Chris Harty
2011-2012

Our Impact

My Ongoing Transformation

<div class="masa-blog-title">My Ongoing Transformation</div>

 
By Jenna Neulander, Yahel Social Change Program
 
A year ago, I never saw myself here doing what I am doing today. I pretty much "fell into" this program. As I sat in the living room of my parents house I felt like I was on the verge of becoming a complete failure. I had just graduated from college with no steady job waiting or Ivy League graduate programs begging me to apply.
 

A New Year, A New Community

<div class="masa-blog-title">A New Year, A New Community</div>

By Chris Khoury, Michigan State University student, studying abroad at the Rothberg International School – Hebrew University of Jerusalem
 
Rosh Hashanah. The new year. This was the first time that I observed the holiday, and being in Jerusalem made it all the more incredible. The holiday was eerily appropriate, coinciding with the start of my year-long study abroad in Jerusalem—truly the start of very new year for me.
 

American students bring Thanksgiving's message of coexistence to the Middle East

American students bring Thanksgiving's message of coexistence to the Middle East

November 21, 2011

This Thanksgiving, holiday traditions and messages are going farther than the family dinner table. 
In fact, they are going all the way to the Middle East as American young adults spending time abroad will be spreading the message of coexistence throughout diverse communities by recreating the Thanksgiving feast from their childhood. 
 
Masa Israel Journey, a project of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Government, sends more than 6,000 young Americans to Israel each year to study, intern, and volunteer, as well as spread a peaceful and harmonious message. Diverse groups of people such as Arabs, Israeli Jews, Palestinians, Europeans, and American peers are all positively affected by the introduction and blending of Thanksgiving traditions.
 
Samuel Morris Azner

Shauna Gamsey

Shauna Gamsey

Otzma
 
Growing up in a small Jewish community in St. Augustine, Florida, Shauna Gamsey attended Sunday school and celebrated the Jewish holidays with her family, but it wasn’t until college that she became involved in the Jewish community on her own.  Shortly after graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in anthropology, Shauna traveled to Israel for the first time with Birthright.
 
“Before then, I hadn’t spent a lot of time surrounded by Jewish culture, and as an anthropology major, it was fascinating to meet Jews from all over the world,” says Shauna.  “A whole new world opened up for me and I knew that I needed to experience more of it.”
 
Shauna stayed a few extra months to travel the country and made plans to spend that year saving up for her next extended stay in Israel through Masa Israel’s OTZMA, a 10-month service program.  In August 2010, Shauna set out for Israel, where she would spend the first two months living in an immigrant absorption center and learning Hebrew in Ashkelon, and the next eight months teaching English in Yerucham, a small development town in southern Israel.
 
“The periphery was interesting to me because of its diverse populations—Russian, Moroccan, and Indian Jews,” says Shauna. “I also knew that it was the right place to work on my Hebrew.”
 
Shauna spent her days tutoring students at the local public school in English and preparing them for their national exams.  “About one percent of the Yerucham population speaks English so there was definitely a huge language gap, but we did have breakthroughs,” says Shauna.  “There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the community to distract us and we were really able to dedicate ourselves to our work.”
 
On Shabbats and holidays, community families welcomed Shauna into their homes for meals and celebrations.  During Passover, Shauna volunteered in Ashalim, helping build homes with Ayalim, an organization that promotes the development and settlement of the Negev and the Galilee, and then returned to Yerucham for Mimouna, a North African celebration held the day after Passover.
 
“It was incredible to literally build the desert and be part of an idealistic Zionism, and then to return to Yerucham to take part in a tradition in which everyone opens their doors to their neighbors and visits each other,” says Shauna.  “Though I was very far from my family, the experience really made me feel at home.”
 
Now back in Florida, Shauna will soon be returning to Israel to continue her education in a Masters program at Ben Gurion University.
 

Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa

http://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/tikkunolamintelaviv2.jpg

Program Description

Volunteer or intern for 5 or 10 months and learn about the issues facing Israeli society, on the only post-college program with Israeli participants in the group. Work with refugees from Darfur and Eritrea, Arab-Jewish coexistence, and much more. Learn Hebrew, travel around Israel and get to know the country and society better than you ever thought possible.
 
Tikkun Olam's Coexistence Track seeks to build mutual understanding between Jews and Arabs in the diverse communities of Jaffa through volunteer work and education, and by focusing locally on the issues facing Jews and Arabs in Israel today. The Social Action Track will immerse you in the multicultural communities of southern Tel Aviv in which you volunteer and study, offering a first-hand perspective into the struggling neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv.
 
The new Internship Track will enable you to gain valuable career experience in the non-profit sector, while making a difference for Israel's disadvantaged populations and learning about the complex issues facing Israeli society. 
 

For more information, contact:

Sasha Gold

Director of Admissions

sasha@bina.org.il

tel: +972-52-8365417

Jewish Agency, Ministry of Education Launch Israeli Teach for America

Jewish Agency, Ministry of Education Launch Israeli Teach for America

Jewish Agency, Ministry of Education Launch Israeli Teach for America

October 6, 2011

Seeking to address the widespread under-performance of youth in low-income communities, while offering a unique Israel experience to participants, Israel Teaching Fellows launched this week.
A new, joint, initiative of the Ministry of Education and Masa Israel Journey, the program brings 75 university graduates from North America to Israel to volunteer as English teachers in schools across the country. In doing so, Israel is joining a handful of countries who “import” English teachers from abroad, including Japan, South Korea and France.
 
Immediately following the high holidays, the volunteers will be placed in elementary schools in Petah Tikva, Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Netanya, Ramle and Lod. Following an initial training period, the volunteers will live in small groups in these communities and teach for 20 hours a week. The fellows will also design secondary volunteer projects in their host communities. Ongoing pedagogical support, Hebrew ulpan, host families and trips will be provided throughout their time in Israel.
 
The program’s launch event took place at Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People, in Tel Aviv on Monday.
 
Israel Teaching Fellows is an initiative of the Ministry of Education and Masa Israel Journey, a project of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel.