The Sweet Spot: Alumni Career Development Meets Digital Engagement

<div class="masa-blog-title">The Sweet Spot: Alumni Career Development Meets Digital Engagement</div>

Earlier this month, Russ Finkelstein wrote about keeping alumni engaged and involved by offering career services. Before we can tap into alumni communities for fundraising and volunteer requests, he argues, we have to provide them something of value, something that they want.
At Masa Israel we wholeheartedly agree, and have been experimenting in the professional development space for the past year.

7 reasons to join Masa Israel’s Online Career Fair on Wednesday

Masa-Hillel Fellowship: Building the Jewish Community’s Leaders

<div class="masa-blog-title">Masa-Hillel Fellowship: Building the Jewish Community’s Leaders</div>

by Lisa Motenko
This past summer I left Berkeley Hillel, where I was on staff for four amazing years, to head to Israel.  I didn’t grow up in Jewish day school, or have extensive experience in Israel – so my time had come to spend a year immersing myself in Jewish text and living in the land of milk and honey. My goal for studying with the Pardes Experiential Educators Program was to take experiential education programs to a higher level by infusing them with real Jewish content and meaning.

Masa Israel Goes to Tribefest

<div class="masa-blog-title">Masa Israel Goes to Tribefest</div>

Bummed you missed this year's TribeFest in NOLA? Check out this play-by-play from our awesome alumni who live-tweeted throughout the conference!

The Negev: Beauty and Wonder

Masa Israel Cohosts AIPAC Policy Conference Welcome Party

Masa Israel Cohosts AIPAC Policy Conference Welcome Party

Masa Israel Cohosts AIPAC Policy Conference Welcome Party

March 3, 2014

Washington, DC – Over 400 Israel supporters, including Masa Israel alumni, attended the official welcome party for the 2014 AIPAC Policy conference.

The DC Masa Alumni Board tabled at the event, sharing their experiences of living in Israel as an intern, student or volunteer. Masa also held a raffle to win a gift basket filled with Israeli products. The alumni board members in attendance circulated through the pro-Israel crowd throughout the night, providing information and answering questions. The event was a tremendous success as a fundraiser, raising money for HaLev Israel, a new organization that provides scholarships to bring pro-Israel activists from all over the world to their first AIPAC Policy Conference.

For more information on Masa Israel's presence at the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference or on the DC Masa alumni community, contact Jenn Rheuban.

Introducing the Masa-Makom Fellows

Introducing the Masa-Makom Fellows

February 24, 2014

Israel in Real Life: The Masa-Makom Fellowship brings together emerging Jewish educators to learn about Israel engagement strategies and Jewish Peoplehood. 

The Masa-Makom Fellows will develop a sophisticated understanding of Israel and the Jewish collective, building their skillset as an Israel Engagement leader who is ready to implement innovative programming in their home communities. The Fellows were selected from highly-qualified Masa Israel participants spending ten months in Israel interning and volunteering with underserved communities.


Brent Abelson is a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Be'er Sheva from Torrance, California. Throughout his childhood he was very active in the Los Angeles Area Jewish community, reestablishing Galilee AZA of the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization. Brent majored in History at UC Davis while actively participating in the College Democrats society and the University rugby team. After graduation, Brent came to Israel for the first time on Taglit-Birthright Israel and had one of the most important spiritual experiences of his life. After serving as a staffer on President Obama’s reelection team, Brent received the opportunity to return to Israel as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, working to close the achievement gap in Israel’s periphery.


Samuel Chabrow is originally from Maplewood, NJ, and has varied interests from Jewish history and literature, to cycling, politics, and cooking. An accomplished musician, he has a Bachelor's of Music in Composition from New England Conservatory, graduating with honors. His compositions include a setting of Holocaust survivor Sonia Schreiber Weitz's poem “Icicles” as well as a passage from Psalm 104. His senior year, Samuel wrote a paper exploring the Jewish-American identity of Leonard Bernstein as expressed through his writings and music. Since graduating he has sought a career as a Jewish professional with the hope of strengthening the community that his given him so much. He is currently spending a year teaching English at Dvir, an elementary school in Ashdod, Israel, as a participant of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program.


