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Top 5 Father’s Day Gifts to Bring Home from Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">Top 5 Father’s Day Gifts to Bring Home from Israel</div>

As programs wind down and Masa Israel participants prepare to head home, here are a few ideas for last-minute Father’s Day gifts to pick up before heading to the airport:

 

1. A cheesy tourist t-shirt

 

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via israeli-T

 

Stacey Abendstern

Carlie Dobkin -Israel Way Intern Tel Aviv

Carlie Dobkin -Israel Way Intern Tel Aviv

Israel Way-Internship Tel Aviv

 After graduating from college a year early, Carlie Dobkin was looking for something different to do while all her friends were still in school. She found Masa Israel's internship program though Destination Israel and decided to leave her hometown of Chicago for this unique experience that she hoped would be a great transition into the working world as well as an opportunity to go abroad.

Playbuzz is an online media platform that creates entertaining and shareable content. They engage users all over the world with funny quizzes, lists, polls, and more. Being a content writer, Carlie is the person who creates those quizzes and lists.

Playbuzz treats Carlie as a valuable employee and she loves that if she has an idea she has the independence to run with it without asking permission from her supervisor beforehand.

"At Playbuzz, I always feel appreciated and challenged. I am constantly busy and I'm always doing real work for the company. I don't feel like an intern, I feel like an employee," Carlie says.

Halfway through the internship, Carlie has already started looking into ideas for next year. She applied to several online media jobs in the states as well as graduate programs in fine arts and screenwriting. Of course, Carlie hopes she can continue freelancing for Playbuzz from the US.

When summing up her invaluable experience, Carlie says "I've been in Illinois all my life. I grew up in the suburbs and then went to Northwestern for school. I've never been far from home. This was a brave thing for me to do and I am happy with my decision. I've met AMAZING friends here that I hope to keep for a long time. Living abroad is something everyone should do once in their lives. It teaches us to be independent and also immerses us in a totally different culture. Israel is a really cool place, Tel Aviv specifically. The weather is awesome, the outdoor fitness is wonderful, and the food is the best. I know when I get back; I will never be able to eat Sabra hummus again!! "

 

Tamar Brendzel-MITF

Tamar Brendzel-MITF

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows

Growing up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, it is understandable how Tamar Brendzel, 24, can have a hard time with the “sabra” nature of Israelis. It’s a far cry from the “Minnesota nice” nature of the community she grew up in. However, the ups and downs she faces during her year in Israel are all part of the experience that has had a huge impact on her life.

Tamar grew up attending synagogue and Hebrew school, but it was her Taglit-Birthright trip, during her freshman year of college, that exposed her to Masa and the idea of spending an extended period of time in Israel. This Indiana University Bloomington biology major was inspired. Her parents both lived in Israel for a year after college and their connection to Israel motivated her to find her own connection, leading her to choose the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program. Her interest in serving neglected communities in Israel by encouraging education made the MITF Rechovot program a perfect fit for her.

Tamar works at Sinai Elementary School, a religious school with a primarily Ethiopian and Yemenite student population, teaching English to grades fourth through sixth. Many of her students come from low socio-economic status. Along with her teaching and biweekly Ulpan classes, she volunteers once a week at a Matnas (community center) in Rehovot.

            Tamar feels that one of my most important jobs as an English teacher is to show the students that she values them and is rooting for their success. Many of her students do not get this level of love and support at home. Her biggest successes have been getting disengaged students to reengage by showing them how fun and important English can be through songs, plays, and games. Something that gives Tamar hope is that even with all the problems her students face, both in school and in Israeli society, they are smart, fun, resilient, and loving and she believes they can be successful in the future.

            Currently, Tamar is searching for a job in the science and education fields. Even though the year is coming to an end, Tamar is thankful for everything she has learned, the amazing friends she has made, and the unique and meaningful experience that will last her a lifetime.

Blake Yospa-ITF

Blake Yospa-ITF

Israel Teaching Fellows

Growing up in Baltimore, Blake Yospa, 26, felt connected to Judaism through the Reform synagogue where his mother worked and he attended Hebrew school. However, after his bar mitzvah, Blake grew less affiliated.

“Being part of a religious minority, I considered myself an outcast,” Blake explains.

