Naomi Siegel

Naomi Siegel

LIFE
A few years after graduating from the University of Wisconsin and working in the non-profit world, I wanted to go back to Israel. During high school I spent a semester in Israel, but because it was the Intifada, I had little opportunity to explore the country. When I found out about Masa Israel's LIFE program, a nine-month service-learning program in Israel and India, I knew it was the perfect fit. I had also been very drawn to traveling to India, but I didn’t know the opportunity would appear so soon in my life. As part of the LIFE program, I would have the opportunity to not only spend time in both countries, but to give back while doing so. There I would be able to pursue community projects with the support of NGOs, working and living alongside the local populations.
 
Backed by an NGO that worked to promote sustainable rural development, I worked with another LIFE participant to develop an art curriculum for Indian schools. Observing elementary schools throughout the state, we were able to create a curriculum that spoke to the needs and interests of the students and teachers. Ultimately, the curriculum called for the use of recycled materials, which not only added an element of environmental awareness to the curriculum, but also made the projects accessible to students from every economical caste. We also created a teacher-training program that encouraged student participation and alternative methods of teaching that utilized art, music and drama. Eight teachers from all different types of schools received this training as well as a CD full of lesson plan ideas.
 
In Israel, I had the opportunity to use my background in alternative medicine to organize an event for the One Family Fund, a support center for victims of terror and their families. In addition to donating my skills as a Reiki Master, I recruited 18 alternative medicine practitioners to offer massage, reflexology, and other healing modalities. I matched individuals to the right practitioners and witnessed beautiful transformations from both givers and receivers.
 
To complement our work in the field, we traveled throughout Israel and India, meeting leaders in non-profits that have significantly impacted the different countries and took part in discussions about social action and cultural sensitivity. With participants from Israel, North America and England, and mentors from India and Israel, we were constantly challenged to look at issues from diverse perspectives, creating an environment of constant learning and growth.
 
Back in the United States, the knowledge I gained through Masa Israel's LIFE program has proven to be invaluable as I take part in creating a center for social activism and sustainable community in Washington. At the center, leaders and activists will learn about social change, leadership and personal wellness. I also continue to practice Reiki healing and network with other practitioners interested in social change. Once again, I am creating something from nothing, and I feel confident in the guidance I gained from LIFE.
 
I encourage more young adults to take on the challenge of LIFE.

Lisa Wilder

Lisa Wilder

Oranim Community Involvement
As a volunteer English teacher in Israel, I recently took a class trip to Caesarea, the picturesque coastal city scattered with Roman ruins. The tour was conducted entirely in Hebrew and I was thrilled that I understood so much of it. Yet, that didn’t stop me from joking and chatting with the students in English throughout the trip. I was amazed that visiting a historical site with 2,000-year-old ruins constitutes an ordinary field trip in Israel. After almost five months in Israel, I've stopped being surprised by things that would be out of the ordinary in other places.
 
I came to Israel for the first time four years ago on Birthright. I loved it and knew I had to return the first chance I had. After graduating from Carleton University with a degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management, I decided to head to Israel through Masa Israel Journey. I am so glad I kept my word.
 
As one of nine volunteers with Oranim’s Community Involvement program, I have spent the last five months living in Ness Ziona, a small community outside of Tel Aviv, and volunteering as an English teacher at a local middle school. One of my favourite activities with the students is interpreting fairy tales and presenting them to the class, which I did with grade 7 students.
 
Before this experience I never realized how much I would enjoy working with students. Even though I do not plan on becoming a teacher, I know that I want to continue working with children from this age group because they are so full of creative energy.
 
Teaching older students is more challenging because it is harder to make an impression on them. However, it is very rewarding when we do manage to impress them, as we did when we assigned them a MadLibs activity and led a debate in English.
 
Aside from becoming part of the Ness Ziona community through my teaching, I have had the opportunity to become close to my mishpacha ma’arahat (host family). Not only have they given me extra support while in Israel, but they have welcomed the other eight Oranim volunteers into their home as well.
 
My host parents’ seven-year-old son, Lotem, is the best Hebrew teacher I have ever had. We only speak in Hebrew and he is not afraid to correct my mistakes. His family has never been to Canada but they told me that a future trip there is inevitable. Hosting them in Canada is the least I can do, considering the amazing trips, meals, and genuine care they have provided me with over the past few months.
 
Living in Israel has brought the kinds of challenges and joys that I could never have experienced on a short trip. Though I will soon leave Israel to begin law school at the University of Toronto, I know that I will always be looking for an excuse to return. With my new family and friends, those excuses won’t be hard to find.

