Israel Service Fellows

Israel Service Fellows

Ma'ase Olam-Israel Service Fellows is an intensive 10-month service-learning program that brings Jewish college graduates to Israel to work in informal education, community development, and youth empowerment projects in and around Akko, Israel.

Akko is one of Israel’s few mixed cities, with a 70% Jewish and 30% Arab population. Fellows have the opportunity to work closely with both these communities, as well as in six Druze villages nearby. The program emphasizes the importance of building stronger relationships between the Jewish diaspora and minority groups in Israel.

ISF is unique in that it allows its participants to create informal education content for a wide range of subjects. Fellows bring their passion to the periphery and inspire at-risk youth to explore opportunities that had not previously been available to them.

If you are interested in participating in the 2014-2015 cycle of Israel Service Fellows, click here to begin a dialogue with one of our administrators.

 

Program Components

  1. Volunteering and Service
  2. Israeli Partners
  3. Location
  4. Professional Development and Leadership Training
  5. Israeli Culture and Exploration
  6. Guided Tours of Israel - Tiyulim
  7. Hebrew Language Study - Ulpan
  8. Housing
  9. Monthly Stipend
  10. Cost
  11. Participant Qualifications

 

Volunteering and Service

Israel Service Fellows is fully committed to building an inclusive and equitable Israel. As a fellow, you will provide educational opportunities to Israelis from various backgrounds and may work with Jews, Arabs, and members of the Druze community. You will work in service placements that provide innovative programming for youth that promotes leadership development, volunteerism, and equality in Israel.

Each fellow will work at multiple service placements for 25-30 hours a week, including schools, youth centers, and community centers.

Examples of past service programs include:

  • English language debate clubs
  • Multi-disciplinary art projects
  • A mixed Jewish-Arab vocal group
  • Community gardens
  • Video and photography workshops
  • Environmental science courses

 

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Israeli Peers

As opposed to programs that send people from English-speaking countries to live in an insular bubble, Ma’ase Olam intentionally connects our English-speaking participants with a group of Israeli peers.

The English-speaking participants and Israeli peers will undergo joint programming, and carry out service work together. As locals who are very familiar with Akko, the Israeli peers also serve as critical mediums in our Fellows adjustment to life in a new locale. All of this will set the stage for a meaningful and deep cultural exchange.

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Location

Fellows will live and serve in Akko, a beautiful, ancient coastal city on the Mediterranean at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Akko is known for its exotic Old City, its blend of architectural influences, and its gorgeous vistas.

As a mixed Jewish-Arab city, Akko is also known as a microcosm of the broader struggle for integration and equality in Israeli society. Relationships between these two populations have been historically tense, and Israel Service Fellows have the opportunity to build bridges in a fascinating but fractious community.

Akko has a train and other public transportation connecting it to Haifa, and other cities all across Israel. When not volunteering, Fellows will experience the Galilee and enjoy 10 months of amazing sunsets on the beach.

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Professional Development and Leadership

Fellows will participate in professional development workshops, with a focus on strengthening skills in cross-cultural communication and creating innovative educational content.

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Israeli Culture and Exploration

Joint activities between the English-speaking and Israeli participants will focus on cross-cultural dialogue as well as individual and collective Jewish identity. During the program, you will have the opportunity to study different aspects of Israeli society and the challenges it faces.

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Guided Tours of Israel/Tiyulim

You will go on several tours, or tiyulim, throughout Israel to learn firsthand about Israel’s history, diverse geography, and various cultures. All tiyulim are designed with the intention of better understanding the pressing social justice issues in each region of the country. Tiyulim include visits to:

  • The Galilee and Jezreel Valley
  • The Western Galilee
  • The Negev Desert
  • Eilat
  • Haifa
  • The Golan Heights
  • Jerusalem
  • Tel Aviv
  • The Dead Sea and surrounding region
  • Central Israel
  • Caesaria
  • Zichron Yaakov

 

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Language Study

All English-speaking participants will study Hebrew (no prior knowledge required), twice a week.

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Housing

Fellows will be housed in fully furnished apartments and will be encouraged to live communally, setting the stage for a transformative encounter with the other English-speaking participants in the program. Members of the Israeli peer group will live nearby.

Fellows will be sharing rooms in apartments. The apartments will be fully furnished including pots and pans, and bedding. Apartments will have Internet access and all other necessary utilities. There will be regular access to laundry services.

