WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

December 2009 Archives

New Outlook After Job Loss by Elliot Lazarus, The Jewish Star

Opinion: Freed from the daily grind « The Jewish Star
Issue of December 18, 2009/ 1 Tevet 5770

My arrival in Israel came about through an ironic convergence of difficult circumstances and fantasy. After I lost my job at an architectural firm in Manhattan, my wife and I decided to participate in MASA Israel Journey's WUJS internship program in Jerusalem. While pursuing professional growth, we have appreciated the break from our rushed New York City life.

I had been working as an architect in Manhattan since graduating from the New York Institute of Technology five years ago. While we were both very busy professionally, my wife, Michal, and I fell in love and married. Though we felt enslaved by the daily grind, we never really had a chance to step away from it all and think about how we wanted to structure our lives going forward. On weekends we sometimes fantasized about creating a less harried, more meaningful life together -- but come Monday that was all forgotten.

Then the recession hit. Architects feel the effects of recessions immediately because planning is the first thing to go.  Design commissions were scarce last year, and then construction came to a grinding halt. Rather than waiting around for the markets to turn, we decided to take advantage of this slow time by fulfilling our weekend dreams. We chose to participate in the WUJS Internship program, which would place me in an architecture firm in Jerusalem for six months.

Anyone in a creative profession can benefit greatly from spending some time abroad. It opens the mind and heightens the senses. As an architect in Jerusalem, I am keenly aware of these effects.

Visually, there is something about the purity of Jerusalem's light. It makes the white architecture, often ancient, appear crisp and fresh against a deep blue sky. The composition is punctuated with bold, dark green Mediterranean cypresses. One would think that building an entire city of the same stone would get monotonous. Instead, it makes the eye more sensitive to nuance. There is a subtle interplay of stone textures, and myriad ways to make an opening in a wall.

While walking in Jerusalem -- and I walk a lot -- I pay close attention to the articulation of window and door openings in the ubiquitous limestone walls. My commute to work is a far cry from the frantic, overcrowded subway ride on so many levels.

Jerusalem's tremendous historical and religious significance is a constant presence as I work now. To be designing a project alongside the site where King Solomon built his Temple almost three thousand years prior is unbelievable. It is an architect's dream.

When I spent two wonderful years studying in Yeshivat Kol Torah in Jerusalem after high school, I left with the impression that Jerusalem was the place to nurture the spirit but not much else. Coming back here to work has negated that preconception. Every day, I work alongside highly professional, talented people from all over the world on cutting edge projects. Right now, I'm involved with a light rail project that runs just outside of the old city. Once completed, it will resolve the congestion problems of a city whose streets were designed long before automobiles, and will make a significant dent in air pollution. It is a privilege to assist in weaving such a piece of modernity through an ancient urban fabric in a way that is both efficient and contextually sensitive.

While on WUJS, I had the opportunity to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference, through MASA's Activities for Participants (MAP).  Bringing together some of the world's greatest minds in various disciplines to discuss Israel's future, including Tony Blair, Ray Kurzweil, James Wolfensohn, Jimmy Wales, and Josh Silverman, it was a huge accomplishment for a tiny Middle Eastern country. Speaker after speaker discussed Israel's pivotal role in the technological, scientific, economic, and political future of our changing world.

But my exposure to the modern, professional side of Israel is only a small part of the overall experience. I'm also making great friends. The WUJS program has brought together a colorful cross section of Jews from all over the world. Growing up in Far Rockaway, "diversity" meant (slightly) different yarmulke styles. I attended yeshiva for both elementary and high school and had a rather homogeneous group of friends. Spending quality time with Jewish people from so many different backgrounds has made me feel more connected to the Jewish nation as a whole. Our commonalities are so much greater than our small, mostly superficial differences. When we sit around the dinner table on Friday nights, we are just one ancient family that has come home for Shabbat.

I do not know too many people who can say that job loss led to further career development and life enrichment. Three months in, I can confidently say that, aside from marrying my wife, participating in WUJS's internship program has been the best decision I've ever made.

