ITF Netanya changed my life. Before Masa I did not have a clear set of values, no idea of the future, no passion for living, and most of all, no Jewish identity. After Masa, I had it all.
I went on a personal journey to Israel hoping to come back a changed man. I left everything behind in the states. All judgement, worries, stresses, and problems to focus on Israel and the 10 months ahead of me. My mind, my eyes, and my heart were wide open, and Israel was about to fill it all.
Israel Teaching Fellows was incredible. From the first day of being there it felt like home. My Madricha (trip leader) was there to welcome 30+ individuals from all over the states. She personally showed us to our sweet little apartments in the heart of downtown Netanya (even if it was only one main street).
We were given a month to acclimate ourselves to the area, get training for teaching in Israel, have fun (go to the beach) and learn some Hebrew before starting at the schools.
We were assigned another fellow to teach with at the schools and then it started. The crazy, fun, exciting, and amazing experience of teaching in an Israeli school. I made friends with the kids, the teachers, and even the guard outside the school. Those are memories I will never forget. My schedule was the best part: teaching from 8am-2pm Mon-Thur w/ the occasional Fri, and then beach...Oh the beach!
We went on one big trip as a group each month. If you focus on the land, your surroundings, the culture, and the people, these trips are breathtaking. I sailed on the Kineret, floated in the dead sea, hiked the Negev, and explored the diverse culture of Tel Aviv. Truly incredible.
Masa holds these huge opening and closing events in Jerusalem with are so cool! They bring in big Israeli performers, food, and about 4000 other Masa participants. You must go to these!
Learning the language was fun, getting lost on the buses was fun, and going to the Shuk (market) was crazy fun.
You will meet people from all walks of life and make friends that will last a life time. I have a part of me that will always be in Israel now, and to be honest, not a day has gone by where I do not feel like Israel is my home. Before Israel I had no connection to my Jewish Identity...Now it is indescribable. My desire to feel connected to Israel and the Jewish people is like never before. Masa and the experience I was able to have is the reason.
If what you are missing in your life is a connection to something, someone or some place, then Masa and Israel Teaching Fellows is right for you. You will be taken out of your element, outside the box, and into a whole new world where you may actually begin to see clearer. The people of Israel need to know we support them. What better of a way to do that then volunteering your time with your boots on the ground.