Swipe It: Why the Jerusalemite Hipsters, Beer and Food are just better than Prague

What University in Israel is Right for You?

Jerusalem vs. Buenos Aires: You can get with this or you can get with that

<div class="masa-blog-title">Jerusalem vs. Buenos Aires: You can get with this or you can get with that</div>

Venture to Buenos Aires for a semester and bask yourself in tango and carne or come to Israel and immerse yourself in more dance and food than you could ever imagine.

You could spend your semester abroad and figure out Buenos Aires' hip hood, Puerto Madero, in a day, or you could live in 1 of 3 of Jerusalem’s hip hoods.

You can get with this:


Or you can get with that:


Within the hip hoods of Nachlaot, Rehavia and Talpiot you can dance, eat, create and dance a little more…



…Or straight up chill at hundreds of cafes.



However, not all people want to *chill* on their semester abroad. In Buenos Aires, you can dive into the cultural and historic institutions.

Perhaps you’d visit the Casa Rosada, a government house rumored to be painted in cow’s blood! #Yikes



If you’d rather spend your time differently, roam through the winding streets of Jerusalem where there’s more history than the eye can imagine (and surely more historic rumors too). 



Studying abroad means more than an exquisite history class. It means new flavors, new cuisine, new people, new languages and more.

Buenos Aires can provide you all of this. You’ll eatcarne, Dulce de leche, drink wine and eat more carne.


You’ll pick up Spanish and meet Argentinians galore.

Then again, who wants to do the same routine for an entire semester?

Jerusalem has culture on top ofculture that’s brewing with people from all sorts of different backgrounds. You can hang with people from Morocco, Russia, Hungary, Yemen and even Argentina.

Like the diversemake up of people in Jerusalem, the food is alike. Think of Jerusalem as a melting pot of flavors. People from around the world have brought their traditional dishes and all you have to do is try!  



If you want to sharpen your Hebrew skills then go right ahead, but English is the third unofficial language of Israel.

Whether you’d prefer to tango and eatcarne or dance until you can’t dance anymore while filling your stomach with food from every corner of the world, in a 5,000 year old city, the choice is yours.

As I said before,


You can get with this:


Or you can get with that:


Written by: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov



The Jewish Chronicle: Community Jew'colades

The Jewish Chronicle: Community Jew'colades

The Jewish Chronicle: Community Jew'colades

July 21, 2016

Masa Israel Journey's new Director of Partnerhips in the United States, Jessica Schapiro was featured in her hometown's Jewish newspaper!

It's That Time of Year Again: Shalom U'Lehitraot

<div class="masa-blog-title">It's That Time of Year Again: Shalom U'Lehitraot</div>

Masa Israel Journey and its alumni across the United States are holding their biannual Shalom U’Lehitraot (Hello and Goodbye) Parties in August.


As recent returnees say hello, they can expect a warm welcome into a local network of Jewish young adults, united by their shared Masa Israel experiences. Alumni will be happy to share their advice for successful transition back into life stateside.


While future participants say goodbye before heading to Israel, they will have the opportunity to answer all of their last minute questions and get the local scoop from Masa Israel alumni who lived it like a local before them.


Meanwhile, veteran Masa alumni will reunite to catch up, reminisce about Israel and find out about the exciting local and national opportunities that the Masa Israel alumni network has in store for the coming year.


Find a party near you"


Twin Cities - Thursday, August 18

New York - Sunday, August 21

Washington DC - Thursday, August 25

Lost Angeles - TBD


Want to host a Shalom U'Lehitraot party in your city?

Email RachelM@MasaIsrael.org to get the party started.




Meet the U.S. Regionals

<div class="masa-blog-title">Meet the U.S. Regionals</div>

Masa Israel's Regionals Managers and Representatives are the face of Masa in their communities. Whether advising local young people on program options, building partnerships with local organizations or helping alumni plan events, they are one-stop shops from anything and everything Masa:


alt="Jacob Allen"

Jacob Allen


Detroit, MI


Jacob is the Israel & Overseas Associate at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. His portfolio includes scholarships, the Israeli Camper Program, Partnership2Gether with the Central Galilee Region and, or course, recruiting for Masa.


Born and raised in the Detroit metropolitan area, Jacob holds a B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Comparative Culture and Identity, and Hebrew and Judaic Cultural Studies from the University of Michigan. He is passionate about enhancing the relationships between Israel and the Metro Detroit Jewish community.


alt="Mirit Balkan"

Mirit Balkan


Cleveland, OH


Mirit is the I-connect Manager at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, connecting local young adults to Israel programs, like Masa. Since January 2011, Mirit has established herself as the "to go" person for local community members looking for long term Israel experiences. Working with Jewish educators, Israel Fellows on campus, students and their parents are just part of her portfolio.


