The 170 fellows serve as volunteer English teachers in eight cities throughout Israel, on this 10-month service learning program that provides exceptional Jewish college graduates the opportunity to address Israel's educational achievement gap and the widespread underperformance of youth in low-income.
Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are Jewish young adults from throughout the United States and other English speaking countries.
“My job isn’t just to teach the principles of the English language its teaching life skills, providing cultural exchange and encouraging my students to reach beyond the borders of Eretz Israel and beyond the borders of their mind and take chances in their future,” explained current fellow in Rishon LeZion Tamara Raynor-Cote in a speech at a fellowship gathering in December.
This year, 170 exemplary North American college graduates were selected from more than 600 applicants to teach in underprivileged communities in Israel, up from 68 fellows in 2011-2012. Ninety of this year’s fellows are alumni of Birthright Israel experiences.
Fellows must have completed undergraduate college degrees and must have some experience as educators (formal or informal). They must demonstrate the ability to excel in a challenging, cross-cultural environment and to be immersed in Israeli society.
“Every time someone asks about my experiences so far I tell them flat out this is the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life,” says native Californian Josh Neuman, who is serving in Be’er Sheva. “I have never had an “easy” day at school, [but] I have become invested in these kids.”
Following an initial training period, Fellows live in small groups and teach for a minimum of 20 hours a week in schools. Fellows choose or design secondary volunteer projects in their communities. Ongoing pedagogical support, ulpan (Hebrew lessons), host families, trips, and other enrichment activities are provided throughout their time in Israel.