Nine Masa Israel Alumni Accepted into Leadership Positions at Local Jewish Federations across North America

Nine Masa Israel Alumni Accepted into Leadership Positions at Local Jewish Federations across North America

January 26, 2012

Launched in Fall 2011, the Masa Israel Federation Fellows program gives exceptional alumni a taste of lay leadership at their Jewish Federations following immersive academic, internship and service programs in Israel. 
Following a competitive application process, Masa Israel Federation Fellows serve as ad-hoc members of Israel-related committee meetings, plan events for Masa Israel alumni at their local Federation and receive a mentor in their communities. They will also attend JFNA’s TribeFest.
 
We applaud these extraordinary alumni in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, and Orange County! Read more about the alumni below:
 
Masa Ambassadors at The Jewish Community Federation, San Francisco
 
Meirav Honigman, Career Israel alumna, earned her B.A. from Colorado College.  She currently works at the Haas School of Business as an event coordinator.
 
“Going to Israel for an extended stay had always been a dream of mine. Masa Israel’s extensive list of programs and resources helped me tailor the experience into an incredible personal journey.  I am so thankful to Masa and look forward to assuming the Ambassadorship position.  My new role will allow me to work to foster a better connection between Israel and the Bay Area Jewish community.”
 
Allison Siegel, Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa alumna, earned her B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
 
“For me, Masa was a game changer.  Living in Israel, surrounded by an amazing community of like-minded people I was able to find happiness, passion and a direction.  Through the Masa Ambassadorship program I hope to share my experiences with others and encourage them to find that same community, whether that’s in Israel or San Francisco.”
 
Masa Israel Federation Fellows at the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation
 
Elana Weil, University of Haifa OSP alumna, earned her B.A. from the Honors College of the University of Arizona.  She is a Research Assistant at Judge Baker Children’s Center, Harvard Medical School.
 
“My experiences studying at Haifa University, volunteering as an English tutor for Ethiopian Israeli students, and learning how to effectively advocate for Israel through the BFL program, were sources of invaluable education and leadership development.  These opportunities, enabled by Masa Israel, have significantly shaped my Jewish identity and role as a leader. I applied to the Masa Federation Fellows program because I wanted to become an active contributor to my new Jewish community in Boston.  It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction to work to increase Jewish young adults’ passion and involvement in their community and in Israel.”
 
Matthew Molberger, Kibbutz Ulpan alumnus, earned his B.A. from Connecticut College.  He currently works in consulting.
 
“I am relatively new to the Boston area and am looking to take an active role in the city’s Jewish community.  As a Masa program alumnus, the Fellows Program would allow me to give back to Masa. I am very grateful for my experience and would like to serve as a resource for potential Masa program participants.”
 
Masa Israel Federation Fellow at  the Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County
 
Bethany Spielberg, Oranim Tel Aviv Internship alumna, earned her B.S. from California State University, Fullerton.  She is currently a graduate student at CSU Fullerton, where she is pursuing an M.A. in education.
 
“Upon graduation, I spent five months volunteering in Tel Aviv through Masa Israel. After this experience I recognized how important it was to surround myself with young, ambitious Jews, and sought out different Jewish groups in my area. Masa served as the link to strengthen my ties with Judaism in a vibrant and robust way. The opportunity to meet Jews from all over the world in a foreign country allowed us to explore Judaism through developing close relationships and participating in new experiences.  Combining this opportunity with the ability to give back to Israel was priceless and memorable. The Masa Federation Fellows experience will improve my leadership qualities, strengthen my connections and the Jewish community, and provide a beneficial way to give back to my Jewish community.
 
Masa Israel Federation Fellows at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
 
Brett Goldman, IDC Herzliya graduate program alumnus, earned his B.A. from Farleigh Dickinson.  He is currently the political director of Nova-Comm Strategy Group, LLC.
 
“I think that the Masa Federation Fellows program will allow for new insight to be gained about the needs of Masa alumni in the context of the Jewish Federation.”
 
Arielle Tepper, Career Israel alumna, earned her B.A. from the University of Miami.  She currently works at Reform Congregation Kneseth Israel.
 
"Masa was a great resource to use when I was looking for a gap program between my undergraduate and graduate studies. It provided me with a variety of options, most of which I heard about through fellows at various events. As a Masa Israel Federation Fellow, I would be able to spread the word about the various opportunities available outside of my job. I believe every Jew should have the opportunity at some point in their lives to spend time living or traveling around Israel and this fellowship would help me get the word out to more than just my local community."
 
Masa Israel Observership Program at the UJA-Federation of New York
 
Annie Lascoe, OTZMA alumna, earned her B.A. from Washington University of St. Louis.  She is currently a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.
 
“After spending a year on a Masa Israel program, I knew that I would need to put energy into maintaining my sense of connection to Israel and to am yisrael–but I was unsure how to proceed. It wasn’t until a year after my return from my Masa program, when I was leading a Birthright trip, that I realized that I needed to simultaneously act as an emissary for Masa programs and an agent for change within my local Jewish community in order to realize this vision for my Jewish future. Miraculously, I received an email about the Masa Israel/UJA-Federation Observership program within days of this realization; and I knew that in order to begin my Jewish journey as an active Masa alum in NYC, the opportunity to learn firsthand what it means to be a lay leader in the Jewish community and how I can influence Israel programming would be an invaluable experience. I am honored to be part of this program”
 
Daniel Cohen, Career Israel alumnus, earned his B.A. from Brandeis University.  He currently works at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
 
“I chose to do Career Israel because it provided the ideal way to acquire additional work experience while working abroad, meet Jews from all over the world and explore Israel. When I received the email about the Observership program, I jumped at the opportunity to help educate other Masa Israel alumni about the services that UJA-Federation provides for the community.”