However, that all changed in the winter of 2014, when Blake travelled to Israel for the first time with Birthright-Taglit Israel. “I honestly did not feel a connection to Israel or any Jewish community until I went on Birthright,” the Towson University alum remembers.

Blake extended his trip to stay with a friend from home who was living in Netanya as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow. During his stay in Netanya, Blake spent a day in school with his friend, and decided that he too wanted to come back to Israel and teach for a year. Dissatisfied with his career path and looking to make a difference, Blake had nothing holding him back; Masa Israel Teaching Fellows made sense at that point in his life. “This teaching program offered me a chance to live abroad for an extended period of time, while giving back to those in need,” Blake explains.

Now, a little over a year later, Blake lives in Rishon LeZion as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow. He teaches at a primary school in a mid-to-low socioeconomic neighborhood right outside of Rishon LeZion, where his students make him laugh and the faculty members are warm and welcoming. ”I come to school with a smile on my face every day,” Blake says.

Outside of the classroom, Blake tutors some of his students, which allows for him to grow extremely close with both the children and their families. “I have developed such a close relationship with them that I’ve been invited over for the Pesach seder.”  On top of the tutoring, Black volunteers at a school running sports programs for the students. In his spare time, he explores Israel on organized tours with Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, and on spontaneous adventures with his friends.

Today, after several months as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, Blake feels that his experience on the Masa program has changed him in many ways. “After living here for almost seven months, I’m happy to associate myself with Israel and being Jewish,” Blake says. He also feels that this experience has been self-enriching and has helped him grow spiritually and mature as a person.

When Masa Israel Teaching Fellows ends in June, Blake plans to return to the States to pursue a career in the field in which he earned his degree, sports management. “I would love to get a job with my local JCC in the recreational sports department and then perhaps move to minor or professional sports,” Blake says. Still, Blake remains open to any interesting opportunity that comes his way and he would have never said that two years ago. 

Daniel Spector-IGF

Daniel Spector-IGF

Israel Government Fellows
Weight: 
-80

Born in Massachusetts, Daniel Spector, 22, grew up in a non-traditional home. His family belonged to a reform synagogue but was not very connected to Judaism. That all changed when Daniel first traveled to Israel on Birthright. Daniel found that he identified with Israelis not only on the basis of religion and culture but also in their readiness to discuss issues with a sincerity and genuine passion that he had never experienced before. It inspired him to engage with the issues confronting Israeli society and he knew that he wanted to go back to Israel at some point.

               

In the year before coming on the Israel Government Fellows program (IGF), Daniel directed his efforts as an advocate for the David Project, tasked with making his experience with Israel part of the conversation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was studying for a Bachelor of Business Administration in Operations and Information Management. He also attended the AIPAC policy conference in Washington DC out of a desire to get directly involved with the political issues surrounding Israel and started teaching himself Hebrew.

 

Daniel knew that he wanted to gain professional experience by working in Israel. The Masa Israel Government Fellow program caught his eye because it would give him the work experience he wanted, boost his resume, and give him the financial assistance that he needed.

 

Now, as an Israel Government Fellow, Daniel is interning at the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Economy, where he works alongside the Director of the Strategy & Economic Research Unit.

 

 

Meital Goldberg

Meital Goldberg

English Speaking Desk Representative

The 2015 Masa Israel Yom HaZikaron Ceremony

The 2015 Masa Israel Yom HaZikaron Ceremony

The 2015 Masa Israel Yom HaZikaron Ceremony

April 22, 2015

On Tuesday April 21, over 5,000 Masa Israel Journey participants gathered at the Armored Corps Memorial Site and Museum at Latrun for the annual Masa Israel Yom HaZikaron Ceremony. Several delegations from Jewish communities around the world joined the Masa Israel community in mourning Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. 

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Opening of the Masa Israel Yom HaZikaron Ceremony

 

The annual Masa Israel ceremony is the third largest official Yom HaZikaron service in the State of Israel and serves as the only official ceremony for non-Hebrew speakers. Many of the individual IDF soldiers and victims of terror honored in the touching memorial service, like Masa Israel participants, did not grow up in Israel.


