Masa Israel Journey
92% Rating
(29 Reviews)

Masa Israel Journey

Masa Israel Journey connects Jewish young adults (ages 18-30) to gap year, study abroad, post-college, and volunteer programs in Israel. Through these immersive experiences, lasting between five and ten months, participants develop professional and leadership skills, make an impact on Israeli society, and experience living abroad.

Masa Israel also provides grants and needs-based scholarships to qualified applicants to make the experience affordable and comfortable.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Aly
Female
25 years old
Bay Shore

Masa Israel Teaching Fellowship, Be'er Sheva, Students

9/10

Enjoying moments with my students was the absolutely highlight of my experience. Everything is for them. So when my host teacher decided on an American Idol contest for our 5th graders, I knew that I was going to need to work my butt off with these kids. Most kids decided to dance to English songs, but there were a brave few who decided to sing. One girl in particular decided to sing Anna Kendrick's "Cup Song" with one of her friends. While her friend spoke English well, the girl did not, and her words became mushed together. I worked for 3 weeks with her on getting the song down pat. The line "It's got mountains, it's got rivers" became "It's got monkeys, it's got rivers" and we both had a good laugh and it became our little joke. By the time the performances came around, the girl was nervous but ready and however she did I was going to be proud of her. After the girl and her friend sang, my host teacher was so surprised. She couldn't believe the improvement in her student. The girl ended up winning American Idol and it was one of my proudest moments during my time in ITF.

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Rebecca
Female
29 years old
New Jersey
Rutgers University

RLI Spring 2015

10/10

In August of 2015, during Operation Protective Edge, I traveled to Israel for the first time on Taglit. We were there for seven days (it was a shorter trip designed for those who worked full time and couldn't take extended time off from work). However, those seven days were more than enough to leave a lasting impression on me. Upon returning to the states once Birthright came to an end, I felt a strong pull that I couldn't ignore. I needed to get back to Israel, and immediately began researching ways I could do so.

After extensive examination of the multitude of options, I landed on “Real Life Israel”; a five month internship program in the city of Jerusalem. To make a long story short, I made the decision to quit the full time job I’d had for five years, take time off from graduate school, pack up my belongings and venture to Israel as a participant of RLI through MASA.

The internship I had while in Israel was at the Israel Center for Treatment of Psychotrauma. I was able to work amongst fascinating, driven, and incredibly innovative minds in the field of trauma. After interning there for several months, I was invited to stay in order to assist with their two-week summer course at the Rothberg International School. I enthusiastically accepted, and during this time I learned a tremendous amount more about resilience and trauma in Israel, and worldwide from the students who participated in the course.

RLI was truly an invaluable experience that impacted my life in ways that I can only hit the very surface level when it comes to comprehension and verbalization. I was able to see so many sights that define Israel, and contribute to its beautiful yet tumultuous history. We traveled to Sderot and looked across the border unto Gaza. We swam amongst the most stunning fish in the Red Sea. We hiked in the north and feasted on some of the most delicious fruit I’ve ever tasted. On Yom Hazikaron we were at Yad Vashem to hear Bibi speak about the fallen soldiers and days later on Yom Haatzmaut we displayed our most festive attire and marched on the streets of Jerusalem in celebration of Israeli Independence.

