Masa Israel Teaching Fellows

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About

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows is a 10-month fellowship for Jewish college graduates ages 21 to 30.

Inside the classroom, you'll assist English teachers in an Israeli elementary or middle school classroom in an underserved community. Help us close the achievement gap in the Israeli education system.

Whether or not you have previous experience working in a classroom, you will train with leading educators from across Israel, through specialized seminars developed by Israel's Ministry of Education.

Outside of the classroom, you can design your own volunteer project based on your personal interests. Past Fellows' projects include organizing community theater productions, facilitating extra-curricular youth programs, and coaching Israeli youth in football.

Develop professional and leadership skills, learn Hebrew and tour all around Israel. Become an integral part of the community in which you live, teach and volunteer - live Israel like a local.

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

90%
based on 30 reviews
  • Benefits 7.4
  • Support 7.9
  • Fun 7.2
  • Facilities 8.7
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 30
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Taylor
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
jslm
Simeon
2/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Aly
9/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Elisa
9/10

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.

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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rebecca
7/10

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.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Adriane
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Danielle
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Seth
10/10

Phenomenal 10-Month Journey in Israel!!!

Having the opportunity to participate in the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program through Israel Pathways was truly one of my greatest life experiences! Being able to live in Netanya, Israel, while teaching, traveling, and fully immersing myself in the daily life and cultural experiences of Israel was genuinely a journey that I will cherish with me for the rest of my life! From the food and people, to the music and scenery, Israel forever holds a place in my heart, and I will highly encourage anyone and everyone to have the opportunity to visit and/or participate in one of the many incredible Masa programs and experiences.

How can this program be improved?
The only change that I would suggest would be to provide more Ulpan / Hebrew study to the participants that would be useful in navigating through a new life in Israel.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Debbie
9/10

Teaching Materials/Facilties

The stipend was not much and wasn't as advertised, however ITF is the only program with a stipend. With that said, as long as pay is properly advertised then there are no surprises.

Living facilities in Netanya should be changed. The location is great, but the conditions are sub-par. The building had more an more problems. While it might be good for a another year or so, the housing should be changed sooner, rather than later.

Ulpan - Ulpan in Netanya gave us no books and not so great teachers. Therefore, my suggestion would be to bus us to Tel Aviv or do better research on better teachers and DEFINITELY provide a book. I know other cities did not have this problem and this was specific to Netanya.

Madrichim- They were great, but I employ someone who has graduated college in order to have better fluidity for the program.

Overall experience - amazing. I would do it again and recommend ITF to future prospects. My experience was amazing because I took advantage of every Masa opportunity, and it was through Masa seminars that I met my life-long friends and also developed a network of people.

How can this program be improved?
Talpiot - Get rid of it completely because it was not useful. Instead, implement a more effective program to teach participants how to teach English, something along the lines of TOEFL.

Handbook - there were so many questions I and other participants had before leaving, so a handbook would be great. For example, how to get your visa, what cell phone company to use, what to pack, etc.

Ulpan - Masa should invest the time into making sure the Uplan in each city is up to standards because I Netanya Ulpan was below-average.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Josh
10/10

Best. Decision. Ever.

Hands down, Israel Teaching Fellows was the best year of my life so far. Living in Israel as a local, traveling and experiencing intimately, has changed the way I see the world and identify in many ways. Teaching gave meaning to my lengthy stay in Israel, and truly made me appreciative of the many opportunities I had to travel both domestically and internationally. I fell in love with the people and land, traveled nearly ever kilometer by foot, bus, bike, camel, and taxi--all the while learning so much about myself.

How can this program be improved?
More facilitated interactions with local Israelis of similar ages
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ben
7/10

ITF Review

I look back fondly on my time in the program, but also will not allow nostalgia and the passage of time to cloud the very real drawbacks. I formed lifelong friendships, established a deep meaningful ratio ship to the people and land, and clarified many life priorities for myself. However, the stipend was not even remotely sufficient, while led to rather substantial problems (e.g. I rarely had enough money for three meals a day and had to skip breakfast and usually a snack at school as well, causing me to become cranky and unfocused with my students).

