 

Sfenj

 

sfenj

Wikimedia Commons

 

Sfenj is the Arabic word for sponge and perfectly describes these yeast doughnuts that Jews of North African descent eat on Hanukkah. Finish off these bad boys by covering them in sugar, soaking them in honey, or sprinkling them with orange zest.

 

Recipe Here

 

Cassola

 

Cassola

Alessandra Rovati

 

Cassola is popular amongst Italian Jews during Hanukkah and is more or less known as the unofficial Christmas dessert of Italy. However, let it be known the Jews invented this baked ricotta cheesecake, which over time turned into large sweet ricotta pancakes.

 

Recipe Here

 

Pasta Latkes

 

Pixabay

 

That’s right, pasta latkes are a thing.. A gift from the Romanian Jewish community, substitute fine egg pasta for potatoes, fry until golden, and voila!

 

Recipe Here

 

Kibbet Yatkeen

 

Kibbet Yatkeen are the Syrian community’s version of latkes. These bad boys are made with pumpkin and bulgur instead of potatoes. If you get your hands on them, be careful they may come with a kick!

 

Recipe Here

 

Frittelle di Riso Par Hanukkah

 

Frittelle di Riso Par Hanukkah

Flickr

 

The Italians dominate the Hanukkah food game with another decadent dessert. Frittelle di Riso par Hanukkah, otherwise known as Italian Rice Fritters, are a sweet alternative to the savory latke.

 

Recipe Here

 

Gulab Jamun

 

Gulab Jamun

Pixabay

 

Gulab Jamun, you probably can’t pronounce this decadent treat, and that’s okay. Gulab jamun, pronounced more or less like goo-lab-ja-mon is commonly eaten by Jews of Indian decent during Hanukkah. Gulab Jamon is a dairy-based sweet made of milk solids that are formed into a dough, rolled into balls, fried and then soaked in a sugary syrup. Is your mouth watering yet?

 

Recipe Here

 

Whether you’re looking for sweet or savory, members of the tribe around the world have plenty of tasty alternatives to your usual Chanukah nosh. Now, you just have to decide where to start.

 

Originally published in The Forward

 

To learn more about the Masa Israel Journey, click here. 

8 Need-To-Know Hebrew Phrases To Learn Before Going to Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">8 Need-To-Know Hebrew Phrases To Learn Before Going to Israel</div>

 

Living abroad for any period of time can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know the local language fluently.


Here at Masa Israel we understand the struggle and therefore we came up with 8 words/phrases that will make your Masa Israel journey a smooth ride. Oh and not only will you know the local slang, but Israelis will think you are literally a local.

 

Let’s get started with our first local Hebrew lesson:

 

1. Achi/ Achoti = Brother/Sister

A.k.a. Bro, Dawg, Homie, Girl, Gurrrrl, etc…

 


2. B’emet = Really?


A.ka. For real tho?

 


3. Mesiba = Party

 


4. Motzash = After Shabbat

 


5. Mehamem = Gorgeous

 


6. Metzuyan = Excellent

 


7. Sababa = Cool

 


8. Yalla = Let’s go!


A.ka. Hurry, Get Moving

 

 

To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here.

 

The 8 Must Follow Instagram Profiles from Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">The 8 Must Follow Instagram Profiles from Israel</div>

 

Doing a Masa Israel program is more than just going back after birthright, it’s actually experiencing the REAL Israel. It’s an actual journey! You will make friends from literally all over the world, see and feel things that are not found anywhere else, and you will want to keep coming back for more. 

 

So enough of us trying to convince you to live your life or even get experience for your career, this time we will let our participants show you what this “journey” is all about. Follow these Instagram accounts to get the real deal from food to places you never even knew existed! 

 

1. @whatwouldjulieorder

 

Participant: Julie Deutsch
Program: Career Israel

 

2. @kirilltrukhin

 


Participant: Kirill Trukhin
Program: Masa Tlalim

 

3. @tatianaitskova

 


Participant: Tatiana Itskova
Program: Betar Mabat

 

4. @davidjozef

 


Participant: David Jozef
Program: Top Israel Interns


5. @roo222

 


Participant: Rachel Schwartz
Program: Career Israel


6. @syrbrs

 


Participant: Ben Slutzky
Program: Israel By Design


7. @stasykh

 


Participant: Anastasiia Khodyrieva
Program: PMP Nativ Technion


8. @vainer91

 


Participant: Ariel Vainer
Program: Lej Leja
 

 

To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here.

