Introducing the Masa-Makom Fellows

Fevereiro 24, 2014

Israel in Real Life: The Masa-Makom Fellowship brings together emerging Jewish educators to learn about Israel engagement strategies and Jewish Peoplehood. 

The Masa-Makom Fellows will develop a sophisticated understanding of Israel and the Jewish collective, building their skillset as an Israel Engagement leader who is ready to implement innovative programming in their home communities. The Fellows were selected from highly-qualified Masa Israel participants spending ten months in Israel interning and volunteering with underserved communities.


Brent Abelson is a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Be'er Sheva from Torrance, California. Throughout his childhood he was very active in the Los Angeles Area Jewish community, reestablishing Galilee AZA of the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization. Brent majored in History at UC Davis while actively participating in the College Democrats society and the University rugby team. After graduation, Brent came to Israel for the first time on Taglit-Birthright Israel and had one of the most important spiritual experiences of his life. After serving as a staffer on President Obama’s reelection team, Brent received the opportunity to return to Israel as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, working to close the achievement gap in Israel’s periphery.


Samuel Chabrow is originally from Maplewood, NJ, and has varied interests from Jewish history and literature, to cycling, politics, and cooking. An accomplished musician, he has a Bachelor's of Music in Composition from New England Conservatory, graduating with honors. His compositions include a setting of Holocaust survivor Sonia Schreiber Weitz's poem “Icicles” as well as a passage from Psalm 104. His senior year, Samuel wrote a paper exploring the Jewish-American identity of Leonard Bernstein as expressed through his writings and music. Since graduating he has sought a career as a Jewish professional with the hope of strengthening the community that his given him so much. He is currently spending a year teaching English at Dvir, an elementary school in Ashdod, Israel, as a participant of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program.


Amanda Gold was born and raised in Long Island, New York, is currently serving as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Rehovot. She spends her days learning about the different cultures in Israel and their unique cuisines. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree next year in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Hebrew University. 



Nicole Hertzberg is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Petach Tikva where she assistant teaches English at a low-income elementary school.  Born and raised in West Bloomfield, Michigan, Nicole is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan where she studied Psychology and Criminal Justice. At UM, Nicole was very involved in Greek Life and Model United Nations and served on the executive boards of both organizations.  Outside of college, Nicole was involved in politics through working on campaigns and interning for her Congressman one summer on Capitol Hill. Nicole plans to attend law school in the fall.  In her spare time, Nicole likes to travel and go swimming at the beach. 


Emily Hirschman of Oakland, CA graduated from California State University, Chico with degrees in Journalism/Public Relations and Sustainability Management in 2010.  Upon graduating she accepted a junior associate position with a large corporate public relations firm working in the food, wine and agriculture space.  After several months working in for-profit PR, she transitioned to the non-profit world, working for environmental nonprofits, designing programs, recruiting volunteers, and publicity. As a result Emily cultivated a drive and entrepreneurial spirit, and is excited to be a Masa-Makom Fellow.  



Aliyah Jacobson of New York City, NY is a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya, Israel. She holds a bachelor degree in childhood education and a minor in English from La Guardia Community College and previously student taught at two different high schools in New York City.  Before coming to Israel, Aliyah acted as treasurer of the “Brooklyn Community Chorus” in Parks Slope, Brooklyn for a year, serving the Jewish community by donating half of the profits from concerts to the synagogue. She is grateful for the opportunities provided by Masa Israel to hear speakers from around the world on the many issues that Israel faces and to see what difference she can make when she returns to New York City.


Lauren Kandel has spent the past twenty summers as a camper, a counselor, and a group leader at various camps and could not imagine a summer without it.  Her passion for camp led her to pursue a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Childhood education at Queens College in Flushing, NY.  She is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya, where she teaches 3rd and 6th grade students, and is excited every day to meet people and engage in activities that help her learn more about state of Israel.



Seth Markin graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2013, majoring in the Philosophy of Political Thought with a minor in Business Administration and a program in law. As a Resident Advisor at Muhlenberg, Seth built and fostered an expanding community in every building he managed. By the end of his tenure at Muhlenberg he had rose to Head Resident Advisor, in charge of six buildings, five staff members, and hundreds of students. Seth also worked at the Admissions office, taught guitar to children living in Allentown, and was the head council member of the Muhlenberg judicial council. In addition to his in-college career, Seth worked at Congressman Fitzpatrick’s office in Pennsylvania after graduating: researching, speech-writing, and dealing in constituent casework. Now, Seth lives in Jerusalem, participating in the Israel Government Fellows program. He works with both the legal and economic departments of the Israel Antitrust Authority.


Dascher Pasco is a participant of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows in Netanya. She attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she double majored in Religious Studies and English. Outside of school, Dascher spent her time volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as well as working with programs that addressed diversity within the William and Mary community. Her passion for the work that directly affected her surroundings ultimately led her to the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program. Dascher is eager to continue developing her relationships with communities in both Israel and America, and welcomes any opportunity to do so. After the conclusion of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, she plans to apply to law school.


Mandy Usprech graduated from York University in Toronto, Canada with a bilingual degree in Political Science and Journalism. During her studies, she worked as a research fellow in human rights cases. Seconds after finishing her finals, Mandy worked for Ontario's Parliament in education policy. She hit the ground sprinting in her role as an education policy officer, meeting with visiting foreign delegations to discuss Ontario's unique framework on education. This opportunity allowed Mandy to work in South Korea for six months on Canada-South Korea partnership in English literacy as a second language. After reading about the demand for English teachers in Israel, and the major socioeconomic barrier for Israelis in the periphery to learn English, she uprooted from South Korea to Rehovot, Israel. Mandy currently teaches at Sinai, a religious elementary school. She adores incorporating her passions in her lessons such as dance, art and photography. When not teaching, Mandy can be found hiking the Israel Trail or practicing her ballet technique.


Aaron White of Palm Springs, CA is currently a graduate student at Tel Aviv University, where he is studying for his M.A. in Environmental Studies. He currently interns at Assif Strategies and conducts research at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS). In his spare time, Aaron can be found playing guitar on a park bench, riding his bike around Tel Aviv, or most likely, reading a book by the Yarkon River.