WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

December 2008 Archives

WUJS Jerusalem Students "Soup it Up" on a Jerusalem Winter Evening

WUJS students enjoy a night out at the Marakiyah 

An important aspect of the WUJS program is to give the participants a true "Israeli experience." Every month a new bulletin board is put up in the WUJS Jerusalem apartment building that displays flyers and descriptions of events taking place in Jerusalem during that month.  The participants have the opportunity to explore the city and experience Israeli culture and society.


This past Wednesday night the participants joined their madricha Yonit at a restaurant in Jerusalem called Hamarakiya ("The Soup Place").  Hamarakiya is known among Jerusalem residents as the place to go to get a good hot bowl of soup (hence the name) and a chunk of wholesome bread.  The atmosphere of the restaurant is very chilled and is mostly visited by Israeli students studying at Hebrew University and the Bezalel arts school.  At the end of the meal Yonit showed the participants some other venues in the center of the city that are filled with Israeli students and young adults.  Overall, the participants had a great night and are looking forward to spend time in these new venues!

Chelley Leveillee, WUJS Jerusalem Learning - December '08

Chelley Leveillee gives an overview of her "A Page of Talmud" class in Jerusalem


While the Talmud's text dates back many centuries, Rabbi Artie Fischer brings Jewish law into a modern context in his class, "A Page of Talmud."  Students learn the history of oral law and how to navigate the structure of the Talmud.  From this foundation, students suggest topics for the semester curriculum and past topics include intermarriage, homosexuality, alcohol consumption, gambling, abortion, birth control, stealing and gender roles.  Rabbi Fischer starts the discussion using passages from the Tanach and then helps students examine the Talmudic text along with relevant opinions and disagreements.  Students do not need any background in Talmud study to fully participate in this course.

Tami Mainemer, WUJS Peace and Social Justice - December '08


Tami Mainemer writes below about her experiences so far volunteering at the Amir Stables in Jerusalem.

Amir Stables is a horseback riding center that offers private and group lessons. It also features a Therapeutic Horseback Riding component. Clients that utilize those services include children and adults with varying levels of cognitive, developmental, and/or physical delays or disabilities. As a volunteer, one is expected to brush the horses, put on their saddles and bridles, lead them to the horse waiting area, provide horse leading or side walking services during a lesson, take off and clean the equipment at the end of the night, and put blankets on the horses for the night. Typically lessons are half an hour to one hour in duration, but often there will be the need for a volunteer to lead a particular horse through several lessons. During lessons, once a rider is situated on the horse, a leader will direct the horse while keeping an eye on both the horse and the rider, or a side walker may provide extra support to the rider to ensure that the rider is safe as well as talk the rider through the exercises. Both leader and side walker are expected to walk or run alongside the horse throughout the lesson. There are many different types of people who work at Amir Stables that a volunteer comes into contact with including the stable manager, instructors, the National Service volunteers, and other volunteers. Most of one's time is spent outdoors although there is some respite from the elements when working with the horses in their stalls. There is some lifting required with placement of the saddle and also helping riders get onto and off of the horses. There are several ways to get to Amir Stables, which is located on Begin Highway (Golda Meir Blvd) heading towards Ramot, across from Har Hotzvim, all of which require comfort navigating the Jerusalem bus system as well as a lot of walking.


I have enjoyed my time thus far at Amir Stables. The people who work there are very accommodating both to my schedule and to what I wish to accomplish during my time there. Everyone seems eager to teach me new skills (as this was my first experience working with horses.) There is a real sense of camaraderie among the staff, and most nights I have been offered rides to either the central bus station or to locations along a bus route even closer to my apartment. I have also been afforded the privilege of taking some lessons from the instructors. Amir Stables offered me the opportunity to learn new skills while still being a part of a network of people who provide social services to Israeli citizens. A working knowledge of Hebrew is necessary. While most staff speak English, most of the clients do not, and group lessons are conducted in Hebrew. The more comfort with Hebrew a volunteer has, the more well-rounded the experience that person will get at Amir Stables.


Diana Brody - WUJS Arts graduate 2005 talks to The Jerusalem Post

Up five flights of stairs, at the top of an old building in Tel Aviv, Diana Brody makes her home and artistic studio. On almost every wall hangs a piece of her artwork that combines paper and oil paint on canvas to create a rich, textured image. In a new series of eight large paintings called "Lovers," a male and a female are depicted in a variety of different positions wearing nothing but red underwear.

To read the rest of the article:



What's Hot????

So you wanna hear what's happening in Israel on the WUJS program?

Here is your chance!

Live from Jerusalem at Beit Yehuda (home of the WUJS program) you have the opportunity to speak to the current participants of WUJS ISRAEL.




The event kicks off on Sunday December 21, 2008 at 1:00pm EST.



If you would like to be contacted by a current participant please RSVP by e-mail to amyg@yji.org.il and you will receive a phone call. 

  Live video conference is available upon request.

 Speak to the people who have experienced it.

Student Profile

Sarah Spiegel, 23

Sharon, Massachusetts




University: Trinity College


Degree: B.A in Theater and Dance


Sarah is currently a participant on the WUJS Arts Program. Sarah has a background in the performing arts. Before arriving to Israel she was teaching creative movement and nature education to children in Massachusetts.  "I came to Israel to explore the performing arts. I wanted the opportunity to immerse myself in the theater and dance that is here in Israel. After WUJS I plan to continue my education and begin my studies towards an MFA in directing for the theater. Sarah will be performing her work in a showcase on January 25,2009 at Beit Yehuda in Jerusalem.  

