Fellows learn how to leverage their creative energies to launch new social ventures that address the opportunities and challenges facing Jewish communities around the world.
Meet the Fellows below:
Jordan Barpal is currently a fellow with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center’s Israel Government Fellows program, working at the Ministry of Finance in its Capital Debt Markets and Foreign Currency Transactions department. His work entails the issuance of Israel’s international bonds and the management of the government’s debt. In addition to Israel Government Fellows, Jordan is working to create a pay-it-forward volunteer platform as part of a social initiative and entrepreneurship program through Presentense, a venture accelerator based in Jerusalem. Prior to his fellowship in Israel, Jordan worked in New York for an international law firm, assisting the Investment Management and Hedge Funds practice groups in all areas concerning business development. Jordan attended the University of Michigan, where he earned his B.A. in Political Science and was a student-athlete on the University’s football team.
Abigail Eichenhorn of Detroit, Michigan is a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Petach Tikvah. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Wayne State University and an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. Her goal for the Masa-PresenTense Fellowship is to build places for children to learn about other cultures in a fun and positive way. Abigail is always looking for new ways to make the world a more loving and accepting place.
Rivka Feinberg graduated from Washington University in May 2013 with a Bachelor's in Jewish Islamic and Near Eastern Studies. During college, she fell in love with languages and studied Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish. As part of her studies, Rivka spent a semester abroad at the Hebrew University, where she took the “P'tor” exam and received Hebrew language exemption. While in Jerusalem, Rivka also interned at the Ethiopian National Project (ENP), a non-profit organization that provides social and educational programming for Ethiopian-Israeli youth, where she translated personal stories and biographies of Ethiopian-Israelis. As an undergraduate, Rivka also worked at Washington University Libraries, where she researched and photographed ownership stamps, bookplates and signatures of rare Judaica. She is currently interning for the Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority through Masa Israel’s Israel Government Fellows program and participating in the Masa-PresenTense Fellowship.
Amy Herman is an effervescent leader from Burbank, California. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in March 2013 and is excited to start her graduate studies at the University of Southern California this fall. Amy has over ten years of teaching and training experience and prides herself on being able to communicate a wide variety of material to a wider variety of learners. Past training topics have included Newton's Laws, Mac OSX, and emotional intelligence. When she grows up, Amy hopes to reform corporate culture and make work fun. She challenges the idea that happiness only comes after 5 o'clock. Amy is currently both an Israel Teaching Fellow in Rehovot and also a PresenTense fellow working on a website to help make workplaces more productive. When she's not working, she can be found traveling the world and/or doing Zumba. Amy maintains a blog that can be found at amyjoherman.com.
Rachel Horowitz is currently participating in Israel Service Fellows, teaching English in Akko and arts and crafts in the Druze village, Sajur. Before coming to Israel, Rachel spent the year working for Phi Mu sorority as a traveling Chapter Consultant. She graduated from the University of Hartford with a degree in Psychology. Rachel was very involved in campus activities and enjoyed being an orientation leader and tour guide for prospective students. During her free time you can find Rachel on the beach, baking, or enjoying time with friends. She is excited to be in the PresenTense Fellowship, working on a business venture to sell art around the world for Fair Trade.
Nicole Krassner graduated from the University of Florida in 2013 with her Bachelors of Arts in political science and her Masters of Science in Management. During her senior year, Nicole served as the President of Gators for Israel, which has been consistently recognized as one of the strongest pro-Israel collegiate groups in North America. Nicole was also a student Senator for three years, an active member of her sorority Pi Beta Phi and a proud member of the prestigious honor and service society, Florida Blue Key. In addition to coming to Israel this year, Nicole studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a semester and considers herself an avid traveler. Nicole has a wide range of work and internship experience including, but not limited to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee liaison to the University of Florida, several successful Congressional campaigns, and a frequent contributor to a variety of campus, local and regional newspapers. Currently, Nicole is a participant of the Israel Government Fellows program, a 10-month Masa Israel program based in Jerusalem. Nicole is working full-time in the International Relations Department of Yad Vashem.
