The Summit was held at the UJA Federation of New York and was coordinated by Tri-state area Alumni Board in cooperation with Erica Schwarz, Masa Israel’s Director of Alumni Relations.
“We hold the Summit each year because it’s a place for alumni to come together and feel a sense of belonging with like-minded people,” said Alumni Board chair Dina Silberstein. “The Summit serves as a starting point for alumni to connect to each other and to what they want to do in the greater Jewish community.”
The event kicked off with an engaging speech by keynote speaker Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, PhD, of Park Avenue Synagogue. An alumnus of a long-term Israel program himself, Rabbi Cosgrove spoke of his journey from unengaged young adult to OTZMA participant to leader in the Jewish community, and provided ideas on how to maintain the feeling of connection to Israel after returning home.
Attendees then chose to attend one of two breakout sessions. The professional development session featured a panel of Masa alumni who leveraged their experiences in Israel to succeed in the workforce, providing practical tips and tools and answering questions.
The Israel advocacy session, led by Career Israel alumnus Noam Gilboord of the Israel Action Network, provided practical guidance on articulating reasons to support the country.
“The conversation was interesting to me because I’ve been approached before with negative comments, but didn’t know how to respond,” said Lynnley Rothenberg, a recent Career Israel alumna. “The session was a light-bulb moment for me.”
Masa Israel raffled off two free tickets and a meet-and-greet with Idan Raichel, the world-renowned Israeli musician.
The event culminated in an engagement fair, where alumni could meet representatives from over 20 Jewish organizations.
Overall, attendees had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones.
“I had so much fun,” said Daniel Kronovet, who returned from his Kibbutz Ulpan program earlier this year. “I’m still new to the city, and the summit was a great way for me to get oriented to young professionals in the Jewish community.”