Amanda Gold was born and raised in Long Island, New York, is currently serving as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Rehovot. She spends her days learning about the different cultures in Israel and their unique cuisines. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree next year in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Hebrew University. 



Nicole Hertzberg is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Petach Tikva where she assistant teaches English at a low-income elementary school.  Born and raised in West Bloomfield, Michigan, Nicole is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan where she studied Psychology and Criminal Justice. At UM, Nicole was very involved in Greek Life and Model United Nations and served on the executive boards of both organizations.  Outside of college, Nicole was involved in politics through working on campaigns and interning for her Congressman one summer on Capitol Hill. Nicole plans to attend law school in the fall.  In her spare time, Nicole likes to travel and go swimming at the beach. 


Emily Hirschman of Oakland, CA graduated from California State University, Chico with degrees in Journalism/Public Relations and Sustainability Management in 2010.  Upon graduating she accepted a junior associate position with a large corporate public relations firm working in the food, wine and agriculture space.  After several months working in for-profit PR, she transitioned to the non-profit world, working for environmental nonprofits, designing programs, recruiting volunteers, and publicity. As a result Emily cultivated a drive and entrepreneurial spirit, and is excited to be a Masa-Makom Fellow.  



Aliyah Jacobson of New York City, NY is a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya, Israel. She holds a bachelor degree in childhood education and a minor in English from La Guardia Community College and previously student taught at two different high schools in New York City.  Before coming to Israel, Aliyah acted as treasurer of the “Brooklyn Community Chorus” in Parks Slope, Brooklyn for a year, serving the Jewish community by donating half of the profits from concerts to the synagogue. She is grateful for the opportunities provided by Masa Israel to hear speakers from around the world on the many issues that Israel faces and to see what difference she can make when she returns to New York City.


Lauren Kandel has spent the past twenty summers as a camper, a counselor, and a group leader at various camps and could not imagine a summer without it.  Her passion for camp led her to pursue a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Childhood education at Queens College in Flushing, NY.  She is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya, where she teaches 3rd and 6th grade students, and is excited every day to meet people and engage in activities that help her learn more about state of Israel.



Seth Markin graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2013, majoring in the Philosophy of Political Thought with a minor in Business Administration and a program in law. As a Resident Advisor at Muhlenberg, Seth built and fostered an expanding community in every building he managed. By the end of his tenure at Muhlenberg he had rose to Head Resident Advisor, in charge of six buildings, five staff members, and hundreds of students. Seth also worked at the Admissions office, taught guitar to children living in Allentown, and was the head council member of the Muhlenberg judicial council. In addition to his in-college career, Seth worked at Congressman Fitzpatrick’s office in Pennsylvania after graduating: researching, speech-writing, and dealing in constituent casework. Now, Seth lives in Jerusalem, participating in the Israel Government Fellows program. He works with both the legal and economic departments of the Israel Antitrust Authority.


Dascher Pasco is a participant of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows in Netanya. She attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she double majored in Religious Studies and English. Outside of school, Dascher spent her time volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as well as working with programs that addressed diversity within the William and Mary community. Her passion for the work that directly affected her surroundings ultimately led her to the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program. Dascher is eager to continue developing her relationships with communities in both Israel and America, and welcomes any opportunity to do so. After the conclusion of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, she plans to apply to law school.


