The Jerusalem Post: Masa Program to Bring 13,000 Jewish Youth to Israel in Coming Year

The Jerusalem Post: Masa Program to Bring 13,000 Jewish Youth to Israel in Coming Year

October 13, 2016

By Lidar Gravé-Lazi

 

Some 13,000 Jewish youth are expected to come to Israel this coming year to participate in Masa, the organization announced on Thursday.

Benjamin Netanyahu takes a selfie with Masa participants.

Benjamin Netanyahu takes a selfie with Masa participants.

(Photo Credit: REUTERS)

 

The program provides Jewish youth the opportunity to participate in over 250 immersive Israel programs ranging in length from six months to a year, which include internships, study abroad programs, and volunteer opportunities. These experiences aim to give participants practical academic or work experience while strengthening their connection to Israel.

 

The Masa program is set to officially launch on October 31st during a ceremony in Jerusalem with the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency.

 

“The youth arrive to Israel to participate in a wide range of Masa programs, from government, to economy and culture, hi-tech, teaching English, medicine and more,” Liran Avisar-Ben Horin, CEO of Masa said.

 

She noted that in addition Masa provides participants with tools to engage in hasbara (public diplomacy) for Israel, turning those who take part into informal ambassadors for Israel to the world.

 

“Every year they show that the year they spend in Israel – working, volunteering and being exposed the multi-layered and complex Israeli society – becomes the most meaningful in their lives,” she said.

 

According to a recent survey conducted by Midgam Institute and released by Masa, some 87% of Masa participants said they intend to actively work towards strengthening Israel’s image in the world, while 81% of participants said their vision of Israel “changed for the positive” because of participating in the project.

 

Slightly more than half, 58% of respondents, said they would “certainly” act against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

 

Since its founding in 2004 by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency, over 120,000 young Jews from around the world have participated in Masa programs.

 

 

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post

The Roanoke Times: Lid: Finding My Spark – From Roanoke to Israel

The Roanoke Times: Lid: Finding My Spark – From Roanoke to Israel

The Roanoke Times: Lid: Finding My Spark – From Roanoke to Israel

October 10, 2016

Shaina Lidd taught English in Rahat, Israel, as a 2015-16

Masa Israel Teaching Fellow.

By Shaina Lidd

 

When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2015, I wasn’t full of joy, but panic. It was officially my graduation year, and I felt as lost as ever. In just five short months, I would be graduating with degrees in International Relations and Religious Studies from Roanoke College, but I had no “next step.” My friends seemed to have everything planned out – moving to new cities, finding jobs, getting engaged. I was confused as ever, as far from “figured out” as you could get.

 

I knew what I wanted to do long term – I want to go into academia, but I did not know what exactly I wanted to study, or where I wanted to study. The only thing I knew I wanted to do was to research peace and conflict. I spent most of my time senior year planning and executing the first ever Israel-Palestine Peace Month at Roanoke, which I coordinated with two friends – two of us Jewish and one Palestinian. I was learning more and more each day about the Israeli-Arab conflict, and knew that I wanted to learn more. It was much more complicated than I had ever thought, and I knew that I would never get the full story unless I went and experienced it myself.

 

One thing led to another, and I found myself on a plane to Israel to participate in a Masa Israel Journey program. Masa gave me the chance to choose from hundreds of programs through which I could intern at cutting-edge companies, volunteer, study or teach English. Through Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF), I was first trained in teaching English, and then I was tasked with my own classroom, teaching English in an Israeli school.

 

However, my program was different than for others who had done it before. For the first time, through a partnership Masa developed with the Ministry of Education due to the needs the ministry was observing in Arab communities, MITF would have a cohort of Americans teaching English in Rahat, a Bedouin-Arab city near Be’er Sheva in the desert while we also spent time learning together at the Bina Secular Yeshiva, an educational institution in Be’er Sheva.

 

I was drawn to the program in great part because of my experiences as a Jewish student at Roanoke College, a school where only 27 people self-identified as Jewish my senior year. Through a friendship with a Palestinian-American student whose family manages a coexistence project in Bethlehem, and my time organizing Israeli-Palestinian Peace Month, as well as my studies in class, I knew I wanted to explore co-existence in the flesh.