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Monthly Stipend

During the program in Israel you will receive a direct deposit of 1,300 NIS a month to cover basic public transportation and food expenses. The stipend will be deposited directly to your bank account, which will be opened in Israel for this purpose. Participants may want to bring extra money with them for further personal spending.

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Cost

With a Masa Israel grant, the Ma'ase Olam-Israel Service Fellows program costs $1,050, including housing, health insurance, and the monthly stipend. Fellows will be reimbursed  for the cost of their flight (up to 5,000 NIS) at the end of the program.

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Participant Qualifications

  • Applicants must be Jewish
  • Applicants must be between the ages of 21-30
  • Applicants must be fluent in English
  • Applicants must have at least a Bachelor’s degree or other international equivalent
  • Applicants must demonstrate the ability to excel in a challenging, cross-cultural environment
  • Applicants must demonstrate an interest in social change, diversity, leadership, and education
  • Applicants must demonstrate the desire to be immersed in Israeli society

 

If you are interested in participating in the 2014-2015 cycle of Israel Service Fellows, click here to begin a dialogue with one of our administrators.

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About Akko

A glimpse of Akko's famed Old City

Akko is an ancient Mediterranean coastal city at the Northern extremity of Haifa Bay. It is known throughout Israel for its beautiful Old City, delectable Arab cuisine, and stunning sunsets.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Akko was historically a critical port of the Levant, and has had continuous settlement for 5,000 years. Its architectural features are characteristic of a fortified town dating from the Ottoman 18th and 19th centuries, with typical urban components such as a citadel, mosques and baths. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact, both above and below today's street level.

Today Akko is one of Israel's few truly mixed cities, with about a 70% Jewish and 30% Arab population. Like Israeli society as a whole, these two populations are in many ways segregated. Jewish and Arab children typically attend different schools and rarely get the chance to interact with one another in a meaningful way. Although the divide between these two communities makes Akko a challenging environment to work in, it offers a rare opportunity for Fellows to experience and facilitate long-term cross cultural dialogue with and between these groups.

 

 

 

Meet the Fellows

Alia Goldfarb is from Basel, Switzerland. She studied Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies and Theater Arts at Brandeis         University. In Akko she works with a mixed Jewish-Arab choir and teaches English at Ort Technology High School. Her Druze      village is Yarka, where she teaches musical theatre.

 

 

 

Ava Boxer is from Livingston, New Jersey. She studied English and Communicative Disorders at The College of New Jersey. She teaches creative writing in Yarka, and teaches English at Al Amal, an Arab elementary school in Akko.                          

 

 

Ben Goldstein is from Finksburg, Maryland. He studied Marketing and Terrorism Studies at the University of Maryland - College Park. He teaches beginning guitar lessons in the Druze village of Sajur, as well as debate at Hilmi Shafi, the Arab high school in Akko. He also leads after school games and recreation at Shazar, a Jewish elementary school.

 

 

 

Carly Wender is from Greak Neck, New York. She studied Neuroscience and Mathematics at Union College. She teaches English at Ort Technology High School in Akko, and coaches various sports in Julis, a Druze village.

 

 

 

David Biel is from Bethesda, Maryland. He studied History and Sociology at Hamilton College. He coaches basketball in the Druze village Sajur, and teaches English at Ort Technology High School in Akko.

 

 

Eian Katz is from Shaker Heights, Ohio. He studied Economics and Religious Studies at Yale University. He coaches soccer in Abu S'naan, and leads recreational activities for Arab teens at a youth center in Akko. He also tutors students in English at Ort Technology High School.

 

 

Hannah Ellison is from Salem, Oregon. She studied Religious Studies and Politics and Government at the University of Puget Sound. She teaches cooking at Yanuch, a Druze village, and English at Al Amal Elementary School in Akko.

 

 

Hannah Turner is from Wilmette, Illinois. She studied Psychology and Linguistics at Haverford College. She leads Zumba and Reflective Empowerment workshops in Julis, and teaches English and Debate at Hilmi Shafi High School in Akko.

 

 

 

Jonathan Elbaz is from Bethesda, Maryland. He studied Journalism at the University of Maryland. He teaches music in the Arab-Druze village of Abu S'naan, as well as English at Manuf, a boarding school for troubled youth in Akko.