Mandy Usprech graduated from York University in Toronto, Canada with a bilingual degree in Political Science and Journalism. During her studies, she worked as a research fellow in human rights cases. Seconds after finishing her finals, Mandy worked for Ontario's Parliament in education policy. She hit the ground sprinting in her role as an education policy officer, meeting with visiting foreign delegations to discuss Ontario's unique framework on education. This opportunity allowed Mandy to work in South Korea for six months on Canada-South Korea partnership in English literacy as a second language. After reading about the demand for English teachers in Israel, and the major socioeconomic barrier for Israelis in the periphery to learn English, she uprooted from South Korea to Rehovot, Israel. Mandy currently teaches at Sinai, a religious elementary school. She adores incorporating her passions in her lessons such as dance, art and photography. When not teaching, Mandy can be found hiking the Israel Trail or practicing her ballet technique.


Aaron White of Palm Springs, CA is currently a graduate student at Tel Aviv University, where he is studying for his M.A. in Environmental Studies. He currently interns at Assif Strategies and conducts research at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS). In his spare time, Aaron can be found playing guitar on a park bench, riding his bike around Tel Aviv, or most likely, reading a book by the Yarkon River.


Talking Israel with Israelis

Soccer Across Borders

<div class="masa-blog-title">Soccer Across Borders</div>

By Ethan Goldman, on Masa Israel's Yahel Social Change program
As far back as I can remember soccer has always been a huge part of my life.  I started playing in elementary school and since then I have rarely gone a day without having a ball at my feet. In addition to providing me with a good source of exercise and a well needed outlet for my surplus of energy, soccer has also been one of, if not the, most important social tool in my personal life.

Welcoming the First Masa-Hillel Fellows

Welcoming the First Masa-Hillel Fellows

February 6, 2014

We are so excited to welcome our first cohort of Masa-Hillel Fellows. The new fellowship is a six-month professional development seminar to prepare current Masa participants for Hillel work. 
Through Hillel’s partnership with Masa, Hillel is providing a Fellowship experience for current Masa participants who were at the Masa Israel Leadership Summit in December. The goal of the Masa-Hillel Fellowship is to build a talent pipeline and populate Hillel’s professional cohort with talented individuals and budding leaders who are actively exploring Israel and reinforcing their Jewish and Israel connections.
Abby Calish is currently an Israel Teaching Fellow in Rehovot. Prior to spending this time in Israel, Abby was a student at Union College where she majored in Spanish and Hispanic studies. While she isn't teaching English or volunteering at a local community center, Abby loves spending her time traveling, dancing, baking, and rooting for all of her favorite Boston sports teams.
Carrie Collister is currently spending a year with Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv- Jaffa studying and interning at The Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism. A native of Wisconsin, she spent five years prior to Tikkun Olam living and working in the Deep South. While attending college, she could be found either in the library studying History or on the quad prepping her sorority sisters for an upcoming recruitment event. Carrie’s passion for Judaism is shown through in her teachings at Sunday School and in founding and leading the Young MOTs of Dothan. Carrie is a devoted Packers fan and enjoys spending time with her dog Bella when stateside.
Hannah Elovitz is learning at Pardes and living it up in Israel for the year. Born and raised in Olney, Maryland, Hannah is a proud graduate the University of Maryland where she studied Marketing and Religious Studies. She was also a Design Fellow in the Business School, which combined her passion for creativity with business. Hannah loved UMD for its huge Jewish community, was very involved in interfaith organizations on campus, and co-founded an Israeli dance group her senior year. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, connecting people to each other, and jogging (she recently ran her first 10K in the Jerusalem Night Run).