 

Seeing something is believing in it, but experiencing something is understanding it. I entered Al Huda School in Rahat with little to no understanding of the Bedouin culture or experience within Israeli society, but left with a love and appreciation for the culture and the people. I learned about the people, about the education system within Bedouin cities and Israeli society in general, and about myself. I began to understand the big issues at hand, but also the smaller, less obvious challenges and nuances. The more I seemed to learn, the more questions I had. And as I questioned the world and society around me, I began to understand myself more as well.

 

Going on my “masa” (which literally means “journey” in Hebrew) taught me that the world is much more complicated and interesting than it seems on paper. There is only so much we can learn from books. Moving to Israel opened my eyes to the world around me, and offered me a chance to explore not only the topics that I found myself drawn to during college, but also to the topics I hope to explore in the future.

 

My masa changed the direction of my future in many ways, and has allowed me to explore new possibilities. I am making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel) this December and hope to continue to work toward Jewish-Arab peace; I will be studying for my master’s degree in government at the Interdisciplinary Center in Hertzliya. Furthermore, I am excited to be a part of the people of Israel, and to further grow personally. Being in Israel gives me a spark I don’t feel anywhere else, a spark that pushes me to try new things, take risks, study harder and live more. I am so thankful for MITF for introducing me to a whole new world, and I’m so excited to see where my masa continues.

 

Shaina Lidd of Stafford County, is a 2015 graduate of Roanoke College. She recently returned from a year participating on Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, a program teaching English in Israel, and will soon be making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel).

 

Originally published in The Roanoke Times

eJewish Philanthropy: Applications Now Open for English Teaching Fellowships in Israel

eJewish Philanthropy: Applications Now Open for English Teaching Fellowships in Israel

eJewish Philanthropy: Applications Now Open for English Teaching Fellowships in Israel

October 7, 2016

College graduates ages 21 to 30 who are interested in teaching English to Israeli children are invited to apply to participate in the 2017-2018 class of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows.

The Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program is a partnership between Masa Israel Journey, Israel’s Ministry of Education, and The Jewish Agency for Israel. The prestigious fellowship provides young Jews from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand with a 10-month experience living in Israel and volunteering through teaching English in schools. The program aims to close the educational achievement gap in Israel’s education system through small group instruction and tutoring at schools identified as in need of additional assistance by the Israeli Ministry of Education. The Fellowship runs from late August to June.

 

The 2017-2018 fellowship class will be assigned to elementary and middle schools in Ashdod, Be’er Sheva, Beit She’an, Migdal Ha’emek, Nazareth, Netanya, Petach Tikvah, Rahat, Ramla, Rehovot, and Rishon Lezion as well as in a youth village providing a boarding school setting for immigrant and youth at risk. Applicants are asked to identify their top-choice location.

 

In addition to working directly with Israeli school children, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows also participate in a two-credit academic course, “Methods in Language Teaching: Theory & Practice,” taught by the academic staff of Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program. Throughout the program, the fellows will study under top international language instructors in Israel, focusing on understanding how individuals acquire a new language. The strategies learned through this program help fellows better connect with their students and address challenging classroom situations.

 

Eligible applicants must identify as Jewish and have at least an undergraduate degree by September 1, 2017. Applicants cannot be Israeli citizens or have spent four consecutive months or longer in Israel within the last two years.

 

To begin the application process, interested applicants should visit israelteachingfellows.org, and click “Learn More.”

 

 

Originally published in eJewish Philanthrophy

New Collaboration Seeks to Address Academic Achievement Gaps in Israel

New Collaboration Seeks to Address Academic Achievement Gaps in Israel

September 22, 2016

New partnership allows Masa Israel Teaching Fellows to receive additional training at Tel Aviv University before entering Israeli classrooms

 

JERUSALEM – For the first time in the program’s prestigious history, a new cohort of Jewish college graduates from English-speaking countries will soon begin coursework at Tel Aviv University to learn best practices in classroom management, discipline and instruction to supplement their months-long fellowship teaching English as a second language to underserved students in every sector of Israel’s diverse society.

 

The fellows, college graduates aged 21-30 from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, are participating in the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program. MITF is a partnership between Masa Israel Journey, Israel’s Ministry of Education, and The Jewish Agency for Israel.

