WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

What's been happening?

Meeting Idan Richel 

Gilya bisk got an opportunity of a lifetime to meet one of the most famous israeli artist in israel at this time! She entered a masa competition on facebook and 5 out of about 3000 where chosen to go back stage and meet him after the show! It was awesome to hear one of our own to be called out of such a huge crowd. 

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Visit to the Binyimina Winery
Both Tel aviv and Jerusalem participants traveled to a winery in Binyamina. They toured the winery and learned how all the types of wines were distilled and or where they got their flavor and color. After the tour, they ended with a miny wine tasting, particpants were filled with excitement. I am sure you can imagine why.... :)

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Nature Reserve Walk
On tuesday's trip the WUJS Participants went to a beautiful beack and nature reserve. They walked through the nature reserve, enjoying the beauty and ambiance. We all took pictures by the ocean side, and it was a very quaint and lovely time. 


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The Old City in Jerusalem.

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Spirits were high as we embarked on our 6th siryur (trip) to the old city of Jerusalem. Two participants had not been there before so everyone was excited for them to visit. This siyur was not your typical tour to the western wall and the underground tunnels. We traveled through the Jewish quarters of the old city to the Christian quarter to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  This is the site where Jesus was crucified and then said to be buried. The church commemorates his death of Jesus and his resurrection.  Christians from all over the world come to visit this site as part of the Christian pilgrimage. We learned why the Christians come here. There are several reasons. When Jesus was killed he was taken to the stone that lies in the church. This is the stone of anointing. He was taken there to be cleansed and washed with oil to prepare for his burial. The oil on the stone is considered to be one of the biggest blessings in the Christian faith. Christians bring tapestries and cloths and even touch their children to the oil that still exist on this stone.

 

Christians believe that this oil can help to heal sick loved ones. Bringing a cloth that has touched the stone to a sick loved one is considered to be one of the biggest blessings one can do for the sick. There were women and men on their hands and knees eager to touch the stone to say a prayer. I was so enamored by this Indian couple that was visiting the stone. They brought their infant, no more than two weeks old, to the church. They removed him from the blanket and laid his head along the stone while they said prayers to bless the child. They also posed and smiled for pictures. From my perspective, it looked like it was the happiest moment in their lives. Relatives of the family looked on and snapped photo after photo.

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 As we turned the corner in the church we stood before the rotunda, the dome that holds Jesus tomb itself. Security guarded the dome while hundreds of people waited to enter to touch and light candles. People crowded close and were pushing and fighting with the security guards because they were trying to bypass the line. I was so interested and took so many pictures. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! I am not a very religious person and to encounter and see people where religion takes precedence in their life and controls most of their day-to-day activities was interesting to me. I thought to myself about how these visitors probably saved money for years and years to make their pilgrimage or just receive a blessing for their loved ones. This concept is something so foreign to me.

 

After our visit to the church we took a walk through the Jewish quarters and the shuk. These places were so fascinating and colorful. You could buy foods, shoes, jewelry, beads, tapestries, rugs, decorations, and so much more. My friend and I got harassed by a shop keeper after he realized we were not planning to buy something.  I attempted to bargain with of the shop keepers. I saw this amazing bracelet that I wanted to buy. His asking price was 180 shekels and I got him down to 90.  After I said no, he shooed me away. (Keep in mind the bracelet was worth about 5 dollars which is equivalent to 18 shekels.)

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The same thing happened when I tried on a pair of shoes and decided not to purchase them. The shopkeeper said "go go away, why you do this that's so rude, I can tell in your face when you walk in that you stupid".  The whole scenario was quite comical to my friend. The shop keeper got so angry at us for something so small. They called us unnecessary bad names in Hebrew and were very rude.  Some of the WUJS participants enjoyed themselves so much they stayed longer in the old city, while the rest of us returned home. All-in-all it was another great day in the life of WUJS. More to come!!

By: Lindsey Urell 

WUJS Alum Jessica Fass is featured in JTA article

Without jobs in U.S., college grads are finding opportunities in Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) -- In her final months as a political science major at the University of Pittsburgh, Susanna Zlotnikov had a positive outlook about landing a job.

But as the months passed and her network of contacts led only to dead ends, Zlotnikov decided she needed a backup. Instead of spending the summer after her May graduation sending out more resumes, Zlotnikov took a pair of internships and moved to Israel.

It worked out well: In November she expects to be starting a full-time job in Israel as grants coordinator with Save a Child's Heart, an Israeli-based humanitarian organization that provides cardiac surgery for children from the developing world.