How can this program be improved?
The stipend MUST be increased.
Response from Masa Israel Journey

Hi Ben,

Thank you so much for your feedback. We are so glad to hear that you had a positive experience as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, despite your issues with the stipend.

Throughout the application process, both Masa Israel Journey and our program providers try to make it clear to potential Fellows that the stipend would not cover all monthly expenses. As such, we recommend that Fellows budget their own spending money to supplement the stipend, according their own spending habits. We are truly sorry if Masa Israel and/or your program provider failed to communicate this important piece of information to you.

Thanks again for your positive review and recommendations for improving Masa Israel Teaching Fellows.

-The Masa Israel Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
K.T.
9/10

ITF in Beit Shean

My experience in the first group of ITF beit shean was a truly amazing experience. I was immersed in Israeli culture every day! Being in a city further away from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem made this immersion more true, but it also made travel more difficult.

My days were filled wth teaching, volunteer work, and spending time with my host family. Many times I would go to weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and other parties with my host family and friends from the school. I would also often travel to different places on the weekend so that I could see more if the country.

How can this program be improved?
The biggest difficulty in this program was the communication between Masa, the ITF coordinators, and the teachers/schools we were working with. Often times expectations were not clear and it led to frustrations between the fellows and the teachers. The Masa program could do a much better job at establishing expectations for all who are involved.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Eric
9/10

Never let disorganization hinder your experiences

In addressing the ratings I gave many of the categories on the previous page, I am going to be quite negative, as those specific areas need a lot of improvement. I would, however, like to say that I had a fantastic experience during my time in Netanya as an Israel Teaching Fellow. The program staff was friendly and nice, I made AMAZING friends, and lived like a local. Our proximity to the beach was mind-blowing and some of our seminars really made an impact. I know that the program is young and it has SO much potential.
I felt that the housing was an interesting choice to say the least. Our group was placed to live one floor above some kind of mental institution (not joking or exaggerating). It never posed much of a major problem but was, as I said, an interesting choice...
Our apartments constantly had problems with electricity, water heating, and overall maintenance and upkeep. The maintenance staff was sloppy, inattentive, and showed many levels of incompetency. Our program staff seemed to do little to rectify this throughout the 10 months we were in Netanya.
The social scene in the city was great, but the social scene set among the 30 of us Americans on the trip was lacking. Our program staff did little to acquaint everyone and made it quite obvious who their favorite fellows were. This type of favoritism, among other variables created a hostile environment. The low level of professionalism exhibited by our program staff contributed to some members of our group feeling like social outcasts. I do not believe I ever felt this way but I heard a lot of complaints and witnessed various scenarios which made me feel sympathy toward these select members.

How can this program be improved?
The ages and levels of maturity and professionalism were quite surprising when it came to the madrichim, not only in my group, but in our sister groups as well. This became a major talking point among the majority of Americans. Especially when dealing with a post-grad program which included many adults above the age of 25. I think that adding American madrichim would do WONDERS. I acknowledge the vast cultural differences between Israelis and Americans, and having a few American liaisons working hand-in-hand with the Israeli program staff could really shake things up in a positive way.
Not only does the Israeli program staff need more/improved training, I think that the American fellows need improved training and more teem-building. We were brought to Talpiot for "training" and it was honestly nothing but a waste of time. It did little to prepare us for our time in our Israeli classrooms. Our days were filled with nonsensical lectures, speakers rehashing things we have all learned in high school, and activities and lessons that were never used during our actual teaching. This time would be better served in intensive Ulpan and shadowing sessions at the schools we were going to be teaching for.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
9/10

Amazing program and people

I loved my time spent in Israel. The staff put a lot of time and effort into our programming trips, and I met some great people in my group and through other programs I participated in. I think the teaching program could have been a bit better put together, it was hard teaching hebrew without really knowing it too well, but it was a pilot program, so hopefully the next year things went more smoothly.

Yes, I recommend

About 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...