MASA Israel is an umbrella organization for long-term programs in Israel for Jewish Americans, a joint project of the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency for Israel. More specifically, I will be a part of the MASA Israel Teaching Fellows cohort in Petah Tikva operated by Israel Experience. For ten months I will be living in Petah Tikva and volunteering for 25 hours a week in a local school to teach English, taking on a community service project throughout the year, studying Hebrew in an intensive course called Ulpan, and acclimating to an entirely new culture. I'm expecting the word communication to take on a new meaning once I arrive and will need to find more creative ways to articulate myself to the non-English speaking community.
While my מסע these next few months literally refers to the fellowship I am participating in, this journey also pertains to the personal, professional, and cultural development I hope to achieve during my time in Petah Tikva. The city has a rich history (translating to the "Opening of Hope" in Hebrew), is one of the country's top centers for business and technology, and is the sixth largest city in Israel. Stay tuned because I'm sure I'll have much more to gush about once I actually arrive in Petah Tikva.
While it is not going to be easy to leave behind family, friends, and my beloved Washington, DC for the next year, I am looking forward to the adventure and opportunities that lay ahead. Working in a new country, learning a foreign language, and further connecting to my Jewish heritage, I am investing in myself. The world has always been open to me, but now it is my turn to carpe diem and to be open to the world. I will be out of my comfort zone. My beliefs, work ethic, and perspectives may be challenged along the way. But, as an outsider coming into a new community, it will be my goal to be open to Petah Tikva and experience the essence of this community and country throughout my מסע.