The Jerusalem Post: For those looking to explore Israel, emerging cities">The Jerusalem Post: For those looking to explore Israel, emerging cities
By Shaina Oppenheimer
Integral to the choice of coming to Israel is the eagerness to give back to its people. Masa hopes to inculcate a sense of shared responsibility.
Every year, Masa Israel Journey enables thousands of young Jewish adults to come to Israel on various programs and experience the country as a local, diving deep into Israeli culture. However, the dynamic of these programs is starting to change; as more participants gravitate towards smaller cities, the focus is shifting from “my Israel” to “our Israel.”
A service and learning program incorporating gap years, study abroad, volunteer work and other post-graduate work contexts, Masa is starting to radiate waves of change throughout the Jewish community in moderately-sized metropolises, such as Beit She’an, Petah Tikva and Beersheba.
By Liran Avisar, CEO of Masa Israel Journey
Today, there are more options available than ever before for young people to experience Israel, whether for days, weeks, months, or an entire year.
Every spring, Jewish people across the United States and around the world sit at a table with their friends and family to retell the story of our exodus from Egypt. The first leg of our journey back in time begins with the “Ma Nishtana” (“What has changed?”), also known as the Four Questions.
As we prepare to retell the story of the liberation of the Israelites and the birth of the Jewish people, it is also worth exploring the current state of our Tribe. This Passover, I have four slightly different questions for the American Jewish community.
These are the four major questions that are worth asking:
1. How can we increase young American Jews’ interest in Jewish life and Israel?
If you just read the headlines, it might seem that engagement is on the decline and anti-Israel activities are expanding. But the sky isn’t exactly falling.
One thing we do know is that it takes a transformative Israel experience with a lasting impact for Jewish young adults to reestablish, or even establish for the first time, their personal connections to the Jewish people and to Israel – to discover the Tribe.
Now, I am not talking about a single event, happening, or “aha” moment. Though for some it may only take one spark to reignite the Jewish fire inside. I’m not talking about the classic structure of organized Israel trips that include a bus tour of the country’s sites like Masada and Yad Vashem, meeting Israelis, learning to count to 10 in Hebrew and stuffing your face with more hummus and falafel than you ever thought possible.
These are clearly cornerstones to a young Diaspora Jew’s introduction to Israel – the state, the land and the people. However, the personal moments, conversations and observations enabled by a long-term Israel experience are the lasting connections that help our young people realize they are part of something bigger than themselves – Am Yisrael.
I’m talking about your first trip to an Israeli mall, when you see the clothing and accessories covered in Stars of David instead of crosses. The grandmotherly women you encounter on the bus that offers unsolicited life advice and a bite of their snacks as if you were their own grandchild.
The way in which everyone wishes you “Shana Tova” in the fall, not because they’re religious or on the way to synagogue, but because it’s as natural as wishing someone “Happy Holidays” in the winter in America.
These are the local Israeli moments that stay with young Jews as they go back home and reflect on their experience and newfound connection to Israel and their Jewish identities. They are what make that connection durable.
2. How do we empower our students to authentically change the Israel conversation on college campuses across the country?
Young Jews who spend substantial amounts of time living in Israel are much more equipped to deal with the often hostile anti-Israel rhetoric and activities on campus. Having spent significant time in Israel, they know more about what’s happening (and has happened) on the ground. As such, they are not only able to take part in discussions and debates, but also have the knowledge and tools to change the tone and content of the conversations.
By bringing their own Israel stories and experience into campus dialogue, these students have the power to change a combative debate into a personal conversation. Having a trove of deeply personal experiences on the ground in Israel allows individuals to speak more knowledgeably and comfortably about Israel and its politics.
Spending significant time in Israel also enables young Jews to better differentiate between legitimate criticism and uninformed, misguided hatred. Rather than feeding into the entrenched, polarizing propaganda war, these students are empowered to respectfully confront dissenting viewpoints. They can go beyond traditional hasbara (public diplomacy) efforts and pro-Israel talking points to have nuanced and intellectual conversations about the reality of the challenges facing the State of Israel, its leadership and its people.
