WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

January 2009 Archives

WUJS Participants Volunteer with the IDF

Tami, Teri and Yonit volunteering at the base


Since Operation Cast lead began the WUJS participants have been very involved in helping those affected by the war.  Two weeks ago they put together an arts and crafts fair for children from Southern Israel whose communities have been suffering due to rocket attacks.  This week the WUJS group visited the Tzrifin army base in Rishon L'Zion to put together war rations packages for the Israeli soldiers currently in Gaza.  At the army base the WUJS participants stood on assembly lines packing food boxes, each box containing food for 4 soldiers.  The WUJS participants, together with a group from Young Judea Year Course, packed 50,000 boxes!  They arrived at the base at 9am and left at 6pm.  It was non stop, tiring work but by the end of the day everyone felt rewarded by the effort they put in and all that they had accomplished.

WUJS Israel Participants Consider their Aliyah Options

WUJS Participants learn about their Aliyah options at Nefesh B'Nefesh


Last week a number of WUJS participants interested in Aliyah were invited to an Aliyah seminar given by Nefesh B' Nefesh.  Nefesh B' Nefesh is an organization that assists Anglo Olim (immigrants) with all aspects of their Aliyah.  The participantsts met with staff members from various departments and received comprehensive information on university programs, Aliyah rights and benefits, army service, employment, and community building.  All their questions were answered and their concerns about Aliyah were addressed. Overall the seminar was a great success!  The participants left with a sense that Aliyah is not just an 'idea' but a real possibility for their future.

WUJS Israel Arts Exhibition - "Bussing It"

WUJS Artists - Annie Albagli and Yasmine Soiffer

The current exhibition on display at the Hadassah Art Gallery in Merkaz Hamagshimim, Jerusalem is a collaboration between Yasmine Soffer and Annie Albagli. The two conceptualized the exhibition when talking about the different aspects of Jerusalem that interest them. They found they were both interested in the diverse communities in Jerusalem and the busses that travel between them. They rode the bus around the city together for a few days, observing the waxing and waning of people from different communities depending on the location and route of the specific bus. They photographed, filmed, and drew the bus while riding it, making observations for the exhibition. Three weeks later, the artists came together with the subsequent work created and the exhibition, "Bussing It," was born.

To see pictures from the exhibition please click here: http://www.wujsisrael.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=369

To see an article about the exhibition in the press click here:



Artists' Statement, Bussing It !! אוטובוסידע  :


We wait.

We ride.

We arrive.


Fear. Anxiety. Impatience.


We are all in this together.


Together, we ride the bus. Squashed together, squished together, tossed together, delivered together.


Together, we wait; we wait, for answers, for transport.


I look down at the people in their cars, alone, each in their pod.



I cannot afford a scooter, a motor, a car. I cannot afford to leave.


The old lady I give my seat to pushes me to get off first.


I witnessed once an Arab woman, with the scarf, sat down, and the woman she sat down next to got up and left to another part of the bus.


I was once on the bus sitting across from a woman, a different scarf on her head, who held her hand over her eyes so as not to see me, short skirt, high heels.


Here, we wait, we ride, we arrive.  In this bus, we're in this together.


Are we together?


Annie Albagli - Bio

Annie Albagli is excited to spend this year living and working in Jerusalem! She has exhibited in Boston, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington D.C., Germany, and Italy. In May 2008 she graduated with her B.F.A. in painting and sculpture from Boston University. Following which she continued teaching figure drawing and sculpture to gifted and talented High School students at Boston University. During her time in Boston, Annie was responsible for the creation and curation of the Paradigm gallery in the Financial District of Boston.

The baffling layers of complexities that fabricate the land of Israel inspire her. As a result she is using this and the following year to take in her surroundings to fuel and inspire her studio before completing her M.F.A.

To contact the artist please email her at anniealbagli@gmail.com

Please visit her website at www.anniealbagli.com to see her sculpture and installation work.

Yasmine Soiffer - Bio 

Yasmine was born in Sri Lanka, and, as the child of diplomats, called Pakistan, Israel, Japan, Virginia, Paris, and Ivory Coast home by the time she settled in New York City to attend university.  She often did not share a language with her peers, and so sought other ways of communicating, finding herself captivated with photography and image-making.



