When 2021 began, uncertainty was rising to similar levels of the early days of the pandemic, leading many to expect a turbulent year for Masa and our partners. Twelve months later, those expectations have been replaced by an uplifting reality—that 2021 was, in fact, a year in which challenges Became Opportunities.

Throughout the year, we’ve facilitated the journeys of thousands of Masa Fellows from all corners of the world. Despite obstacles to travel and gather, our Fellows remained motivated to experience Israel and grow alongside diverse cohorts from around the globe.

Our engagement goes deeper than logistics; by creatively connecting with these Fellows socially, professionally, and spiritually, we help them forge bonds with Israel and each other that will last a lifetime. We admire our Fellows’ determination to embark on these immersive journeys at critical moments of their lives, and we’re honored to have assisted them in achieving their goals in Israel and beyond.

To all our supporters, partners, friends, and family, thank you for helping us to turn challenges into opportunities in 2021. As we look ahead to another impactful year, we offer our sincerest gratitude to have you on this shared journey. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

2021 by the Numbers

  • 11363

    Fellows in Israel from 60 Countries

  • 35000000

    Dollars in Grants & Scholarships

  • 3247

    Masa Career Fellows

  • 170000

    Global Alumni

12 Impactful Moments of 2021

1) Fellows Keep Busy by Volunteering Amid Lockdown

Despite Israel’s third coronavirus lockdown, our Fellows have stayed busy. Hundreds are giving back to communities around the country. More than 200 Masa Gap Fellows donated blood, 20 Fellows from South America tutored frontline doctors’ children, and Masa Career Fellows packed protective equipment for Magen David Adom teams. Additionally, some Fellows delivered treats to senior citizens in the Afula community to brighten their day. Fellows have also volunteered on agricultural farms and organized food packages for distribution to communities in need.

2) Fellows Receive First Dose of Covid-19 Vaccine

Together with The Jewish Agency, we worked with the Israeli Ministry of Health to approve a framework to vaccinate our Fellows who are in Israel. During our “Live Like a Local, Vaccinate Like a Local” campaign, 85% of Masa Fellows received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Israeli Health Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, The Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, and Masa Acting CEO Ofer Gutman joined Fellows at a few of the vaccine centers to mark the momentous occasion.

Ahead of the vaccinations, preparatory meetings with top Israeli doctors were provided in three languages—English, French, and Russian—for Fellows to learn about the vaccine, ask questions, and discuss their concerns.

Fellows will now continue their contributions to Israeli society more safely.


3) Masa’s Inspiring 12 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we compiled our inaugural list of 12 Jewish Women Working to Make a Difference. It was an honor to publicly recognize these inspiring women who are working with and alongside our Masa community to build bridges for a stronger Jewish future. These remarkable leaders, who work in a diverse range of fields, all exemplify the mission of Masa—to enlighten minds and create opportunities for all—building an inspired, connected and engaged global Jewish community.



4) Yom HaZikaron Ceremony

On the eve of Yom HaZikaron, 400,000 people from around the world tuned-in to our virtual ceremony, making it the most viewed Yom HaZikaron event globally. The ceremony was dedicated to lone soldiers who fell in battle and victims of terror attacks in Israel and Jewish communities around the world . After being held entirely virtual last year, this year’s event was held in Latrun, Israel, in front of hundreds of Masa fellows and broadcast worldwide in English, with subtitles available in Russian and French.

Masa Fellows also gathered together for community screenings of this year’s ceremony in five cities throughout Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Throughout the event, beautiful songs and poems were sung in remembrance. Against the backdrop of international flags representing the global Masa community, Fellows laid wreaths in honor of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Our virtual Yom HaZikaron Ceremony was a profound moment of international Jewish unity, demonstrating our strength and commitment to community.


5) Meron tragedy and Operation Guardian of the Walls

During the month of May, there were many difficult days for all of us in Israel. We lost two of our own in the Mount Meron tragedy: Masa alumnus Danny Ambon and Fellow Donny Morris. Then, we faced security challenges with the Guardian of the Walls operation and a flood of anti-Semitism on social media in person around the globe.

We were able to provide continuous programming while ensuring the safety of our Fellows and partners by remaining in ongoing communication with program directors about developments and changes in safety guidelines. We also offered our Fellows mental health support, as well as all other assistance as needed, in many different languages.

The Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) also supported our Fellows by generously contributing funds for 1200 of our Fellows who recently endured the tragic attacks, to go on trips in Israel.

6) The Next Step Events

On June 15th, we held our “Design Your Next Step” event for Gap Fellows as way to provide tools to prepare Fellows for their time following Israel. More than 300 Fellows came together to address anti-Semitism and engage in how they can transform their experience in Israel for a better future.

Attendees engaged in panels designed to help Masa Fellows take their next career step such as “How to Find My Passion,” “Storytelling For Your Next Job,” and “Choosing to Stay in Israel.”

Regional sessions were also offered including “Next Step in Latin America” and “Next Step in North America” for those returning to their home countries. Masa Career internship programs, ITC, Kibbutz Ulpan, Fast Track Pro and more were represented at the event.

