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.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

There are no programs to my knowledge; the Masa Israel Teaching Fellowship was a 10-month Program. Possibly while on the 10-month program in Israel, you could volunteer further (outside your main school) at an organization or school and teach for 5 weeks there, but the entire length of the program was 10 months.
Hi Sophie, Yes you either have to be Jewish or have one jewish grandparent.

Reviews

92%
based on 28 reviews
  • Benefits 7.5
  • Support 8
  • Fun 7.2
  • Facilities 8.9
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 16 - 28 of 28
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Brent
9/10

So much to do, make the most of every minute you have in your MASA experience

There's really no other way to put it...Make the most of your time in MASA! There are opportunities left and right to make your experience in Israel productive and incredibly memorable.

Be'er Sheva (B7) gets a bad rap from people elsewhere in the country. While there are problems that are found in most Israeli cities, B7 was a very warm and welcoming place. B7 is home to Ben Gurion University, which means that I lived among thousands of Israeli college students. The University often hosted parties and concerts, which were great for me even though I wasn't a student. Some of the best friends I made in Be'er Sheva were University students that lived in my apartment building.

My Madrichim were amazing enough to make sure that everybody received a free bus pass for the entire year. This made travel to my school in the Ramot neighborhood a breeze.

Rechasim School was a great experience from start to finish. The school was very chaotic but I showed my chutzpah to command the respect of my students. Each and every day, I was surrounded by students giving me hi-fives and hugs. To your students, you're a rock star. They will fight just for the opportunity to work with you for a class period.

Many of the teachers were very accommodating to myself and Anna the other Teaching Fellow. Often times we were unable to work in the library or computer lab, so we would teach our students in the hallways. It's not pretty, but it was up to us to make sure the students were taught properly. Even after months of painful work with struggling students, the evidence became clear that they were starting to grasp the English language. The school year culminated in an English Day, in which about half of the students participated.

While I was not teaching, I traveled the country meeting Israeli friends and family. It's an amazing discovery to find out that you have family in Israel. On my first visit to some relatives in Netanya that I had never met before, I was welcomed to the first of many great Israeli Shabbat dinners.

I made friends from around the world at the Fall Mifgashim, Leadership Summit, and the Makom Fellowship. These events allowed me to see very remote regions of the country such as the Nitzana Youth Village and to meet MASA participants from at least 30 different countries. In addition to the leadership skills that I picked up, I also gained an understanding of Jewish life in other countries which I knew little of before. In the Makom Fellowship I learned much about the history and culture of Israel. I was also privileged to meet prominent Israelis and that are involved in the larger cultural and political conflicts that the country faces.

The motto of MASA is to "live it like a local." After a few months in the country, I experienced the joys of doing so. Participating in ITF Be'er Sheva motivated me to pursue teaching as a career in the US. It was an amazing life-changing experience.

How can this program be improved?
One thing I would hope to change would be the amount of money we receive on our stipends. I received 850 NIS per month in Be'er Sheva. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to live on that much money each month. Everything in Israel is very expensive. Leisure activities become more of a luxury especially by the 3rd week of the month. In addition, traveling the country can get very expensive. Sure the Egged buses to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem are cheap, but if you plan on going any farther than that, you're going to be paying a lot out of pocket. Many of us including myself had recently graduated from College and had very little savings. I would suggest that the stipend be bumped up to 1000 NIS.
Yes, I recommend
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Lenea
8/10

Israel Teaching Fellows

I went on ITF in Netanya 2 years ago. While it had its challenges, as would any program where you have to adapt to a new country and lifestyle, I would absolutely do it all over again tomorrow. I learned so much about the world and more importantly about myself! I highly recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?
I think that it would be good to have more information before the program began and a little bit better ESL training.
Yes, I recommend
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Max
9/10

A great post grad year..on!

I was on the Masa teaching fellowship in its infancy in Ramla. It was the first run around for Masa and there were ups and downs, but I wouldn't have had it another way. The experience to be a part of "real Israel" and not just 10 days in Birthright were amazing. I was a part of the community and the school in which I worked. Just by being social in the community I made my own host families whom I still talk to today both Arab and Jewish.

This experience was truly one that changed my life. Now ITF has expanded to over 10 cities, and I would recommend to anyone looking to take a year to give back, expand their own horizons and learn more about all that Israel has to offer outside of the headlines.

Yes, I recommend
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Rachel
8/10

Israel Teaching Fellows

Daily, I enjoyed a room at school where I would bring 1-10 students to tutor or play games. School was great. Living with 8 people and another 8 across the hall was too much and I wished we had lived with less people however the apartment was beautiful and in a great location. All in all it was a great learning/growing experience.

