Masa Israel Teaching Fellows

Video and Photos

Floating around at the Dead Sea!
Enjoying jelly donuts for Chanukah!
Ice Cream Sandwiches at Cookeez in Tel Aviv!
TLV Pride!!
Light show in the Old City!!

About

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) is a 10-month fellowship for college graduates between the ages of 21 and 35 who want to make a difference. This program is for individuals who want to contribute to the educational landscape of Israel and gain a remarkable experience abroad. No prior teaching experience is required! Immerse yourself in Israeli society and become an integral member of the city in which you live, teach, and volunteer.

When you sign up for the Masa Israel Teaching Fellowship, you automatically are permitted to travel to Israel; Israel's borders are now open solely to Israelis and Masa Fellows! Throughout the crisis, our fellows have chosen to stay in Israel and have been working non-stop to make sure their students, schools, and communities were taken care of. If you're looking for a meaningful experience in Israel, MITF could be your opportunity!

Highlights
  • Great financial incentives including: flights, housing, monthly stipend, and more
  • Benefit from trips, training, and support offered throughout the program
  • Improve your Hebrew and professional experience
  • The kids learn English and have you as a mentor. Everyone wins!
  • Now you can also earn an MA in Education from Hebrew University during your program

Questions & Answers

TALMA is a more TEFL-oriented program in Israel that goes for about one month. I would highly recommend checking it out! http://www.talmaisrael.com/

There is a box on the initial application that needs to be checked off (it's something along the lines of "Are you Jewish"), but you can manage to get on the program without having any close Jewish relatives. I think it's worth mentioning though that the majority of the people who go on MASA programs will be Jewish with some religious background (Reconstructionist, Reform, or Conservative), and...

Reviews

8.97 Rating
based on 30 reviews
  • Benefits 7.4
  • Support 7.9
  • Fun 7.2
  • Facilities 8.7
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 8 of 30
Default avatar
Taylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

More than just a year in Israel

I have spent this past year living and teaching in Ashdod Israel as a part of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows and I can honestly say that this year has been more valuable than I can ever say. The friends I have made here are my future bridesmaids, the experiences I have had here have opened my eyes, I have explored my Judaism, challenged myself and have grown into someone I am proud to be. This program has two tracks, a fellow track and a teacher track. I was a part of the fellow track meaning that I worked with an Israeli host teacher in an Elementary school, pulling kids out of class and helping them with their English. While this was very challenging due to cultural differences and language barriers I was so well supported with an amazing teacher and peers and had an amazing time helping and connecting with the kids. Outside of work the program took us on amazing trips all over Israel where we got to really see the country we were living in. Our housing was provided for us and I lived with seven other people, four boys and four girls in an apartment which challenged me to become a better communicator. The program staff was approachable and helpful and the lessons I have learnt here I will take with me into my next teaching abroad experience in Spain. If you are Jewish and want a chance to really feel what its like to live in Israel I highly recommend this program.

jslm
Simeon
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

MITF Jerusalem

If you are one of the 40 new recruits of the BINA sponsored MITF program in Jerusalem, I want to mention something very important that you will not be told going into the program. I was part of the initial 18 person cohort recruited for the first year of the program, and based on my experience this feature was unexpected and figured prominently in my time in Israel:

The neighborhoods that we taught in were Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot, Gilo, French Hill, Homat Shmuel, and Kiryat Yuval. If you google any of those names other than the last one (which was only 1 out of the 9 schools), your first results will be the words “East Jerusalem” and "illegal" and “settlement”. None of the schools were in Arab neighborhoods. Only one of the schools had a significant Arab minority. At my school in Pisgat Ze’ev, at least half of my students commuted from Rimonim, Anatot, and Geva Binyamin—all of which are very much West Bank settlements. Many of the students’ and teachers’ families at my school frequented Kiryat Arba, Gush Etzion, and Maale Adumim, which are all large settlements in the West Bank.

Suffice it to say that as a politically left-leaning American I spent a large part of my time in this program confused and disillusioned with my role in Jerusalem: the separation barrier is a 15 minute walk from my school, my students talk about how scared they are of the residents living across the street in the neighboring Arab communities in East Jerusalem, and I’ve witnessed everything from students shouting “Allahu Akbar” to one dressing up as an Intifada protester for Purim (kefiyye, plastic gun, and all...). It’s troubling to see an area that is so systemically full of fear and hatred, but it’s much more troubling knowing that I’m playing a part in that neighborhood’s development at the expense of the much more underprivileged and disenfranchised communities surrounding it.