With the U.S. economy still sputtering, a growing number of college graduates are turning to Israel programs to bridge their educational and professional careers. In many cases, these young American Jews are drawn to the programs not out of Zionist sensibilities but because they're looking for workplace experience or seeking a way to do something Jewish. Some are even finding jobs in Israel and staying.

After losing a job in Hollywood, Jessica Fass decided to go on a Birthright Israel trip and then stayed in the country for an extra month. Upon returning to the United States, Fass felt as if she were in culture shock and kept thinking about returning to Israel. She decided to do an internship through WUJS Israel Hadassah, which helps college graduates find opportunities in Israel.

"It seemed like the perfect time go," she said.

Within six months, Fass had found a full-time job in Israel and now is working in marketing for a company in Tel Aviv, which she described as being like Los Angeles "but with Hebrew." Fass said she was surprised to find how much more willing Israelis were to take a chance on a new hire.

"I don't think that would have happened in the States because I had no experience in marketing," she said.

Organizations that bring Jewish youth to Israel are trying to capitalize on the bleak job prospects for college graduates in the United States, and programs that offer internships in Israel say they have seen a spike in applicants since the recession hit in 2008.

"I remember in 2008 when our numbers skyrocketed," said Amy Gross, the program recruiter at WUJS Israel Hadassah. "It's mostly recent college graduates because they have trouble finding a job, but they want to experience Israel as well."

WUJS offers five-month internships in Israel. Participants also have weekly trips to explore the country, Hebrew classes twice a week and immersion in Israeli culture.

MASA Israel, which helps place Diaspora Jews in long-term Israel programs, created a program called A Better Stimulus Plan targeted at recent college graduates looking for internship opportunities in Israel while they wait out the economic troubles in the U.S. Avi Rubel, MASA's North American director, says about 1,800 participants are doing post-college internship experiences -- double the rate of recent years.

"So many grads are at a loss because there aren't opportunities and they need to find ways to differentiate themselves to get the jobs that are there," Rubel told JTA. "For young Jewish students, coming to Israel gives them career development experience, which is likely more substantive than one in the States. In Israel you will end up in the mix of interesting things instead of making coffee."

Roselle Feldman had just returned to the United States from a Birthright Israel trip before the economy collapsed. She had been scheduled to teach more than 30 hip-hop classes at dance studios in Massachusetts, but the market crashed and her gigs disappeared.

Instead of filing for unemployment, she hopped on a plane to Israel for MASA Israel's Dance Journey, a five-month program for international dancers aged 18 to 30 in the western Galilee. She received training from the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, and at the end of the program Feldman was invited to audition for a spot with the dance company.

"I loved every second of it," she told JTA. "There's nothing else like it in the world. It's such a unique experience. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could afford it."

Now she is back in Massachusetts, teaching dance as the director of her own performance company, Intensity Dance Company. Soon she hopes to be teaching at a Jewish school -- a desire she credits to her experience in Israel.

Jesse Zryb, who graduated recently from Tulane University with a master's degree in architecture, also decided to sign up for MASA after a job he had been promised in Manhattan disappeared when his company merged with another firm. The guarantee of work experience was why he joined the program, he said. Through MASA, he was hired as an intern at Stav Architects in Ramat Gan, just outside of Tel Aviv.

Zryb said he thinks the program made him more attractive to potential employers back home. Soon after finishing the four-month program, he was hired as a designer at Pink Powered by Moss, a fabric design firm in New York.

"It kept me fresh, especially considering that back home any kind of employment was uncertain," he said of his Israeli internship. "I think it certainly looked good that I was being proactive during the situation and that I was keeping active during the recession. Keeping yourself fresh was important at the time."

Plus, Zryb added, "I had a great experience there."

The WUJS Program is featured in JTA article

Without jobs in U.S., college grads are finding opportunities in Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) -- In her final months as a political science major at the University of Pittsburgh, Susanna Zlotnikov had a positive outlook about landing a job.

But as the months passed and her network of contacts led only to dead ends, Zlotnikov decided she needed a backup. Instead of spending the summer after her May graduation sending out more resumes, Zlotnikov took a pair of internships and moved to Israel.

It worked out well: In November she expects to be starting a full-time job in Israel as grants coordinator with Save a Child's Heart, an Israeli-based humanitarian organization that provides cardiac surgery for children from the developing world.

