Home for the holidays

“Every Yom Kippur since I was born has been spent standing next to my Dad in synagogue. Whatever was happening in our lives and wherever we were during the year, on this, the holiest of holy days, we found each other. But this year was different.

This year, I found myself standing next to 200 young Jews on a rooftop in Tel Aviv with a group called BINA, the only secular Yeshiva of its kind in Israel. I was one of no more than a handful of English speakers. Other than a few prayers, it was all foreign. There were no familiar faces, words or tunes. No Dad standing next to me. And for some reason, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be and felt totally enveloped in love and comfort.” – Lisa Frenkiel, Yahel Social Change Program 2011-2012

You can read the rest of Lisa’s Yom Kippur Story and Masa Israel experience here:


6High Holidays Stories, Alumni,

Participant Perspectives: Jerusalem and Yom Kippur

“In Israel, EVERYTHING SHUTS DOWN. Last night we were walking in the middle of the highway, because there are no cars on the road. It is not a law… its not illegal to drive on Yom Kippur… its just that everyone knows this is not the day to drive. It was the most incredible social phenomenon.” - Natanya Meyer, Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, 2012-2013 

Head to the Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa blog to read the rest of Natanya’s story: tikkunolamisrael.blogspot.com

6High Holidays Stories, Alumni, medium,

A time for learning

“The difference in cultures is what makes every day so interesting but the commonalities is what brings everyone together. With the most important commonality being family. Family is what ties us all together and spending Rosh Hashanah here in Israel has further solidified my belief that our Jewish identity stems from our family values. I can’t count the number of times in the last few weeks where a conversation has went a little something like this. “Hi, I’m Justin, nice to meet you.” “Hi Justin I’m (so and so), do you have family here? Do you have a place to go for Rosh Hashanah? We would love to have you over.” Total strangers opening their doors to me. For every invitation I am forced to turn down (which has to happen unless they make Rosh Hashanah a 40 night Holiday), I understand more and more why I am here.” – Justin Lichtenstaedter, Yahel Social Change Program, 2011-2012

Continue reading about Justin’s Masa Israel experience:

6High Holidays Stories, Alumni,

Shana Dorfman on the differences between our cultures

"…I think that it’s kind of hard for Jews in America to come here and meet Israelis who are Jewish and don’t act the way that we consider to be Jewish. Like I have a friend who I worked with who is from a kibbutz and he was telling me that on Yom Kippur he makes it a point to eat pork. And it’s such a Jewish thing to do here because that’s certain people’s way of standing up against religion but still being Jewish at the same time. And if I were to go back and do that in the States, that would be so not Jewish at all, like there’s no way to make that a Jewish act. So it’s kind of funny to see the differences between our cultures and trying to talk to Israelis about that sort of thing” - Shana Dorfman, Otzma, 2006-2007

Learn more about Shana’s Masa Israel experience at:

6High Holiday Stories, Alumni,

From New York to Jerusalem

"One image I will never forget is seeing a orthodox man on his scooter and kittel (white robe) on his way to Kol Nidre. That’s when it hit me, I’m in Jerusalem, I’m a majority! The silence of the city for all of Yom Kippur truly enhanced the day, and as soon as the sun went down, and people enjoyed their food, the streets echoed with hammers and nails as residents built their sukkot. Where else in the world can you experience this? I am a New Yorker and am used to being surrounded by Jews, but I have found that there’s something in Jerusalem for everyone." - Abby Ravski, WUJS, Fall 2010; Conservative Yeshiva, Spring 2011

Read more about Abby’s Masa Israel experience on the blog:

6High Holidays Stories, Alumni,

The Chagim Chronicles: Shana Tova

"Who goes to the beach on Rosh Hashana one might ask…well – almost all secular Israelis" - Lena Glaser, Career Israel, Fall 2010

Read the rest of Lena’s Rosh Hashana story on the Masa Israel Blog:

6High Holidays Stories, Alumni, medium,

See you on Sunday, September 14, Boston!