Zionism Field Trip to The Palmach Museum and Ayalon Institute



An important part of our stay here in Israel revolves around our Zionist education.  In increasing our understanding of the formation of the State of Israel we recently paid a visit to the Palmach Museum and the Ayalon Institute. By visitng these museums we remember the individual efforts and inspiring creativity that led to the formation of our State. 

The Palmach was the pre-state, underground, Jewish defense organization. The museum gives an interactive experience where we followed a group of fighters on their mission to free Israel. As an unsupported organization, these brave individuals had to work on Kibbutzim to make a living and in return they were given shelter and training time. 

For me, and many others, it was so interesting and unbelievable that men and women as young as 16 gathered together to become soldiers of their own force. It was not a government unit but boys and girls becoming men and women as they put their lives on the line as they fought next to each other on fronts in the North and the South. They held off Arab militants and the Egyptian army while hiding from the British.

The museum commemorates the efforts and contributions of the many innovative youngsters that stepped up and took charge of the future of their nation. It is due to their unity, organization, and creativity that finally led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1948. 

At the Ayalon Institute we learned that, at the same time, efforts to make weapons and produce bullets was taking place literally under the nose of the British mandate soldiers. Haganah members, a defense unit for Israel, were again creative in their measures in fighting. They built a bullet factory underground, on top of a hill, overlooking the British station in Rehovot and built a kibbutz on top of the factory. Most kibbutz members did not know about the bullet factory and assumed that the other members were just working in the fields. 

The Haganah was genius in their planning. They started spray-tanning the factory workers to make it believable that they were in the fields all day. They put a laundry room over the entrance so that workers never left with gunpowder residue and so that the machines muffled the noise of the bullet machines. They even built a bakery as an excuse to build a ventilation system underground. 

These individuals, soldiers, and freedom fighters took initiative and stood up for what they believed in. They teach us that every person can make a difference and that passion and spirit can prevail. 

WUJS Students Help Out At The Jaffa Institute


While the WUJS interns in Tel-Aviv are primarily focused on enhancing their own resumes, they also find time in their busy schedules to volunteer within the local community.  On a recent visit to the Jaffa Institute, the WUJS Intern Tel-Aviv group learned about the multiple programs they provide to underprivileged children in Jaffa, Tel-Aviv, Bat-Yam and Jerusalem including a visit to an after school tutoring facility.  Participants were then given the opportunity to pack boxes of food that are then distributed to local needy families every other week.

The Jaffa Institute aims at ending the cycle of poverty in Israel with education and aid. They do this in many ways including making sandwiches for needy children every morning, providing hot meals in the afternoon, offering tutoring and therapy for children at their facilities, teaching and educating mothers to use computers and tele-market for their cause as well as distribute food to the doors of local needy families. It is with the help of volunteers who pack boxes, deliver food and collect donations that the Jaffa Institute is able to ease the hardships on many Israeli lives. Their efforts and the help of others make a big difference in trying to restore the poverty-stricken areas and educate the next generation. 

See pictures from Volunteering

Ricky Yihye, Coordinator of WUJS Intern Tel-Aviv

Ricky Yihye, Coordinator of WUJS Intern Tel-Aviv

Education: B.A. in Theatre and Art History, Tel-Aviv University; Working on Masters, Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Hometown: Moshav Netua

Current location: Hertzaliya


What are your responsibilities?

After the students register with Amy and pay their first tuition, I get the students contact information. I begin by emailing the students to find out what type of internship they would want. I work with the participants to figure out their internship placement. I look at their resumes, contact employers, and then report back to the students. I always try to get the students in contact with their bosses before they come to make sure they have a clear idea of what they will be doing when they start. 

How do you help integrate the participants into Israeli society?

Starting an internship can be scary so on their first day of work, I take each individual on the bus to show them their route and introduce them to their boss. Once the program starts, I am responsbile for weekly and monthly schedules, logistical and personal issues, educational and cultural programming, and internship placements. The students can come to me with any problem and believe me, I have heard it all! 