How can this program be improved?
I would give each participant his/her own bedroom and less people in an apartment.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Taylor
8/10

Life as an ITF-er in Netanya

Life as an ITF-er in Netanya was never short of dull. The city itself was wonderful; everything was in walking distance (shuk, transportation, supermarkets, mall, etc.) and the beach was a ten-minute walk away. There were two gyms on opposite sides of town and it was only a 40-minute sherut ride to Tel Aviv. Herzilya, Poleg and Ra'anana were also very close by. The train station was also within walking distance. I never felt unsafe in Netanya due to the soldiers who I saw everywhere and the main populations in Netanya--Russians, French and Ethiopians--were kind and accepting. They also spoke English! I really feel like the city adopted us, particularly the cashiers at the supermarket underneath the apartment who referred to us as "the teachers" and the two Russian convenience stores who always gave us discounts.

During a regular week, I would be at my school. My school was a ten-minute walk away and was very secular. My teacher, Merav, along with the other teachers and staff, treated me and my teaching partner with respect and always went out of their way to make us feel welcome. I was blessed to have the best students any teacher could want. They were so eager to learn and taught me how to read Hebrew. That helped me immensely in Ulpan! My students always showered me with gifts, asked me about my life in America and would get so excited when they saw me outside of school. I couldn't even walk down the street for more than a few seconds without bumping into one of my students! My students respected me thanks to Merav, who was an incredible mentor. She let me plan my own lessons for the kids, constantly had me over her house for Shabbat and would randomly cook for me. I could not have asked for a better mentor and friend.

Otherwise, life was busy with volunteering, seminars, trainings, working out at the gym and Ulpan. I made such a good impression on my Ulpan teacher that myself and another ITF-er were the only people invited to her and her husband's house for an amazing Shabbat dinner.

For highlights, I am forever indebted to Masa. They offered so many cool seminars that I was able to take advantage of and being at the 2013 Winter Leadership Summit was not only one of the best memories from my ten months in Israel, but one of the happiest moments of my life. My college did not offer regular Joe's like me leadership opportunities (they went to rich students), so getting accepted to the Summit was not only a confidence-builder, but the best way to mentally scold my college for denying me chances to be a leader. I met so many great people, attended wonderful sessions and learned a lot. Being at the Summit allowed me to get accepted to two different Fellowships (I chose the wonderful Kol Voice), let me share my experience with sixty other participants as practice for selling my story to Taglit groups and really just allowed me to smile when it wasn't always easy. The Mifgashim series was amazing as well and the one that involved Shabbat hospitality was another one of my best memories from my entire ten months in Israel. Masa gave me chances that no one else did and I am forever grateful.

Of course, the experience had some drawbacks. My apartment was great location-wise, but otherwise, had this apartment existed in America, it would have been torn down due to all the health and fire code violations. Also, the sick days policy wasn't fair. It should not have taken me five visits with four different doctors to get antibiotics and an inhaler for bronchitis (that developed due to all the smoking both in my building and around the city since smoking is not a social taboo in Israel) when I begged every time my lungs flared up to go to the hospital. I was put on medicine that only masked the symptoms but affected my job performance. Despite attending every single seminar and being within my sick-days limit, I was not allowed to miss a pedagogical training even through the medicine made me loopy and was not given an exception to stay home from school for one extra day, even though I was violently ill.

Otherwise, despite a few setbacks, I greatly enjoyed my experience as an ITF-er in Netanya. I made sure to stay busy outside of the program with the gym and writing for an Israeli paper and those kept me sane. I enjoyed the people in my cohort immensely and like with Masa, am forever indebted to them for their wisdom and kindness.

How can this program be improved?
Move the Fellows to a liveable apartment!
Yes, I recommend
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Amanda
10/10

Masa...Take me back!

I was part of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (ITF) Rehovot and had the time of my life. I have never thought of teaching as something I would ever do in my life but this program was the perfect way to learn about Israel and to learn about myself. I came from a new/media background and was able to bring my knowledge and skills to my work in ITF. I was places in ORT Rehovot and taught English for 10 months. During that time I was able to help my kids develop their speaking English by creating presentations on different countries around the world. As well as develop their written English by creating a school newspaper. It was exciting to see the finished product for these projects and get to know the children in the process! School was the largest part of my program and sometimes proved to be the most challenging sometimes. It took a while to get acclimated to Israeli expectations in schools and there were many times where I thought this would never happen in an American school. Things like teachers not showing up on time or there not being a lesson plan. But I caught on and always had a fun English game in my back pocket! Other parts of my program were Hevruta (encounter in Hebrew)and volunteering in the Rehovot Community. What made these experiences extra special is that ITF Rehovot includes Israeli University Students who are all the same age. The Israelis meet with us once a week for Hevruta, volunteered with us and helped acclimate us to our new lives in Rehovot. It was great to have someone as soon as I got off the plane to call for help finding the closest grocery store as well as where is a fun bar to all go hang out. The Israelis really became our families! We even referred to some of them as mom and dad! My experience in ITF Rehovot was a once in a life time experience and I want Masa to take me back!!