Whether you’re participating in Boston’s Amazing Israel Race or you’re just in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by Masa Israel Journey’s table at the Get Back to Israel Fair! 

Sunday, September 14th
Boston University Hillel · 213 Bay State Road
CHECK-IN & LUNCH  1:00 pm · RACE BEGINS  2:30 pm

6Alumni, Event, Boston,

Learning and belonging at Hebrew University

“I spent Rosh Hashanah experiencing the hospitality of families who were much more religious than me, and then on Yom Kippur, I watched movies all day while fasting,” says Scott. “I can’t say I enjoyed one experience more than other, but I did love seeing the dichotomy of Israeli culture.” - Scott Berger, Hebrew University, Fall 2009

Read about the rest of Scott’s time in Israel on the Masa Israel Blog.

6High Holidays Stories, Alumni,

אחרי החגים - After the Holidays

"After services I caught a cab to my friend’s house in Savyon. There I spent the rest of the weekend celebrating the holiday in the way many secular Israelis do. I went to a foam party at a beachside pool in Herzliya and a party at Kibbutz Hazor. The party was in the theme of the recent social protests, with t-shirts given to attendees that read, “We the people demand free beer!” In general the holiday weekend took on more of the vibe of an American New Years Eve than the Rosh Hashanah I’m used to." - Joel Wanger, Israel Government Fellows, 2011-2012 

Visit Joel’s blog to read more about his High Holidays celebrations and his Masa Israel experiences.

6High Holidays Stories, Alumni,

5 more days


Hey Folks!

In five days I will be taking a plane to Israel to begin my gap year called Habonim Dror Workshop. I am beyond excited to continue the tradition in my family of attending this program. I am sad to leave my parents but I am very eager to start this new page in my life. 



Source: travel-is-real

6Israel, Current Participants, Habonim Dror,

http://astoldbygingie.tumblr.com/post/95867512611/as-promised-here-is-some-information-about-my f


As promised, here is some information about my upcoming trip to the Holy Land. I will be participating in a program called Career Israel. I’m flying out on Sunday (AHHHHH) and will be traveling to Jerusalem for orientation. After which, I will be moving into their dorm in Tel Aviv.

I will be…

Source: astoldbygingie

6Israel, Current Participants, Tel Aviv, Career Israel,


Leaving Arizona in 28 hours!!!

I have been waiting for this moment for 8 months and I can’t believe it’s actually happening.

I think I might cry when my plane lands in Tel Aviv… I am so elated just thinking about leaving, so I can’t imagine my emotions when I actually get there.

I made a travel blog at emilyweiner.tumblr.com if anyone wants to follow my adventures (even though I’ll post them here, too)!!!

Source: rainydayemily

6Israel, Current Participants, Tel Aviv, Career Israel,

The Beginning f



Over 4 years ago, I was blessed with a birthright trip to Israel. Not only did I meet some incredible people, I also fell in love with the country itself. This blog is named after the motto our Amazing Israel Group came up with – ISrael IS real. Now 4+ years later I am about to take off on one…

Source: jrossier8

6Current Participants, Israel, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, ITF, Netanya,

7 Days until this Adventure! f


As I sit and fold my clothing, I can’t help but think about all the possibilities that wait for me in Israel. I am no longer worried about how I can fit 10 months worth of belongings into a suitcase and crossing my fingers that it weights less than 50 lbs. Instead, I visualize the amount of fun and adventure I am going to be partaking in just 7 short days…


Source: relrelgoestoisrael

6Current Participants, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, Israel Teaching Fellows, ITF, Netanya,

Job: Midwest Campus Coordinator, Zionist Organization of America

The Zionist Organization of America’s growing Campus Activism Network organizes college students to combat Arab propaganda on campuses from coast to coast. The ZOA regularly brings student activists to Israel for leadership training programs; we are preparing the Jewish activist leadership of the future.

Read More

6Alumni, USA, Jobs & Internships, Chicago,