Updated: Jun 23, 2021
For hundreds of years, Jews around the world have been dreaming of coming back to Israel, to return to the place we can call our own. Today, modern Israel has not only become a safe haven for many Jews and non-Jews alike, but has grown into a developed, innovative, and progressive nation, making it one of the most traveled to, and loved countries.
Anyone who has visited Israel knows that you cannot just come for a short visit. The diverse culture, the rich history, and the lively day-to-day life of this beautiful country will have you wanting to stay forever!
How can you make sure your Israel experience is all that you dreamed of?
Meet Masa Israel Journey, the organization that has been bringing Jews to Israel to taste that exciting Israeli life, for 16 years! Each year, Masa helps over 12,000 Jews from all walks of life come to Israel for one of their five long-term programs in different segments (gap year, study, volunteer, Jewish studies, and career/internships). They are the global leader in creating unique experiences for young Jews looking to experience real Israel, in an in-depth and authentic way.
What has Masa been up to during COVID19?
Well, no global pandemic can truly stop Masa from sharing their passion for Israel. Even during the pandemic, Masa has been working hard to bring fellows, ages 18-35, back to Israel!
When the first lockdown began, we made sure to create a new framework that would still give our fellows the immersion, the connection to the culture, and the personal and professional growth that they were looking for. We created “Masa Online”, offering zoom classes from morning to evening, designed uniquely for our programs, with classes in all areas- Hebrew classes, history lessons, yoga and exercise classes, and other fun things!
Even in all of the uncertainty, Masa has succeeded in keeping each program alive and running, modifying anything that needed to be in line with Corona regulations, while keeping to the Masa values and mission. There are Facebook groups for all Masa fellows, creating online forums of support and connection, as well as offering a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Masa has also added ways for fellows to receive top-notch emotional support in times like these, with online sessions on mental health, and resources for personal support.
The switch to online platforms has, at times, even proven more successful, as Masa saw over 300,000 viewers tune into their annual Yom HaZikaron (Remembrance Day) online event in April 2020! Masa has quickly adapted to our current reality and has found creative and engaging ways to keep fellows happy in Israel! Since the beginning of the pandemic, two new exciting programs have been created specifically for “Corona times”.
Check out two of Masa’s new programs, allowing you to continue your studies or work online, FROM ISRAEL! The “Remote Study” and “Remote Israel” programs allow you to bring your work and studies here while enjoying the perks and excitement of being on a Masa program in Israel! Have the luxury of a co-working space, social and cultural activities, professional mentoring, and living in the best country in the world!
Impressively, Masa never sent anyone home, as they were able to create a safe home for their fellows here! Interest in Masa programs has actually skyrocketed during COVID19 as a result. They have created opportunities for travel and deep immersion in Israel even with the odds against them.
What does Masa have in store for the future?
The world is changing from day to day. The regulations are changing each day. There is so much uncertainty. But at Masa, we keep moving with flexibility. The airports may be closed here and there, and lockdowns may be extended, but we are prepared for every scenario. We will continue to do our best to achieve our mission, and bring as many people as possible to Israel!
Let’s hear from a few Masa fellows themselves!
"I'm from Hungary and I came to do an internship with Masa in Israel. I live now in Tel Aviv-Yafo and work as a physiotherapist. It's a 5 months long internship program with Destination Israel and Masa Israel Journey. I'm very grateful and happy that Masa Israel Journey made it possible for me to come to this program especially during Corona days. I really love it here and my plan is to make Aliyah after this!" Cinthia Grunwald, Masa Career
"I’ve always loved Israel. I’ve been here twice before and didn’t want to leave. I had such a connection with this country, it’s almost unexplainable. With the Coronavirus, I felt I wanted to come back despite the challenges, and teach. The students I work with are more behind than ever, especially in peripheral areas, and they need the personal attention we can give." Rachella Ferst, Masa Israel Teaching Program