Born and raised in Israel, Mirit served as a sharp shooter sniper in the IDF. She holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Democracy and a certificate in Peace Building and Conflict Studies. Before moving to Cleveland, Mirit worked at Walt Disney World, The Gilo Center for Citizenship, Democracy and Civic Education at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Yithak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv. Mirit and her husband Yaron have three children Aya, 3; Romi, 8; and Ori, 10.


alt="We're Hiring in Florida! Apply Now,"


alt="Ariel Biel"

Ariel Biel


Minneapolis, MN

Ariel is a Program Specialist in the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, assisting 18-30 year olds on finding the right Israel program, to have transformational experiences in Israel- studying, interning, and/or volunteering.


While earning a B.A. in Child Psychology, with a minor in Hebrew, from the University of Minnesota, Ariel served as a Community Advisor, a Hebrew teaching assistant. and an Ambassador for Hillel. Her passion for being in Israel was kindled by her first visit, on Birthright. After graduation, Ariel participated in the pilot year of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, teaching English to elementary school children and volunteering with at-risk junior high and high school students at an agricultural boarding school in Rishon LeZion. She returned to Minnesota where she worked as a Jewish educator and helped start the Twin Cities Masa Israel Alumni Group.


alt="Roxanna Donay"

Roxanna Donay


Los Angeles, CA


Roxanna (though everyone calls her Roxy) is the Program Director for Israel Experiences & Post-Programs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.


Born and raised in sunny southern California. Roxy caught the travel bug after her first trip to Israel as a teenager and has been collecting stamps on her passport ever since. After her gap year on the Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel, Roxy went on to study Psychology and Human Development at the University of California, Davis. Since graduating she has spent many years working and volunteering for various Jewish organizations such as Hillel, Camp Ramah, United Synagogue Youth, and the Builders of Jewish Education. She is passionate about Israel and helping people find the right Israel experience for them.



alt="We're hiring in Washington DC! Apply Now"


alt="Guy Lowicz"

Guy Lowicz


New York, NY

Guy is the regional representative for Masa in the New York metropolitan area. He came to Masa after interning for Hillel because he saw the work at Masa as his way of representing his country, Israel.


Born and raised in Israel, after completing his IDF service, Guy left Israel and started jumping around the globe. After backpacking in South America, working in aviation security in Hong Kong, and studying International Affairs at The George Washingtong University, he settled in New York to start recruiting for Masa. Before working at Masa, Guy bartended for 12 years, on 3 different continents. Although he has traveled to more than 15 countries, now he can barely stand taking the NYC subway.


alt="Marisa Ouchowski"

Marisa Obuchowski


Baltimore, MD


Marisa is the Israel and Overseas Engagement Associate at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, where she is very excited to engage local young adults and connect them with Israel and overseas opportunities. 


She holds a BFA in Graphic Design and Computer Imaging from Ohio Wesleyan University. After college, Marisa traveled on Birthright where she fell in love with the sites, people, and culture of Israel, and three weeks later she returned to Israel with WUJS Tel Aviv, program of MasaAfter returning to Baltimore, she worked as a graphic designer and marketing manager for a Jewish day school and as a part-time swim coach at the local JCC. As an alumna of Birthright and Masa, she understands the meaningful impact of peer-travel and immersive Israel programs and looks forward to providing others with the same transformative experiences.


alt="We're Hiring in Chicago! Apply Now."


J-Wire: Dream job for Oliver

J-Wire: Dream job for Oliver

J-Wire: Dream job for Oliver

July 1, 2016

By Hayley Hadassin


A graduate of Melbourne’s Bialik College has landed a dream job in New York as Product Manager at LifeBEAM, an Israeli Start Up company taking the athletic and Artificial Intelligence market by storm.

Oliver Rose recently completed his Bio Medical Engineering degree and needed industry experience to make it in the competitive job market. He decided to take a break from his studies and apply for a Masa Israel Internship through the Zionist Federation of Australia’s Israel Program Department.


Masa Israel Journey offers young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 30 a range of 5-10 month Israel experiences including life-changing gap year, study abroad and volunteer programs as well as professional internships in all field and industries. Masa Israel also offers very generous grants and scholarships for eligible applicants. Oliver, an engineering student decided a Masa internship at an Israeli start-up would be a great opportunity to gain hands on learning experience. ‘“I wanted work experience where I would not be repeating the same task over and over. I wanted to prove my creativity, learn about starting and growing a business, and to make a lasting impact. Israel’s start-up culture was the perfect opportunity.”
Oliver selected to intern at LifeBEAM – a leader in bio tech and bio wearing technology. Oliver was thrown into the day-to-day operation of the business, integrating himself into the company and was tasked with researching relationships between LifeBEAM sensors and body functions, designing trials in the nearby Olympic Centre and developing the user experience. He also acted in a support role for the Chief Operations Officer, helping to re-design the company’s website, analyse website traffic, manage customer support, and oversee product deliveries. Over the 6-month internship he gained invaluable experience from leading start-up minds and was mentored by his bosses and colleagues.