P1010371.JPGWhat are your goals for the participants?

I want the participants to have fun, be happy, and make friends within the group and with Israelis. Within the 6 months that they are here, I would like them to feel comfortable and integrated into Israeli society in hopes that they consider staying afterwards.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I have a lot, do i have to pick one? I love to see the changes in the participants from when they arrive to when they leave. It's like they are a different person. I love to get feedback from the employers about how great my kids are. I also like siyurs (field trips) because it gives me the chance to take hang out with them on a weekly basis. Each week is different.

Who would you like to see come on this program?

This is a good solution for people who just graduate before they start their career. This is their way to explore Israel. It is also good for people who want to change their lives. We have people who quit their jobs and want to change their environment. WUJS provides the opportunity for people to dip their feet in the water of Israel before making the decision to make aliya. Participants just have to come and work, they dont have to worry about anything. That's my job! 


Donna Feinstein Gets Photos Published on Haaretz.com

Dear Friends,

I am happy to inform you all that I currently have 10 photographs
published on Haaretz's front page! If you go to www.haaretz.com,
scroll down just a little, and look on your right. Click on:IN
PICTURES: 'Jesus' comes to Tel Aviv, Druze culinary delights
or in the future you can find it at:

Here are links to previous photos that I have had published in the
last couple of months:
http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1125594.html  (all 10 pictures are mine)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1120488.html  (Pictures 5 and 10 are mine)
http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1123700.html (Pictures 6-9 are mine)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1118943.html (Pictures 9 and 10 are mine)

If you click on each picture manually, you will find a brief description.


Donna Feinstein 


Place of volunteering


Type of Organization

Type of work being performed

Weitz Institute of the Jewish Agency

Weitz Center 

International School 

Work with the students from abroad, organize tours 

Moriah Plaza Hotel

Moriah Plaza Tel Aviv Hotel (Formely Known as Sheraton Moriah). Tel Aviv. Rates from USD138


Work at the front desk

Ichilov Hospital

Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center

Fertility Clinic

Observing doctors in the clinic


Telalivit - Social Network, Jobs, Events, Aliyah


Marketing of website, advertising

Opera House

The Israeli Opera

Israeli Opera Production


Wolfson Hospital

Wolfson Children's Hospital

"Save a Child's Heart" organization

Arranges for tours of hospital, accompany doctors

Hizkiya Hachmon

Lawyer's office

Assist the lawyers

APco Company

APCO Worldwide

International consulting firm

Internet research

"Olah! Records" Company

Oleh Records

Organization that assist Israeli artists to get International exposure and teaches them how to do it professionally

The intern works on the fashion line of this company 

Theater: Fringe Etgarim

The company brings international theater professionals to expose them to the Fringe theater in Israel

Deal with the theater professional that arrive, work on the logistics for their visits, sees shows

Meirav Productions

Meirav Productions

Production Company


Ramat Aviv Gimmel School

Ramat Aviv Gimmel

Elementary school

Works with the olim students of the Elementary School




Work on Marketing, Advertising, Events

Tel Aviv University

Welcome to Tel Aviv University

Master Program

Works with students from abroad, events coordinator

"Hoshen" Organization

חושן - חינוך ושינוי

Gay and Lesbian Organization

Marketing & Fundraising

Jaffa Center for Education

The Jaffa Institute

Educational Organization


Afik Turgeman

Afik Turgemen

Lawyer's Office

Assist the lawyers

Nitzan Bergman


Work on various projects, one of them is to design the area against the wall by Zion Gate


Physiology clinic

Research Assistant, specifcly for feet

Jerusalem Municipality

The Jerusalem Website

Design and planning department

Municipality Planning

Body & Soul

מכון כושר בירושלים בודי אנד סול


Trainer assistant

Merkaz Hamagshimim



Assisting the director

Esther Phillips Interns at Oleh! Records

Esther Phillips, 25, Toronto, Canada

IADT, Seneca College, B.A. in Fashion Design, Fashion Business

Track:Internships Tel Aviv | Israel Programs | WUJS Israel Hadassah

Internship:Oleh Records, Product Development/ Marketing (fashion/music)