3. What will the US Jewish community’s professional and lay leadership look like in 10 years?
With the number of unaffiliated Jews in America on the rise, one might think that the American Jewish community’s professional and lay leadership is shrinking or narrowing. However, the pipeline is actually expanding. One key indicator of young Jews who remain engaged and take on leadership roles in Jewish life are those who have spent an extended amount of time in Israel.
The variety of opportunities to spend meaningful time in Israel has consistently grown over the past several years. Today, there are more options available than ever before for young people to experience Israel, whether for days, weeks, months, or an entire year.
In 10 years, the majority of Jewish adults in the United States will have participated in an immersive Israel experience. We are talking about an unprecedented reality for the American Jewish community.
Throughout my and my American colleague’s meetings with our numerous Jewish communal partners, from Jewish Federations to Hillels to synagogues and beyond, it becomes more and more apparent that alumni of immersive Israel experiences, particularly those who have spent between five to 12 months in Israel, are overrepresented in the Jewish professional world. They are everywhere, in every organization, and they are the future leaders of the Jewish community.
As a result, they are and will continue to be more determined to connect Israel to all aspects of Jewish life. More than anything, they will make Israel travel an integral part of Jewish life and Jewish experiences. That, my friends, is revolutionary.
In a decade, these same young leaders will hold influential positions, whether in the Jewish world, business world, the philanthropic world and beyond. They will be the ones calling the shots and making important decisions. To have their Israel stories to tell and an unforgettable experience to look back on will mold these discussions and decisions before they even begin.
4. Yalla, nu, when are you coming?
From desalination to solar energy, irrigation, and literally making the desert bloom, Israelis know a thing or two about green tech and sustainability.
Masa Israel Journey’s environmental programs provide academic, volunteer, and professional opportunities for young adults to gain hands-on experience in sustainable building, organic farming, permaculture, and more.
In honor of this year's Earth Day, grab your hiking boots and get ready for one of Masa Israel’s incredible environmental experiences:
Image Source: Miriam Grunfeld
Located on Kibbutz Ketura in Israel’s Negev desert, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is the Middle East’s premier research and environmental studies institution. Accredited by Ben-Gurion University, the Arava Institute brings together students from America, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and from around the world to study environmental ethics and policy, ecology, water management in the Middle East and sustainable agriculture. Students also participate in a unique weekly Peace-Building and Environmental Leadership Seminar.
Image source: Eco-Israel
Eco-Israel combines coursework and hands-on fieldwork to give participants an in-depth experience in sustainable living and permaculture. Upon completion of the program, participants receive an internationally recognized certificate in permaculture design.
Eco-Israel also emphasizes community-development as participants live and work together on the Hava and Adam Farm, Israel’s first multidisciplinary center for sustainable living and education, just outside of Modi'in.
Image Source: neot-sedemar.com
LaMidbar offers participants the unique opportunity to pursue environmental and artistic interests. Located on Kibbutz Neot Semadar in the Negev, LaMidbar allows participants to truly immerse themselves in the kibbutz community. Working with kibbutz members and program staff, participants gain experience in organic farming. Participants may also choose to participate in an apprenticeship in carpentry, metal work, stained glass, pottery, weaving and other media with local artisans in the kibbutz Art Center.
Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Studies offers a three-semester MA in Environmental Studies, taught in English. This multidisciplinary program emphasizes the unique geographic and geopolitical challenges facing Israel and the broader Middle East. Courses cover a broad array of topics including sustainable development, marine conservation, and environmental policy. The program specializes in water issues, one of Israel’s most pressing environmental challenges, from both a scientific and political approach.
Looking for an environmental internship? Our internship programs offer a wide variety of opportunities for college graduates to gain hands-on work experience in environmental nonprofits, green tech companies, government agencies, and more. Click here to browse available positions.
