Zoom Israel Graduation Speech

<div class="masa-blog-title">Zoom Israel Graduation Speech</div>

By Elisabeth Hacker, Israel Teaching Fellows - Israel Pathways
 
When I was preparing to write this speech, I decided to do a quick Rabbi Google search for attention grabbers.
 

The Common Bond / Erica Mitchell, Yahel Social Change Program Participant

<div class="masa-blog-title">The Common Bond / Erica Mitchell, Yahel Social Change Program Participant</div>

 
After graduating from college, I wanted to take at least one year off before deciding on a career. I wanted to experience something new and different and also wished to be of service and give back. I looked into programs from Africa to India, when I came across something that stood out. But, it was located in Israel.  To me, Israel meant Zionist Judaism.
 

Estee Gabel

Estee Gabel

Israel Teaching Fellows
Estee Gabel is an Israel Teaching Fellow at the Ben Gurion Elementary school in Rehovot, Israel. Ma’ase Olam’s Israel Teaching Fellows is a joint 10-month service-learning program for college graduates and Israelis ages 21-30 where fellows volunteer as English teachers’ aides in an elementary or middle school in Rehovot. Estee works with 3rd-6th graders, helping to make English interesting, and exposing the students to a native speaker.
 
Originally from Rockville Centre, NY, Estee graduated The George Washington University with majors in International Affairs and Philosophy. “After I graduated, I knew I wanted to be in Israel, and I wanted a structured program. I started looking into different volunteer opportunities, and when I found Ma’a’se Olam, it seemed right.”
 
“With Ma’ase Olam’s Israel Teaching Fellows, we work with English classes and take students out in small groups to help advance their language skills.” Estee spends her days working with small groups of students, or tutoring in one-on-one sessions. She makes flashcards with 3rd graders who are learning the alphabet and helps students with exercises in their workbooks. Each month, she tries to teach her students about a different holiday or aspect of American culture. For Thanksgiving, she created a gratitude board, where each student wrote one thing they were grateful for. “I’m super happy at this school. Everyone is really friendly. I have no complaints.”
 
After volunteering for almost three months, Estee is already seeing a difference in her students: “I have one student in 5th grade that can’t match the sounds to the letters. At the beginning, it was such a task for her to come meet with me. Now, she speaks a few words in English, and when she sees me at school, she’s excited to come work with me. Seeing her more enthusiastic about learning English is a success. Now, I’m trying to find more hours in the week to work with her.”
 
The students aren’t the only ones excited to see her in school. Tami, the head English teacher at Ben Gurion, described the many issues she often struggles with in the classroom. Her students’ English knowledge can range dramatically, so much so that she needs to use three separate textbooks in one class, each at a different level. Having Israel Teaching Fellows in her school makes a huge difference. The fellows can work with the advanced students, or the students who need extra help. This leaves Tami free to adjust the level of her teaching so that it suits the needs of her students. “We’re so lucky to have them!” exclaimed Tami.
 
With Ma’ase Olam, fellows aren’t just teaching, they’re also learning about and engaging with social issues in Israel. Estee described these activities as ”cultural and social justice program components.” These aspects include volunteering alongside and learning with Israelis the same age as the fellows, so that they truly get to know what Israel is like from an insider’s perspective.
 
Estee is having a great time in Israel. “I came in not knowing what to expect, and I’ve been constantly pleased with everything. Having the Ma’ase components are only enhancing the experience. It’s definitely a year that I’ll remember forever.”

When Things Don't Go According to Plan

<div class="masa-blog-title">When Things Don't Go According to Plan </div>

By Jenn Handel, Israel Teaching Fellows
 
So what does a young American Jew with a bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s degree in liberal arts do after the endless battle of job hunting? 
 
Well move to Israel, of course! 
 
Now that might sound a little crazy, but that’s exactly what I did—though it was never part of my life plan.
 

The Give and Take

<div class="masa-blog-title">The Give and Take </div>

By Danielle Longo, Israel Teaching Fellows
 
Growing up as a Conservative Jew in a suburb of Detroit, I knew the basics about Judaism and Israel.  
 
I attended Hillel Day School, celebrated holidays, went to shul, and believed in God.  
 
But at 17, my dad passed away and I pushed my religion aside.
 

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Israel Teaching Fellows - Israel Experience

Otzma becoming Jewish Agency program

Otzma becoming Jewish Agency program

January 8, 2013

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Otzma, the yearlong volunteer program in Israel, is being adopted by a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The Jewish Federations of North America announced Nov. 1 that it was dropping the program and initiated a process to find another agency to take it over. Upon completion of this year's program, Otzma will be taken over by the Israel Experience Educational Tourism Services, a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency.
 
“We are confident the Israel Experience will help continue to provide the brand of life-changing Israel programs for young adults for which Otzma is known,” Michele Sackheim Wein, Otzma's chairwoman, said in a news release.
 
Over the past three decades, Otzma has sent more than 1,400 Jewish young adults from nearly 100 communities in North America to Israel. The Israel Experience specializes in organizing youth trips to Israel and already provides Otzma with logistical services.
 
“We are very excited to become the new home for Otzma,” said Erez Cohen, director of Israel Experience’s Long Term Program division. “We have known the program for years, and have been proud to be its logistical provider over the last several years. We believe in the program and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure its long-lasting success."

Originally published by JTA

The Shalom Hartman Institute and Masa Israel Offer New iEngage Fellows Program

The Shalom Hartman Institute and Masa Israel Offer New iEngage Fellows Program

The Shalom Hartman Institute and Masa Israel Offer New iEngage Fellows Program

January 8, 2013

The Shalom Hartman Institute and Masa Israel Journey are pleased to announce the Masa-iEngage Fellows program.
Program fellows, who are invited to be a part of the Hartman Institute community in Israel and North America, will join top iEngage faculty in exploring current challenges of Israel's Jewish culture.
 
The group will work toward initiating new methods for young North American leaders to engage with Israel. Fellows will continue to meet next year in North America for additional iEngage seminars and activities facilitated by the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and Masa Israel Journey.
 
The program is facilitated by Dr. Shraga Bar-On. During the sessions, participants will have the opportunity to meet with members of the Hartman Institute and iEngage faculty, which includes scholars and experts in the field, such as Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, Dr. Tal Becker, Dr. Micah Goodman, Yossi Klein Halevi, Dr. Marcie Lenk, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, and Prof. Gil Troy.
 
Click here to register now. The program is opent to current Masa Israel post-college program participants.
 
Program schedule
 
Sunday, January 27, 16:00-21:00 From Auschwitz to Sinai, From Crisis to Values
Wednesday, February 6, 17:00-21:00 (optional) Hartman Annual Conference for Jewish-Democratic Israel: The Day After the Elections: Unity or Tribalism?
Friday-Saturday, March 1-2 Shabbaton in Jerusalem: Solidarity and Social Justice
Sunday, April 7, 16:00-21:00 Program for eve of Holocaust Memorial Day
Sunday, April 21, 16:00-21:00 Excursion: Jewish Renaissance in Tel Aviv
Thursday, May 9, 16:00-21:00 Engaging Israel Back Home
Tuesday, May 15, 22:30-24:00 (optional)
Tikkun Leil Shavuot (Topic to be announced)
 
A light meal will be served at all meetings.
 
For more information, contact Shraga Bar-On by email or by telephone at +972-2-50-882-8312.

 

The Power of Education

<div class="masa-blog-title">The Power of Education </div>

By Dan Kassner, Israel Teaching Fellows
 
Education is something that is experienced and shared universally.
 
Yet, education means very different things to different people.