Jewish News Service: Standing in unity with Israel, flaws and all

Jewish News Service: Standing in unity with Israel, flaws and all

Jewish News Service: Standing in unity with Israel, flaws and all

May 9, 2016

By Jerry Silverman/


"It is toward unity that I believe we should strive—not a unity that is blind to Israel’s flaws, but a unity that inspires us to help Israel improve and continue to grow. And, so on this 68th anniversary of the State of Israel, I say Baruch Hashem, praise God that we have an Israel in our lifetime. Four out of five of my children have experienced a year in Israel on Masa programs. My nephew will be honored on Yom Ha’atzmaut for his exemplary service in the Israeli navy during a ceremony at President Rivlin’s house. He, his siblings, and his first cousins are my family’s next generation of Israelis." 

The Jerusalem Post: Israeliness is the answer

The Jerusalem Post: Israeliness is the answer

The Jerusalem Post: Israeliness is the answer

May 5, 2016

By Adam Milstein


"The great success of many programs, such as Masa Israel, Gap Year, and in particular, Birthright – with its half a million alumni – illustrate how visiting, exploring and experiencing Israel makes a transformative difference for young people. Research shows that attending a Birthright trip increases one’s desire to date Jewish and raise Jewish children, leads participants to feel more positive about their Jewish identity, and strengthens their connection to their Jewish homeland."


Same, Same But Different: July 4 v. Yom Ha'atzmaut

<div class="masa-blog-title">Same, Same But Different: July 4 v. Yom Ha'atzmaut</div>

Politics and international relations aside, the United States and Israel have quite a bit in common. Case in point: both countries know how to party like it's their birthday.


July 4 Swag

alt="Old Navy Flag T Shirt"

Photo Credit: Old Navy



Yom Ha'atzmaut Swag

alt="Israeli Flag Swag"

.קלַאסִי (that's classic in Hebrew)

Photo Credit: Real Jerusalem Streets


July 4 at the Beach

alt="American Flag Swim Suits"

Photo Credit: Alabama Media Group

Partying like it's 1776?


Yom Ha'atzmaut at the Beach

alt="Israeli Airforce Planes Fly Over Beach"

Photo Credit: Jerusalem World News

Partying like it's 1948?


July 4 Tradition

alt="Nathan's Famous Coney Island"

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY.


Yom Ha'atzmaut Tradition

alt="Foam Spray and Blow Up Hammers

Photo Credit: ISRAEL21c

Think foam party meets bar/bat mitzah party give-aways.


July 4 Parade

alt="Colonial Marching Band"

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Kickin' it old school.


Yom Ha'atzmaut Parade

alt="IDF flag parade"

Photo Credit: Alamy

Fancy flag formations.


July 4 Fireworks over the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

alt="Fireworks Over the U.S. Capitol"

Photo Credit: TV Insider

Oh say, can you see...


Yom Ha'atzmaut Fireworks over the Knesset in Jerusalem

alt="Fireworks Over the Israeli Knesset"

Photo Credit: Israel Today

כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה...
(As long as deep within our hearts...)


5 Reasons to Study Abroad At Tel Aviv University

<div class="masa-blog-title">5 Reasons to Study Abroad At Tel Aviv University</div>

Making a decision to study abroad can be exciting but it can also be a bit stressful. All your friends want to go to Barcelona while others want to go to Greece or Paris. While those are all great locations, Israel is one that is often bypassed. Where else can you get a combination of beach, history, and top notch education?


Well, there is a place called Tel Aviv University (TAU). This international university has everything you want and need in a study abroad experience. Here are 5 reasons you should consider studying abroad in Tel Aviv University:

1. Location

Tel Aviv University is located in Ramat Aviv, the hippest and most high end neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Minutes away from the beach and city life, this university campus has so much to offer! Tel Aviv is also home to celebrities, tourist from all over the world, and young professional Israelis. While many criticize Tel Avivians for living in a “Bubble”, you will quickly learn that everything and anything happens in Tel Aviv. 