 

The MITF-Tel Aviv University partnership is a first of its kind agreement that will provide this year’s class of 135 Masa Israel Teaching Fellows with additional training over the course of their fellowship. The fellows will participate in a two-credit academic course, “Methods in Language Teaching: Theory & Practice,” taught by the academic staff of Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program. Throughout the program, the fellows will study under top international language instructors in Israel, focusing on understanding how individuals acquire a new language. The strategies learned through this program will help the fellows better connect with their students and address challenging classroom situations.

 

“Partnering with Tel Aviv University as part of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows’ pedagogical training program is yet another step toward achieving excellence that is the calling card of the teaching fellows program, and of Masa Israel’s programs as a whole,” said Tamar Zilbershatz, the director of Gap and Service Programs for Masa Israel Journey. “We aim to contribute to Israeli society while benefiting the fellows professionally, giving them the opportunity to be part of Israel’s prestigious academic ecosystem. It’s a win-win all around.”

 

Added Prof. Elana Shohamy, who chairs Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program, “We are very pleased to welcome Masa Israel Teaching Fellows to the Tel Aviv University family, and we look forward to providing them with a taste of TAU's academic excellence. This partnership provides us with a unique opportunity to impact the next generation of young professionals, and to do so in Israel.”

 

The goal of the fellowship program is to reduce the educational achievement gap of underserved Israelis. The prestigious fellowship provides young Jews who are native English speakers with a 10-month experience living, working and volunteering in Israel. Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are assigned to various locations across Israel, including Nazareth and Rahat. Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel, and Rahat is the first and largest Bedouin city in Israel. Masa started the programs in both communities at the urging of Israel’s Ministry of Education, which has labeled schools in these areas as underperforming. Masa is expanding its teaching fellows’ presence in both of these communities this year.

 

Accreditation for this course will be given to those who successfully complete all course requirements. Fellows who later join Tel Aviv University’s TESOL Master’s program will be exempt from this course requirement.

 

###

 

Masa Israel Journey is the leader in immersive international experiences in Israel. Masa Israel connects young people ages 18-30 who are seeking to enrich their personal and professional growth with the top gap year, study abroad, service-learning and career development opportunities. Through subsidized, individually tailored programs, developed and implemented in collaboration with The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel, Masa participants immerse themselves in the community and embark on a journey that will change both the course of their lives, and of the Jewish people’s future. More info at israelteachingfellows.org

 

Contact:

Adam Muhlendorf, West End Strategy Team

adam@westendstrategy.com Cell: (202) 641-6216

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

eJewish Philanthropy: Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think

September 11, 2016

By Liran Avisar, CEO of Masa Israel Journey  

 

For all the Jewish day schools, summer camps, trips to Israel, anti-BDS conferences, and campus advocacy trainings, the American Jewish community continues to grapple with how to successfully foster long-term Israel engagement among the next generation of Jewish leaders. In recent years, countless resources from all corners of the community have been devoted to helping form or reinforce lasting bonds between young Jews and the State of Israel. And yet, from a political, spiritual, cultural and public relations perspective, most communal stakeholders remain mystified as to how to make Israel matter for millennials in the long run.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there is one proven solution to creating a solid foundation for a lifetime of engagement: spending months living, studying and working in Israel.

 

Over the course of 12 years leading the field of top immersive international experiences in Israel, we have learned some important lessons. Namely, that the firsthand encounter with day-to-day life in Israel, which can only be attained by being on the ground for a sustained, continuous amount of time, makes all the difference to our 120,000 alumni around the world.

 

When we look at what distinguishes loosely affiliated American Jews who understand what’s at stake when it comes to Israel’s future from their similarly affiliated peers, we consistently return to the fact that those “in the know” have spent a substantive amount of time experiencing Israel.

 

Our participants immerse themselves in their local communities in Israel, and as a result, spend time getting to know Israelis and end up caring more about the well-being of the State of Israel. Masa Israel Journey’s “off the bus” experiences empower individuals to embark on unique journeys that enrich their personal and professional growth, and create durable connections to Israel.

 

Israel is made up of a diverse mixture of communities: religious and secular, native-born and immigrant, Jewish and Arab, urban start-up and rural agriculture. Working with and among these populations for a significant time; learning and living Israel’s complex landscape, both past and present; and developing one’s own narrative belonging to this place and its people – one’s own People – is more valuable than any single injection of information or dose of emotion meant to immunize against Jewish and Israel apathy.