Living in Tel Aviv on the WUJS program has been a great experience for me. Tel Aviv is a fun and bustling city to live in with a lot of young people, art and culture. The WUJS program provides the framework for living here and getting the most out of our Israel experience. The weekly siyurs help educate us about the history and current political issues in Israel, while also allowing us to explore different parts of the country. Group activities within Tel Aviv such as going to see concerts, theatre, movie nights etc. are also a definite bonus. The thing I like the most about the program is that it gives participants freedom to experience Israel in a way that is not overly structured. I have formed many close friendships with other participants and Israeli's that I am sure will last a lifetime. This in itself has made the experience on WUJS worthwhile.

Oleh! Records is an independent, non for profit record company operating out of Tel Aviv, Israel. This organization promotes and supports young talented Israeli musicians by helping them get discovered abroad. All of the artists signed by Oleh! Records sing in English in order to reach a wider audience. Oleh! supports modern youth culture and artists with alternative music styles, representing ambassadors for Israel. We want Israel to be seen as the modern country it is with a happening music scene, art and culture instead of through the skewed perception that negative media coverage often portrays.


What were you doing before you came here?

I studied Fashion Business at Seneca College in Toronto. This concentrates on the business side of the fashion industry in areas such as buying/merchandising, management, sales, product development, and marketing. Before this I studied fashion design at The International Academy of Design where I had hands on experience constructing garments and learning how to put together a fashion line.

How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

A friend of mine researched the program for herself and then told me about it. She is on the program as well.

What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

My main role is to work on the development of a fashion label (Oleh!) that will help further brand and bring awareness to the organization. I am working alongside graphic designers to create a hip streetwear line (made up of graphic printed teeshirts, hoodies, and other accessories) influenced by Tel Aviv street art and the music scene in Israel. I develop the framework for the line and also help pitch it to potential retailers with a written business proposal. My other responsibilities apart from the fashion line are directly related to promoting the record company and its artists. I help update media online media portals such as the main website, facebook, twitter and My Space. I have also been involved in viral marketing campaigns (spread through youtube and email) and have helped organize and promote educational workshops for musicians in Tel Aviv. I work closely with group of other interns and often get to be involved with their individual projects related to viral marketing promotions, sponsorship and event planning. We all bounce ideas off one another and it's a great working environment.

What are your goals for this internship program?

My initial goal was to gain valuable experience in product development and marketing. Furthermore, I am excited about developing a fashion line for a worthy organization, linking fashion with music and further branding Oleh! Records abroad.

Have you had any difficulty settling in?

No. I have actually adjusted fairly well considering the cultural differences and the distance from home. I think that living with roommates who I've become good friends with and being in a program with other participants makes a big difference. 

What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

Most of my friends were supportive and thought it would be a good experience for me. Others warned me about pissing off Arabs and getting bombed. I think they were kidding...

Donna Feinstein Interns for the Opera House and Haaretz Newspaper

Donna Shlomit Feinstein, 23, Houston, Texas

University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art

Track: Internships Tel Aviv | Israel Programs | WUJS Israel Hadassah

Internship: Prop designer at the Tel Aviv Opera House and Photographer at Haaretz

Links: The Israeli OperaHaaretz Daily Newspaper Israel, Israeli News Source

Tel Aviv is a very exciting city that never sleeps. There is always something to do, and I discover new things almost every time that I go out. As a fluent Hebrew speaker, it is so refreshing to step outside of my apartment and hear everyone around me speaking in Hebrew.

The WUJS internship program is a nice exposure to living in Israel. I have become very close with the people in the program, the weekly trips are enjoyable, and the internship placement was very successful. The Opera House is a very exciting establishment. Major operas and performances are performed on the stage year-round. 

Haaretz is a left-wing newspaper based in Tel Aviv that discusses controversial topics. 


What were you doing before you came here? 

