Friday, May 2, 2014

Bored? have I got a boredom-buster for you...

Bored at work? Ready for something new, a change of scene, an adventure? Have I got an adventure for you...

Come to Israel! Aliyah is of course an option, but there are lots of ways for Jews to come to Israel without making Aliyah, just to experience life in the Jewish State and discover the Israeli side of Judaism. Programs ranging from 10 days to 10 months will give you unforgettable life experiences and professional and personal growth. 

And if you like it so much you don't want to leave…the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption is here for you!

Ten days or ten months or a lifetime—it's up to you to take a chance and discover somewhere new!

Taglit-Birthright Israel:

What it is: A FREE (really, actually, no-strings, including 3 meals most days, free) ten-day heritage trip to Israel, for Jews living all over the world between the ages of 18 and 20

Length: Just 10 days!

The details: Taglit-Birthright Israel is the non-profit group that sets the guidelines for the trips and funds them, but the specific trip you go on is organized by one of many trip organizers, ranging from your university Hillel to your community synagogue, federation, or summer camp. You can go to your local organization of choice to find out when their trips are, or you can search through the Taglit-Birthright Israel website for details on the various trips, as there are slight differences. For example, some are non-denominational while others are more religious (although in general Taglit-Birthright is geared toward less-engaged Jews), and some are "adventure" trips which include more physical activities in Israel, while others are geared toward those with disabilities.

Dates to know: Taglit has trips twice a year, winter and summer, but exact dates vary based on the organizer. Summer registration for North America is closed already (it's still open in the rest of the world!), and Winter registration will open at the end of August. You have to register with a specific trip organizer, so do your research in advance, taking into account the dates of the trip!

Onward Israel:

What it is: Onward Israel provides six to ten-week resume-building experiences in Israel for alumni of short-term Israel trips, including internships, service learning, academic courses, and fellowships to get a deeper understanding of Israel.

Length: 6 to 10 weeks, usually during the summer.

The details: The program is organized through local communities in North America and around the world, including local federations and other Jewish organizations, and provides cross-cultural resume-building experiences. Each program is organized with a specific community outside of Israel and is up to 70% subsidized by the Jewish Agency, meaning you pay an extremely affordable price for a summer in Israel. Go to the website to find out what organizations in your area have Onward Israel programs.

Dates to know: Programs are over the summer, but specific dates will vary by program, so start looking now!


What it is: Masa offers over 200 different programs ranging from five to ten months, both for gap-year students (18 year olds) current university students, and university graduates (22-30). Programs range from academic to working on kibbutzim to volunteering to professional internships in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Length: Programs range from 5 to 10 months, but the exact dates depend on the program.

The details: Masa offers over 200 different programs of all different kinds. Whether you’re looking to study Hebrew for a year, volunteer on a Kibbutz or in Tel Aviv, teach English in cities across Israel, or intern with different companies, non-profits, or Government ministries, you can search through the Masa website to find programs! Masa offers a grant to help cover the costs of the program, which varies according to program. Masa also organizes conferences and events for participants of various programs so you can meet people on other programs.

Dates to know: Fall and year programs usually start at the end of August/beginning of September, and Spring programs start at the end of January. Exact dates vary based on the program! Applications are usually rolling, although the earlier you apply the better!


And there are lots of ways to stay involved once you get back to your home country too! From Birthright NEXT Shabbat dinners to Yom Hatzmaut festivals and your local Hillel, JCC, or synagogue, there are lots of Israel programs you can look into.

Some helpful websites you can look at to learn about Israel as well:


Resources for educators, Jewish communities, and individuals to learn about Israel, discussing its controversies and current events and how they relate to the Jewish diaspora.

Hartman Institute iEngage Project:

The iEngage project is all about connecting Diaspora communities, especially in America, to Israel in a new and dynamic way. There are some great articles on their website, and opportunities to work further with them via internships and gap year studies.

And of course, if you decide you want the adventure to keep going, you can contact Nefesh B'Nefesh if you're in an English-speaking country, or your local Israel emissary or Aliyah organization, or The Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption at one of our centers in Israel: 

If you have any other programs to suggest, I'd love to hear them!

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