Masa participants revel at Israeli mega-cultural event

Masa participants revel at Israeli mega-cultural event

Masa participants revel at Israeli mega-cultural event

February 26, 2013

The youths, part of over 200 Masa Israel Journey programs being held throughout the country, were the guests of The Jewish Agency for Israel's three-day Board of Governors meeting, also being held in the capital.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - More than two thousand Jewish youth from around the world packed into Jerusalem's International Convention Center's halls Monday evening to attend a series of master classes and performances held by some of the country's top entertainment, literary, and artistic talents.
 
The event, which hosted parcipitants from over 200 Masa Israel Journey programs being held throughout the country, coincided with The Jewish Agency for Israel's three-day Board of Governors meeting, which also took place in the capital.
 
Masa Israel Journey offers young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 immersive, life-changing gap year, study abroad, post-college and volunteer experiences in Israel, connecting them to programs that meet their interests, offering scholarships, providing expertise, and supporting them throughout the entire process.
 
The evening opened with a screening of the award-winning Israeli film, Fill the Void, and a master class held afterward by the film's starring actress, Irit Sheleg. 
 
Later, performing in more intimate halls alongside one another, some of Israel's top cultural icons shared their perspectives on Israeli culture with the Masa participants.
 
The performers included music, poetry and prose, by classically-trained pianist and composer Shlomi Shaban and singer and guitarist Yali Sobol of the band Monica Sex; a solo show by indie groove diva Karolina (Keren Avratz), songs by pop sensation Harel Skaat, a reading by award-winning author Etgar Keret, a dramatic performance by a troupe from the Vertigo Contemporary Dance Company. 
 
The evening was capped by a scorching performance in the main auditorium by hip-hop and reggae singer Mooke and his band, who raised the roof and brought the audience to their feet and rocking in the aisles for the entire set.
 

Videos

Hear participants talk about their daily life, take a virtual tour of your favorite program, and watch your semester of year in Israel unfold in front of you

Israel Teaching Fellows

Videos

Hear participants talk about their daily life, take a virtual tour of your favorite program, and watch your semester of year in Israel unfold in front of you

Israel Pathways

Masa Israel Service Fellows Doubles in Size and Expands to a Second Location

Masa Israel Service Fellows Doubles in Size and Expands to a Second Location

February 19, 2013

Masa Israel Service Fellows, the joint 10-month service-learning program for Jewish college graduates from English speaking countries and Israelis, will double in size this year, growing from 11 participants in 2012 to 30 fellows starting in 2013. 
Masa Israel Service Fellows work in informal education, creating community development and empowerment projects in peripheral towns in Israel. 
 
Created following the success of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program, participants of which are largely Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni (over 50% of fellows), the service fellows program will expand from its pilot size to accommodate more fellows, and begin a new cohort in Lod, Israel, in addition to their current location in Acre, Israel.
 
"We're excited about this new expansion. Lod is a city with an image that should and may be improved, and many social challenges. That makes the activity of our volunteers very important," said Miki Nevo, the founder and Director of Ma'ase, which operates Masa Israel Service Fellows. "We'll be working with the diverse population of Lod: Jews and Arabs, and communities of new immigrants from countries such as Russia and Ethiopia. We don't come to save the people of Lod, but to partner with residents on a local level. We want to learn from them, and work with them."
 
As part of Israel Service Fellows, volunteers will partner with Israeli students who are part of the "ReLod" project to rejuvenate Lod, sponsored by the National Union for Israeli Students.
 
Current Masa Israel Service Fellow, Lindsay Saripkin, from Atlanta, GA has loved her volunteer work and is looking forward to seeing the fruits of her labor: "I am passionate about education and the environment. My favorite part about the Israel Service Fellows program is the connection I’m making in my Druze placement site, Julis. I’m working with students to build a community garden. I hope my students will become advocates of the environment and gain an appreciation for the land they have and the nutritional food they'll grow and eat together."
 
Samantha Oppenheimer, from Leawood, Kansas, will join Israel Service Fellows in the fall. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about Israel, while volunteering next year. "As a Jewish American, I only know a piece of Israel,” she says. "I'm eager to fully embrace all of Israel, with its imperfections and complexities. Working in a diverse community of youth will allow me to understand Israeli society in a deeper, more complete sense."
 
Masa Israel Service Fellows will run August 28, 2013-June 30, 2014 and costs $1,000, which includes flights, training sessions, housing, and a monthly stipend. Applications are currently accepted on a rolling basis. Jewish young adults ages 21-30 are encouraged to learn more and apply at www.israelservicefellows.org.
 