2. International Student Body

If you are interested in making friends from all over the world, TAU is the right place. People from all walks of life attend this university. Known for its unique international programs and top notch professors, TAU is made up of an international student body like no other. Meet people from Europe, Russia, South America, Africa, etc… This diversity adds to the classroom dynamic and gives you the opportunity to learn from other cultures.


3. Professors

During your semester abroad, you will take English-taught courses and a Hebrew Ulpan course. Learn how to live like a local and get university credit. The professors at TAU are field experts and active professionals. At TAU, students are able to learn from these experts and build unique relationships.

4. Activities

Now to the fun part; TAU is a playground of activities that can vary from going to the beach to biking the streets of Tel Aviv. There is so much to do; the only problem you will run into is how to balance your time. TAU has weekly and social events that vary from salsa dancing to Krav Maga.

5. Nightlife


Last but not least, forget Ibiza and Miami. Tel Aviv has the world’s best night life and the best looking people in the world. Studying abroad at TAU has it’s perks, every school year the international program has a committee that sets up events for international and Israeli students to mingle and have fun. This means exclusive entry to the best venues in Tel Aviv and private parties just for TAU students.


To learn more about Tel Aviv University's study abroad program, click here


Headlines from Israel: June 13-17, 2016

<div class="masa-blog-title">Headlines from Israel: June 13-17, 2016</div>

We know it can be hard for alumni and parents to keep up with the news in Israel, so we've collected some of this week's top headlines for you:


Reuters: Israel Elected to Head Permanent U.N. Committee for First Time


alt="Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Dannon"


Israel on Monday won an election to chair the United Nations' legal committee, the first time that it will head one of the world body's six permanent committees since joining the U.N. in 1949.


While it is a largely symbolic and procedural role, chairing the committee will give Israel a chance to have a higher profile in routine affairs at the United Nations.


Continue Reading


Haaretz: Senior Hamas Member Reportedly Defects to Israel


alt="Hammas fighters in an underground tunnel in Gaza"


Bassam Mahmoud Baraka is said to be highly knowledgeable about the militant group's tunnels in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian websites report.


Continue Reading


The Times of Israel: Nothing will stop Queen and Adam Lambert from Israel Concert


alt="Queen guitarist Brian May and Adam Lambert"


The iconic band with their latest singer, ‘American Idol’ contestant Lambert, set date for September performance.


Continue Reading


Vanity Fair: Curb Your Enthusiasm will return to HBO after 5-year hiatus


alt="Larry David"


We realize this isn't quite Israeli news, but the comeback of this Jewish pop-culture icon is pretty big news for the tribe.


Continue Reading


The Jerusalem Post: Religious war at Western Wall: Skirmish over egalitarian prayer service


alt="Altercation between haredi and non-Orthodox worshipers at the Western Wall"


An egalitarian prayer service at the Western Wall descended into a bad-tempered skirmish on Thursday, when haredi demonstrators sabotaged the event that was intended to underline the demand for a pluralistic prayer space at the site.


Continue Reading


Hit A Home Run With This Israel Baseball Program

<div class="masa-blog-title">Hit A Home Run With This Israel Baseball Program</div>

In the world of sport, Israel is best known for its elite basketball program, featuring Euroleague champion Maccabi Tel-Aviv, and serving as a popular destination for aspiring professional players to develop their skills. However, did you know that Israel had a baseball program? That’s right. For the past 25 years, the Israel Association of Baseball (IAB) has been developing the sport across the entire country. And as the country grows, so does its interest in baseball.




According to Henry Rosenbloom of The Jerusalem Post, the IAB boasts 850 participants in its ever expanding league, catapulting from 590 players in 2013 and 750 in 2014. There are 5 different leagues set up to accommodate age and skill level of players: minor, juvenile, cadet, junior, and premier. The ages throughout these leagues range from 5 years old to adult, beginning with the minor league and maturing with the adult premier league.