“Israel is a hub of social, commercial and technological innovation offering exciting internship opportunities that are simply not available at comparative companies and organisations in Australia” says ZFA Israel Program Coordinator Sarit Braver. ‘Masa Israel internships provide young Jewish adults the opportunity to live in Israel like a local and gain professional experience in their field. Israel has so much to offer in terms of business development, growth and industry advancements and these companies and organisations are eager to recruit interns from around the world. With Masa Israel being a project of the Israeli Government and Jewish Agency it has the connections and network to offer impressive internship placements at some of the country most impressive companies such as Teva Pharmaceuticals, Jerusalem Post and even Google”


The benefits of a Masa Israel internship are not only the work experience opportunities but the social ones as well. “I made friends for life, learned to live independently, and grew up emotionally. Masa added tremendous value to the internship program, by providing enjoyable educational and cultural activities, including weekend tours around Israel, during which our group of 40 grew very close. I made friends from all over the world and will never forget swimming in the desert oasis at Ein Gedi, or rafting down the Jordan River.” said Rose.
“These Israel-based internship programs are a fantastic, but untapped resource for the Jewish community. They provide valuable experience in a country that has the leading edge in so many fields. The 6 months I spent living and working in Israel was one of the happiest and most successful times of my life.”


Upon returning to Melbourne to complete his Biomedical Engineering Degree at Melbourne University, Oliver was offered to a job with LifeBEAM. He has watched and been a part of the company’s growth from its early stages. His move to New York will see him take up a full-time position as Product Manager, working directly with the CEO on their latest product, Vi, the world’s first true Artificial Intelligence Personal Trainer. Vi is a virtual trainer who lives in bio sensing earphones, finds your ideal path to fitness and coaches you in real-time, a product that is sure to make waves in the virtual reality market and become one of the most highly coveted products in the fitness market.


Originally published in J-Wire, Digital Jewish news daily for Australia and New Zealand. 

Jewish News: Aiding, showing solidarity with French Jews

Jewish News: Aiding, showing solidarity with French Jews

Jewish News: Aiding, showing solidarity with French Jews

July 6, 2016

By W. David Weiner


While we were visiting the schools, we met with small groups of graduating high school seniors and nearly 75 percent of them have plans to immigrate to Israel and/or attend JAFI programs, such as Masa, that will let them learn more about Israel. Funds raised in the Phoenix Jewish community support programs like Masa and allow young adults to have an in-depth experience in Israel and escape the anti-Semitism in France. The French Jewish community is strongly Zionistic, and most of their youth have spent numerous summers in Israel. One evening, we attended a touching and emotional send-off of new French olim, who were greeted by the Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver. It was beautiful to see Israeli flags flying from the La Victoire synagogue (Grande Synagogue de la Victoire), which has been at the center of Parisian life for over 135 years. 

Tablet: Go East, Young Non-Jews!

Tablet: Go East, Young Non-Jews!

July 20, 2016

By Rebecca Heilweil


In 2012, Edelstein introduced the Global Village Conference in Israel, which was attended by Diaspora Matters’ Aikins and included commentary from representatives from the Jewish Agency for Israel (which helps fund Taglit-Birthright) and Masa Israel, which assists students living in Israel for longer stretches of time. That same year, Edelstein took his first trip to Ireland, briefing journalists and academics on Israel’s diaspora engagement, as well as other issues.

Florida Jewish Journal: Masa Israel was a life-changing trip for participant

Florida Jewish Journal: Masa Israel was a life-changing trip for participant

Florida Jewish Journal: Masa Israel was a life-changing trip for participant

July 18, 2016

By Sergio Carmona


Kenneth Hice of Palmetto Bay had a life-changing experience in Israel that shaped his connection to his Judaism more than two years ago.

Hice was a participant of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF), a program that brings American Jews to Israel to gain valuable teaching experience as they help to close Israel's achievement gap by teaching English to Israeli students. It is a 10-month service-learning fellowship for high-achieving Jewish college graduates ages 21 to 30 and allows these young professionals to gain international teaching and social work experience in Israel.


Before participating at MITF a couple of years ago, Hice had very little connection to Judaism and his Jewish identity. However, by the end of his 10-month trip in Israel, he had a much stronger sense of his place in the Jewish world,and even learned Hebrew while there.


"It definitely was life-changing," Hice said about the trip. "To be honest, I had never been to a bar mitzvah or a bat mitzvah. I had never really been to temple or been able to celebrate beyond basic holidays with family and friends. I had never worn a kippah here in the states. However on this trip, I was able to go to the Western Wall multiple times, I was able to converse with rabbis and I was able to really immerse myself in the culture and understand what it exactly meant to be Jewish and do it."


Since this experience, Hice said he has become more culturally Jewish.


"I've been to a few Shabbat dinners since my experience in Israel where before this experience I might have been to a total of two in my life," he said. "I've had positive connections with people who I met overseas and I now have more understanding of when Jewish holidays start where before I most likely wouldn't have done much to celebrate and understand what they mean. Now I know the background of the holidays and what it means to celebrate them."


Tamar Zilbershatz, director of Gap & Service Programs for Masa Israel Journey, said about Hice's participation in the program: "Kenneth's work outside of the classroom engaged students in a fun way to help them learn English better. His dedication and effort were greatly valued by Israeli teachers."


MITF is a joint initiative of the Israeli Ministry of Education, Masa Israel Journey and The Jewish Agency for Israel. Masa Israel Journey is a project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel and is made possible through the contributions of the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA.


Originally published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.