Rachel Present

Rachel Present

Otzma
Age: 23
Hometown: Rochester, NY (USA)
Profession: Student, activist
Hobbies/interests: American politics, cooking
Masa program: Otzma 
Future plans: Work on Capital Hill in Washington DC
 
Rachel came to Israel after the war with Lebanon as a volunteer to help with Israel's recovery. As an Otzma participant, Rachel worked with Druze, Arab-Israeli, Palestinian, Christian and Jewish children in the pediatric oncology ward at Haifa's Rambam hospital. 

Safety and security

Safety and security

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The safety and security of Masa Israel Journey program participants, staff and partners is our top priority.Masa Israel Journey maintains strict standards for safety and security on all program sponsored activities.
 
As a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa Israel programs receive updated information regarding safety and security regularly and are able to respond to official recommendations.

Volunteer

Masa Israel Journey offers unique opportunities for you to volunteer in communities throughout Israel. Through our partnerships with grassroots and community-based organizations, you can affect change in some of Israel’s most vulnerable populations.
 
Masa Israel’s volunteer programs focus on building strong communities, ensuring the success of at-risk youth, encouraging collaboration and coexistence between local Arab and Jewish populations, teaching English as a foreign language and more.
 
All of Masa Israel’s volunteer programs draw on the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and are guided by the principals of social responsibility and social justice. As a Masa Israel volunteer, you can integrate service with the exploration of Jewish values as you work to create a more just society.
 
Israel's future in your hands. Get started here.
 

Israel Teaching Fellows: A Year of Service for Israel

Israel Teaching Fellows: A Year of Service for Israel

Israel Teaching Fellows: A Year of Service for Israel

June 23, 2011

Masa Israel, an organization most widely known for its assistance for Jewish students spending a year in Israel, has initiated a groundbreaking program for the young Jewish community.
Israel Teaching Fellows, a program created in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education, will allow 100 college graduates from the US or Canada to travel to Israel for a year and volunteer as English language teachers in the Israeli school system.
 
"This program is inspired by the thousands of young Jewish adults who travel to Israel looking to give back to Israeli society, says Aaron Goldberg, Director of Marketing and Communications for Masa Israel. "It represents an incredible personal and professional opportunity for these young adults, but also opportunities for Israeli students to learn English from native speakers and to build bridges between Jewish communities in North America and Israel."
 
According to Goldberg, this is the first large-scale program of its kind, specifically working within the Israeli educational system. Masa is taking its cue from other successful educator volunteer programs working in different countries across the globe, such as in Korea, France, and Chile.
 
 

Bnei Akiva - Amichai

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Program Description

Bnei Akiva Amichai Amlat is an experiential program which combines a leadership, Jewish studies, Hebrew language, work in a Kibbutz, and Army/MDA experience. The program is meant for young Jewish boys and girls who are looking for a Jewish traditional program.
 

Tzofim - Shnat Sherut Tzabar

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Program Description

Want to spend a year working with teens and children in development towns, boarding schools, or community centers in Israel before enrolling in college? On Tzofim Shnat Sherut, you will lead an authentic Israeli life, speak Hebrew, serve the community, and live with Israelis your age.
 
As a participant, you will live as a group in communes with the rest of the Tzofim Shnat Sherut participants from Israel. Participants must be fluent in Hebrew, have prior experience working with children and youth, and have visited or lived in Israel for an extended period of time. Participants from North America interested in joining the program will need to attend pre-preparation seminars in the United States.
 

Bnei Akiva - MTA

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Program Description

On MTA, you’ll have a year of learning Torah in some of the best institutions that Israel has to offer. During the times when you are not at Yeshiva or Midrasha, we’ll provide a full schedule of activities letting you really live and feel the pulse of the Land of Israel. Various volunteer options, together with seminars about current Jewish and Israeli issues, will complement the educational goals of MTA.
 

For more information, contact:

Michael Rainsbury
 
 
 +972-526000169
 

Bnei Akiva - Lehava

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Program Description

Lehava is an uplifting, inspiring, and empowering year in Israel with Bnei Akiva. You'll learn new skills, hone old ones, develop your Jewish identity and adapt to new environments - all while enjoying the group experience.
 
The programme includes time at our leadership institute, a Jewish studies segment, and volunteering on Kibbutz, as well as Magen David Adom and Marva army experience. Lehava is all about learning and giving. It's a year for yourself, but also a chance to contribute to society around you.