The growth of interest and activity in baseball has been reflected in Israel’s national baseball success. Israel is ranked 5th among all European nations and 19th in the world; there are no plans of slowing down. Most recently, Israel’s national team claimed victory in the European C-pool championship and looks to do the same for the B-pool and eventually the A-pool, all in the hopes for qualifying for next World Baseball Classic. In their last attempt in 2012, Israel came within one win of qualifying for the tournament. Over the past few years, multiple Major League Baseball players have appeared on the Israel baseball scene. Some names include Brad Ausmus, Shawn Green, and Gabe Kapler. All arrived with the same mindset of growing America’s pastime in the Jewish homeland.



After these action-packed days, you’ll most likely want to unwind and relax. No need to worry, we’ve got just the thing for you. Destination Israel’s Baseball Experience offers living arrangements right in the heart of Tel Aviv. A vast variety of beautiful beaches, bars, clubs, markets, restaurants, and shopping centers are all at your disposal right when you walk out of your front door. If that’s not enough, there’s all of Israel to discover. From its rich history, to its holy sites, to its breathtaking hikes, there’s so much to explore. If you’re looking for an incredible baseball experience while growing the game across Israel, Israel Baseball Experience is the place for you. Come to Israel. Travel. Learn. Teach. Explore. And Play Ball!



Click here to learn more about Destination Israel’s Israel Baseball Experience.


What Fathers Say About Masa Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">What Fathers Say About Masa Israel</div>

The traditional American Father’s Day celebration consists of a big ol' family barbecue and gifts for dad.


This year, we're celebrating Father's Day and thanking all the dads out there for supporing their kids' Masa Israel Journeys by sharing their thoughts on what Masa Israel gave to their children:


alt="Aharon Rubinstein"



alt="Vitali Gonceer"



alt="Rabbi David Lister"



alt="David Mizrachi"




5 Unique Advanced Degrees You Can Get in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">5 Unique Advanced Degrees You Can Get in Israel</div>

Interested in getting a higher degree? Masa Israel can help you get your degree with experiential learning.  


1.       MBA Global Green

Israel is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to renewable energy and a leader in developing innovative and sustainable technologies. This program trains the next generation of leaders in sustainable business management. This MBA is unique for its focus on environmental, social, and governance issues that are at the core of the decision making process of a business.


Where: Haifa University


Location Perks: Haifa is one of the most diverse cities in Israel. It is home to five different religions, living side-by-side in harmony. This makes Haifa have a rich variety of cultures. Haifa is home to the Ba'Hai Gardens which is a green botanical garden. 


2.       LL.M. Program in Human Rights and International Law

This program focuses on Human Rights and International Law. These fields are a large part of Hebrew University’s Law Department, which is a hub of international activity.


Where: Hebrew University in Jerusalem


Location Perks: Jerusalem is the home of International Law, so you can witness how Israel handles both international law and human rights while studying it! Friday afternoons in Jerusalem are very unique because the shuk is bustling. On week nights, the Machane Yehuda Shuk turns into an outdoor bar scene!


3.       M.A. in Government: Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Studies

This program is in collaboration with the International Institute for Counterterrorism, and is a graduate program that offers tools for critical thinking in this field. Students obtain an understanding of the challenges, first responder duties, security establishments in place, and legal systems in place, based on Israel’s experience in this field.


Where: IDC Herzliya


Location Perks: Herzliya is home to some of the nicest beaches in Israel. It is also home to many diplomats and consulates in Israel. Being so close to the consulates and career minded officials is useful when learning about counterterrorism and homeland security. 


4.       Ben Gurion University Medical School for International Health

This is a medical degree program that is dedicated to training physicians in international health and medicine. It follows the US style of medical degree programs- two years of basic science and two years of clinical science. This program also has a global health track that includes cross cultural communications, challenges of clinical work with translators, nutrition in the developing world, disaster relief, population based medicine, and bio-terrorism.


