Next week, hundreds of Jewish young adults--including 40 Masa Israel alumni--will arrive in Las Vegas for JFNA's TribeFest.
Out of tons of applications, the 40 alumni throughout North America were chosen to receive subsidies for their Jewish communal passion and leadership qualities. F
ollowing TribeFest, each alum has committed to future involvement in his/her local Jewish Federation by spearheading Masa alumni events, speaking about their Israel experiences to community members, and volunteering at local agencies.
Get to know the faces of the up-and-coming Masa Israel leaders:
Masa Israel Ambassador to San Francisco
"Going to Israel for an extended stay had always been a dream of mine. Masa Israel's extensive list of programs and resources helped me tailor the experience into an incredible personal journey. During my time in Jerusalem, I was fortunate to work with both the UJA-Federation of NY and the Jewish Federations of North America. I am so thankful to Masa and my role as a Masa Israel Ambassador to San Francisco will allow me to work to foster a better connection between Israel and the Bay Area Jewish community."
Danny works at the Jewish Community Relations Council as a Program Associate for the Middle East Project.
"As a lone soldier in the IDF, Masa Israel and Garin Tzabar helped facilitate my assimilation and provided an amazing support group that I consistently turned to during one of the most inspiring and challenging periods of my life."
Masha is a Senior Associate in the Transaction Services group at PwC in San Francisco.
"Living, studying and volunteering with a group of young Jewish adults in Israel was the most amazing 6 months of my life. Until Masa, I never really felt part of a Jewish community and therefore didn't realize how important it was for me to a be a part of one. By staying involved with the Jewish Federation, I can encourage others to go out and have their own life-altering experiences."
Dyanna Loeb, University of Haifa International School alumna and Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa alumna
Dyanna is currently a poet-mentor at Youth Speaks, an eighth-grade teacher at Peninsula Temple Sholom, and the writer of a soon-to-be-released poetry collection.
"Before I studied abroad, I had never been to Israel and I wasn't raised to have any connection to the country. My Masa experiences completely changed that. I want to be involved in my local Jewish Federation because I want to help create more opportunities for young adult Jews to connect."
Elissa Rosenblatt, Otzma alumna
Elissa works with a track team for adults and teens with developmental disabilities and at Zara clothing.
"Masa Israel's Otzma was life and soul changing--the best year of my life! I would love to be involved with the local Jewish Federation because I feel more connected to the Jewish religion now after living in Israel, and I am looking for ways to bring what I learned there to my life in Chicago."
Ian currently works in GE Capital's Financial Management Program (FMP)
"My Masa Israel program in Tel Aviv allowed me to experience a new culture and interact with other students from around the world. It is from this experience that I aim to remain connected with others at events like TribeFest."
Brittany is the Outreach Manager for Habonim Dror Camp Tavor.
"My time in Israel helped me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in the Jewish community. I left feeling proud of Israel, and hopeful that the nation will be able to work through the internal and external political problems it faces. I want to be involved in the Chicago Jewish federation because I want to connect with others who are passionate about Judaism and are helping the local community and global Jewish community. "
Sara earned a B.A. in neuroscience from the University of Southern California.
"My Masa Israel program opened the door for me to expand professionally and helped me develop my own personal relationship with Israel. Israel has become my second home and returning to the States made me feel as if I had left a piece of myself overseas. I wish to create more of a sense of Jewish belonging here in Colorado. Through becoming more involved with the Jewish Federation, I hope to develop friendships, spiritual understanding and leadership skills."
Talia is the Marketing Senior Manager for Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado. She also teaches social media and visual tefillah at the Denver Hebrew High.
"Masa Israel made the impossible possible. I never thought I could afford to go back to Israel but more than that, if I hadn’t gone to Israel through Masa I would have never heard the words that changed my life. One teacher, in the last class, in my last few hours in Israel said: 'It’s okay if you can’t make Aliyah to Israel, but always work for the good of the Jewish people.' And now I do."
Neti is the Masa Israel Federation Fellow in Los Angeles and a student of international relations at the American Jewish University.
"My Masa experience enhanced my knowledge of Israel and motivated me to pursue my academic choices and field of study. This experience has guided me to get involved culturally and politically through advocacy work for Israel. I hope to one day help bring more young Jews like myself to experience Israel through Masa Israel."
Rachel is now working in LA as the Southern California Regional Director of the WZO.