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8 Need-To-Know Hebrew Phrases To Learn Before Going to Israel">8 Need-To-Know Hebrew Phrases To Learn Before Going to Israel

Posted March 16th, 2017

Living abroad for any period of time can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know the local language fluently.

Here at Masa Israel we understand the struggle and therefore we came up with 8 words/phrases that will make your Masa Israel journey a smooth ride. Oh and not only will you know the local slang, but Israelis will think you are literally a local.


Let’s get started with our first local Hebrew lesson:


1. Achi/ Achoti = Brother/Sister

A.k.a. Bro, Dawg, Homie, Girl, Gurrrrl, etc…


2. B’emet = Really?

A.ka. For real tho?


3. Mesiba = Party


4. Motzash = After Shabbat


5. Mehamem = Gorgeous


6. Metzuyan = Excellent


7. Sababa = Cool


8. Yalla = Let’s go!

A.ka. Hurry, Get Moving



To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here.


The Jerusalem Report: A Surprisingly Unorthodox Education Minister?">The Jerusalem Report: A Surprisingly Unorthodox Education Minister?

Publish Date: 
March 9, 2017

By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman


Education Minister Naftali Bennett has pushed for smaller class sizes with more opportunities for one-on-one instruction.


Bennett also has shifted the focus of the English curriculum from literary to practical spoken and written English, which he believes is increasingly essential in the modern world.


He has explored ways to encourage Israel’s English-speaking community to become English teachers, including potential partnerships with the Association of American and Canadians in Israel.


“It’s easier to train an English-speaking person to teach English than a non-native English-speaker,” Bennett says.


In February, Masa Israel Journey and the Education Ministry announced plans to double the number of participants in the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program beginning this year. The expansion will bring 300 young professionals into classrooms across Israel to teach English as a second language.


Masa participants teach throughout the country, though there is a focus on the lowest performing schools which require additional support.


“WE KNOW that for a child entering first grade today, when that child enters the labor market in about 20 years, half of the jobs today will not exist, but [will be] replaced by new occupations,” says Bennett. “How do we prepare a child for such a world of uncertainty? We focus on skills and competencies, on initiative, teamwork, breaking the rules in an organized way – being curious, reading English – these are the skills we have to provide our kids so they can be versatile and adapt to an environment we cannot even anticipate.”



You can read the full article here.

New Push For Teaching English In Israel">New Push For Teaching English In Israel

Publish Date: 
March 8, 2017


Masa teaching fellows program set to double as demand increases.

For a week every year, Casey Spellman gets on a plane and flies to the place she considers her second home. She grew up in Plainview, L.I., but the annual trip is to Netanya, Israel, where she taught English for 10 months in 2012-13.

“I don’t have a single family member in Israel, but all of my friends and communities that have welcomed me make it feel like family,” said Spellman, 26, who is now a pre-K assistant teacher at the Horace Mann School in Manhattan. “Every time I go back it feels like home.”

On her trips, she stays in the family home of her madricha (group leader). “There are still three teachers that every time I go back to Netanya I see,” she said, and “there are families of [former] students that invite me over.”

This opportunity to form close ties with Israelis is one of the unique aspects of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program, which has been bringing roughly 150 20-somethings to Israel each year for the past five years to teach English in some of Israel’s lowest performing schools.

Next year, the MITF program is planning to double the number of teaching fellows to 300 to keep up with the Ministry of Education’s plan to strengthen English instruction across the country.


Israel needs English teachers from abroad for two reasons: the country has a growing shortage of instructors, and those that exist are, for the most part, not sufficiently fluent in the language.

In 2013, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics projected that the country would be short 5,300 English teachers by 2019, according to the Jerusalem Post. A poll the same year found that only 18 percent of English teachers in Israel spoke at the native-speaker level, according to the Times of Israel.

The Ministry of Education and MITF’s parent company, Masa Israel Journey, launched the teaching fellows program in 2011 to help fill the need. The fellows are required to live in the communities where they teach and also volunteer in those communities; both requirements are there to help the fellows integrate as much as possible into Israeli society.

“We believe that in order to really get to know the community, you have to do a few things: first you have to live in the community … and you have to interact [with the native population],” Tamar Zilbershatz, Masa Israel Journey’s director of gap and service programs, told The Jewish Week in a telephone interview from Israel.

The volunteer requirement, she added, is “also giving them the ability to express their other talents … in a different platform in the community,” such as running music workshops or ESL classes for adults.


Hal Halper, 28, who was a fellow in Beersheva in 2013-14 used his background in musical theater to direct a production of “The Wizard of Oz” at the elementary school. That was the first time the school had done a musical. The event was so popular that now they do one every year.

