OTZMA: Live and Volunteer in Israel

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About

OTZMA – It’s your life. Use it well.

OTZMA is the PREMIER ten-month-long, high-quality fellowship for college graduates, aged 20-26, which combines volunteering, leadership development training and internships in locations throughout Israel.

DEVELOP yourself as a future LEADER in your field, community and society with cutting edge leadership training seminars. Make a real DIFFERENCE to Israel through meaningful service and volunteering opportunities. EXPLORE the beauty and excitement of Israel- hands on!

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 55 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 30 of 55
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Yallah
10/10

Life changing

What can I say... my decision to do OTZMA was one of the best decisions I made in the last 26 years of my life.

The best way to learn about a country and connect with the people and connect on a personal level, is to spend a year there living and volunteering.

Otzma provided me with a life changing experience, that allowed me to connect to Israel through volunteering and living in several areas around the country. It is this experience that has influenced many decisions that I made afterwards and gave me life long friends that I am still close with today.

Most importantly, I was given the opportunity to give back and hopefully make a impact in the lives of the youth and teenagers that I worked with in after school programs, schools and community centers.

Are you looking for a way to give back, learn, grow and have an out of the box experience? Than Otzma is the program for you.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Marni
10/10

Fantastic Year

Being the Otzma director for 4 years almost 6 years ago, I can say that our volunteers truly made a deep impact within the communities they served. One of the advantages is being able to truly use your skills to find the right for volunteering - from becoming a swim coach to a local kids club, to teaching English in a local school.

Yes, I recommend this program
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JoshGS
10/10

Feeling at Home; Connecting for Life

How can I summarize the value of a year on OTZMA?
Do I start with the beauty of the country, the vibrant people, the history, culture, or incredible food?

Do I share grand stories of hiking the desert, swimming in the Mediterranean or camping in the Galilee?

Should I count the number of live, open air concerts I went to of big name Israeli artists with thousands of people in attendance?

Should I talk about the daily love that happens on volunteer sites with children of all ages, and adults that you come to admire as the most heroic you've ever met?

Do I tell about growing my Hebrew abilities and connecting with local families and professionals?

Do I tell about the street performers, artists' colonies, student activist groups, or community song sessions?

And, perhaps above all, how can I tell about all that, while also remembering the shared experiences of 40 OTZMA XXI friends that will last a lifetime?

I don't know where to start, but I know where to end: feeling at home in Israel with unique connections that have carried me farther than I ever dreamed!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Dotan
8/10

Worked with the program - great to staff!

In my work for the Jewish Agency for Israel, I got to work on several occasions with OTZMA's staff and participants.

In my role, I was in charge of young Israelis who got to meet and work with OTZMA participants, as they went through challenging education sessions together. Having done this from 2008-2010, and having worked with two OTZMA years (and ending up marrying a past participant!) I can say it is a true exploration of the Israeli experience, and probably the best way to spend a year volunteering, learning, and truly getting to know Israel.

have fun, and good luck!

Yes, I recommend this program
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serenefish
9/10

I had a wonderful time on OTZMA

I had a wonderful 10 months in Israel, complete with learning Hebrew in the desert, studying Torah in Jerusalem, volunteering teaching English at an elementary school, helping out at a nursery school and doing an internship living by the beach in Tel Aviv. I have lifelong friends from my time on OTZMA!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Otzma22
10/10

Best All Around Israel Program

OTZMA was absolutely the right choice for me. It gave me the opportunity to participate in a variety of different volunteer opportunities in many locations around Israel.

The first track can be most challenging, since the holidays intersect with a huge piece of this track. You need to be truly motivated to go out and find opportunities that can use your help and show them that you want to be there! This is also the time to take advantage of Ulpan!! You get out of it what you put in! (You will hear that about EVERYTHING you do on this trip and it is 100% true).

Track two is spent in your sister city, volunteering in a variety of ways. This is the perfect opportunity to see even more of Israel, by visiting your friends in their placements throughout the country. Again, you can have one volunteer placement or you can try three. You need to find the opportunities that interest you and go for it!

The final track you can choose between an internship or a kibbutz. I personally chose an internship in Tel Aviv and sought out a new internship with an organization I had found on my own. Zalul Environmental Assocation, focusing on protecting and maintaining Israel's natural water resources. Either way you should choose what is right for you. The people that had the best experiences did what they felt was best for them and didn't just follow their friends throughout their journey.

Throughout the whole experience you have the option to be with participants of the trip. Make an effort to go even further and meet Israelis in the communities all around you. It can be very easy and safe to stick with the other participants, but it is worth it and it is an experience you will not want to miss!

This experience absolutely changed my life and was an AMAZING year. Since I returned from the program I have gone on to work in the Jewish non-profit world back at home.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Charlene
9/10

Life-changing Experience

Being an OTZMA participant changed my career focus and helped me reconnect with my Jewish roots. I loved everything the program had to offer, volunteering, ulpan, studying, living and workign on a kibbutz! This is a fantastic MASA program.