What is even more disturbing is the placement of the teaching fellows into Jewish East Jerusalem neighborhoods in a year that has been one of the most controversial for the city in decades. Trump’s declaration was not just a headline for us; it was an event that changed the city we lived in and altered the perception of Jerusalem for our friends and family back home in the US.

At times it was hard not to feel like Bennett’s soldiers, deployed at the front lines of one of the most ideological battles for segregation in the entire world. It very much appears like the Jerusalem MITF program was shaped by the vision of the HaBayit HaYehudi Party which is currently dominating the Department of Education. We voiced our concerns about the politics behind our placements with a few of our superiors employed with the program, and each time we hit an ideological concrete wall. Several of the Masa bureaucrats who directly coordinated the Jerusalem MITF program were in fact from the Ring Neighborhoods and West Bank settlements....

Jewish East Jerusalem neighborhoods are in dire need of English language assistance in public schools, and I saw myself making a positive impact in the community that I was placed in—but I think that it is VERY important to mention that if you apply to the Jerusalem MITF program, you will *almost certainly* be placed in a school in one of the Ring Neighborhoods. All of these neighborhoods; 1.) have a international reputation of being Israeli settlements, 2.) have commuter settlements in the West Bank, 3.) are very visibly segregated from surrounding Arab communities by checkpoints and infrastructure, 4.) are visibly given much more funding by the government than any of the surrounding Arab East Jerusalem neighborhoods, and 5.) are up to 1.5 hours by bus from where your home will be in West Jerusalem.

There are some nice perks with this program like the grant and housing, but in hindsight (having spent the full 10 months on the program) I would say that the ideological atmosphere and difficult bureaucracy is worth avoiding. Do not choose MITF if you are looking into TEFL in Israel and pick an intensive Ulpan course if you want an effective pre-Aliyah experience.

What would you improve about this program?
MITF Jerusalem should increase placements in schools that are not tied to settlements in the West Bank. For example also place a proportionate amount of teaching fellows in Arab schools, the Hand-in-Hand school or other bilingual schools, and in developing West Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Default avatar
Aly
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Masa Israel Teaching Fellowship, Be'er Sheva, Students

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.

Default avatar
Elisa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable year

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Life Changing Experience

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.

Default avatar
Rebecca
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

It was great to be in Israel

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.

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Adriane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Decision of My Life

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) runs 10 months from September-June. Before I left, everyone, including myself, thought I was crazy to leave everything and everyone I've ever known and move to an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar language. That feeling, the one where I thought I was crazy, really never subsided. It was incredible. It encouraged me to seize every moment. In June, at the end of the 10 months, one of my best friends from the program and I were walking through the Old City of Jerusalem, when we started reflecting on our time in Israel and on our Masa program. Even at the end, we both agreed that we were crazy to embark on the adventure, but it was the best decision we ever made. I walked away with friends from all walks of life and from all over the globe. I now have friends from Australia, Brazil, France, Israel, Argentina, etc. I pushed myself way outside my comfort zone, way beyond anything I had ever known, and I saw the world.

What would you improve about this program?
It's funny that this question says that no program is perfect. If you take all of the opportunities that Masa has to offer (trips around Israel, a trip to Poland, the Leadership Summit, various Shabbatons, etc.), then this really could be considered a perfect program. I would say an increase in the monthly stipend would help, but the Israeli government is paying the stipend. And I could say the housing isn't great, but it's free and it led to so many fun memories with the strangers that are now my best friends. So truly, I don't think I would change a thing.
Default avatar
Danielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing!!!

Moving to Israel and participating in the ITF program changed my life. I was 26 years old when I applied, and I could have never imagined the experience I was going to have. While participating in the program, I learned a new language (I didn't know ANY Hebrew prior to the program), made some of the greatest friends on the planet (I'm meeting up with one of them in Spain in a week!), and was able to connect with my inner Judaism. Visiting Israel can be an incredible experience. You can tour the country up-and-down for 10 days and see thousands of years of history and eat the best food on the planet—but it does compare to the experience of living in the Promise Land. Visiting Israel does not show you the selflessness of the Israeli society. Visiting Israel doesn’t allow you to form deep bonds with Israeli citizens and fully understand their viewpoints on the world. Visiting Israel doesn’t teach you to maneuver within a different society and understand cultural differences. Visiting Israel is wonderful, but it is a limited experience, which can only be understood by making the move. If you are thinking about participating in this program, DO IT! My friends and I promise you it will be the experience of your life and something you always remember.