Originally from the United States, France, Argentina, South Africa, and more, the participants talk about the importance of forgiveness, prepar traditional dishes, and learn about the holiday’s customs.

The participants are interns at Israeli companies | Screenshot: Oren Ben Hakoon

Some 130 fellows in the Masa-Career program convened this week to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in an early Rosh Hashanah seder.

Originally from the United States, France, Argentina, South Africa, and more, the participants talked about the importance of forgiveness, prepared traditional dishes, and learned about the holiday’s customs.

The fellows are spending a significant period in the country, interning for a range of major Israeli companies, including Robotic Perception, i24NEWS, Vinesight, BDO, Shield FC, Shibolet Law Fire, and even government ministries – as part of a Masa-Career program “Destination Israel”.

For some of them, this is the first Rosh-Hashanah they’ve celebrated in Israel.

“Every year we celebrated the holiday differently,” Hannah Blencowe, who is participating in the Masa-Volunteers program, where she will spend the year living at a kibbutz, said. “Last year we celebrated with a Rosh Hashanah Seder with Sephardic friends and the year before we stayed at home and watched a livestream of the blowing of the shofar.”

“In Australia, it is so rare to be Jewish, I’m often the first Jew people have ever met. Before I came here, my father said that I would feel a connection in Israel that I wouldn’t know how to explain, and he was right. I hope that this year, including the holidays, will make me go back to Australia with greater pride in my Jewish identity, and with a much better tan,” she said.

When asked what he felt with Rosh-Hashanah coming up, Elvio, an American interning at an Israeli hi-tech company, responded, “I particularly look forward to tasting the Israeli treats for the holiday, especially the Israeli honey – after all, this is a land flowing with milk and honey, no?”

Ofer Gutman, CEO of Masa Israel Journey, welcomed the fellows, saying, “We are starting this year to celebrate 20 years of Masa and marking 200,000 participants who lived in Israel like locals, including during the holidays. We wish a Chag Sameach to the thousands of fellows who choose to come here every year, contribute to society, and connect to their roots. There is no doubt that this holiday is a wonderful beginning to a sweet year for them, which will leave them wanting to taste more of what Israel has to offer.”

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