I know work with college students and recommend OTZMA to anyone who is considering traveling to Israel!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Naomi
10/10

Life altering experience

It has now been 16 (!) years since my Otzma year and it is an experience I talk about and draw upon frequently. It was a truly unique opporutnity to experience, at least on some level what actual day to day life is like in a country that gets sensationalized and often demonized. To live and work among Isrealis, learn the language and get an in depth look into social and political struggles they face has impacted my view and understanding of Israel. Professionally the experience exposed me to a model of service learning and a field I have worked in for the past decade. On a personal level, the friendships I made are some of the most important in my life, especially since I now share my life and family with a fellow participant.

I only hope that my daughters are one day able to have an expeirence like this.

Yes, I recommend this program
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roseslf
10/10

Wonderful Program

One of the best volunteer programs in Israel, provides on hand experience and a snap shot into Israeli everyday life. Only do this program if you are serious and committed to bringing about more good in the world for yourself and others.

Yes, I recommend this program
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lcohen6
10/10

AMAZING PROGAM

It was a great program. So many activities that were really memorable for me. My favorite part was definitely spending time with the children at Ieladeinu. I really enjoyed making the crafts with the children and helping to organize their supply room. Overall this was a great experience and a trip that I would definitely recommend.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Nathan
9/10

A wonderful, deeply rewarding experience

It's a cliche to say something is life-changing, but for me, Otzma truly was. I arrived in Israel several months after graduating college, excited for a break from school but uncertain about my plans for after the program. During the 10 months ahead, I would make rapid progress in Hebrew, and would be invited to return to Israel after the program to work for the organization I had interned at through Otzma. I ultimately stayed in Israel for three and a half years, becoming fluent in Hebrew and developing a deep and lasting bond with Israel and all the challenges it faces. I made wonderful friends who I am close with today, nearly eight years after I first landed in Israel, both among other Otzma participants and Israelis I encountered during the program.

Beyond the programming Otzma offers, it's also a wonderful opportunity to experience life overseas and to experience life after college. I learned a tremendous amount about myself - what I like, what I don't like, how to fend for myself in the post-college world, and so on. I came back to the States having been enriched professionally, culturally and personally, and am extremely grateful that I went on the program.

Yes, I recommend this program
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ELKO
9/10

Otzma!!!!

Otzma completely changed my life. I went from a Finance major in colelge to a professional in the Jewish communal world. I highly recommend this program to anyone that wants to better understand one's abilities, versatility, and ability to adapt.

Yes, I recommend this program
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LAB
9/10

More than your average Israel program.

I participated with Otzma 19 and had an amazing 10 months. The variety of experiences and people you are exposed to are incredible. We worked with Ethiopian immigrants, volunteered in schools and community services, and interned at different agencies. Throughout the year, Otzma organizes incredible trips and hikes all over the country and they also have access to different leaders/speakers/presentations that you would never be exposed to on any other program. I was really able to explore and learn about parts of the country that I would otherwise never be exposed to on a tourist vacation or other educational program. The program really tries to be well-rounded to accommodate everyone's interests and needs.

In addition to the experiences and learning opportunities, I made some of my best friends in life on this program. It really is a life changing 10-months that you will never forget.

If you are interested in traveling and volunteering after college, this program is a must.

Yes, I recommend this program
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DSerkin
8/10

OTZMA 2008

Like many other opportunities in life, the more you put in to it, the more you get out of the experience. I think between that, and coming with a very open mind and the mindset to be flexible really made OTZMA 2008 a wonderful experience. Every moment was a learning experience,and by shaking off the American mentality little by little, I gained a true taste of what the country had to offer. Additionally OTZMA itself was flexible and encouraged its participants to seek out opportunities. OTZMA offers a great and supportive platform and framework so you never feel alone, all the while pushing and encouraging to make our OTZMA experience our own.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Pasiflora20
9/10

An Insightful Journey

For me, OTZMA was an incredible journey where I met some of my closest friends, was able to travel the beautiful land of Israel (including 'periphery' areas), volunteer in order to truly give back to underpriviledged communities, learn Hebrew as well as other relevant topics regarding Israel/Judaism through educational trips and workshops (politics, Judaism, education etc.).

OTZMA challenged every participant in different ways-- whether it was physically by climbing a mountain in the desert, mentally through an educational workshop, emotionally by visiting the Kotel, or spiritually by re-connecting with or expressing Judaism in a specific way as well as healing the soul through social justice.

OTZMA allowed for a great deal of independence and freedom yet provided a good structure and support system as any overseas program should. My time in Israel throughout those 10 months was rich with good memories and fulfilling experiences. It was hard to leave at the end... which is the reason why I made Aliyah and came back.

For me Israel embodies hope and OTZMA gives the 'power' (the meaning of the word 'otzma') for young Jewish adults to discover this hope all that Israel has to offer.

Yes, I recommend this program

About OTZMA

OTZMA – It’s your life. Use it well.

OTZMA is the PREMIER ten-month-long, high-quality fellowship for college graduates, aged 20-26, which combines volunteering, leadership development training and internships in locations throughout Israel.

DEVELOP...