This week, nearly 400 students, interns, volunteers and gap year participants from all over the world have gathered in Jerusalem for an intensive week of social activism and community organizing training at the Masa Israel Leadership Summit.
Now in its third year, the Masa Israel Leadership Summit provides training, tools and networking opportunities to young adults who are in Israel for five months to a year on gap year and post college programs and have demonstrated a commitment to leadership. By partnering with renowned educational organizations such as Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and PresenTense, Masa Israel is providing cutting-edge programming for summit attendees, and valuable contacts for them when they return to campuses and Jewish communities in their home countries and pursue leadership roles.
Participants are exploring topics focusing entrepreneurship, social activism and community organizing strategy within the context of Israel and Jewish engagement, with the curriculum facilitated by staff and educators from Hillel, Teach for America, Moishe House, Sixth & I Synagogue and others.
A joint project of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa provides over 100 enrichment activities each year for participants and alumni that inspire these young adults to join the next generation of Jewish communal leaders. In a 2010 study by Dr. Steven M. Cohen and Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz that surveyed over 13,000 young Jewish adults, a full 45% of those who participated in both a short-term and long-term program in Israel were “seriously considering or have considered a Jewish career,” compared to merely 12% for those who completed only one short-term program in Israel.
Prior Masa Israel Leadership Summit delegates have gone on to become interns and professionals at Hillels, Jewish Federations and nonprofit organizations, and have actively continued developing their ideas for innovation in the Jewish community through PresenTense fellowships and the ROI Community.
Originally published in E-Jewish Philanthropy