Student Profile

Jason Greenberg, 29

 Newton, Connecticut




University: Ohio State University


Degree: Operations Management and Spanish


Jason is a social worker who was practicing in Burlington Vermont. This is Jason's second visit to Israel. In 1995, Jason was a participant on USY pilgrimage.  Jason decided to come to Israel because he aspires to become a Rabbi. "I decided to come on the WUJS Jerusalem Learning program to continue my Jewish and Hebrew Studies. WUJS in Jerusalem is providing me with numerous contacts and a solid foundation in my Jewish education.

Student Profile

Annie Albagli, 22

Germantown, Maryland



Annie Albigali standing infront of a murel that she created in Mattat. Mattat is located in the north of Israel.

University: Boston University

Degree: B.F.A Bachelors of Fine Arts

Annie is currently a participant on the WUJS Arts program. Before arriving in Israel Annie was a coordinator and teacher at the Visual Arts Summer Institute at Boston University. "When I was in my senior year of college and deciding what direction I wanted my life to take, I could not ignore the fact that Jewish identity and my prior experiences in Israel were integrated into my art work. Both my parents had taken time out of their careers to spend time in Israel and I could see the major impact it had on their lives. It took me no time to realize that this was the year for me to spend learning and creating in the most amazing country in the world, Eretz Yisrael". Annie is a visual artist and will be exhibiting her work in the Hadassah Art Gallery  located at the Mercaz Hamagshimim in Jerusalem.


The exhibition opens on Janurary 1, 2009 at 8:00pm. If you would like more information about the Hadassah Art Gallery please click  Here.  

Student Profiles

Miriam Rubin, 22

East Meadow, NY


Miriamsp.jpgUniversity: University of Maryland

Degree: B.A in Communication and Public Relations

Miriam is a recent college graduate from the University of Maryland. She is currently participating in the WUJS Peace and Social Justice Program. While attending university Miriam was a participant on Taglit Birthright Israel in 2007."I chose to come on WUJS because I was looking to take a break before getting a job or applying to graduate programs. I realized that this would be the only time in my life where I would be free enough to spend 6 months in Israel. I wanted to open my eyes to a culture that is part of me, but I have yet to experience. I like that WUJS is a real Israel experience. Each hike and field trip exposes us to the different aspects of Israeli society. You get the Judaism, Zionism and the culture".  Miriam is doing her PSJ internship with an Israel Youth Group called Tzameret.

This Week on WUJS...

Visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

By: Justin Pollack- Boca Raton, FL

This week, our group had the honor and pleasure of meeting with various representatives from the Israeli Government.  We met with spokesmen from both the Foreign Ministry, as well as the Office of the Prime Minister.  Specifically, I would like to touch on our meeting with Mark Regev, spokesman for the Prime Minister. 
Our meeting lasted a little over an hour, and was perhaps one of the most amazing and insightful times during our program here.  The insight that Mr. Regev gave us into his job as a Public Policy spokesman was well beyond anything we could have learned or read about in a classroom with a "typical teacher".  Not to mention the fact that it is absolutely amazing that a person as high up as Mr. Regev in the Israeli government would take time out of his busy day to meet with a group of 20 students from all over the world. 
Opportunities like these do not come along very often, and I am very happy to have been a part of it. 

Student Profiles

Laurel Herold, 23

Duluth, Minnesota


Laurelsp.jpgUniversity: Drake University- Des Moines, Iowa 

Degree: B.A in Advertising Management, Minor in Graphic Design

Laurel is currently participating in the WUJS Peace and Social Justice program. After completing her degree at Drake University she was very eager to spend time in Israel. Laurel has a strong background in Jewish camping. This past summer she worked as the waterfront director at Herzl Camp in Webster, Wisconsin. "I have always wanted to visit Israel, it is a dream that I contribute to attending Herzl Camp. After graduating college I knew I would not get another opportunity to experience living in Israel for an extended period of time." Laurel is now concentrating on her PSJ internship. She is currently doing an internship with a marketing firm called Digital Shtick - a company which does marketing for non profits. Her internship responsibilities include graphic design and event planning.

WUJS Student Profile

Jonathan Rothstein- Fisch

 24 Ventura, California



University: California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

Degree: Modern Judaic Studies


Jonathan was the Regional Director of NFTY in Southern California. "I wanted to come to Israel to learn Hebrew, study Jewish text, and meet my future wife... Since I have been here I have learned the language, studied Jewish text, Zionism, contemporary Israeli society, but I am still looking for the right one! I bought a bicycle and have ridden all over the country. I am no longer a  tourist-- I am living the Israeli dream!"

WUJS Student Profiles

 Justin Pollack, 25

Boca Raton, Florida

Justin Pollack.jpgUniversity: University of Central Florida

Degree:  B.A International Relations  


For the past two years Justin served as the Director of Teen Programs and Education for the Jewish Education Commission of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. Justin is no stranger to Israel. Justin has staffed several Israel summer tours and was the community coordinator for the March of the Living. "I wanted to experience living in a country that I have had the opportunity to visit so many times". Justin loves politics, traveling, staffing trips, hanging out with friends, enjoying life, and sports (GO Marlins, Dolphins, Panthers and the UCF Knights!)