Alex Feder is currently an Israel Teaching Fellow in Rishon LeZion, where he augments the English program at an underserved elementary school through specialized tutoring and extracurricular activities. Before coming to Israel he was involved in development at Northwestern University's Hillel, where his interests in Jewish education and non-profit management flourished. Alex looks forward to pursuing these interests upon his return home to the States at the end of this year.
Shana Feld is a current participant of Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv – Jaffa, where she volunteers with several in need populations including slower developing and special needs youth, the elderly, and at risk youth on welfare. Before dedicating a year of her life in Israel, Shana attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Shana enjoys spending her free time doing yoga and exploring the outdoors.
Megan Garrett, an Israel Teaching Fellow, has been teaching, tutoring, and organizing events for Netanya youth this school year. Megan’s passion is shown through her past roles as a supervisor at a Jewish overnight summer camp, Youth Group advising position, and her presidency of Marshall University’s Jewish Student Association.  Megan actively involves herself in outdoor activities and platforms that allow her to grow through educating and engaging our youth.
Mike Greenstone is a 2013-2014 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow at Avivim School in Rishon LeZion, Israel. A native of Champaign, Illinois, he holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music education from the University of Illinois, where he was active at Hillel and was a member of the Marching Illini. During the summers, he serves as Media Director at URJ camp OSRUI, where he has worked since 2003. In his free time, he enjoys writing song parodies.
Bari Lang is an enthusiastic individual, currently living in Be’er Sheva as an Israel Teaching Fellow. She prepares lessons and teaches English to low-income elementary school students, in addition to volunteering in the community. While at the University of West Florida, Bari was a Resident Assistant which helped her develop her communication, organization, and presentation skills. She was born and raised in Miami and can often be caught singing to 90’s music.
Sara Legasey is currently teaching English in Israel through the Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows Netanya program. Sara discovered her passion for education while a student at Boston University, where she volunteered in the community as an after school tutor, interned at a non-profit providing aid to under-served public schools, and volunteered as an English teacher for six months in Ghana. After graduating in 2011, she explored careers in activism, working briefly for a political consulting firm, and at a law firm. A native New Englander, Sara plans to return to Boston after completing the Israel Teaching Fellows program, where she will be reunited with her dog, Gus.
Leanna Lynch is a current an Israel Teaching Fellow in Rehovot, Israel. Prior to her Israeli adventure, Leanna was a student at Binghamton University where she spent her time cheering on athletics as a member of the University’s Dance team, motivating people to instil health habits into their lifestyles as a campus Personal Trainer and engaging students in their Judaism as a Hillel Peer Network Engagement Intern. Leanna is familiar with the level of professionalism required to continually support student engagement and team enrichment. She is excited to be a part of the Masa-Hillel Fellowship’s 2014 cohort.
Katherine Nelson is currently an Israel Teaching Fellow in Beit She’an. Before coming to Israel, Katherine was finishing her credential for elementary teaching at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. While attending university, she was an orientation leader for new students and served on the judicial board for her sorority. Coming from a small town in Northern California, Katherine loves nature and is frequently found hiking with her golden retriever, Sasha.
Seth Reder is currently working as an Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya, Israel, teaching English to under-privileged children from 3rd-6th grade. Prior to embarking on his Israel journey, Seth worked as an Area Director for the Department of Housing and Residential Life at the University of Miami for three years, where he oversaw the daily operations of a first-year residential college consisting of over 900 students. Seth earned his Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California, and loves learning, teaching, and supporting student development and leadership. When Seth Reder is not working as an educator, you can find him writing music, performing, playing ice hockey, traveling, and enjoying time with family and friends.
Deborah Stone is currently teaching English at an underprivileged school in Netanya, Israel as an Israel Teaching Fellow. Prior to volunteering in Israel, Deborah served as the Executive Assistant for Trilogy Capital, LLC, a hedge fund in Greenwich, Connecticut. While there, she simultaneously completed her graduate degree earning a Master of Arts in Teaching in 2012. When she is not educating, you can find her traveling, cycling, running, skiing and maybe even sky diving.
Brittany Walters graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science and African Studies. For a time, she moved to Australia, working for a human rights radio program and music periodical. Continuing her focus on arts as a means of cultural preservation, she bid adieu to Melbourne for the ONE Campaign in Washington, D.C. Following this, she worked as the East Coast Editor for RYOT News; after deciding that proximity to houses of the white variety was not a profound enough reason to stay, she headed East. Middle East, that is. At present, she is inspiring the youth of Israel through pantomimed English and candy-oriented lessons with Israel Teaching Fellows and studying Jewish music and identity retention through arts mediums.



Originally published on Hillel's News and Views Blog