Sept. 2007-'08 International Center of Photography, New York, NY

·         General Studies Certificate received June 2008

Sept. 1999-May '03   Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY

·         Bachelor of Arts received May 2003

·         Double Major: English / French Literature and Translation

·         GPA: 3.4 (3.9 in major), Dean's List 2001-2002, 2002-2003.  Awarded distinction on Senior Requirement in English

Sept.-Dec. 2001 Reid Hall, Columbia University in Paris, Paris, France.  Semester abroad

Sept. 1996-May '99   International Community School of Abidjan, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

·         High school diploma received May 1999



2009    "Bussing It !! אטובוסידע," Hadassah Art Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel

2008    "Loisaida," Umbrella Arts / Curcio Projects, New York, NY

        "Reflect: ICP Full-Time Student Exhibition," School of the International Center of

        Photography, New York, NY

        "New: Curated by SuperGlue," Broadway Gallery, New York, NY 

2007    "Art as Anecdote," Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn, NY

        "Metropoly," Makor, 92nd Street Y, New York, NY

2006    "Visual AIDS: Postcards From The Edge," Sikkema, Jenkins, & Co., NY, NY

        "Disappearing Brooklyn," Object Image Gallery; Brooklyn, NY

2003    "Collision," Columbia University, New York, NY

        "SNAP," Barnard College, New York, NY

        "Hartley Art Show," Columbia University, New York, NY


Grants and Residencies

2008    Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Community Arts Grant Recipient

2006-'07       Makor Artists-in-Residence (subsidiary of the 92nd Street Y), New York, NY



Sept. '08-present   Walla

Oct. 2008           Green Action

May 2008            Shift, Volume 3

Feb. 2007           Zeek Journal

Sept. 1999-May-'00 Columbia Spectator, Daily Newspaper of the University and Community


To contact the artist, please call her mobile in Israel 052.580.6835 or email, yasmines@gmail.com.


To see more personal projects, please visit www.yasmines.net, and commercial work, www.yasminesoiffer.com. 


WUJS participants volunteer with families from Southern Israel

Due to the current security situation in the South of Israel, the Judaean Guest House in Jerusalem is currently hosting families from towns close to the Gaza border.

Yesterday, Amira, Lauren and Laurel volunteered to facilitate a small arts & crafts workshop for the children of those families.  The children are from Sderot and Nitzan (a small village in the South), and these are the quietest days they've had in their young lives (they were all born after the Qasams were already a part of the every day reality in the South).  The Ben Porat, Ovadia and Golan families were so thankful that our students took the time to run this workshop for their children and so they will be back for more fun tomorrow!


Jason Greenberg talks about Ulpan on the WUJS program in Jerusalem


In every Ulpan there are students with different abilities. WUJS offers eight levels of Ulpan in an effort to make learning comfortable for everyone. The Ulpan classes are shared among Young Judea Year Course students and WUJS students. There are about ten students to a class. The curriculum consists of vocabulary building, grammatical lessons, games, and exposure to Israeli culture through language. We listen to and translate songs on the radio, children's books, newspapers, etc. It is very stimulating and relevant to the rest of the WUJS experience. The instructors are patient, motivated, and flexible. If you are committed to hard work, the teachers will provide you with all the challenges you need. If you prefer to learn at slow pace, those accommodations can be made as well.

WUJS Participants meet the Prime Minister

WUJS participant Aliyah Schneider talks below about how she lit Chanukah candles with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Just one of the many amazing experiences I've had on the WUJS, Israel program.....

On the evening of December 25th, 2008; the 29th day of Kislev, 5769, I was one of four WUJS participants privileged to attend a Chanukah candle lighting ceremony with the Prime Minister of Israel and the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel.  It was an amazing experience to participate in such a special and unique event and one that I'm not likely to ever forget. 

When we arrived at the "Adam and Eve farm" (where the MASA "Echo Israel" program is housed) to take part in the candle lighting ceremony in the town of Modi'in all I could think about was how lucky and honored I felt to be participating in such a unique and meaningful event. 

Chanukah has always been my favorite holiday.  The message of the holiday and its importance and influence in Jewish history remains a constant reminder of how lucky we are as Jews to celebrate and practice our religion openly and freely, and most importantly, with pride.  It is also a holiday that provides us with the reminder of how important it is to continue bringing light into the world and that miracles do occur. 

Prime Minister Olmert spoke about how each of us as MASA participants has brought a light,  like the lights that kindle the chanukiah (menorah), to Israel to help make it a brighter place for the Jewish people to live.