Where: Ben Gurion University of the Negev


Location Perks: At night, the sky is clear enough to see stars and constellations. The Negev has a unique landscape and is home to a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals. Make sure to bring water on the strenuous hikes in the Negev.


5.       MA in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible

Throughout this program, students have a one of a kind experience learning about the most exciting excavations conducted in Israel by TAU scholars. This program can be taken as a one year MA program, as a two year MA program, or as a one year credited course program towards a PhD.


Where: Tel Aviv University


Location Perks: Tel Aviv, also known as “The South Beach of the Middle East” is one of the most progressive cities in the world. The night life in this young, urban, city draws visitors from all over the world. This program is housed in the Institute for Archaeology!


To learn more about these programs, or to find a program that is right for you click here


5 Best Bars in Jerusalem

<div class="masa-blog-title">5 Best Bars in Jerusalem</div>

Are you on a Masa Israel Program and looking for things to do in your time off from studying and volunteering? Check out the top five bars located throughout Jerusalem!


1.       The Shuka



Looking to get away from the crowds and meet other students? Located in the Machane Yehuda Shuk, the Shuka Bar was opened by three students who aim to create a new concept of nightlife in Jerusalem. Speakers are brought to the bar to talk about different topics like Israeli politics and Jewish philosophy.


Haegoz 17, Mahane Yehuda Market


2.       Jimmy’s Parliament



Let your voice be heard at this small bar just off the main road from the Machane Yehuda Shuk. It draws a diverse crowd, both locals and students alike, for Tuesday night Karaoke. Another fun night at Jimmy’s Parliament is Thursday night where a local singer takes on audience requests for all different types of music!


5 HaEshkol St., Mahane Yehuda Market


3.       Sira Pub



If you’re looking for an underground club in Jerusalem, this is the place for you! Sira Pub has several rooms including an arcade and a small dance floor near the DJ. Look out for events and performances in Sira Pub throughout the year.


7 Ben Sira Street


4.       Zappa



Another great area in Jerusalem to check out is the Old Train Station. Zappa is a live music venue and is a platform for local and international musicians almost every night in the Old Train Station. If you happen to be in Tel Aviv or Herzliya one weekend you can check out Zappa there as well.


Talbiye, HaMugrabim 9000


5.       Ora Bora



Searching for a new kind of bar experience? Ora Bora is set within a magical garden atmosphere surrounded by nature in the Jerusalem Hills. Not only does Ora Bora serve fresh home-cooked meals like Hummus, but it also has beers on tap from the best local microbreweries and even has a specialty brew. 


Rehov HaYasmin 116


To learn more about how you can get back to Israel click here.


Tel Aviv University - Community Action in Tel Aviv

Program Description

Looking to get involved in social action work in Israel during your time at TAU?

Join us at Tel Aviv University International for a fall semester study abroad program as we partner with the Yahel-Israel Service Learning organization, open to undergraduate students enrolled at accredited colleges and universities outside of Israel. Your experience begins with an intensive Hebrew and Israeli culture course, called an Ulpan. During the fall semester, you will be able to enroll in 2-3 courses in a variety of subjects offered including Communications, Psychology, Middle Eastern Studies, Business and more. When you are not in class, you will join Israeli change-makers in schools, NGO's, non-profit and grassroots organizations to work with schools, refugees, youth at risk and more.

A few examples of organizations that Yahel-Israel Service Learning works with includes:
The Women's Courtyard; Local Primary Schools; The Schoolhouse: Education for Asylum Seekers; YaLa Young Leaders; After School Programs for Youth at Risk; The African Refugee Development Center
ASSAF- Aid for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel.


Integrate volunteering into your study abroad semester! Put your studies into action by participating in Tel Aviv's vibrant activist community and grassroots initiatives on the ground.