 

The courage to be “from somewhere” and to stand for something is no longer a given on Western campuses and beyond. This confidence is gained by participants learning, firsthand, that the whole Israel story is as multidimensional as the passengers on a Tel Aviv bus. It is gained by giving participants the understanding that they can navigate uncertainty, because they’ve now seen a whole society do so and thrive.

 

A recent study conducted by the Midgam Institute, an independent Israeli research and consulting firm, found that engaging in Israel through a Masa Israel experience fosters a level of depth which has concrete results. In surveying 1,480 Masa participants and alumni, it found that 91 percent of participants agree that the most effective way to strengthen the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jews is by spending a significant period of time living in Israel. Additionally, 82% said they think Israel’s reality is far more positive than its media image abroad, 79% said they are likely to visit Israel again, and 87% said they intend to take action to improve Israel’s image in their home country by being more active on campus, on social media, at demonstrations, and through donations.

 

Those who have participated in Masa Israel programs are more likely to take an interest in news regarding Israeli current events, to listen to Israeli music and podcasts about Israel, and to read Israeli books. The data suggests that young people need to develop a connection to Israel and Israelis in order to make their love for the country last, and that only happens when they get the chance to have their own unique journey there.

 

A major part of the reason we are able to successfully create the kinds of immersive experiences that lead to these lasting relationships with Israel, is because Israelis are an integral part of the story. Sustained exposure to long-term program participants gives Israelis the chance to interact with them in a wide range of contexts, and, of course, the reverse is also true – participants get to know Israelis in an authentic way. Our experiences bring Israelis and participants face to face while working together in the office, shopping in the supermarket on Friday afternoon, relaxing on the beach on weekends, and using public transit on a daily basis.

 

As a result, the same Midgam survey mentioned above found that out of 503 Israelis interviewed, two thirds said Masa experiences reflect the reality of daily life in Israel. Additionally, 94% agreed that “strengthening the connection with Diaspora Jewry is vital for Israel’s strength.”

 

The truth is, there is no single political viewpoint or cultural lens that can motivate young people to care about Israel. There’s no single approach or narrative for making it matter to everyone, and that is the intrinsic beauty in the situation: individuals find their way to connect to Israel by finding out here what matters to them, and where they can matter to Israel.

 

Giving young Jews the extended opportunity to experience and discover Israel for themselves is the best way to ensure the next generation will be invested in Israel’s future, with individual passion for a collective purpose.

 

Liran Avisar is the CEO of Masa Israel Journey, the leader of immersive international experiences in Israel, including gap year programs, study abroad, service-learning and career development opportunities. Masa Israel Journey is a joint project of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency.

 

Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

Jewish Journal: College Scholarships and Aid Money are Out there, if You Know Where to Look

September 8, 2016

By Lakshna Mehta

 

College is expensive, whether you go to school five minutes from home or 500 miles away.

"Masa Israel (masaisrael.org/grants) provides grants or need-based scholarships for study abroad programs to Israel. Different amounts are available for participants from different countries. Study abroad participants from North America can receive up to $4,500, depending on the length and cost of their program, and need-based scholarships go up to $3,000. Gap year participants between the ages of 18 and 21 can receive $500."

 

Read the full story in the Jewish Journal

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Hero Yanush Ben_Gal remembered by Limmud FSU

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Hero Yanush Ben_Gal remembered by Limmud FSU

September 9, 2016

By Sarah Levi

 

Weekend event boosts Jewish identity in Tatarstan. 

 

"The event benefited from the help and past efforts from Taglit Birthright, the Jewish Agency, [Masa] and Chabad to reconnect Russian Jews to their roots that were severed during communism."


Read the full story in The Jerusalem Post
 

Q&A with Sage Paquette-Cohen, Tikkun Olam Alumna

<div class="masa-blog-title">Q&A with Sage Paquette-Cohen, Tikkun Olam Alumna</div>

 

Sage Paquette-Cohen has always wanted to make a difference. Inspired by the mission of Masa Israel, Sage traveled to Tel Aviv for 10 months after graduating from Emerson College. Through Tikkun Olam Tel Aviv-Yafo, she interned at a pre-school for children with disabilities that focused on serving Arab and Jewish Israeli students equally from a young age. Working with her students fueled Sage’s passion to end social inequities. After coming home to the U.S., Sage joined the 2016 Teach For America Greater New Orleans corps as a high school special education teacher. Because of her experiences leading and teaching in Israel, Sage came into the classroom ready to lead with confidence.

