Masa Mega event by Becca Gulino
Masa Mega event by Becca Gulino
Imagine this- you’re in a giant auditorium with easily a thousand strangers. You sit in a row of seats with your peers on your Masa program that you’ve spent the last two months with, and the people behind you are speaking Russian and the people in front of you are speaking French. There are giant flags of countries from all over the world being waved around, and you are trying to identify each and every country, as well as figure out why there the flag of Belarus is being displayed. This was the atmosphere of the Masa Mega Event on October 31, 2016 in Jerusalem.
It turns out the reason why there were so many different flags waving in the conference center auditorium, Belarus included, is because each flag represented the countries that all of the Masa participants come from. It dawned on me that I was in a room with people from all over the world, countries I never thought I’d meet a person from. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Masa is a gigantic organization, that the MITF program is not the only program that Masa offers. This Mega Event reminded me that Masa offers a plethora of opportunities for Jewish post-grads, and even high school students.
Before the main event, there was a large room that resembled the many BBYO type events that I attended in high school. Jewish people everywhere, dancing, mingling, and clustering in the corner with friends and strangers trying to find mutual connections between each other. Some participants chose to speak with Masa participants from other countries, discussing cultural differences while others found familiar MITF participants from other cities and discussed their experiences and concerns about the program. Once we walked into the auditorium that was previously described, we again mingled with the people around each other, dancing and singing to popular American music.
Once the actual event started, the host introduced himself and reminded us that we were all Masa participants from all over the world. We watched several videos about different participants’ journeys about leaving home, whichever country that may have been, and about their excitement of beginning their year in their Masa program. There was even a video message from Bibi, although many were dismayed at his lack of physical appearance. There were three very different, but amazing musical acts. The first was a religious sister trio, which sang traditional Israeli music. The second was the Ethiopian hip-hop duo Café Shahor Hazak, and the third was the band Hatikva 6 who played reggae music. Through each act, Masa participants danced, sang, and created a crowd in front of the stage. Two of our very own brave participants even snuck backstage to meet Café Shahor Hazak.
Overall, the Masa Mega Event was a fun event that introduced the majority of the Rehovot Fellows to Israeli music. We spent time together, with a few of our Israeli peers, with fellow MITF participants, and with other Masa participants from all over the world.
Becca is a Fellow of Ma'ase Olam's Masa Israel Teaching Fellow program. For more information about her experience and the program email firstname.lastname@example.org.