 

 

Maggie Yastrow is from Deerfield, Illinois. She studied Sociology and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She teaches art in Marar, a mixed Arab-Druze village, and English at Hilmi Shafi High School in Akko. She also leads recreational after school activities at Manuf High School in Akko.

 

 

 

Molly Radler is from Port Washington, New York. She studied Psychology at the University at Buffalo. She teaches dance at Yarka and English at Manuf. She also leads recreational activities at Akim, a club for special needs children in Akko.

 

 

 

Rachel Horowitz is from Allentown, Pennsylvania. She studied Psychology, Sociology, and Communications at the University of Hartford. She leads arts and crafts workshops in Sajur, and tutors students in English at Shazar Elementary. She also leads after school recreational activities at Manof.

 

 

Sara Rubinstein is from Gaithersburg, Maryland. She studied Psychology and Theater Studies at St. Mary's College of Maryland and Creative Arts in Therapy and Dance/Movement Therapy at Drexel University. She currently leads dance workshops in Marar, and teaches movement classes at the Akim moadon in Akko.

 

 

 

Stephanie Fabricant is from Baldwin, New York. She studied Communications, Judaic Studies, and Media Arts at the University of Arizona. She leads photography workshops in Julis and at Manuf Boarding School in Akko.

 

 

 

Tara Alpert is from Escondido, California. She studied Biochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. She teaches science in Marar, and English at Hilmi Shafi High School in Akko. She also leads recreational activities at Manuf Boarding School.

 

 

 

 

Zach Simandl is from Land o Lakes, Florida. He studied Psychology and Human Development at Eckerd College. He teaches community theatre at Yanuch, and works with the elderly at the Mishol garden in Akko. He also tutors students in English at Manuf Boarding School.

 

FAQ

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About the Organization:

 

Finances and Logistics:

 

Location:

 

What Will I Do:

 

Safety:

 

Religious Affiliation:

 

Applying:

 

What is Ma'ase, and what is Israel Service Fellows?

Ma'ase ("deed" or "action" in Hebrew) was established in 2004 to promote equal opportunity and civil leadership among young adults from Israel's peripheries through volunteer and follow-up programs. Ma'ase Olam, a project of Ma'ase, runs joint 10-month service learning programs bringing together young adults from Israel and the Jewish Diaspora to do meaningful service work in communities in Israel's geographic and social periphery. Israel Service Fellows is an opportunity for exemplary college graduates to serve in Israel on a 10-month social change program. The program emphasizes the use of informal education to benefit marginalized populations in Israel including Arabs, Druze, and the Jewish periphery.

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Who funds Israel Service Fellows?

Israel Service Fellows is a Masa Israel Journey program (a joint venture of The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel) that is heavily funded by the Rashi Foundation. The Rashi Foundation works to help Israel strengthen systems that serve the most vulnerable sections of society.

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Who is eligible for Ma'ase Olam's Israel Service Fellows?

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be Jewish
  • Be a college graduate
  • Be between the ages of 21 and 30 at the start of the program
  • Be fluent in English

 

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How much does it cost to participate?

Fellows who are eligible for the Masa Israel Journey grant are responsible to pay $1,050 for the full 10-month experience. This fee includes fully furnished accommodations, a monthly stipend of 1,300 NIS, Hebrew immersion classes, professional and personal development activities, organized tours across Israel, and other enrichment activities. You will receive a flight reimbursement for up to 5,000 NIS at the end of the program.

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What if I already went on a Masa Israel Journey program?

If you have already been on a Masa Israel Journey program, the cost of the program is $5,550, and includes everything mentioned in the previous question.

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What about personal expenses?

You will receive a monthly stipend of 1,300 NIS (about $350, depending on the exchange rate) to pay for basic food and transportation costs. We are more than happy to help you prepare a monthly budget so that the stipend will suffice for essentials. The program covers all your housing and utilities, but you may be interested in spending money on additional items: going out to restaurants and bars, buying clothing, traveling around Israel independently, etc. We encourage you to bring extra money with you for further personal spending.

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What about health insurance in Israel?

Ma'ase provides health insurance while you are on the program. Upon your acceptance into the program, we will send you the necessary forms to fill out and return to Ma'ase.

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What are the dates of the program?

Ma’ase Olam - Israel Service Fellows is a 10-month program that runs from August 27, 2013-June 30, 2014.

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Where is Akko exactly? What is it like?