Project Otzma returnee radiates enthusiasm

Project Otzma returnee radiates enthusiasm

Project Otzma returnee radiates enthusiasm

January 25, 2012

Excited as she prepared for Project Otzma, Arielle Waite, back from Israel for about a month when she dropped into the Voice office, was even more enthused upon her recent return.
“I saw so much, I did so much, I learned so much … there were so many coincidences,” said the tall, animated young woman, talking almost non-stop about her Otzma experience.
 
The biggest coincidence?
 
Her first time in Israel was in June 2006 as part of a Birthright contingent. “We went on the March of the Living, and I had just left Poland and arrived in Israel when Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas. … What a terrible day.” Back in Israel for the first time since that trip, she was also in Israel on Oct. 18, 2011 the day that the young Israeli soldier, released from captivity in Gaza, returned home.
 
“It was unbelievable,” Waite said. “That entire day of Shalit’s return all of Israel focused on him — his experiences in captivity and his arrival back home…We refused to think of the prisoners released to Hamas for his freedom until the day after.”
 
Project Otzma brings 20-25- year-old Diaspora Jews to Israel for approximately a year of intense service and leadership training under the aegis of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Waite, whose mother Lynn Waite lives in Marlton, was selected as an “Otzmanik” by the Department of Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey following a series of interviews. The South Jersey Federation also helped to subsidize her participation in the program.
 

Top-Notch College Grads Forgo US Job Search to Teach in Israel

Top-Notch College Grads Forgo US Job Search to Teach in Israel

January 24, 2012

Following a successful pilot year that placed 68 North American young adults as volunteer teachers’ aides in Israeli public schools, Masa Israel Journey has opened 200 spots for next year’s Israel Teaching Fellows (ITF) program.
Launched by Israel’s Ministry of Education and Masa Israel Journey, ITF was created to address the widespread underperformance of youth in low-income communities. Masa Israel Journey is a joint project of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel, which runs service, internship and academic programs in Israel.
 
With the US’s lingering economic challenges, ITF has seen a surge in applications from high caliber recent college graduates who are forgoing the job search for meaningful service opportunities abroad.
 
Following a two-year stint in healthcare, Harvard graduate Julia Kingsdale left Boston to teach in Israel’s periphery. “There’s something sort of spontaneous, albeit chaotic, about Israel,” said Kingsdale. “Teaching in Israel requires a mindset shift where you can’t intensely plan every detail; you need to focus on the situation at hand, which is something I find really refreshing.”
 
For Teach for America alumnus Chris Harty, who taught in Southern Louisiana, the Israeli classroom experience has expanded his professional insights. “I came to Israel because I wanted to see how a different education system works,” said Harty. “I’ve learned that in Israel, students can run through the hallways and still show up to class on time and ready to learn.”
 
In addition to teaching for 20 hours a week, Teaching Fellows receive ongoing pedagogical support, enroll in Hebrew courses, live alongside peers in their communities, and develop secondary volunteer programs.
 
After teaching John Lennon’s “Imagine” to his class, Emory-graduate Brian Levenson volunteered to prepare a few of his students to sing it at their school-wide talent show. Kingsdale, who now wants to pursue a career in teaching, is launching an after-school reading program.
 
“Today one of my students, who could barely identify English letters at the beginning of the year, matched colors with their English words,” said Levenson. “It feels good to make a difference.”
 
For more information about Israel Teaching Fellows, visit: www.israelteachingfellows.org. To speak with an Israel Teaching Fellow from your community, contact Masa Israel’s North American Director of Public Relations Rachel Trager Sales at (212) 339-6048, (917) 371-5569 or racheltr@masaisrael.org.

For Alumni

For Alumni

Once you sign up for a Masa Israel program, you’re always a member of the Masa Israel Community! When you return home from your program, you can become involved with the Masa Israel Alumni Community, a network of young Jewish adults like you who’ve had a long term experience in Israel and want to stay connected to their friends, to their experience, to Israel, and to Jewish life.
 
The Alumni Community serves as a platform for Jewish leadership by connecting alumni to jobs, resources for professional development, service opportunities and leadership training. 
 
Masa Israel Journey is committed to keeping our growing alumni community connected and informed about service and career development opportunities, educational programs and more. To learn more about these opportunities and ways to get involved, join the Masa Israel Community site
 

Alumni Community Videos

 
 

Habonim Dror - British Shnat

http://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/habonim-dror-british-shnat_0.jpg

Program Description

The Habonim Dror Shnat program is an intensive 10 month education and leadership program in Israel. Shnat is the ultimate Habonim Dror program, giving each participant the chance to live, experience and express the movement's ideology, and then return to their home country educated and inspired. 
 
The British Shnat group joins groups from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Holland, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, and Argentina (just to name a few).
Julia Kingsdale
Suzanne Arian
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