 

Jewish Life: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Jewish Life: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Jewish Life: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

November 28, 2016

By Chandrea Serebro

 

Masa, the public-service organisation founded by the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Israel together with The Jewish Agency, has a myriad of projects offering South Africans the opportunity to spend some time in Israel. Gap year programmes, study abroad programmes, yeshiva programmes. But Masa also provides the opportunity for a stint at major high tech companies and exciting start-ups, doing real and amazing work. The Israel internship programme (which in SA falls under the Israel Centre’s JHB umbrella) gives budding professionals “hands-on opportunities” to work with some of the world’s most cutting-edge companies across Israel. It’s a chance “to spend a meaningful time in Israel”, not as a tourist or a kibbutznik, not as an out-of-pocket traveller trying to fund the next excursion, but rather to experience Israel like a real Israeli, as a professional, going to work each day, experiencing the after work leisure-time activities Israel has to offer, meeting friends, going out to eat, before doing it all again the next day – repeat. Might sound dreary, and like real-life has come knocking a little too soon, but when you think about the potential for that everyday grindstone to involve working as a newly qualified-but-green go-getter in the start-up nation of the world for an international high tech company or an on the pulse financial trading floor, I bet that endlessly repetitive groundhog day is looking up.

 

Ofer Gutman, Director of Marketing and Sales at Masa, calls it “The Journey”, an experience “beyond the bus”. You experience the business-side of living in Israel: the ups and the downs, the late for work, and even the kudos from the boss. But you experience all this in a position that you probably wouldn’t have gotten in the first five years of your career elsewhere, in the Jewish homeland, with the support and help that Masa offers you. And the progress they make gets attention both in Israel and back at home, wherever that may be, as the programme is being offered all over the Jewish world. “Living and working in a start-up nation, you are viewed as being one of the team – not someone just there to give the bad or menial tasks to,” explains participant Sam Kapp from New York, who wanted to explore Israeli society while gaining work experience. He’s getting an inside look at what it takes to build a successful start-up, working at a biotechnology software company in the heart of Tel Aviv. At present, he finds himself working on the technology to make a glowing plant (by combining the genome of a firefly with that of a plant) – “cool stuff”, he says, and while it might sound off-the-wall, only in Israel could one actually conceive of having this type of experience, in real life, fresh out-of-school. “They asked me what I want to get out of this (experience),” he explains, “and I told them I wanted to see how a start-up is run, and what you needed to do to build a successful company.” So, because he wanted an overview, he is interning at a company in marketing, getting a taste of just what goes on behind the scenes in every element of what makes a successful, exciting company tick, being “inspired every day by [his] colleagues’ passion for their work”. Who even knows, it might just be the next thing sold to some big international high-tech for billions.

 

Another participant, Jonathan Gerari from Denmark, with his Masters in Finance, chose to work at JP Commodities, a small commodities firm in Tel Aviv. There, he enjoys a lot of responsibility and can also get some insight into what actually goes on in every aspect of the business, which is why he has found the experience so enjoyable. He says, “It would take me five years to get this far in Denmark to achieve the same level of responsibility.” He was going to go home at the end of the internship, but he realised that in Israel, through this experience, he is learning more than he ever would elsewhere, which will enable him to hone his skills early in his career after which he hopes to become a specialist in his field. In addition to his internship, Jonathan has made close friends with other people who are abroad with Masa Israel Journey. This has made his experience “valuable and unforgettable” – an experience that “keeps surprising me”. Living in Israel and going to work every day with people who all have the “common goal of living and having a great time,” he says, “is living my life way above expectations.”