This year’s ceremony commemorated the lives of Max Steinberg, Jordan Bensemhoun, Dana Galkowitz, Philip Musko, Nir Cohen, and Masa Israel alum Michael Levin. Their loved ones and the families of other fallen soldiers and victims of terror attended the ceremony as well.

 

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The Masa Israel Community remembers Sergeant Max Steinberg

 

After the lighting of the memorial flame and ceremonial wreath-laying, Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel addressed the audience, sharing his memories of observing Yom HaZikaron during his time in prison in Russia. Avichai Mandelblit, Israel’s Cabinet Secretary, spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister’s office.  The father of Dana Galkowitz, a young woman from a southern kibbutz who was killed in a mortar attack, spoke about his daughter and on behalf of the bereaved families in the audience and across the State of Israel.

 

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Israeli Cabinet Secretary, Avichai Mendelblit

 

The emotional ceremony also included moving biographical videos about the six above-mentioned young men and women, musical interludes, and prayers. 

 

Click here to watch the ceremony. 

 

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows - Bina Merchavim

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Program Description

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows Bina is a program designed to close the achievement gap within Israel’s education system, as well as provide equal learning opportunities for both Jewish and Arab youth alike. 

 

On Masa Israel Teaching Fellows Bina you will spend 25-30 hours a week working as an English teaching assistant in a local elementary or middle school, whose educational systems traditionally lag behind those in better-off areas of Israel. Additionally, you will volunteer 5 hours a week outside the classroom, in an organization of your choosing within the community. Masa Israel Teaching Fellows Bina gives you the opportunity to work with many diverse populations of Israel. 

 

Through Masa Israel Teaching Fellows Bina you will get to participate in a 60 hour teacher-training course taught by Israel’s Ministry of Education, Ulpan (Hebrew learning) classes to help you learn the language and really immerse yourself into Israeli society, as well as weekly enrichment classes focused on co-existence and social justice.

 

Israel Teaching Fellows is highly subsidized by Israel’s Ministry of Education and Masa Israel allowing the cost of the program to only be $1,000 including living accommodations, flight-reimbursement, and a monthly stipend. 

 

Highlights

Our ITF Cities 
 
 
Rahat 
 
Rahat is the first and largest Bedouin city in Israel. The Arab Bedouin of the Negev are a traditionally nomadic people who have become mostly sedentarized in the last 100 years. Founded in the late '70s, Rahat is populated by more than 33 Bedouin tribes from the Negev desert region. Known as "the city of children" with 60% of its population under the age of 18 Rahat and the surrounding Bedouin villages are going through a period of change and modernization with the new generation asking what it means to be Bedouin in the 21st century. While Rahat is a modern city boasting a Bedouin market, bustling commercial center with restaurants and businesses and many mosques, it still retains a uniquely Bedouin feel. 
 
Just 15 minutes from Be'er Sheva, the capital of the Negev and 45 minutes by train from Tel Aviv, Rahat is located at the beginning of the Negev Desert with stunning nature and scenery surrounding it. Rahat is a culturally unique city with a warm and inviting community famous for their hospitality. This unique ITF program is partnered with the Bedouin-Jewish organization A New Dawn in the Negev, an organization dedicated to promoting equality, coexistence and peace among all residents of the Negev, as well as elevating educational standards. 
 
 
 
Nazareth 
 
As the largest Arab city in Israel, Nazareth has a deep history dating back thousands of years. Today, it is a vibrant center of Arab-Israeli life as well as a window into the authentic Middle Eastern spirit. As an ITF Fellow in Nazareth,you'll have the opportunity to explore this vibrant city and its rich history, while serving its population of Arab citizens of Israel. 
 
 
 
Migdal Ha’emek 
 
On the other hand, Migdal Ha’Emek is home to a variety of underserved Jewish populations, including recent immigrants from Ethiopia, the Former Soviet Union, North Africa and South America. The town was founded in the 1950s as a ma'abara–a settlement camp for the Middle Eastern and North African Jewish immigrants who poured into Israel shortly after Independence. As a town whose origins comprise of groups of people looking to build a new life in Israel, Migdal Ha’emek is faced with many societal challenges, which provides ITF fellows with a rewarding opportunity to make a difference. 
 

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