I was a student at the University of Texas in Austin studying video art, photography and printmaking.

How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

I heard about this program through my mother, who found an advertisement in the local Jewish newspaper.

What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

My responsibilities at the Opera House are to create props for the stage by specific deadlines. My responsibilities at Haaretz are to take photographs of Israel on a weekly basis, as well as censor talkbacks, proofread articles, and translate articles from Hebrew to English.

What are your goals for this internship program?

My goal is to make important connections within the art field in Tel Aviv.

Have you had any difficulty settling in? Fortunately I have not had any difficulty settling in as I am fluent in Hebrew and my family (with the exception of my parents and brother) lives in Israel.

What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel? My friends joked that I was moving to Israel to find a husband!

Kelly Nahmia, 28, Thessaloniki, Greece

Palazzo Spinelli for Interior Design, Florence, B.A. in Interior Design

Track: Internships Tel Aviv

Internship: Danny Israelevits' office

I'm working in an architecture- interior design office and its owner is called Danny Israelevits. Its an office that mostly takes over villas and secondly public projects like schools, city counsils, cafes.They take over the whole project from the beginning, from its structure till the inside part and that's where interior design takes over.


For me, living in Tel Aviv has been a very nice experience, although I feel there are so many places to see and visit that I haven't been still and want to. The whole atmosphere reminds me very much of my country where they are a bit crazy, like the Israelis. The WUJS program is a very nice program for someone who wants to get to know Israel. It's a very good experience and I would recommend it specially to young people. It's a very good 'passport' for someone who wants to live in Israel after all. 

What were you doing before you came here?

I was working in a furniture company.

How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

From a friend who is a masa program. Find out more at Masa Israel.

What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

To design the project that's gonna be given to me.

What are your goals for this internship program?

To learn more things about my occupation and the owner to appreciate my work.

Have you had any difficulty settling in?

No, except for the fact that I don't have my car and I don't know the language which has been a problem sometimes.

What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

They were so excited that they wanted to take them with me!

Amy Ovadia is Social Networking with Telalivit.com

Name: Amy Ovadia, 23, Lafayette, CA.

California Polytechnic, B.A. in Nutrition

Track: Internships Tel Aviv

Internship: www.telalivit.com 

Telalivit, still fairly new, is a social network aimed at olim hadashim. It helps people that have just moved to Tel Aviv settle into this city.  This is done through helping people find jobs, volunteer opportunities, living arrangements. Additionally, Telalivit is about helping new olim meet others through social events. As an intern, I help plan Telalivit events, such as Shabbat dinners, or for instance, an event for lone soldiers.  We also plan to join with other organizations such as PresenTense and StandWithUS. 


Tel Aviv is a unique and special city.  Up until now, I have never lived in a city that doesn't sleep, but it is very exciting. There is always something going on. I like that while in Tel Aviv, you can meet people from any country! Additionally, I appreciate how you can see Hassidic men walking down that street, while a minute later, you see punk-rock teenage girls with pink hair walking down the same street. I enjoy being on the WUJS internship program and I enjoy learning about Israeli culture, whether it be from our siyurs or simply living life here.

What were you doing before you came here?

I just graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I finished in June, received my B.S. in Nutrition and minored in Biology. For a short time, I interned with a County Public Health Department in San Luis Obispo.

How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

I searched through all of the MASA programs offered and came across this one. Find out more at Masa Israel.

What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

I am responsible for publicizing exciting events in Tel Aviv, letting olim hadashim know about Telalivit and helping manage the website.

What are your goals for this internship program?

I would like to meet as many new people and make as many new connections as possible. A main goal for me is to improve my communication skills, as this is something important and useful for any career and all aspects of life. Also, I'd like to continue to go to various events. For instance, I've been able to attend a speech by Shimon Peres, a dinner for lone soldiers etc.

Have you had any difficulty settling in?

Not particularly. It takes getting used to living with so many people, but at times it can be fun.  There is always something going on.

What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

They were very excited for me! They told me not to get married while I am here.