“Many of the coworkers shared with me that they had always wanted a theater program,” said Halper, who grew up in the Midwood section of Brooklyn and went to services at East Midwood Jewish Center.

Halper noted that the fellows program not only serves the function of filling teaching positions, it also helps educate students about the wider world.

“It was important for them to say, ‘Hey, there are Jews all over the world, not just in Israel.’ For fourth graders, it was something cool to grasp for them,” he said.

Both Halper and Spellman said they were struck by how warm and kind their Israeli coworkers and students were.

“I was most surprised by the loving environment. It was so welcoming right off the bat,” Halper said. “The kids were always running to you and hugging you.”

Spellman had the same experience. “We did a lot of volunteer programs, painting schools or working with children, we did hoops for kids, a basketball program for underserved communities, and every time they [Israelis] were so happy to have us, to be with us. Teaching in the schools, the same thing. I was very much respected by the other teachers and it was just so nice to be so welcomed.”

Spellman was also struck by the differences she saw between Israeli and American schools.

“Israeli schools seemed to be much more aware of what children need physically,” she said. Instead of having one long recess period, kids were given 15- to 30-minute breaks every two hours. “I thought that was much more conducive for growing children’s minds and bodies,” she said.

She also found Israeli children to be “much more upfront. Whatever they were thinking they would say to you. You really had to be ‘on’ in order to speak, and have a back and forth with them to make sure that your answers were appropriate,” she said.

She also learned how important it was to connect with the students by “being approachable and smiling and being available to children,” she said. “That sets up the relationship to grow together.”

But the most important lesson she learned was how to “moderate lesson plans depending on how the children are feeling or what they’re coming to school with emotionally or socially,” she said, “because you can have the best-laid plan in the world, but if the children are dealing with something personally, socially [or] emotionally, you need to adjust to fit them,” she said.


Zilbershatz and her colleagues will also need to adjust this year, because doubling the program in one year is no small feat. “We work every year to develop this program, but this year we put a lot of effort to answer the need, to bring more teachers and more fellows,” she said.

In order to enlarge the pool of potential fellows, this year Masa added a program for certified teachers. While college graduates serve as teaching assistants, often tutoring small groups of children outside of the larger classroom, the certified teachers will head their own classrooms.

But whether certified or not, fellows have a big impact on the students they teach, said Zilbershatz, especially given the large class sizes in Israel, which often exceed 30 students per class.

“It’s pretty amazing to see, they usually work with a small group of kids. It gives the little kids the opportunity to ask questions and gives our fellows the chance to really answer the question, which is not really happening in the big-sized classrooms that we have in Israel,” she said.

On one school visit, Zilbershatz asked a third-grade student why he liked working with the teaching fellow. “He said, ‘Because here in this space, I’m not afraid to make mistakes,’” Zilbershatz said. “That was really powerful because … if he will experience success, this is something that will definitely affect him, not just in the English study aspect but also in other subjects, and maybe in his social life.”

Israeli teachers, she said, say they notice “that there is a big change with the kids that work with the fellows.” This makes sense, Zilbershatz said: “They’re young, they come with a whole lot of motivation, the kids love them; they’re like celebrities in the school. It’s amazing to see how they come to school and how they really make a difference.”


And the program makes a difference in the fellows’ lives as well. “Teaching in a different culture really enriches your professional toolbox,” Zilbershatz said. “They are facing a completely different environment and school system. … So that requires from them different talents, different abilities.” In addition, she said, “Living in a completely different environment and culture independently is something that for sure improves and empowers them in terms of their personal, not just professional, development.”

Spellman agreed. “I would never trade the 10 months I was there for absolutely anything else,” she said. “It taught me how to be independent and take risks and do something that I love and really see out a dream that I had. And Masa Israel really gave me all those opportunities to do things that I would never else do on my own, or would think that I could do on my own.”

And, she added, “It has given me this amazing place to come back to every year and call home.”


You can also see the article here.

ARTZI - The Artistic gap year in Israel


Program Description

Artzi combines the Arts, Judaism and Israel in a way that allows students to deepen their connection to Judaism and their inner selves, hike and volunteer all over Israel while developing their artistic talents. Artzi offers 4 arts tracks: Music, Dance, Theatre and Visual/Fine arts where students get to work alongside famous artists to create a professional portfolio and explore their talents.


Artzi is co-ed and pluralistic, allowing students to learn in an open environment, challenge themselves to fully reach their potential and have fun! Artzi also runs alongside True Spirit, the artistic Israeli pre-army academy, which allows students to really integrate into Israeli society, learn high level Hebrew, and make new international friendships.


