Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Applications open for fifth cohort of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows


NEW YORK—Applications for the 2015-2016 Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are officially open. For the program’s fifth cohort, Masa Israel Journey will select 200 outstanding Jewish college graduates to teach English in Israel’s periphery and, for the first time ever, in Israeli youth villages for immigrant and at-risk youth.

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows is a joint initiative of Israel’s Ministry of Education, Masa Israel Journey, and the Jewish Agency for Israel. The 10-month service-learning fellowship was created to address the achievement gap in Israel’s education system. As Israel’s classrooms are overcrowded and less than 25 percent of Israeli English teachers speak English at a native level, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows work as teachers’ aides in underserved classrooms, where they help reduce class sizes and improve English learning outcomes for Israeli students.

Since its inaugural session in 2011-2012, 535 Jewish young adults from the United States, Canada, England and Australia have served as Masa Israel Teaching Fellows. The Fellowship has expanded from five cities to nine cities in Israel’s periphery: Ashdod, Be’er Sheva, Netanya, Petach Tikvah, Rishn Lezion, Rehovot, Ramle and Lod.

“It’s more than just teaching,” explains Debbie Stone, assistant director of The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at University of Virginia, and 2013-2014 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow alum. “You learn so much more about yourself and how resourceful you can be. You find the most creative ways to communicate something as simple as ‘take out your notebook’” she said.

Many Masa Israel Teaching Fellows return to their home countries to take on leadership roles in their local Jewish communities. Some, like Debbie, even pursue careers as Jewish professionals in Hillels, youth movements, and Jewish Federations, as well as other Jewish organizations across the country.

“Masa Israel Teaching Fellows was incredible,” says Seth Reder, director of Jewish Student Life at Central Florida Hillel, and 2013-2014 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow alum. “The opportunities that it provided and the doors that it opened – meeting Israelis and being immersed in Israel – really helped me see the Jewish world outside of the world I had known.”

And, immersed in Israel, they are: Masa Israel Teaching Fellows quickly become integral parts of the communities in which they work, live and volunteer. As Brittany Walter, Israel engagement coordinator at Central Florida Hillel notes, Petach Tikvah’s local radio station made an announcement as soon as she and the rest of the 2013-2014 Masa Israel Teaching Fellows arrived in town. “We felt really loved, in our apartment building, the streets, the shuk—everywhere,” she remembers.

To apply for Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, visit: http://www.israelteachingfellows.org. Applications are due on Dec. 15, 2014 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Nominations from community members are also encouraged at http://www.israelteachingfellows.org/nominate.

For more information, contact Allison Green, Masa Israel Journey, North America’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator at (212) 339-6976 or allisong@masaisrael.org.


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