 

Q&A: 

Q: I’d love to hear more about your path to Teach For America. How did you decide to join Masa Israel? And what was your path to Teach For America?
A:  I wasn’t super religious, so going to Israel didn’t immediately occur to me. However, TIkkun Olam is one of Masa’s more liberal and politically motivated organizations, which aligned with what I wanted to do. I started applying to TFA during my time in Israel. I had friends going to grad school, but I couldn’t go back to studying or sitting in a library after doing this work for communities in need. I was working in an incredible classroom that served the students so profoundly, and I wanted to continue that impact in an underserved American school.

 

Q: How have your personal life experiences shaped your career path?
A: I started out wanting to work in healthcare. In college, I worked in a Speech and Hearing Clinic on campus with three and four-year-olds. Through that experience, my love for working with children with special needs blossomed. I was able to build relationships and assure families that their kids could have a future they had never imagined.

 

Q: How did you grow personally and professionally through your service with Masa Israel?
A: I had just graduated from college and moved to a country on my own. My only choice was to grow up quickly. I learned about global issues that had never occurred to me living in Maine or Boston. The experience forced me to think a lot about the race, class, and equity issues that exist in the U.S. 

 

Q: How did your service with Masa Israel prepare you to be a leader with Teach For America?
A: Being in Israel forced me out of my comfort zone and set me up to be prepared for that in the future. I was often the only white person and English speaker in a room.  I don’t think I would have been as prepared to enter a classroom before my experience in Israel.

 

Q: What has been your biggest inspiration to continue in the fight to end educational inequity?
A: I taught two four-year old Arab boys in Israel who had severe disabilities. They made a lot of progress in the 10 months I worked with them. They were both from very poor backgrounds, and because of their minority status in Israel, would not have received those services from such a young age if they lived in a lot of communities that TFA serves. It dawned on me quickly that the need in the U.S. is so severe. Those boys were able to shine, but it was because they were given a chance.

 

Are you ready to change the world? Apply now for various volunteer programs in Israel.
 

 

San Diego Jewish Journal: Inspired to Give Back

San Diego Jewish Journal: Inspired to Give Back

San Diego Jewish Journal: Inspired to Give Back

August 29, 2016

By Caline Chitayat

 

Jamie Gold, a San Fernando Valley native, was 25 years old when she went on Birthright.

“I actually had no desire to [go to Israel], but I was in a job that I couldn’t stand and I wanted to go on vacation,” Gold recalls. A couple of her friends convinced her to join them on the trip to Israel. “I was the naïve person who thought there would be camels everywhere. I really had no concept of Israel; it just wasn’t on my radar.”

 

When Gold arrived, she says she immediately fell in love with the country.

 

“The community, the culture, everything just hit me, and I realized I wanted that in my life.”

 

During her trip, Gold bumped into a girl on another Birthright trip who told her about Masa Israel, a public-service organization that offers unique study, service and career development experiences to young Jewish adults from around the globe. Gold learned of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program, which combined what she wanted to do with where she wanted to be, and was very affordable option for a life change. Gold applied to the program and was accepted when she landed back in the U.S. She quit her job and moved to Israel five months later.

 

“Everything in my life has changed as a result of the program – personally and professionally.”

 

Find out how Masa Israel Teaching Fellows can help you change careers.

 

Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows program is a 10-month program for college graduates between the ages of 21 and 30. The program allows these graduates to teach English to Israeli students and to immerse themselves in Israeli society. Masa coordinates trips to various destinations around Israel throughout the 10 months. The organization also provides participants with an apartment. Gold lived with five other girls.

 

“I was in Rishon LeZion. My necklace has the coordinates, so it’s always near my heart,” she says. “In the first month or two, we did ulpan and then [Masa] gave us 100 hours of teaching preparation, in order to make us feel comfortable in the classroom. There was no requirement for going on the program – you didn’t have to have any teaching background at all – so they wanted to make sure all of us were comfortable.”