Northern Hemisphere gap year- Aug 27th- May 31st

Southern Hemisphere gap year- Feb 4th- Oct. 28th 



Artzi is the ONLY program where students get to live with Israeli peers, learn Art on a high level and experience an amazing gap year (hikes, learning, volunteering, etc.)


  • Main Subject: Art
  • Duration:
  • 9 Months 
  • Age:
  • 17-21 
  • Organizer:
  • ARTZI AMI-Neshima 
  • Program appears on grant application as:
  • ARTZI - The Artistic gap year in Israel 
  • Price:
  • $ 23500 
  • Accommodation:
  • Included 
  • Meals:
  • Included 
  • Program Contact Information:
  • Franny Waisman 
  • artzi@artists.org.il 
  • www.artzigap.org 
  • Program Dates:
  • September 03,2017 - May 31,2018  Apply to this program

The Top 8 Beaches in Israel">The Top 8 Beaches in Israel

Posted March 5th, 2017

Written by Andria Kaplan-Aylyarov


Yes, BRRR. The weather is cold outside and as you kindle the Hanukkah flames and spin that dreidel, warm yourself up and imagine you’re under the Tel Aviv sun, soaking up the rays on one of these beaches.

…Because seriously, where else would you rather be?


1. Banana Beach
Located on the southernmost edge near Jaffa this beach is home to Friday night drum circles, hula hooping-bikini wearing girls, endless games of Matkot and sunbather after sunbather. Think of it as a Bohemian paradise right next to Tel Aviv.


2. Gordon Beach, Frishman Beach, Bograshov Beach
Welcome to beach-mania. These three beaches offer endless white sand, beautiful people and the perfect dose of sunshine. Located right in the center of Tel Aviv these beaches offer a great getaway with tons of bars and restaurants. Each beach is the perfect place to catch the addicting Tel Aviv sunset plus, there’s a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream stand at Gordon Beach. #YUM

3. Trumpeldor Beach
Walking down the beach in Tel Aviv you’ll spot an unusual statue and you know you’ve arrived at Trumpeldor Beach. This is a quieter beach amongst its neighbors since there are no facilities or lifeguards.

4. Jerusalem Beach
Formerly known as Geula Beach, Jerusalem Beach is located right off Allenby Street and near the very well-known Opera Tower building. You’ll find falafel shops and bodegas everywhere, so don’t worry about packing snacks for the day. It’s not touristy and is the perfect spot to meet all your friends for a relaxing beach day.

5. Tel Baruch Beach
Tel Baruch Beach may be one of Israel’s cleanest beaches. Fully equipped with green lawns, outdoor workout area, and seaside café it’s the perfect escape from a long week of classes or a big night out. 

6. Metzitzim Beach
If you wake up early enough on a Friday or Saturday morning,  take a stroll down Namal Tel Aviv, and  grab a coffee while you check out Metzitzim Beach. It’s more family oriented but offers three volleyball courts and an outdoor workout area. If that’s not your thing, however, keep walking north and you’ll catch twenty-something Israelis sipping Goldstar and hanging out.

7. The Surfer’s Beach at the Hilton Hof HaGolshim
Besides beautiful people watching all day long check out The Surfer’s Beach and prepare to be amazed at the skill, the surf, and the boys. It’s a hot spot to kayak or learn how to paddle board too!


8. Coral Reef Beach(Red Sea):
Okay, so this beach isn't in Tel Aviv but it's a sun worshipper's paradise. You can go from sand to snorkel to world-class resort within minutes. The best part? There's a good chance your Masa program already has a trip to Eilat planned. #GetReady

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 New York.


To learn more about Masa Israel and the programs we offer, click here. 


Как определяется стоимость программы?">Как определяется стоимость программы?

Стоимость программы определяется организаторами. В большинстве случаев грант Маса не покрывает полную стоимость программы, и поэтому каждая программа предусматривает определенную долю личного участия.

How to Reach Ivy League Levels of Tech Innovation">How to Reach Ivy League Levels of Tech Innovation

Posted February 2nd, 2017

By Oren Toledano, co-founder and CEO of Israel Tech Challenge


We’re called the “startup nation.”


Despite being smaller than the state of New Jersey, Israel has more Nasdaq-listed companies than any other country in the world except the U.S. and China. Our businesses are quick to grow and to create. They are built on a mentality eager to take risks.


But, what is the secret sauce behind Israel’s success? What magic touch do we have that universities around the world are now acknowledging is highly effective and desirable?