With the U.S. economy still sputtering, a growing number of college graduates are turning to Israel programs to bridge their educational and professional careers. In many cases, these young American Jews are drawn to the programs not out of Zionist sensibilities but because they're looking for workplace experience or seeking a way to do something Jewish. Some are even finding jobs in Israel and staying.

After losing a job in Hollywood, Jessica Fass decided to go on a Birthright Israel trip and then stayed in the country for an extra month. Upon returning to the United States, Fass felt as if she were in culture shock and kept thinking about returning to Israel. She decided to do an internship through WUJS Israel Hadassah, which helps college graduates find opportunities in Israel.

"It seemed like the perfect time go," she said.

Within six months, Fass had found a full-time job in Israel and now is working in marketing for a company in Tel Aviv, which she described as being like Los Angeles "but with Hebrew." Fass said she was surprised to find how much more willing Israelis were to take a chance on a new hire.

"I don't think that would have happened in the States because I had no experience in marketing," she said.

Organizations that bring Jewish youth to Israel are trying to capitalize on the bleak job prospects for college graduates in the United States, and programs that offer internships in Israel say they have seen a spike in applicants since the recession hit in 2008.

"I remember in 2008 when our numbers skyrocketed," said Amy Gross, the program recruiter at WUJS Israel Hadassah. "It's mostly recent college graduates because they have trouble finding a job, but they want to experience Israel as well."

WUJS offers five-month internships in Israel. Participants also have weekly trips to explore the country, Hebrew classes twice a week and immersion in Israeli culture.

MASA Israel, which helps place Diaspora Jews in long-term Israel programs, created a program called A Better Stimulus Plan targeted at recent college graduates looking for internship opportunities in Israel while they wait out the economic troubles in the U.S. Avi Rubel, MASA's North American director, says about 1,800 participants are doing post-college internship experiences -- double the rate of recent years.

"So many grads are at a loss because there aren't opportunities and they need to find ways to differentiate themselves to get the jobs that are there," Rubel told JTA. "For young Jewish students, coming to Israel gives them career development experience, which is likely more substantive than one in the States. In Israel you will end up in the mix of interesting things instead of making coffee."

Roselle Feldman had just returned to the United States from a Birthright Israel trip before the economy collapsed. She had been scheduled to teach more than 30 hip-hop classes at dance studios in Massachusetts, but the market crashed and her gigs disappeared.

Instead of filing for unemployment, she hopped on a plane to Israel for MASA Israel's Dance Journey, a five-month program for international dancers aged 18 to 30 in the western Galilee. She received training from the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, and at the end of the program Feldman was invited to audition for a spot with the dance company.

"I loved every second of it," she told JTA. "There's nothing else like it in the world. It's such a unique experience. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could afford it."

Now she is back in Massachusetts, teaching dance as the director of her own performance company, Intensity Dance Company. Soon she hopes to be teaching at a Jewish school -- a desire she credits to her experience in Israel.

Jesse Zryb, who graduated recently from Tulane University with a master's degree in architecture, also decided to sign up for MASA after a job he had been promised in Manhattan disappeared when his company merged with another firm. The guarantee of work experience was why he joined the program, he said. Through MASA, he was hired as an intern at Stav Architects in Ramat Gan, just outside of Tel Aviv.

Zryb said he thinks the program made him more attractive to potential employers back home. Soon after finishing the four-month program, he was hired as a designer at Pink Powered by Moss, a fabric design firm in New York.

"It kept me fresh, especially considering that back home any kind of employment was uncertain," he said of his Israeli internship. "I think it certainly looked good that I was being proactive during the situation and that I was keeping active during the recession. Keeping yourself fresh was important at the time."

Plus, Zryb added, "I had a great experience there."

Tuesday's Siyur (Trip) = The Bike Olympics

The Tuesday field trips are quickly becoming our favorite part of the week!


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This week we toured the famous Olympic Museum that credit some of the most famous Olympic athletes. The modern appeal of the museum and the new age technology set the museum apart from any other. This museum was not like a typical museum filled with ancient artifacts and synopsis to read. Instead, there were voiceovers and live human graphics. In the first room we sat in the middle on the floor while there was 3D graphics surrounding us on projector screens. They focused on premiere athletes throughout history. The athletes mentioned were Michael Jordan, Mark Spitz, and Larry Bird to name a few. Nadia Comaneci was the first Olympic gymnast to earn a perfect ten score seven times in a row. While other athletes like Abebe Bakila ran his cross country marathon barefoot and finished first.


