After graduating from college, Becca Haas was eager to return to Israel. She applied for Masa Israel's Teaching Fellows Program and spent 10 months teaching English at a school in Rishon LeZion, near Tel Aviv.
"Masa had a pretty big impact on me," Haas said. "I gained a lot of skills that year, and I was exposed to a lot of Jews from around the world."
Masa Israel Journey, a partnership between the Jewish Agency for Israel-an overseas arm of JUF-and the Prime Minister's Office of the Government of Israel, offers gap year, study abroad, internship, service, and post-college programs for Jewish young adults between the ages of 18 and 30. The Teaching Fellows program is one of more than 300 opportunities for short-term and long-term immersion in Israel offered through Masa.
Since its inception in 2004, over 120,000 young people from more than 60 countries have participated in Masa Israel programs, including hundreds from Chicago.
"Masa is perfect for anyone who wants to go on a life-changing long-term trip to Israel," said Amanda Monto, Masa's regional representative in Chicago. "Through Masa, participants meet new people and experience a new culture while exploring their Jewish identity."
Masa is dedicated to making its programs financially accessible. The program awards grants ranging from 200 dollars to 4,500 dollars to every participant. JUF Israel Experience scholarships can also be applied towards Masa programs.
Additionally, Masa participants also receive logistical support, leadership training, and access to staff 24/7.
"You aren't completely on your own," Haas said. "You have stipends for food and an apartment, but on the other hand, you're in a new country and exploring a new culture, and you're given the freedom to do that. I was well-supported, which allowed me to grow."
For more information on Masa Israel Journey, email Amanda Monto at email@example.com.
Masa Israel Journey is a partner with JUF in serving our community.