Tikkun Olam in Action: Support for Pregnant Asylum Seekers

<div class="masa-blog-title">Tikkun Olam in Action: Support for Pregnant Asylum Seekers</div>


Julis: Basically the Coolest Place I've Been

<div class="masa-blog-title">Julis: Basically the Coolest Place I've Been</div>

By Michael Dempster, Masa Israel Service Fellows
Since the fall, Michael has been teaching a photography and videography class to Druze youth. In late January, the Julis Youth Center hosted an exhibition of his students' photographs.

The British Israel Teaching Fellow

<div class="masa-blog-title">The British Israel Teaching Fellow</div>

By Orrie Appell, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows - Ma'ase Olam
When applying to become part of the Israel Teaching Fellows programme, way back when, I initially had a very tough decision to make, but Ma’ase Olam made it very easy.
Of all the cities offering a place to house me over the next ten months to assist in teaching English and other volunteering projects, Ma’ase Olam took

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.

Direction - A Poem

<div class="masa-blog-title">Direction - A Poem </div>

By Benson Ansell, Yahel Social Change




So Yahel has traveled North,

Guided on our journey forth,


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.