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      We moved on to another room, where we got to the roots of theOlympics and what it meant for Israel. The first Israeli athletes that put Israel's name on the map for recognition within the Olympics were Oren Smadja, Michael Kolganov, and Yael Arad.  Yael was the first 16 years old to win a gold medal. The seats we were sitting on rotated and a chilling effect began to set in as the lights dimmed.  A female athlete who was competing during the terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes told us her story. Eleven were killed and only a day was taken off to mourn the loss. In an epic triumph Israel wasn't going to be defeated and the remaining athletes fought in honor of their fellow athletes who were killed. The last part of the museum is interactive where we were taught the fundamentals of becoming a premiere athlete. Participants got to measure their reaction time, their strength, and their concentration levels. It was fun to see how we measure up to the best athletes in the world. We didn't even come close!

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 The field trip didn't stop there. Next stop was a bike ride in Park Hayarkon.  We had a typical Israeli tour guide who wasn't afraid to flirt with girl as his long ponytail frolicked in the wind.  The girls blushed and giggled and were thoroughly entertained. The bike ride was nice and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We were able to interact, talk and get to know one another while enjoying beautiful surroundings. We passed a zoo, memorial sites, and ended the ride by the beach and through the namal (port).  Everyone was exhausted afterwards, so all in all I'd say it was a fun day! Stay tuned!

By:Lindsey Urell 

Another WUJS Success Story!

Unemployed? Not Anymore!  


By: Hallie Newman, New York

 After my obligatory post-college freak out "what am I going to do with my life"? I hopped on a plane to Israel.  Well, it wasn't quite that simple. After digging through my savings, I eventually made it to Israel, hoping to fill in some blanks in my life.

In January of 2010, I packed my bags, headed to JFK airport and landed at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport with an open return ticket.  After a few months of personal exploration throughout the country, I ended up in Tel Aviv's Florentine neighborhood to begin my five months on Young Judeae's WUJS Internship Program. I chose an internship in communications with Zalul, an Israeli environmental organization that is focused on cleaning and restoring the country's waterways; rivers, and shorelines.

Throughout my five months at Zalul, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and really build my skills in environmental communications and marketing. I wrote for Zalul's English-language blog, keeping all international donors abreast of what was going on in our organization, and Israel's environment as a whole. In addition, I assisted with all community events in which Zalul took part; beach cleanups for students who were spending a year in Israel, Earth Day festivities and gala fundraisers.

After WUJS, I elected to remain in Israel for a little while longer to travel and soak up the Tel Aviv energy.  When I finally booked my return flight, I came home to the same trepidation I had left the States with ("will I ever be employed?!") Except this time it was different, I felt more focused. While the job market was still slow, I knew exactly what type of job I was searching for. I applied for every environmental non-profit communications and marketing job I could find.

Eventually, I got an interview and a few days later I was offered the job. My would-be boss was impressed with my experience at Zalul; much of what I would be working on at my new job, I had learned from my time at Zalul. Just a month after I returned from Israel, I began my work at a New York-based environmental organization as a Marketing Coordinator, where I still work today.

Just Another Day in the Neighborhood...

Yesterday the WUJS participants had their second Siyur. Before the trip Freda, the director of post college programs for MASA, met with the group. Freda explained how huge of an organization MASA is and the impact it has within the Jewish community and peoples "journey" to Israel. Shortly after, the beautiful and talented Ricky Yihye (the program coordinator for WUJS) gave a lesson about art and culture of Israel. We were introduced to artists like Yigaal Tumarkan and his "he walked through the fields" sculpture. We discussed Marcel Duchamp "the fountain" and how it was so pivotal within the art world during the 20th century by challenging conservative ideas within the art process. We went on to talk about famous Israel music, books and movies. We ended with an interesting discussion about the differences between teenage Israelis vs. Americans.

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The field trip started on Rothschild Boulevard in front of the Habima Theater. This was the location of the first tent marking the beginning of the protest for social justice.

 

News flash: This summer there was a mass demonstration and protest for social justice in Israel. The cost of living is way too high and is beyond the means of the average Israeli. The protest was started by a 25-year-old woman.  This woman made a big difference by getting the Israelis out of the house to fight for something they believe in. For this reason the leaders of the protest feel as if they have already made a change. The tents were originally pitched on Rothschild Boulevard because it's the most expensive street in Tel Aviv. Rothschild Boulevard is also architecturally famous for Bauhaus's. The idea of Bauhaus was brought from Germany after the First World War. Bauhaus buildings are built to be very functional and neat. They can be built fast and without a lot of money. The design is simple and right to the point. The design makes the home about the person inside.