 

And it is slowly catching on with South Africans as a foot in the door to the international business world, which we might otherwise have been left out of. “It’s good for your CV, and you can work in a place you wouldn’t have been accepted to otherwise without having previous working experience,” says Tanya Izaki, Israel Programmes Coordinator at the Israel Centre JHB. Even though the internships are not paid, they are offered the opportunity to gain a lot of hands-on work experience, advance their career, and to live abroad. It is expensive, but once you’re over 21 you get an automatic $3000 scholarship from Masa, regardless of your financial situation, unique to this internship programme and which, depending on your financial situation, could be even higher. But still, the final cost could be about $2000-3000, plus your air ticket and spending money – which is no small sum, but the doors that it opens and the experience that it offers has blown the old work-and-travel London experience out of the water, and has given new graduates a reason to excel at what they do so they can find themselves miles ahead of the counterparts they leave behind. Tarryn Snoyman from Johannesburg wanted to do the Israel Teaching Fellows programme (the only programme that is almost fully-subsidised and even reimburses the air ticket) because she wanted to be exposed to a different teaching environment other than in South Africa. Sh describes it as both a stimulating and positively challenging experience for her. “I have enjoyed the personal and professional growth of the journey. Not only has this experience been focused on teaching English but I have been privileged enough to have been involved in many other initiatives that Masa offers, including a global leadership summit, a leadership shabbaton, and being part of the World Zionist Organisation fellowship track, all of which fostered personal and professional development though skills-based training.” Living in Israel, specifically Be’er Sheva which is one of Israel’s fastest growing cities with a large, vibrant student population, Tarryn has enjoyed the social and cultural scenes, which offer many opportunities for anyone to get involved in, from student events and initiatives to enjoying a buzzing, melting-pot of cultures, nightlife, and joining the Ben Gurion University’s international club.

 

The programmes run from five months up to a year, and many of the interns land their dream job and stay on to achieve greater things. And if you don’t find what you are looking for in the internships that they offer, there is always the opportunity to customise an internship in your field, helping you to find the perfect opportunity just for you. It’s a no-brainer, and just might be the key you were looking for to unlock the potential to be part of the next billion-dollar success story that Israel is so famous for producing. For more information contact Tanya Izaki at the Israel Centre JHB on 011 645 2560. For more on the Masa internship programme go to: postcollege.masaisrael.org and for more on the Israel teaching fellows programme go to: Israelteachingfellows.org

 

Originally published in Jewish Life

The Top 8 Beaches in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">The Top 8 Beaches in Israel</div>

Written by Andria Kaplan-Aylyarov

 

Yes, BRRR. The weather is cold outside and as you kindle the Hanukkah flames and spin that dreidel, warm yourself up and imagine you’re under the Tel Aviv sun, soaking up the rays on one of these beaches.


…Because seriously, where else would you rather be?

 

1. Banana Beach
Located on the southernmost edge near Jaffa this beach is home to Friday night drum circles, hula hooping-bikini wearing girls, endless games of Matkot and sunbather after sunbather. Think of it as a Bohemian paradise right next to Tel Aviv.

 

2. Gordon Beach, Frishman Beach, Bograshov Beach
Welcome to beach-mania. These three beaches offer endless white sand, beautiful people and the perfect dose of sunshine. Located right in the center of Tel Aviv these beaches offer a great getaway with tons of bars and restaurants. Each beach is the perfect place to catch the addicting Tel Aviv sunset plus, there’s a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream stand at Gordon Beach. #YUM


3. Trumpeldor Beach
Walking down the beach in Tel Aviv you’ll spot an unusual statue and you know you’ve arrived at Trumpeldor Beach. This is a quieter beach amongst its neighbors since there are no facilities or lifeguards.


4. Jerusalem Beach
Formerly known as Geula Beach, Jerusalem Beach is located right off Allenby Street and near the very well-known Opera Tower building. You’ll find falafel shops and bodegas everywhere, so don’t worry about packing snacks for the day. It’s not touristy and is the perfect spot to meet all your friends for a relaxing beach day.



5. Tel Baruch Beach
Tel Baruch Beach may be one of Israel’s cleanest beaches. Fully equipped with green lawns, outdoor workout area, and seaside café it’s the perfect escape from a long week of classes or a big night out. 


6. Metzitzim Beach
If you wake up early enough on a Friday or Saturday morning,  take a stroll down Namal Tel Aviv, and  grab a coffee while you check out Metzitzim Beach. It’s more family oriented but offers three volleyball courts and an outdoor workout area. If that’s not your thing, however, keep walking north and you’ll catch twenty-something Israelis sipping Goldstar and hanging out.


