Masa Israel Service Fellows Doubles in Size and Expands to a Second Location

February 19, 2013

Masa Israel Service Fellows, the joint 10-month service-learning program for Jewish college graduates from English speaking countries and Israelis, will double in size this year, growing from 11 participants in 2012 to 30 fellows starting in 2013. 
Masa Israel Service Fellows work in informal education, creating community development and empowerment projects in peripheral towns in Israel. 
 
Created following the success of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program, participants of which are largely Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni (over 50% of fellows), the service fellows program will expand from its pilot size to accommodate more fellows, and begin a new cohort in Lod, Israel, in addition to their current location in Acre, Israel.
 
"We're excited about this new expansion. Lod is a city with an image that should and may be improved, and many social challenges. That makes the activity of our volunteers very important," said Miki Nevo, the founder and Director of Ma'ase, which operates Masa Israel Service Fellows. "We'll be working with the diverse population of Lod: Jews and Arabs, and communities of new immigrants from countries such as Russia and Ethiopia. We don't come to save the people of Lod, but to partner with residents on a local level. We want to learn from them, and work with them."
 
As part of Israel Service Fellows, volunteers will partner with Israeli students who are part of the "ReLod" project to rejuvenate Lod, sponsored by the National Union for Israeli Students.
 
Current Masa Israel Service Fellow, Lindsay Saripkin, from Atlanta, GA has loved her volunteer work and is looking forward to seeing the fruits of her labor: "I am passionate about education and the environment. My favorite part about the Israel Service Fellows program is the connection I’m making in my Druze placement site, Julis. I’m working with students to build a community garden. I hope my students will become advocates of the environment and gain an appreciation for the land they have and the nutritional food they'll grow and eat together."
 
Samantha Oppenheimer, from Leawood, Kansas, will join Israel Service Fellows in the fall. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about Israel, while volunteering next year. "As a Jewish American, I only know a piece of Israel,” she says. "I'm eager to fully embrace all of Israel, with its imperfections and complexities. Working in a diverse community of youth will allow me to understand Israeli society in a deeper, more complete sense."
 
Masa Israel Service Fellows will run August 28, 2013-June 30, 2014 and costs $1,000, which includes flights, training sessions, housing, and a monthly stipend. Applications are currently accepted on a rolling basis. Jewish young adults ages 21-30 are encouraged to learn more and apply at www.israelservicefellows.org.
 
Masa Israel Service Fellows is made by possible by Masa Israel Journey, a partnership of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Rashi Foundation. The Rashi Foundation works to help Israel strengthen systems that serve the most vulnerable sections of society. On an individual level, they are dedicated to helping underprivileged children, youth, and families reach their true potential, and lead independent lives as productive members of the community.
 
Ma'ase specializes in running volunteer and leadership programs for over 700 young people all over Israel in order to create a movement for social change. For almost a decade, Ma’ase has been running successful volunteer programs and is the recipient of several national awards in the field, including the Speaker of the Knesset Quality of Life Award for its work promoting tolerance and narrowing social gaps in Israeli society, and the Sderot Conference Award for Social Responsibility.
 
Masa Israel Journey brings over 10,000 young adults each year to Israel on long-term, immersive programs. It  is a joint project of the Govermment of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel and its partners, the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod – UIA.
 
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