By Andria Kaplan Aylyarov
Sandy Tolan dives deep inside the relationship of Bashir Khairi, a Palestinian and Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, an Israeli college student. The book breaks down the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the relationship of this unlikely friendship and proves hope and transformation does exist.
Written by Tuvia Tenenbom, a Jewish journalist, who disguises himself as a German reporter so he can wander Israel for seven months. Tenebom visits Gaza, the West Bank and numerous Israeli cities to break bread and mingle with people of all kinds to unfold the unknown truths of the Holy Land.
Ari Shavit is one of the most influential journalists in the Middle East and in this book, a personal narrative we are introduced to Shavit’s great-grandfather, a British Zionist who comes to Israel on a Thomas Cook tour in 1897. The book will help grasp your personal understanding of “why did Israel come to be, how did it come to be, and can Israel survive.
Have you ever wondered how a country so young, surrounded by enemies on all sides is able to produce more startup companies than any other country? Authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer examine the adversity-drive culture and workplace informalities that shape the great country that is now called, Startup Nation.
The books describe the story of a man, Yossi Harel, known to some as a modern-day Moses, who commands a ship carrying 24,000 Holocaust survivors to the shores of Palestine despite what the British Mandate says.
The famous Israeli novelist Amoz Oz interviews dozens of his fellow countrymen from every corner of Israel, every cultural background to paint a diverse portrait of their fears, hopes and prejudices.
Calling all espionage enthusiasts! This book is the amazing story of of Elie Cohen, who managed to infiltrate the hierarchy of an enemy nation to a degree completely unheard of.
If you’re coming to Israel and looking to travel to countries close by for the low then this book is a must-read. Twain’s book describes his journey on a charted vessel with numerous stops in Marseilles, Israel, Rome, Odessa and Morocco.
Etgar Keret, one of Israel’s most well-known authors, wrote The Seven Good Years, his first memoir to document his life between the birth of his son and his father’s death. The New York Times says it’s a brilliant, life-affirming, and hilarious memoir from a genius.
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 Brooklyn.
Masa Israel Alumni Fellow of the Week: Molly Radler">Masa Israel Alumni Fellow of the Week: Molly Radler
After graduating, Molly did a Masa Israel Volunteer Program, for 10 months in the city of Akko, as well as various Druze villages in the North. There she taught English and other subjects in both formal and non-formal settings to young Jewish, Arab, and Druze teenagers. The connection Molly built with the students from different backgrounds was what lead her to want to further facilitate connections for students in the United States. Soon after she joined The David Project and became a Senior Campus Coordinator with, working with college campuses throughout the state of Florida. She helped guide pro-Israel college students to advocate for Israel on campus to the non-Jewish community, speaking on behalf of their own narratives and connecting those to their peers, making the Israel discourse on campus more inclusive and relatable.
Molly will be going to graduate school to pursue a Master's in Social Work with the Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work (GRC MSW) Program of Nazareth College and The College at Brockport, SUNY.
What was the most meaningful aspect of your Masa Israel experience?
The most meaningful aspect of my Masa Israel experience was the network of people and connections I was able to take with me after my year with Masa. The bond that we formed while doing the truly amazing and unique work of our program is something that has bonded me to the group of my peers that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In addition, Masa provided opportunities to connect with other Masa participants throughout the whole country of Israel, and some of my closest friends and some of the most inspiring people I have met are ones I met on Masa.
What inspired you to become a Masa Israel Alumni Fellow?
I have become a very passionate advocate for Masa and have actively been suggesting that my students and friends apply for Masa programs. I was very active in all the opportunities that Masa provided in addition to my actual program, and love to share my experience with others to hopefully get them involved as well. I hope to help connect the network of Masa alumni across the country in years to come after their volunteership, as well as advocate for many other Jewish people to be able to have a similar experience.