Masa Israel Service Fellows is made by possible by Masa Israel Journey, a partnership of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Rashi Foundation. The Rashi Foundation works to help Israel strengthen systems that serve the most vulnerable sections of society. On an individual level, they are dedicated to helping underprivileged children, youth, and families reach their true potential, and lead independent lives as productive members of the community.
 
Ma'ase specializes in running volunteer and leadership programs for over 700 young people all over Israel in order to create a movement for social change. For almost a decade, Ma’ase has been running successful volunteer programs and is the recipient of several national awards in the field, including the Speaker of the Knesset Quality of Life Award for its work promoting tolerance and narrowing social gaps in Israeli society, and the Sderot Conference Award for Social Responsibility.
 
Masa Israel Journey brings over 10,000 young adults each year to Israel on long-term, immersive programs. It  is a joint project of the Govermment of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel and its partners, the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod – UIA.
 

Shpeils and Schnapps: A Pre-Purim Discussion on the custom of drinking, with the Pardes Institute

Shpeils and Schnapps: A Pre-Purim Discussion on the custom of drinking, with the Pardes Institute

February 12, 2013 - 19:30

Coffee Bean and Tea LeafNew York, NY  - 

Join Pardes' Yaffa Epstein for coffee and a discussion on "Pour me another" - The famous tale of the Murderous Purim Seudah (Festive meal). 
 Pick up coffee upstairs and join us downstairs for pastries! All Masa Israel alumni are invited but space is limited to 35 people. RSVP here.

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.”

Videos

Hear participants talk about their daily life, take a virtual tour of your favorite program, and watch your semester of year in Israel unfold in front of you

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.

 

In Israel, U.S. teaching interns abide by a different set of rules

In Israel, U.S. teaching interns abide by a different set of rules

In Israel, U.S. teaching interns abide by a different set of rules

November 30, 2012

The interns teach a minimum of 20 hours a week while working on other volunteer projects in their respective communities. In most cases, they team-teach in pairs, and in some cases, even in groups of three.
By Judy Maltz
 
Using big bold strokes, Tamara Freilich, a 22-year-old teaching intern from Washington, D.C., writes the letter "I" on the blackboard.
 
"Who can name a word that begins with this letter?" she asks her fourth-graders at the Ussishkin elementary school in Netanya.
 
"Ikea!" a girl in the front row yells out. "Good job," responds Freilich, as the girl jumps out of her chair and high-fives her classmates. Ignoring what might be considered unacceptable behavior in an American school, Freilich moves on. "Anyone else?" she asks.
 
"Igloo," volunteers another student. "That's right," says Freilich, "but we don't pronounce it 'eegloo' - we say 'igloo' with a soft 'i.'"
 
A few minutes remain until the bell rings, announcing the end of class, but some of the children are clearly losing focus. One boy gets out of his seat and starts walking around the room. Another flicks his classmate on the back of the neck and pretends to be paying attention to the teacher when the classmate turns around. Those students still participating have by now largely forgotten the rule about raising their hand, but Freilich carries on unperturbed, pausing only once to say "shhhhh."
 
"Actually, I'd expected much worse," she remarks, summing up her first month on the job, after the bell rings and her charges are dismissed. A graduate of Emory University with a degree in political science, Freilich is one of 170 participants this year in the Israel Teaching Fellows program, run by Masa Israel Journey - a joint initiative of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency. The program, which provides Jewish college graduates an opportunity to teach English in low-income communities, is overseen by the Education Ministry. Launched as a pilot a year ago with 68 participants teaching English in five cities, it was expanded this year to seven cities, with the number of participants more than doubling.
 
The majority of this year's participants have degrees in areas relevant to education, with 17 of them holding graduate degrees. Most are women, and they range in age from 21 to 29. They teach English in 85 schools scattered around Netanya, Petah Tikva, Rehovot, Rishon Letzion, Ramle, Lod, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva. Those teaching in the latter two southern cities were evacuated temporarily during the recent flare-up across the border with Gaza. The plan is to expand the program next year to Beit She'an.
 
The interns teach a minimum of 20 hours a week while working on other volunteer projects in their respective communities. In most cases, they team-teach in pairs, and in some cases, even in groups of three.
 
Freilich's co-teacher is 25-year-old Matt Miller, from northern California, who graduated with a degree in classics from UCLA. Clearly making an effort to be diplomatic, Miller notes, "The kids here in Israel seem to feel freer about moving around in the classroom."
 
Pictured: Freilich, left, and Miller at Ussishkin elementary school in Netanya. Photo by Nimrod Glickman