How can this program be improved?
I would have a meeting with the teachers and the fellows explaining the cultural differences. There were some things that I never caught on to that were cultural differences until the very end and it was too late at that point to change anything.
Yes, I recommend
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Melissa
10/10

My Year In Israel, ITF BEER SHEVA

I lived in New York all of my life. When I was 23, I found out that my house and everything I knew were changing. My family was moving to Arizona.
I was never a very religious Jew, I was raised reform and went to temple mainly on the high holidays and the occasional Shabbat. I was part of Hillel in college and was always involved more in community and social things like at my JCC and volunteering rather than strict observations and keeping Kosher.
When I found out about the move and my house going on the market, I just wanted to run away and have time alone to think and process, cope with the upheaval--so I went on Birthright, running away to Israel.
It was one of the best decisions I've made---I fell in love with Israel and on my last day, signed up for more information about how to return there from a Masa Scout.
To my surprise and excitement, I was handpicked to interview for a Teaching Fellows position, the first year in Be'er Sheva (which I knew very little about other than the majestic desert and close proximity to the Dead Sea--which is my favorite place in the whole country).
I spent one of the best years of my life there. The people were amazing and I loved my fellows & my host family. The Israeli Staff was amazing.
I loved being near the university and living with college students and able to easily walk for groceries and nearby restaurants or to the college to visit or enjoy the pool. It was great having laundry and a little gym in our apartment complex and living in the tallest building in town made it easier to never feel lost!
Of course, the turbulent war times and rocket fire from the south was very stressful and a lot of people from my program left early and had trouble dealing with it.
I had a lot of trouble myself but I stayed as strong as I could and pushed myself to finish my program and my goals and projects I had already started in my school and community.
At the end of the year, I felt like a new, more mature woman, who was more in touch with Judaism, Israel, politics, leadership, cooking, world music, and many other things.
I always felt drawn to being a teacher but after finishing the program I knew it was my calling and I will be certified to teach Special Education and Elementary Education in Arizona in just 8 weeks!
This experience was life changing, inspiring, and a real push in the right direction. It made me so much more self aware and feel so independent. I lived on my own in college but living on your own in another country is a completely different experience that really forces you to grow and realize who you truly are!

How can this program be improved?
I would recommend the program but only if I knew the person was strong enough to deal with the wars and fire in the South.
I resented having no choice for hebrew classes after a long day of teaching and also being assigned to work with a partner who quit and was not passionate at all about teaching in the school.
I think it should be an independent, 1 student per school program with the options of opting out of Hebrew lessons, and more organized trips and events with the group.
I think the stipend is wonderful and generous but it needs to be emphasized and made clear that we should not go into the program without any money, if my parents didn't give me money, I would have never been able to afford anything.
There should also be less forcing of us to socialize and interact with the Netanya Teaching Fellows who were really not very nice at all!
Overall, it was definitely worth doing and I don't expect it to be perfect in it's first few years. Definitely needs some work and more directions and clear expectations of what we actually sign up for.
Yes, I recommend
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Nitzah
10/10

No expectations

The best advice I was given before going to Israel was have "no expectations" and an "open heart." It's not always an easy thing to do, but it made my trip the most rewarding, and a greater adventure.

How can this program be improved?
There are always little bits here and there. I think if participants are better aware of what they are going into, the culture and what is expected of them things could go more smoothly. Going through more college like lectures and discussions on the culture and history of Israel would be beneficial to some. Also, more lessons Ulpan. I understand finances are sometimes an issue, but maybe a trip or two could be cut to put the money into language learning. Over all the program and it's ideas are good, and I'm sure will continue to improve. I loved my time in Israel! I'm not sure how it really would workout, but what if participants where living with actual families and not in a group home. This way they would have to use the language, help a family learn the language, and not be so "American" or whatever their country background is.
Yes, I recommend
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Rachel
10/10

Masa ITF - DO IT!!!