Each Masa Israel Alumni Fellow is required to create an Impact project to bring back to their local community, either to increase local alumni involvement or help recruit new participants for Masa Israel programs. What ideas do you have for your Impact project, should you be chosen as a Fellow?
I would love to create a network between the various Israel and Jewish organizations for young adults to learn about ways to get back to Israel through Masa. In Boston, there are already things in place for this to be successful, but on a very broad scale. If chosen I would love the opportunity to use this as a resource to start a specific project for students to find their perfect program to get back to Israel and explore their Jewish identity and connection to Israel through Masa.
At the time I enrolled in the Sofaer International MBA program at Tel Aviv University, I had completed an undergraduate business degree in the US, worked as a management consultant for a major US firm, and was near completion of my military service as a combat medic. I had always enjoyed business and decided that earning an International MBA would valuable for transitioning back to the private sector. I also wanted to leverage my medical and military training to focus on biomedical and healthcare-related business, with an emphasis on commercialization of innovation and startups. I thoroughly researched several international programs and was confident in my decision to choose Tel Aviv University.
By then, the Israeli start-up scene had already developed a global reputation as an innovation leader. Within a few months of me starting the program that perception was further articulated and became a brand with the release of the book, Start-up Nation, which formally explored, documented, and named the phenomenon of the Israeli start-up culture. In the years since, international business delegations, investment, and deals coming to Israel have exploded, particularly from Asia. It has been an amazing trend to witness and be a part of.
Beyond traditional business coursework (taught by leading professors from both Israel and abroad), the MBA program provided a unique opportunity to be exposed to innovation and start-up-focused learning opportunities. These included courses such as Hi-Tech M&A and Innovation in Healthcare, hosting of international business delegations, visits to local start-ups and innovative multinational firms, and participating in an international business case competition (our team won first place in the country!).
I also had the opportunity to work on investment diligence projects for a leading Israeli healthcare venture capital firm evaluating medical investments. The program even provided the opportunity to join a business delegation and pursue a student exchange study abroad program, which I took advantage of.
After witnessing firsthand Asia’s growing hunger for Israeli innovation, I chose Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (“The Gateway to Asia”) for my student exchange. I took regionally relevant courses such as Sun Zi Art of War Applications to Business, Asia Pacific Business Law, and Mandarin Chinese. Joining Nanyang’s water polo and biathlon teams, as well as traveling throughout Asia during that period were unique and valuable personal and professional experiences as well, no less useful to my career than the formal studies.
One of the most cherished aspects of the Sofaer International MBA program was the opportunity to simultaneously explore both the start-up side of a business and how those innovations interface with the multinational corporations and international markets where commercialization happens. This is a crucial “missing link” that many startups and larger corporations alike do not have an understanding of. The results are that frequently, 1) the startups create solutions that lack understanding of their market and end-users, and 2) the larger corporations (and even entire cities and countries) squander tremendous resources attempting to promote “innovation,” without actually understanding how that comes about.
Upon completion of the program, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of healthcare systems to understand better which innovations would add the most value. So I accepted a US-based director position with the world’s leading provider of wound care management services.
There, I spent over five years leading and managing multi-million dollar hospital and clinic-based departments specializing in the treatment of advanced wounds. This period was priceless for two reasons: First, it gave me an expertise in the clinical and business aspects of wound care, regenerative medicine, and related medical specialties (vascular, orthopedic, and plastic surgery, infectious disease, etc.). Second, it exposed me to broader trends, challenges, and opportunities in the healthcare sector, regarding both the management and delivery of care and the market for medical devices and other products.
Eventually, wound care and related start-ups began to approach me for insights and assistance on solutions they were developing. At first, they were primarily Israeli startups that heard about me through word-of-mouth, but that quickly expanded to other countries (especially the U.S.).
At the same time, top executives of medical device companies (whose products are used in the wound care units I managed) would perform ride along with their sales teams and product managers, visiting the centers I managed. They would find value in the meetings because we would provide invaluable feedback on their current and planned products and strategy. Several successful advanced wound care products on the market today heavily incorporated our feedback in their designs and business models.