7. The Surfer’s Beach at the Hilton Hof HaGolshim
Besides beautiful people watching all day long check out The Surfer’s Beach and prepare to be amazed at the skill, the surf, and the boys. It’s a hot spot to kayak or learn how to paddle board too!

 

8. Coral Reef Beach(Red Sea):
Okay, so this beach isn't in Tel Aviv but it's a sun worshipper's paradise. You can go from sand to snorkel to world-class resort within minutes. The best part? There's a good chance your Masa program already has a trip to Eilat planned. #GetReady



Andria Kaplan Aylyarov is a Masa Israel Alumna and content marketing specialist for Masa Israel Journey. She loves a good glass of white wine and wishes she was 85-years-old and living in Boca, but she currently resides in New York.

 

To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here. 

 

USA TODAY: Becoming a Citizen of the World in Israel

USA TODAY: Becoming a Citizen of the World in Israel

November 25, 2016

By Jon Sender, Case Western Reserve University

 

There are nights when I like to walk from my dorm to the art museum and stand in contemplation on the promenade. That’s been my reflection spot for several years, and each time I return, I consider how much I’ve changed since the last.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how I’ve grown since standing there before studying abroad in Israel, before navigating a culture close to my heart, and before understanding that outside of this continent, people in other countries live their lives quite differently and offer much to learn from. The answer? I’ve grown far more than I thought possible.

 

But study abroad doesn’t begin as a catalyst for personal growth; for me, it merely turned into one in hindsight, as I imagine holds true for many things that force you to take risks, deal with challenges, and expand your worldview. Originally, it was just an opportunity to take advantage of. As for choosing Israel as my destination, the choice was clear because it was the sole place that would allow me to hone my Hebrew language skills, gain exposure to foreign entrepreneurship (it is the “start-up nation,” after all), and understand a culture intertwined with my heritage and religion. When I later learned that an opportunity to study in Jerusalem could be subsidized with scholarships from Case Western Reserve University, Masa Israel Journey (in collaboration with The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel), and the Hebrew University, my decision was made.

 

Jon Sender

Masa Israel Journey participant Jon Sender on the promenade of Hebrew University overlooking the old city of Jerusalem.

 

There are three main ways Israel has changed me, and I imagine they’re the same ways studying abroad will change anyone: I’ve learned how to solve problems I have not prepared for, network with people I have not planned to meet, and be receptive to ways of life I have not considered. These same three developments are also the reasons why I now feel as if my understanding of society has splintered apart, and why I am inspired to further discover myself. It’s simply impossible to leave and come back home the same person. Here’s why:

 

1) Taking a deep dive into a foreign language – though I realize not everyone does this while studying abroad – has taught me to become more patient, particularly with respect to international students here on campus. Taking classes in Hebrew helped me put myself in the shoes of non-native English speakers here. When professors zipped through slides that weren’t in English, and spoke in Hebrew, and used mathematical words I had never even learned in English, there was only so much I could absorb. Though I scurried to take notes and keep up, I realized later I was truly absorbing so much more than that day’s lesson. I was learning about day-to-day life in Israel because I was part of it, living it in the most immersive, transformative way possible.

 

2) Interning abroad at OurCrowd, an Israeli venture capital firm, and participating in networking events in Israel made me a better self-presenter. If you’re at home and you meet someone from Singapore, they immediately become an object of fascination with a story to share. But when you’re the one traveling and you bump into hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors at a conference, it doesn’t take long to mold an elevator pitch through practice. Moreover, that skill comes in handy when crafting conversations with people on the bus, in the supermarket, and even during job interviews.

 

3) Experiencing another culture overturned my perspective of the world and showed me just how much I could learn from watching other people go about their lives. Living with four, mature Israeli guys who completed world tours after their army service imparted upon me the value of international experiences and raised the significance of my time in Israel. Being invited for a meal every time I met a stranger showed me how to be a better host and taught me to balance planning with flexibility, despite spontaneity not falling within the nature of my personality.