This proved to be the best experience of my life. I was on Masa Israel Teaching Fellows in Ashdod which ended up being my favorite city in all of Israel. It is beautiful and safe and extremely cultural. The apartment accommodations are literally right on the coast of the Mediterranean! I spent about 25 hours a week in school teaching English to small pull out classes. I taught 3rd - 6th grade, all of which were absolutely amazing and so glad to have me. I took 4 hours of Ulpan a week, and ended up able to read, write and speak English! I also attended Achva Academic College for pedagogical classes. Masa is an incredible organization that provides so many different opportunities. I was able to go on many different trips all over the country thanks to them, as well as a week long leadership conference in Jerusalem and a delegation to Poland. I would highly highly HIGHLY reccomend anything Masa does, but especially Teaching Fellows!!

Yes, I recommend
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Alisa
9/10

ITF NETANYA

The first couple of months was hard just because of the transition. However, i started having a positive outlook on everything and realized time was going to fly and to try and make the best of every moment. I really liked my city and my fellow cohorts. It was hard not having a car handy, but i loved getting used to the public transport. I loved how everything was walking distance and the weather definitely helped with that. I wish i could do another year again. I hope to come back again.

How can this program be improved?
While my madrichim were great, i thought the communication in the beginning needs to be extremely worked on. I was very scared in the beginning before departure getting all the necessities taken care of (passport, ticket, personal items bought). However, every time i asked a question to the program's adviser, she came off annoyed and not very helpful. I almost didn't come because i wasn't getting the answers i needed, but i put my doubts aside and was very glad i didn't let that person decide based on my fears.
Other than that, there is always room for improvement, but the program is young and i think with time and experience, things will improve on their own.
Lastly, i think it is important to stress to prospective applicants that this is their choice and while we are volunteers, that we should be thankful and try to look at everything with an open mind. There were some negative people in my group that forgot they signed up for this, but the majority of the group was great.
Yes, I recommend
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Shanny
10/10

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows- Rishon Lezion

I volunteered with ITF the year following graduating from undergrad. It was only the 2nd year of the program and they were still working out the kinks, but I had an incredible year! It was a great time to go because I wasn't ready for real responsibility/ figuring out my next big life move, so it gave me a much needed break from education to figure out my future. You don't really get paid that much but you live rent free in a nice sized apartment close to other participants...just accept that you are volunteering, and you can quickly learn to stretch the stipend. The most expensive part about Israel is cost of living, so by not worrying about rent you can live cheaply but comfortably.
Rishon Lezion is great- so close and accessible to Tel Aviv and it has its own, small, quiet beach that you can easily get to any day of the week. Working in the school was fun, because small children will find you to be a novelty and in my experience, that meant they gave us no trouble and we were able to just have fun with them.
The program staff is likely different every year, but honestly, I never met someone who worked in the hospitality/tour guiding/ israel program realm who wasn't amazing. They are knowledgeable, helpful, and have a real passion for their job (which shines through, because they don't get paid enough to deal with some of the whiny americans finding themselves abroad for the first time in their lives). Love to Mati and Ilan!
The great thing about this program is that each individual provider (for Rishon, it was "The Israel Experience") and Masa offer you a ton of opportunities to explore all of Israel, meet other people, go to cultural events, learn, and get free stuff! I wouldn't trade my experience in for anything and still miss being there!

How can this program be improved?
I wish the stipend was bigger! Masa and all of the providers under the Masa umbrella do a good job of providing for a lot of your needs, but it was impossible to live on the stipend alone.
Yes, I recommend
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Hal
10/10

The year in Isreal that changed my life!

Living in Be'er Sheva Israel for the academic year was one of the best experiences in my life! I gained hands on teaching experience that prepared me for my graduate program, met life long friends that I still talk with frequently, and grew as a professional I knew I always was. The night life was incredible, especially because I lived in a college town such as B7. What I learned from my students and the teaching experience in general was that with Students can achieve anything they put their minds and hearts to as long as they have someone that believes in them. This is the role of a teacher, to not only inspire your students to unlock their unlimited possibilities, but support them in improving their self-confidence so they can contribute to society in their own way.

How can this program be improved?
I would include more check-ins from the teaching mentors from the MASA program to lend advice on how to improve, prefabibly in the beginning of the program (October, December, February).
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10

Irreplaceable Experience

The year I spent in Beit She'an, Israel was the best year of my life. Yes, there were difficulties and troubles to overcome, but the overall experience was intoxicating. Thinking back on my time there gives me a range of emotions so intense, that I sometimes try and distract myself from those thoughts.

The group experience was unique. Six strangers living in one large house, sharing a giant kitchen, and four rooms; it sounds like the Real World! And it kind of was, but without all of the messy drama.

I had a love/hate relationship with teaching that year because it challenged me in ways I never expected. But overall, thinking back on teaching, my memories are fond.

If someone asked me if I were to do it all over again, without hesitation, I would say, "Absolutely!"

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved with better communication between participants and staff during the program, but MORE importantly, before the program begins.
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...