 

After the High Holidays, the Teaching Fellows arrived in their classrooms. Most were assigned to elementary school, but Gold landed in a middle school. Her experience was probably different because of that, she says. Gold would take out groups of between eight and 10 students, typically a mix of very advanced English learners and some intermediate ones. The goal was to have the advanced learners motivate the intermediate students.

 

Although it was a very exciting time, Gold says she thought she was going to quit on the first day.

 

“The school environment in general is so different. It’s crazy to me because some of the smartest, most innovative people in the world come out of that country.”

 

She remembers kids running around, throwing things and talking to each other incessantly. It was very different from the way she grew up in California. Gold does note that the students completely respected her. Even though they seemed to look at her as more of a peer, she says she could tell they truly wanted to learn from her.

 

“It was really cool because they looked at me like I was a gift. If they got chosen to go with me, it was special because not everyone was able to. It was also cool that I didn’t speak a lot of Hebrew because if they wanted to talk to me, then they really had to force themselves to speak English. I found that naturally, they were doing better in their English classes because they wanted to converse.”

 

Gold was participating in the program during Operation Pillar of Defense through the fall of 2012.

 

“That was really hard for me. But it was amazing because I got to go and talk to these students and they were having conversations about these really deep, meaningful things. They made me feel better. I was teaching them English, but they were also teaching me.”

 

At the end of the school year, Gold watched her students go through graduation. The program came to a close, and it was time for her to head back to the States. As exciting as it was to see her family and friends, Gold says it took her many months to adjust back to life on the American West Coast.

 

“I just feel so much more connected to Israel than to America. I can’t even compare the two,” she says. “Even when I went on Birthright, it felt more like home. I know everybody says that, but it’s true. It’s a feeling that I didn’t have in America.”

 

In the five months between Birthright and the Teaching Fellows program, Gold sought to find a community like the one she had in Israel.

 

“I didn’t have a community prior, and I wasn’t involved in a Jewish community by any means. I had a friend who went on Birthright with me and told me we should go to a Moishe House event. I had never heard of [the organization], but I ended up going and it was great because I really connected with the people who lived in the house. I think that’s really important,” she says.

 

Moishe House is a nonprofit organization that provides a vibrant Jewish community for young adults in their 20s and facilitates a wide range of experiences, so that they have the leadership, knowledge and community to enrich their Jewish journeys.

 

“I ended up going to all of their events during those few months, and naturally I became friends with them.”

 

Eventually, Gold heard about an opening at the West L.A. Moishe House, so she moved in and lived there for the next two and a half years. Gold did a teaching program called DeLeT at Hebrew Union College and was able to earn her teaching credential. It was the perfect transition from Masa, where she went from teaching in an informal setting to formally teaching. However, after working in a Jewish day school, Gold realized that while she loved the social and emotional aspects of teaching, she wasn’t set on academics for 40 hours each week.

 

“While I was in the teaching program realizing I didn’t want to be a teacher, I had all this responsibility as a Moishe House resident. I was planning seven events each month for the community and doing a lot of outreach. I really, really cared about it, and my roommate asked me, ‘What are you not doing this for a job?’ I started thinking about it, and was really passionate about working in the Jewish community.”

 

Moishe House approached Gold while she was still a resident and informed her of a job opening. After three months, she moved from L.A. to San Diego for the job and has been with them for nine months now.

 

As Director of Alumni Engagement, Gold is able to reflect on her own experiences as a resident and what she wants from the program as an alumni.

 

“I love developing and cultivating deep and meaningful relationships. We have 820 alumni at the moment, and we’ll have more alumni than residents soon, so my job is really just to connect with people who have lived in the house and find out what they want to see.”

 

Gold notes that she feels so lucky because she has the resources now and can bring her own creativity to the job.

 

“It’s not like a large corporation where if you want to do something, you have to wait. At Moishe House, if they hire you, they trust you and give you that creative freedom. I feel that there is such an untapped market right now that I have so much potential to create so many great things.”

 

When asked if Gold would ever consider moving back to Israel, she says that if she would go back, she would definitely want to have a purpose for being there.

 

“The first time it was Masa, but now I’m in a different place in my life, and I would want to have a job lined up there. But yes, I would definitely consider moving back – at least for a short amount of time. Israel will always be my second home, and my kids will be raised with it. It will always be a place that I am constantly thinking about and visiting when I can.”

 

Originally published in the San Diego Jewish Journal.

 

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