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
Emily Shelton
MITF - Masa Tlalim, 2011-2012
Suzanne Arian
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.