7) Level Up: Annual Global Conference for Masa Staff 

In June, our Global Staff teams debriefed on the challenging and special past year for our organization and discussed ways to achieve next year’s goals while raising the bar. We were joined in-person and through Zoom by representatives from the United States, England, EU, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Australia, who unfortunately couldn’t join us.

Our conference included cross-departmental collaboration sessions, skill building groups, program visits, and featured leadership sessions such as “Leveling the Playing Field: Understanding the Bigger Picture and My Role in it” with Masa CEO Ofer Gutman. The final day of the conference was devoted to leveling up one’s marketing skills for greater recruitment and reach.

8) Masa Israel Teaching Fellows Makes Spoken English Accessible to Israeli Students

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) has reached a milestone of 10 years of impact. During this decade, more than 1,700 Fellows from around the world have come to Israel to teach English. Some Fellows assimilate into Israeli society so well that 30% of them decide to make Aliyah. Deputy Head and Manager of the Administration of Teaching Staff in the Ministry of Education Eyal Ram explains, “the research we did six years ago showed an increase in the students’ assessment of their ability in English. The fact that the students and program Fellows speak in English during the classes and in the breaks is extremely helpful. This is a very significant tool that impacts the success of the students.”


9) 2021-2022 Applications are Open

This month, we announced the opening of our applications for the 2021-22 programming. We are proud to connect thousands of young Jews to meaningful, long-term experiences in Israel. Our diverse offerings include gap year, study abroad, internship, professional training, and service-learning programs. There is an opportunity waiting for everyone that will help design your future!

We are also thrilled that our programming has expanded its age range, allowing for unique leadership programs and courses for those 16 up to age 40. The over 7000 young adults from around the world have already begun working, studying and volunteering across the country, from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, in cities, suburbs and kibbutzim.

Masa programs continue to grow in popularity, with an increase in Masa Gap Fellows, a 54% increase in Masa Career Fellows and a 10% increase in Masa Academic Fellows from North America. Globally, participants in Masa Academic Fellows have increased 20%, and Masa Career registrations have more than doubled.

10) 2021-22 Opening Event: Masa Live at 18

We are thrilled to have kicked off our 2021-2022 programming year and 18th anniversary of Masa! In the last 18 years, over 170,000 Fellows from 60 countries around the world have made meaningful contributions to Israeli society while learning life-changing skills through work, study, and volunteer programs. Thousands of Masa Fellows, alumni, partners, and community members from over 60 countries came together for the Masa Live at 18 Opening Event in Israel, drawing attention from major media outlets around the world, including Australia, Israel, Mexico, North America, Italy and more. The festival, which featured a concert from Israeli superstars Hatikvah 6, inspiring guest speakers including President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog, Minister of Diaspora Affairs Dr. Nachman Shai, the Acting Chairman of The Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel and CEO Amira Ahronoviz, marking the largest-ever event in Israel for young Jews from around the world.

At a time of widening gaps between Jews in the diaspora and Israel, this event was the first major gathering of world Jewry—including fellows, alumni, and partners—since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

11) Masa Welcomes 100 New Doctors to Israel

We celebrated the arrival of over 100 certified doctors from six countries at the opening ceremony for the Masa Doctors program on November 15. The event, which took place at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, kicked off the 8-month program designed to prepare fellows for an exam administered through the Ministry of Health that functionally grants an Israeli medical license. 95% of Fellows on this program make Aliyah each yeah, feeding a critical need of medical professionals in Israel’s healthcare system.

Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz, who recorded a video greeting said: “This important program gives a boost to the [Israeli] health system, and even this year, despite the coronavirus crisis, Masa demand has increased significantly. 95% of the participants in the Masa Doctors program have chosen to stay in Israel and join the public medical system. This is a very important initiative that works to strengthen our effort and boost manpower to deal with the healthcare system crisis including doctor shortages. We look forward to continuing this important collaboration, and my hope is that this program will only grow and expand. “

12) Hanukkah with Masa

Menorah Lighting at President Herzog’s Residence:

Eight Masa Fellows helped close out the eighth night of Hanukkah with the honor of lighting the menorah at the President’s residence in Jerusalem on December 5. Fellows spoke individually with President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog to share their experiences and the impact of their programs. Masa CEO Ofer Gutman and Acting Chairman of the Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel held seats of honor at the event.

President Herzog delivered a speech on the important role each Fellow plays in connecting the Jewish world: “Each of your journeys, personally and collectively, leave a lasting mark, helping to develop not only your own character and enrich your inner world, but also to share your own uniqueness with your surroundings as you offer yourself towards building a stronger, more unified Jewish collective,” President Herzog said at the event.

The Fellows in attendance hailed from the United States, Germany, Norway, South Africa, and various other countries. The Fellows represented a variety of Masa’s diverse programs including Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF), Masa Career, Project TEN, Masa Doctors, and Masa Gap. One Fellow even shared their talents on piano, leading the group in Hanukkah songs that brightened up the evening.

We thank the President and the First Lady for hosting us on this very special night.

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