 

When you study abroad, you learn the world is both simpler and more complex than you thought. You discover that Israel is much more than a representation of Jews and Arabs, that your time should really be spent on things important to you, and that there is no decent reason why you can’t break with a societal pattern or construct.

 

And when you question how these discoveries have impacted your life and you return to your reflection spot like I do with the art museum, you begin to see that studying abroad is but another step to becoming both a citizen of the world and the person you are ultimately meant to be. Six months in Israel taught me that, but don’t take my word for it; go out and have your own adventure.

 

The worst that can happen is you’ll home a little less certain and a lot more mature.

 

Jon Sender is a senior majoring in finance with a minor in computer science, who is a student advisor at the Office of Education Abroad. He studied overseas in Israel through Masa Israel Journey this past spring. He shares his tips about preparing for studying abroad at his blog, Plane2Plane.wordpress.com.

 

Originally published in USA TODAY

Happy Thanksgiving from Masa Israel Journey!

<div class="masa-blog-title">Happy Thanksgiving from Masa Israel Journey!</div>

Masa Israel participants from the Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit celebrate Thanksgiving from Israel thanking those who inspired them to take their journey and become today's leaders:

 

 

 
Masa Israel Thanksgiving Video

Masa Israel participants from the Masa GLI Global Leadership Summit celebrate Thanksgiving from Israel thanking those who inspired them to take their journey and become today's leaders! Watch and share! #Thanksgiving #MyMasa #Leadership #Thanksgiving2016 Masa Tlalim Career Israel BINA Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture Destination Israel The Jewish Agency for Israel

Posted by Masa Israel Journey on Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 

 

Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit: What A Week!

<div class="masa-blog-title">Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit: What A Week!</div>

This past week, I had the incredible opportunity to take part in a life changing summit on leadership, hosted by Masa.  I came home with a loss of words (literally and figuratively, as I had lost my voice) at how this week has changed my life. This summit brought together 200 young adults from all over the world to learn together about leadership, adaptive change, and how we can use these topics in our lives here and when we go back home.  I met people from North and South America, all over Europe, Africa, and Israel that had all chosen to take a week from their lives to come together and share in this experience.
 
 
 
Within the 200 people, we were all split into groups of around 25 people, and my group truly became my family during the week.  #FruitSalad #Group3isthebest! We spent at least one or two sessions together everyday not only to learn and overcome different challenges, but we spent time discussing challenges some of the group members were currently having in their various Masa programs.  I presented a challenge I felt that I am facing, and the group was so incredibly supportive and had an amazing brainstorm session of ways I could tackle and overcome the problem.  For lunch on Wednesday, many of us went to a hummus place, because there’s no more Israeli way of solidifying new friendships than sharing hummus!  5 days was not nearly enough time to spend with this wonderful family I now have.  I cannot wait to be able to spend weekends in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and elsewhere in Israel visiting these people.  We have only been apart a few hours at this point, and I am already missing them so much!
 
 
When I was not with my home group, we split into different elective workshops.  My favorite one was learning about narrative development and how we can effectively use our stories to create change in the world.  During this workshop, our facilitator spoke briefly about the best way to tell our stories, and then we spent a majority of the time practicing these skills in small groups.  Since this workshop happened to be on the last full day of the summit, I had become quite close with everyone, I decided to write mine on invisible disabilities and my recent Lupus diagnosis.  I used this platform to talk about how it is important to be supportive of everyone you meet, because you never know what challenges they may be facing.  My small group then encouraged me to share my story with the entire workshop group.  It was so uplifting to be able to feel comfortable to share my story with everyone, after only learning about my Lupus a few months ago.  Afterwards, I had multiple people come up to me and say how inspired they were, because they were facing similar challenges, and it showed me how important it is to be open about this part of my life.
 
Overall, I truly believe that words cannot even begin to skim the surface of explaining the experience I have had this week.  From the new friendships I have gained, to the skills and knowledge I learned, the Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit has given me tools that I am now able to take into the rest of my life.  I do not remember ever attending a conference that has been so helpful.  To all of my new friends, I cannot wait to come visit you soon!
 
Written by Tami Greenberg who is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Migdal HaEmek. To follow her Journey read more at her blog wherethefalafelami.wordpress.com.