 

Next stop: Neve Tzedek.


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Neve Tzedek was the first Jewish neighborhood to be built outside on the ancient walls of Jaffa. Jewish families were seeking to leave a very crowded Jaffa at the time. Neve Tzedek is one of Tel Aviv's most expensive neighborhoods. Walking through the neighborhood you get a distinct feeling of peace and calm. It is also a great place to raise children. Imagine a village-like atmosphere, with quant restaurants and boutiques and narrow roads. The trip ended at the old Tel Aviv light rail also known in Hebrew as Metcham Ha Tachana. We were left to roam the little village, shop around, and grab a bite to eat before heading home. All in all the day was very informative and interesting. Everyone is anticipating future events.

-Lindsey Urell, OH

"Underneath the Surface"

With the spectacular final exhibition, the WUJS Arts track of spring 2011 has come to an end. The artists could show their art pieces in the gallery and during presentations. The last few months they worked hard to create (sometimes new forms of) art.

The group exist of eight individuals, their art is not comparable with each other in any way and that made the exhibition various and special. However as a whole it looked perfectly well together. Ilana Gleiser surprised the visitors with her 'humans turn into animals' photography. Gill Kaufman showed his expertise in the exposition with ceramics.

By selling his pieces, he turns art into business.

 

 

WUJS March 2011 Hike in North 005.jpgAlexis Rosenblatt made a creative art piece, using different materials, for instance pages of a Hebrew dictionary. As well, she created a colorful dress of plastic bags.

WUJS March 2011 Hike in North 018.jpg Bradley Machov has shot some incredible photos in Israel, which showed people and landscapes from a unique perspective. Vardit Lightstone showed her short stories, companied by biblical pictures. Joline Vyth used the themes 'love' and 'home' in her collage and poetry.

Not only in the gallery was room for art, during the presentations the artists were introduced, well done by Naomi Present. Bradley Machov, a blogger and short story writer, read a part of his short story. Vardit Lightstone, as well a writer, read her based on Tanach stories. Joline Vyth read her poem, about the question what home is. Alexis Rosenblatt and Zippora Seidenberg practiced a lot of music together and performed two beautiful self composed songs. Jacob Singer wrote a play and showed a part of it. With  a sense of drama the actors played like they were professionals!

 

 

WUJS March 2011 Hike in North 029.jpgThe artists of WUJS Arts track spring 2011 thanked Ofra Zucker, who has taught the artists about Jewish and Israeli art. She was their guide and helped them to find inspiration in the land of Israel.

 

The audience was very impressed by all this. Afterwards it was time for shmoozing and refreshments to digest the artistic impressions...

 

By: Joline Vyth

 

 

 

Making Aliyah?.... That is the question.

On Tuesday, July 19th, WUJS Tel Aviv and Jerusalem had an Aliyah seminar day at the Young Judaea building in Jerusalem. It was full of great information! 

flag.jpgHere are some funny words of wisdom from Kate, the Assistant Director of Young Judaea Year-Course, about why she loves living in Israel and why she's so happy that she made Aliyah.

Reasons Kate loves Israel:

1.  Vegetables actually taste like vegetables.
2.  Tomatoes are 3 shekels/kilo.
3.  Israelis are rude and honest, not polite and false.
4.  Israelis treat each other like family -- They might make you cry when they scream at you in the middle of a traffic jam when they're frustrated, but then they come right over and give you a tissue.
5.  The pace of life is fun and interesting -- you can have someone hold your spot in line while you go do another errand and then come back and get your spot back.
6.  Being a Jew is the majority.

And last but certainly not least...

7.  There is no snow to shovel in the winter!

To Kate, being in Israel is the "perfect fit."  She compared it to when you find the perfect shoe and then you buy it in every color and wear it until it's completely worn out.  

Kate advised that during your WUJS program, you should try to figure out if you just have a crush on Israel...or are you seriously in love?  It should just feel right.

By: Jessica Fass




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Amy Gross- Nachon, Coordinator of Admissions and Recruitment is greeted at Ben Gurion Airport by now husband Avishay on her Aliyah day.
September, 8, 2008.

A Special Evening at the House of WUJS

The WUJS participants hosted a party on the rooftop of our home in Tel Aviv. 

 

P1020834.JPGEveryone invited outside Israelis, Americans, and other international people we met during our time here who are also living in Tel Aviv. "We had an amazing time -- our roof was overflowing with people and it really helped us feel at home in Israel to be the hosts for the evening."  - Jessica Fass