Briefly reviewing the specific internship program I was apart of through Masa is an arduous task, because there is nothing brief about it. As I stated earlier, it has impacted my life in such a massive way, and has significantly contributed to my decision to make Aliyah (which I will be doing in July, 2016). Yet if I were going to tell one specific story about the time spent in Israel, it would have to be the following. On a Friday night, Shabbat, in the city of Jerusalem, I became ill. So ill that I walked (public transportation shuts down on Shabbat) to the urgent care center in order to get some sort of help. The urgent care center was kind, but advised me that they didn’t have the proper devices needed to treat me, and that I would have to go to the hospital. The center called me a cab, and advised I wait outside for the cab to arrive. I walked down the five flights of stairs and waited on the sidewalk for the cab. Ten minutes passed, twenty minutes passed, thirty minutes passed, the streets were deserted and there was still no cab. I called the care center and there was no answer. I called a few cab companies and there was no answer. My pain was becoming unbearable. I couldn’t stand, let alone walk back up the five flights of stairs to the urgent care center. I felt completely helpless curled into a ball on the sidewalk, writhing in pain, and then I heard a woman’s voice asking if I was okay. I explained that I wasn’t feeling well and was waiting for a cab to take me to the hospital. She looked around and said that there were no cabs, and yelled at her husband to find me one. Then she said, never mind, that it was impossible to find one, that they had a car and they’d bring me to the hospital themselves. I was so overwhelmed by her hospitality, and by the pain of course, that I was in tears. She picked me up in her arms, wiped away my tears, and told me that they had me now and I was going to be okay. They drove me to the hospital, and the woman held me the entire way. When we reached the hospital, I felt even more ill, and so I quickly thanked them and jumped out of the car. The woman came after me, and helped me in through the emergency room and shouted for someone to assist me. My friends were waiting at the hospital and said that they hardly recognized me in my state of disarray. I passed out shortly after entering the emergency room, and when I woke the woman was gone, but luckily my friends had obtained her name and phone number. I had never experienced such kindness from a complete stranger, and I am forever thankful to her and her husband. When I told this story to people at home in the states they were equally as astonished as I was. Yet when I tell it to people in Israel they say, of course, this is Israel, this is how we are here. To me this particular story conveys how incredible the people of Israel are, and is one of the many reasons why I am so thrilled to have been able to intern in Israel, and in the future, to be a part of this unbelievable country.

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Elisa
Female
25 years old
Providence, RI
Brown University

An unforgettable year

9/10

This program was an affordable and enjoyable way to spend a year abroad and contribute to Israel. With ample free time during the week and from the holidays plus all of the trips that are organized with the group, I really felt that I was able to get to know Israel inside and out. With a ten-month running time, it allows enough time to get to know your host city as well as being able to explore the country to your heart's content.

How can this program be improved?

In general, the organization of the program was lacking. There were often lapses in communication that made for wasted time. Also, the training days were not very useful.

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Rebecca
Female
26 years old
Harrisburg, PA
Siena College

Amazing Life Changing Experience

10/10

Graduation was right around the corner and I didn't know my next step. I received an email from MASA about Israel Teaching Fellows and I thought I should at least apply. I did not know that moving to Israel for 10 months would change the entire course of my life.

This program is like Birthright 2.0. You make friends for life. You live and work with your peers and you learn how to be a self sufficient adult on a shoe string budget. The stipend forces you to experience the world like a local. You need to shop at the shuk for your groceries, you say yes to Shabbat dinners at local houses, and you explore the area around you.

Not only do you get to know your own neighborhood and find the hidden gems, like Rocket Ship Park in Be'er Sheva, but you take the bus and you go and visit other places. Tel Aviv felt much less foreign with all the signs and menus in English. Each place in Israel has a very unique feel with very different terrain.

There is something for everyone in Israel. I had the opportunity to scuba dive in the Red Sea with all the beautiful sea turtles, run the Tel Aviv marathon, feed the cats in Netanya, and swim in the Dead Sea.

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Rebecca
Female
28 years old
Los Angeles
University of Redlands

It was great to be in Israel

7/10

I had an amazing year, I got to live in Israel, hike all the time and taught at a wonderful school. I also lived a 5 minute walk from the beach...amazing! MASA had amazing programs such as the leadership summit, a trip to Poland etc. Make sure you take full advantage of everything offered by Masa.

However the way ITF was run in Netanya was sub par at best. The apartment building was shabby and rundown. It is on one of the main streets in Netanya and unsecured. Drunk vagrants would come and break into our apartments. It also did not help that when we moved in there was a bedbug infestation.

Our once weekly programming was a waste of time except when we went on hikes as a group. It also felt as if there was favoritism at play, some people were offered more opportunities within Masa. With 24 people living in a building it can get a bit like the show real world.

I would like to end on a positive note, the school I was placed at was an amazing fit in a beautiful part of Netanya. I was provided with ample materials and I had a great time teaching and planning for English Days. The majority of participants were lovely and I made lifelong friends. I loved my time in Israel but unless changes are made I would suggest that people really look into the provider they choose and maybe opt out of Netanya. Participants in other cities seemed to be a little happier with there situation.

Also you have to come with a lot of the money because the 1000 shekels they give you a month will disappear in two weeks unless you eat only rice and never go anywhere. Israel is expensive.

Program Listings

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Masa Israel Journey
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