Joelle Mintzberg | Masa Israel

Joelle Mintzberg
participant year: 
My experience in Israel on Masa Israel’s Career Israel was eye opening to say the least. 
Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, I knew that I wanted to gain stimulating post-graduate professional experience while volunteering and living in Israel. As a result, I enrolled in Masa Israel’s Career Israel, a five-month professional program open to college/university graduates from all over the world, which provides placements in leading companies and organizations in the private and public sectors in Israel.
It was my third time in Israel, having first visited as a Birthright participant and then as a Canadian Young Judea counselor. Growing up in a fairly Zionistic home in Vancouver, I have always been involved in the Jewish community. As a college student, I served as marketing chair on the board of Ryerson University’s Hillel, helping to spread awareness of the many opportunities that existed for students to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity. 
Though I loved my extracurricular involvement in the non-profit world, I planned to go the corporate route professionally. I started looking into marketing positions at hi-tech firms. Then, I heard a representative from the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) speak about her work at one of Israel’s largest and most successful not-for-profit organizations, which reaches out to all sectors of Israeli society to make Israel a home for all of its citizens. WIZO’s values inspired me and I decided to intern there. 
While at WIZO, I was not only given the opportunity to take part in improving Israeli society, but I was also able to visit the WIZO-supported sites, such as youth villages and vocational schools for at-risk teenagers and see the organization’s impact. My work alongside committed professionals coupled by Career Israel’s tours and seminars on Israeli society, enabled me to see how diverse Israel truly is. A melting pot of Jewish customs and beliefs from all over the world, Israel is the only country where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and academic holidays are the Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Shabbat.
Every experience in the Jewish state was fascinating for me—whether I was just going for a walk around the historic neighborhoods of Jerusalem, grocery shopping at the shuk (market) or living the day-to-day urban Tel Aviv life.