WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

July 2010 Archives

Michal Swerdlow.jpg

Ricky Yihye with former Bialik Rogozin school volunteer Michal Swerdlow

A few weeks ago, the principal of the Bialik Rogozin School in South Tel Aviv, invited me to attend a special evening dedicated to all the interns and volunteers.

Currently, we have a WUJS participant volunteering at the school and helping teach English to the children of the refugees and foreign workers.

The evening was supposed to start at 6:30PM.  I was happy for the invitation and arrived a little early. I did not plan to stay long, just pop in, to show support for the school and our participant.  When I arrived I saw it was something more serious then I originally thought.

At the entrance a few students greeted guests with a smile and referred them to the dinning hall. In the dinning hall, the tables were laid with fruits, pastries, soft drink, hot drinks, and scented candles.  As time passed more and more people arrived and the room was filled almost entirely with volunteers.

Everyone gathered in the auditorium and the ceremony began with a song sung by children in more than five languages - English, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, and Spanish. It was exciting to see and hear them sing together, especially in Hebrew so well. Following the song, the principal spoke and introduced some honored guests:

Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Mrs. Aliza Olmert, former Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Zamir and his wife and many more, all of whom made room in their schedule and hearts to come to this event and say thank you to all the volunteers.

Of course the subject of their deportation came up and the unknown future of these children.

This was one of those evenings that you feel lucky to have been a part of.

It made me happy to see that they are in good hands and that we, even if indirectly, are taking a part in shaping their educational future.

Dear Arts track 

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone. I grew in terms of my art, and I found myself in ways that I could never have experienced in America. I am very glad that I made the decision to come to Israel. But even more so, I feel so lucky to have had the privilege of being a part of the arts track group. More than anything, you all, as a group, provided me with a sense of security and comfort here in Israel. Within a larger group of almost 40 WUJS participants in Jerusalem, it was invaluable to have a smaller group with whom I had so much in common. To be able to sing without fear, explore the Israeli art scene and do group activities based around trust and creativity with fellow artists was really special for me and a really important part of my Israel experience. I'm honestly not sure what I would have done without it.

So, thank you so much and I wish you all the best luck in the future. All of you are so talented in our own ways and I look forward to hearing how far you've all gone in the next few years.

With love,
Laura Stein

Laura is seated in the front row in the center


Name: Jacob Kieval
Hometown: Sharon, MA
Employer: Mark Burnett Productions
University: Washington University in St. Louis
Major: Film and Media Studies

How did you decide that going to Israel was the right option for you?
I hadn't been in several years, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after college at the time, so I started looking into programs.

What Masa Israel program did you participate in?
WUJS Intern Tel Aviv

Why did you decide to participate in WUJS Intern Tel Aviv?
I wanted to do something productive while in Israel, not just tour around.  I wanted to do something relevant to my career path, and feel like a real working Israeli.

What did you do while on WUJS Intern Tel Aviv?
I was an assistant technician at Meirav Productions in Ramat Gan. I also made a weekly video update about the other WUJS participants' internships.

What was the highlight of your internship?
In my internship with WUJS, it was getting to read/hear the feedback from my videos each week as I put them up.

What skills/lessons did you take away from your internship that you still use today?
During my internship at Meirav Productions, I learned a lot about technical editing and post-production equipment, that are all very relevant to what I do now since it's mostly the same stuff.

Is there a story or anecdote that you can share that reflects your experience in Israel?
Most of my group went to an American bar to watch the Superbowl with other Americans.  It was great, because after five months in Israel, absorbing their culture, we suddenly had a night where all the Americans came out of the woodwork to join in a true cultural event for US.  It was also great because the game started at 1 AM and went until 5.

What are you up to now?
Now I'm living in Los Angeles, working as a Post Production Coordinator at Mark Burnett Productions.  I'm new to the city and adjusting to life here.

Has your time in Israel impacted your future/career plans?
Pretty directly, for two reasons: 1) I met the guy who hired me through a friend of Mike Mitchell, director of WUJS, and 2) I was hired for this position partly on the basis of what I did at Meirav Productions in Israel.

If you could meet any Israeli from any point in history, who would it be and why?
Eliezer Ben Yehuda.  I'm not sure if he counts as an Israeli, but he did reinvent the Hebrew language, so I'm kind of awed by him.

Taken from http://masaisrael.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/alumni-spotlight-jacob-kieval/