Oren Okhovat has always felt a special connection to Judaism and Israel. His undergraduate degree was in International Relations and his master’s degree concentrated on Jewish Diaspora communities in Latin America. Throughout his life, Oren has always been involved in Jewish communities, from Bnei Brith in high school to various University Israel and Jewish student organization. After earning his master’s degree, Oren was accepted to Israel Government Fellows as an intern at the Joint Distribution Committee. He plans to fulfill his current role to the fullest, building a career in Public Relations and Development, especially within Israel and the Jewish world. Eventually, Oren would like to return to academia to pursue a PhD in Jewish History, looking at the effect language has had on Jewish cultural identity through space and time.
Justine Olschanezky is originally from France. After earning her bachelor’s degree in History, she received a master’s degree in International Relations from the Sorbonne University in Paris before studying Arabic and graduating in Mediation and Conflict Resolution. Through Masa Israel’s Israel Government Fellows program, Justine interns in the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection with the Head Division of Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
Holden Sperling is a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow at Naomi Shemer School in Petach Tikvah. When not in the classroom, Holden is likely working away at a venture he is developing as a Masa-PresenTense Fellow. He graduated in 2013 as a Near Eastern Languages and Cultures major from UCLA. He was an intern at Reprise Theatre Company for two years, and is an executive board member at Bigger Than A Bread Box Theatre Co. He spent three months as an intern in the development department at Primary Stages, an off-broadway theatre company. In the past eight years he has stage managed over twenty productions, produced Act III Theatre Ensemble's Xanadu and, in 2006, co-founded *in-tandem productions* where he directed The Last 5 Years and was the lead producer on several productions. Holden loves photography, musical theater and other fast-paced, project based environments.
Jacob Steinblatt was born to a Modern Orthodox family in New York in 1989, and learned in a yeshiva day school for 12 years. In 2007 he attended the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, where he graduated in 2011 with a degree in Political Science. After completing his studies, he moved to Israel, where he served in the IDF for 14 months in the Home Front Command, improving the military reserve's firefighting system. Upon his release, he went back to New York and worked in Jewish nonprofits for several months, but realized his future was in Israel. In September 2013 he returned to Israel with WUJS Israel, a Masa Israel program offering internships in Tel Aviv, where he worked as a research assistant in the Institute for Counter-Terrorism. He completed the program in February, but is staying in Israel with the intention of making Aliyah and working to improve Israeli society through social entrepreneurship. As a Masa-PresenTense Fellow, Jason will build a social venture to aid Israeli soldiers. In his spare time, Jason likes to study Arabic.
Johannah Truppin is a professional musician and theatre practitioner originally from London. Prior to embarking on the Maslul Ishi iTrack Masa programme in Israel, she performed at prestigious venues throughout the UK including the Southbank Centre, Bristol Old Vic and Wembley Arena - and made regular appearances on UK television. Alongside her own performance credits, she has launched two professional theatre companies and is also an experienced Performing Arts educator and workshop facilitator with a diverse range of participants. Johannah holds a BA (Hons) in Performance from the Guildford School of Acting (degree validated by the University of Surrey) and before training at drama school, she attended the world famous BRIT School. With the help of the Masa-PresenTense Fellowship, Johannah is preparing to launch the English National Theatre of Israel. Her vision is to improve the quality and access to English-speaking theatre in Israel.
Abraham Lev Weiss was born in Iowa City, into a house of music, gratitude, and joy. His parents, both doctors, instilled in him at an early age a love of learning, a respect for hard-work, a compassion for all life, and an appreciation of beauty, and his brother taught him how not to be afraid. After graduating from Columbia University with a BA in Political Science and Creative Writing, Abraham spent 5 years working for various social justice organizations in the Bronx, NY, and San Francisco, California. He is fluent in French and Spanish, an accomplished musician, filmmaker, and poet, and a self-declared spiritual pilgrim. Abraham is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Beit She’an, rekindling his passion for Jewish tradition and its many paths towards meaning, while teaching English to 3rd-6th graders at a local school. Abraham hopes to use art and spirituality to reconnect people to themselves, and assist in the creation of a more just, peaceful, and honest society.