Akko is a city of 46,300 people in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel, located across the bay from Haifa. It's a beautiful coastal city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Akko has a wonderful mix of ancient and new elements, with an old, walled city, and modern-day construction. There is a diverse mixture of populations in Akko. About 70% of its residents are Jewish, primarily of Moroccan, Kavkazi and Russian tradition, and 30% are Muslim or Christian Arabs. Akko has many restaurants, cafes, and stores. There is also a shuk (open-air market place) in the old city.

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What will my accommodations be like?

You will be living in furnished apartments communally with other Israel Service Fellows participants. You will have to share a room in the apartment, but the number of rooms and people living in each apartment varies from year to year. All of the apartments have air conditioning, heat/space heaters, Wifi Internet, cable television, a kitchen with dishes, pots, and pans, sheets and towels, and a washing machine.

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How do I get from one place to another?

Everything is easily accessible by bus in Akko. When you leave Akko, you can take an intercity bus, or train to Haifa, which will then connect you to everywhere else in the country.

On Friday nights and Saturdays, most public transportation doesn't run in Israel. You can take a sherut (shared van) to Haifa. Bus drivers and sherut drivers are usually very happy to help English-speakers figure out where they’re going and how to get there.

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Where will I be working?

Each fellow has multiple volunteer placements. You will be working at schools, community centers, and youth centers with the diverse populations that live in and around Akko. You'll be trying to increase leadership and informal learning opportunities for teens and young adults in Israeli society.

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What will my responsibilities be at the volunteer placement?

Specific responsibilities will vary, but you will be creating and implementing informal education programs with the goal of bringing out the full abilities of young people and providing them leadership opportunities. Examples of past and ongoing programs include an English language debate club, a mixed Jewish-Arab youth choir, a cross-generational gardening project, video and photography workshops, and earth science courses.

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What will my weekly schedule be like?

Each week will be different, but in general, you will be volunteering at different placement organizations four days a week, Monday-Thursday. One evening a week, you'll have an educational program with the Israeli peer group, where you'll explore differences and similarities between Israeli culture and your home community, and delve into social issues in Israeli society. You'll also have one group meeting a week where all the English-speaking fellows talk about their week and branstorm ideas to help each other through challenges. You will take an intensive Hebrew class (ulpan) twice a week. The fifth day of the week (Sunday) is reserved for various education and training sessions, trips around Israel, and programing with other Ma’ase Olam volunteers in Israel.

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Will I have any free time in Israel?

Yes. Although Ma'ase Olam is a structured program, you do have a good amount of free time. Most of your weekends are free. You also have numerous evenings free. Additionally, you have extended time off during Hannukah and Passover.

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What are educational sessions like during the year?

Educational sessions are designed to build your abilities in areas such as working with youth at risk, familiarity with various issues in Israeli society, and understanding the challenges of living in a pluralistic environment. The training is intended to develop social awareness, personal empowerment, and leadership skills. Some past sessions have included: Economic and Social Disparities in Israel, Culture Shock and Adaptation to a New Culture, Youth at Risk: Violence and Addictions, Creating Meaningful Relationships: Interpersonal Communication with a Language Barrier, and more.

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Do I need to know Hebrew?

No. Participants come on Ma'ase Olam with a wide range of Hebrew knowledge. All participants study Hebrew in ulpan, an intensive Hebrew class.

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What type of background do I need to have to participate?

Participants do not need any one specific degree or background to participate in Israel Service Fellows. We are interested in applicants who are committed to pursuing social justice, and interested in working with marginalized communities in Israel. During the program, we will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge base to handle the challenging situations you will inevitably face.

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Is it safe to be in Israel?

The safety, security, and well being of Ma'ase Olam participants is of paramount importance to us. Ma’ase Olam adheres to the security regulations of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Education. Ma'ase Olam updates its participants regularly regarding security issues in Israel and makes changes when need be to the program. Upon arrival in Israel, you will go over appropriate security regulations to follow throughout your stay.

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What's the religious background of the program?

Ma’ase Olam is open to Jewish people of all backgrounds. Our organization has no political or denominational affiliation. That being said, we want everyone to feel comfortable no matter what their Jewish observance level. Accordingly, all meals provided during the program are kosher, and the program does not entail any activities that would violate traditional observance of Shabbat.

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What is the application process?

Please click here for an overview of the application process.

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I have more questions! Whom do I talk to?

Contact us any time. We would be happy to answer your questions and tell you more about the program. You can get in touch with us at maaseolam@gmail.com.