Q: What is your full name, where you are from, University in home country and University/program here?

Rebecca Fukes from Chicago, Illinois. I am a graduate from Northern Illinois University and an MITF alum, currently on a WUJS internship program.

Q: Why Israel?

When I signed up for Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, it was mostly because it was a free trip to Israel plus a year living on the beach. I couldn’t say no, especially because I had no idea what I wanted to do next. This time around, I fell in love with every single piece of Israel. From the holy city, to the hikes in the desert, to partying in Tel Aviv, I was head over heels and needed more time to figure out who I am and what I wanted out of life. I decided to return to Israel, instead of living abroad elsewhere, because it felts like home and I discovered more about myself (and my ability to survive in a foreign with ZERO understanding of the language or culture) during my 10 months here than ever before.

Q: Tell us a bit about your journey so far. What is your connection with Masa and what you up to now?

My time in MITF opened so many doors in my life: emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal. I met some of my best friends, visited some of the most amazing places, ate some of the tastiest food in the world, and learned some important lessons. Not only was I able to figure out my career path, I was able to explore what Judaism means to me and what my connection with Israel is. I had such a meaningful year that I decided to sign up for a second Masa program. I’m doing a 5 month internship program and working at a non-profit in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Q: What is your favorite moment this far in your journey? 

Every. Single. Second.

Even on the “bad” days, everything is so precious and meaningful.

Q: How do you think teaching & interning in Israel will helped you on your journey to a meaningful career and future?

Teaching English actually made me realize I never want to teach English, or work with kids, ever again. The WUJS internship is allowing me to explore an entirely new career path with no experience in the field. Not only will this look amazing on my resume but I’m going to gain hands on experience.

Q: New MITFers are landing this week, any advice?

Say yes to everything! Whether it’s the Masa Global Leadership Summit or a Shabbat host family, take every opportunity Masa gives you. These are the opportunities to experience the magic of Israel.

TRAVEL around Israel, to other countries, wherever you can. When you step outside your comfort zone, you learn so much about yourself and what you’re capable of.

LEARN! Learn about yourself. Learn about Israel. Learn about Judaism. You will have infinite resources and opportunities to soak in so much knowledge. Do it!

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