MASA expects to send 13,000 to Israel this school year

NEW YORK (Press Release) – Masa Israel Journey, the global leader in long-term international career development and leadership experiences in Israel for young adults from around the world, has hit record numbers for participation in school year 2017-18. Some 13,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are anticipated to participate in Masa Israel’s programs this year.

Since Masa’s founding in 2004, more than 120,000 alumni from 60+ countries have grown as professionals and as people  –  a new generation of connected, committed, and inspired young Jewish people – through participation in Masa’s programs. They are changing the face of the Jewish world and Israel, as community leaders and engaged advocates for Israel, one journey at a time.

Masa’s network of opportunities made available to participants involves thousands of top Israeli businesses and institutions across the social and academic sectors in Israel and the Jewish world, which benefit from the talent of global millennials both while they’re in Israel and upon their return.

As Masa celebrates its 13th birthday (it’s b’nai mitzvah year), it is moving on to face growth-driven challenges by focusing on a number of scalable, strategic product areas, which answer both market need, the national needs of Israel, and the needs of the Jewish world. The products will be run centrally by Masa, increasing the organization’s direct influence on programming, ensuring quality, and strengthening brand.

The product areas are currently being conceptualized and designed, and some are in a pre-approval stage. They will focus on:

  • Teaching English in under-served schools (in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Education);
  • Business and internships;
  • Technology;
  • Leadership; and
  • Study abroad and graduate school.

Before joining Masa Israel, new North American CEO Shalom Elcott oversaw a national STEM education mapping initiative in Israel for the Henry and Susan Samueli Foundation. He also served for a decade as President and CEO of Jewish Federation and Family Services in Orange County, Calif. Previously, he was Director of the American and International Committees for the Tel Aviv Foundation, and Co-founder and Director of the Israel Air Force Center & the Fisher Institute for Air Power. A Los Angeles native, Elcott spent six years in Israel, where he created United Way of Israel, which is known as MATAN – Investing in the Community, and oversaw the expansion of the Ted Arison Family Foundation.

Elcott remarked, “I am thrilled to join a sweeping global movement – that is strengthening ties among young Jews and Israel while instilling in them the responsibility and desire to give back to their local communities. We are engaged in deep conversation and strategic thinking with Federations and business leaders from coast to coast, to dramatically shift the ways young professionals relate to, and support, both Israel and their local Jewish communities, and it is an incredibly exciting time to be doing this work together.”

Added Masa Israel Journey Global CEO Liran Avisar Ben-Horin, “Masa Israel Journey has cultivated broad reach across the United States by collaborating closely with Federations to build a talent pipeline that shapes program participants into Jewish community leaders. As Masa’s new CEO of North America, Shalom Elcott brings decades of experience in the Jewish philanthropic world and in the creation and management of start-up philanthropic endeavors. He has developed synergies that help foundations, high net worth families, and philanthropists implement their visions.

“The founders of Masa Israel Journey – The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Prime Minister’s Office – had a dream that every young Jew around the world would have a chance to experience Israel, to develop a sense of home here. Their dream was to create an anchor for a young Jewish network of committed, inspired Jews who have Israel inside of them. This dream came true.

“We are changing reality in Israel and the Jewish world by offering millennials what they seek: to get ahead in their careers, to travel in a place that truly changes them, to grow as people, to network, and to work with individuals and causes for which they have a passion.”

Masa Israel Journey’s reorganization will be spearheaded by Avisar, Elcott and incoming Board of Directors Chairman Joseph “Yossi” Bachar. Bachar, Chairman of the Board of Israel Discount Bank, the third largest bank in Israel, brings his experience in business to Masa. Together with Masa Israel’s leadership and partners, including JFNA and local Federations across the United States, Avisar, Elcott and Bachar are engaged in building deep relationships with sector experts across the United States and Israel who can help advise on the new direction of its programs, as well as help identify strong potential participants.

Masa Israel Journey programs are an investment not only in the American Jewish community, but in a thriving future for Israel. The organization generates approximately $570 million (2 billion NIS) into the country’s economy annually.

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Masa Israel Journey is the leader in immersive international experiences in Israel. Masa Israel connects young people ages 18-30 who are seeking to enrich their personal and professional growth with the top gap year, study abroad, service-learning and career development opportunities. An initiative of The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel, Masa’s subsidized, individually tailored programs immerse participants in the community as they embark on a journey that will change both the course of their lives, and of the Jewish people’s future. More info at @MasaIsrael and on Facebook.

 

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