This is a question others have asked before – most notably Dan Senor and Saul Singer in their best-selling book. One answer they give: it starts in the military. More specifically, in the unique training program for the young recruits of 8200, Israel’s elite military unit where thousands of bright, technically minded soldiers study deeply and master cutting-edge technology. Having served in that unit, reaching the rank of Major, I’d like to go into this a bit more.


Over the last three years alone, several start-ups founded by 8200 graduates were purchased by tech giants, including Adallom (purchased by Microsoft), Onavo (purchased by Facebook), and CyActive (purchased by PayPal).


In 8200, the idea of “being thrown into the deep end” is taken to a completely new level. The soldiers are expected to learn new skills super-fast and solve complex military problems with limited personnel, in a short time and with surprisingly little guidance. It is a quick, hands-on, intense learning process that leads straight to success.


During their training, the average day begins at 6 a.m., soldiers get exactly five minutes in the morning to wake up and dress themselves – and they get another 10 minutes, on the clock, for breakfast. The rest of their day is just as intense, as well as intellectually challenging and rigorously scheduled – an exhaustingly high-level program of study that generally continues at full force until 11 each night.


If you can keep up with the demands of this program for its full five months, you come out on the other end as a tech master at the age of 18, and with more technical know-how than an average American college graduate with a degree in Computer Science.


And it works particularly well. The unit’s alumni come away with the skills and mentality that are a natural fit for the start-up ecosystem.


The thinking and training of 8200 can be applied anywhere around the globe.


At Israel Tech Challenge, for example, we teach an international group of students about cybersecurity and data science. Working in closed cohort groups, with intensive training and close mentorship, and given the keys to a strong professional network, the students flourish. The method we use creates open-minded, autodidactic, independent thinkers who can even come up with solutions before the definition or emergence of the actual problem.


It is an approach that can help all of us, as an international community, react quickly, adapt to the needs of the market, and create in-demand applications.


Today, American universities have started to recognize the need for educational models spearheaded by 8200-like tech boot camps and crash courses in coding. However, this is just a single application of the kind of new thinking brought to the forefront by the 8200. Israel’s experience can and should be leveraged to jumpstart not only the adoption of a new pedagogical system, but also as a groundbreaking model of international problem solving.


By adopting 8200’s intense, focused, and uncompromising training methods, American companies and organizations can create a workforce that is better prepared, more disciplined, and capable of overcoming technological gaps quickly, adapting in an agile fashion to changing realities, and learning, without judgment, but with great depth, from past mistakes. And they could do this faster, with fewer resources, attracting only the most talented and challenge-ready employees.


Applied effectively, the potential is here for a powerful tool that can shift the way we approach some of the larger issues facing the international community, throwing the most motivated, mentally resilient, and brightest human resources at the problem, while making better use of other resources, like money and time. In other words, we could attack real world problems by engaging technology, and its best practitioners, to help solve national priority issues.


Not only could this model prove lucrative and economical, it could be a game changer in terms of results – tech products for a safer planet chief among them.


Oren Toledano is co-founder and CEO of Israel Tech Challenge, a partnership between the Jewish Agency, The Government of Israel’s Cyber Bureau, and Masa Israel Journey. Prior to his current position, Oren spent three years as Head of the Aliyah delegation of the Jewish Agency in France-Belgium, and before that served for nearly a decade as an officer in an elite technological unit of the IDF, reaching the rank of Major. Oren holds an MA in Political Science and Security Studies from Tel Aviv University, and a BA in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Jacob Shiansky">Jacob Shiansky

Regional Representative (Texas, N.Carolina, & S.Carolina)

Jacob Shiansky is the Masa Regional Representative for North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. He attended the University of South Carolina and double majored in Business Economics and Management. Prior to joining the Masa Israel team Jacob worked at Robert Half accounting where he worked in Finance Consulting and was a revenue accounting specialist. 



Marisa Obuchowski">Marisa Obuchowski

Regional Representative (Baltimore)

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


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




Mirit Balkan">Mirit Balkan

Regional Representative (Cleveland)

Mirit Balkan is the I-Connect Manager at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. I-Connect increases number of young Cleveland adults ages 18-30 going on Israel programs including Masa Israel Journey. Mirit began in 2011 and has established herself as the local "to go" person when looking for a long term Israel Experience in the Cleveland Jewish community. Mirit was born in Israel, served as a sharp shooter sniper in the IDF, worked in Walt Disney World and The Gilo, The Rabin Center in Israel. She holds a Master in Interdisciplinary Democracy & a certificate in Peace a building and conflict studies.