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: 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

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

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
Emily Shelton
MITF - Masa Tlalim, 2011-2012
Suzanne Arian
Chris Harty

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