Some of those same executives (and others I would meet at industry conferences and trade shows) would also connect me with their colleagues managing overseas divisions, given my experiences in those markets. On multiple occasions, I would connect them with overseas partners or facilitate deals, especially in Israel and Asia. A Tel-Aviv University MBA colleague from China and I have collaborated on some of these engagements, too.
As my dealings with both startups and multinational corporations intensified, I eventually left my wound care director position to pursue those opportunities full-time.
I am currently based in Washington, DC, but I spend significant time overseas (including Israel and Asia), engaged in both business and advisory, which are equally divided among multinational corporations and startups.
In fact, I am writing this entry from Southeast Asia right now, where I am performing due diligence for a multinational medical device company’s planned product launches here. I am also a part-time co-founder of a US-based chronic care management startup, and actively advise several other startups, including ones working on innovative surgical dressings, wound care diagnostics, and medical laser solutions.
I credit the Sofaer International MBA at Tel Aviv University for providing opportunities and opening doors for me. However, many of my friends in traditional MBAs indeed received more “hand-holding.” So those looking to simply attend class and have a coordinator set them up for internships and job interviews with minimal initiative may want to look to other MBA programs. However, for those who are eager to roll up their sleeves and seize an opportunity to fuse innovation and commercialization (whether to work with startups, larger firms or to bridge both), the Sofaer International MBA from Tel Aviv University is worth serious consideration.
Written by Rafael Mazuz, Sofaer International MBA | Tel Aviv University Alumnus
FROM INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST TO ISRAELI CONSULTANT: MEET AVIVA GAT">FROM INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST TO ISRAELI CONSULTANT: MEET AVIVA GAT
My parents had been pushing me to go to business school since I finished my undergrad in journalism. I come from a family that collects degrees the way other people collect postcards or rocks, and my parents couldn’t quite understand why I had thought that a bachelor’s degree would be enough. I don’t think however that they ever thought I would end up eventually getting that second degree half way around the world.
When I finished my undergrad, I was ready to be a journalist like the ones in the movies, investigating corrupt politicians, breaking shocking news stories and using my skills to shed light on things that were important to me. I quickly found out that jobs like that don’t really exist, at least not for a salary that would allow me to follow my other dream of living in New York City.
I did, however, find a great job as a journalist covering corporate bankruptcy for a magazine on Wall Street. A little less glamorous, but I did get to write about Blockbuster, Kodak, Hostess and even the city of Detroit. (Yes, cities can file for bankruptcy, Google it.)
It sounds dull, but I found bankruptcy more interesting than I thought I would. Writing about it meant reading a lot of financial statements, combing through numbers and writing about corporate strategies and why they failed. I spend half my day talking to lawyers and business men and every day someone asked me: Did you go to business school? Do you have a law degree?
Meanwhile, I was getting tired of living in New York and decided to move to Israel. While I did pursue journalism here and worked at a high-tech reporter, I thought moving to a new country might be a good time to change career paths and start something new.
I chose to study at Tel Aviv University because of the great offering of classes, and the career center, which I knew I would use to help me figure out what I wanted to do while I pivoted from journalism.
The Sofaer International MBA program was interesting and opened my eyes to different things that I hadn’t thought about. It also gave me a new lens to view my experience covering financial bankruptcy, now that I understood a little more about what went into running a business.
The best part of the program was that it helped me find a new career that allowed me to use my skills that I acquired as a journalist and let me practice new abilities that I learned in my MBA.
I started getting interested in consulting during the program and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what consulting means: what do consultants do on a day to day basis? Do they just sit around and think about business things? Do they spend all their time meeting with CEOs and showing fancy presentations?
It turns out they spend a lot of time interviewing people, analyzing data and organizing all of that to tell a story that will help a client achieve some business goal. It seemed more similar to journalism that I had ever thought: a career where my job was changing every day, where I could constantly learn new things and even help people achieve something that they didn’t know how to achieve themselves.
After graduating from the Sofaer International MBA program, I started working as a consultant at Tefen, an Israeli Management Consulting Firm, where I can honestly say I have yet to have a dull day. My job has taken me to a factory in Dimona to a Kibbutz next to the Kinneret and many other places in between. Not only that, but I have been exposed to so many things that I never knew about before, and I am constantly learning about new industries and ideas.
Without the MBA program, I don’t know if I would have discovered this job opportunity, or had the confidence to change my career path.
Written by Aviva Gat, Tel Aviv University Sofaer International MBA Alumna
IDC - One Year MBA in Englishhttp://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/IDC%20One%20Year%20English.jpg
IDC is offering a one year MBA program focusing on management of fast-growth, innovative companies. The program combines MBA content customized for management of high-growth companies, with study in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship. The program comprises relevant practical experience, including the options of practicing in start-up firms, internships in different companies, or participation in practical projects with the guidance of lecturers and managers from the industry. Courses will be taught by the best lecturers IDC offers and by leading academics and practitioners in their fields.
The program’s goal is to provide students with managerial tools that will enable integration into the business world in growing companies, development of new opportunities and quick promotion of their professional careers. This MBA is suitable for students who possess a strong academic background and are interested in investing in a particularly intensive degree for a short period of time.
For more information, contact:
Israel & Abroad
RRIS Admissions & Recruitment
+972 9 952 7658
UK and Francophone Europe
Director of Recruiting and Marketing
- Main Subject: Graduate Academic Studies
- Business, Entrepreneurship
- 10, 12 Months
- Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya - The Recanati International School
- Program appears on grant application as:
- IDC - One Year MBA in English
- Not Included
- Not Included
- Program Contact Information:
- Eyal Dagan
- Program Dates:
- November 10,2017 - November 08,2018, HERZELIYYA, $25100 Apply to this program
Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay">Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay
In honor of International Women’s Day, we decided to highlight our fellow Masa Israel alumnae and their amazing accomplishments. Here at Masa we know our participants have the potential to not only make a difference in their own lives, but in the lives of others. Giving back is the focus this month and it’s the perfect time to mention a few alumnae who have done just that.
1. Kayci Merritté, Yahel Social Change Program 2014-2015 Alumna
“After my Masa Israel experience, I returned to my hometown of St. Louis to serve as an AmeriCorps member assisting in refugee resettlement. Once-a-week I pick up new arrivals from all of the world – Congo, Iraq, Cuba, the list goes on – from the airport and bring them to their new homes. Throughout the rest of my week, I help these new residents of my city access the medical care that they need. I’m not sure I would have applied for this position if it were not for my experiences in Ramat Eliyahu.”
2. Jamie Gold, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows 2012-2013 Alumna
“As a result of her Masa Israel Teaching Fellows experience, Jamie chose to pursue a career in Jewish education. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Jamie moved into the Moishe House in West L.A. and enrolled in the DeLeT program at Hebrew Union College. “Masa Israel Teaching Fellows is the only reason I was picked for the HUC program,” Jamie says. She believes it gave her the necessary Israel and teaching experiences to be a top-notch Jewish educator.”
3. Rachel Pope, MSIH 2011 alumna
“Rachel is completing a two year fellowship in Malawi. She is learning how to repair obstetric fistulas and working with the next generation of Malawian residents at the newly created Malawian OB/GYN residency program. Rachel is currently living in Lilongwe, Malawi and working for the government hospital, Kamuzu Central.”
4. Ashleigh Talberth, Pardes Insitute of Jewish Studies 2014-2015 Alumna
“A serial green-tech entrepreneur, Ashleigh has pioneered initiatives for a broad range of leading companies, startups, and institutions for over 12 years. She currently consults for emerging companies primarily in California and Israel, the world's leading green-tech and startup hot spots.” ("Israelcagreentech." Israelcagreentech. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.)