WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

March 2011 Archives

WUJS Alumni- Abby Ravski

Abby Ravski, 25
Jerusalem - Intern & Arts Fall 2010
Hometown: Albany, NY
Fashion Institute of Technology - Advertising and Graphic Design

I chose to participate in WUJS... after my husband and I made a last minute decision
to come to Israel for the year. I was looking for a program that I could learn Hebrew,
advance professionally, and still be able to travel and see the country as this is only
my 2nd time in Israel. It was very important to me that I did not let this year go to
waste professionally. I wanted to keep practicing graphic design, but break my way into
the Jewish work world. I hope to return to the US and do graphics work for a Jewish
organization (anyone want to hire me?). I work at Matan Media doing graphics for
Young Judaea. I am currently creating a Facebook and Google Ad Campaign for Young
Judaea's gap year program, Year Course. In my field, Facebook and online marketing is
very hot right now. Here I am in Jerusalem enhancing my resume and work experience
and after work I can go to the shuk and haggle over a sweet potato. Life is good!

What are the tracks like on WUJS?
It was not my original plan to participate in 2 tracks on WUJS, when I met the Ofra the
art's track teacher I immediately fell in love. With my years of Art History this opportunity
to learn about the history of Jewish and Israeli art sounded amazing. And it is amazing!
The classes and trips we have are well planned, interesting and I find myself sharing
and teaching my family and friends what I learn in my classes. My passion and love for
art was established in college. Now, as I participate in my WUJS art's track classes they
have helped strengthen my Zionist ideas and connection to the State of Israel.

What's one of your favorite moments in Israel?
I loved spending the High Holidays in Jerusalem. One image I will never forget is seeing
a orthodox man on his scooter and kittel (white robe) on his way to Kol Nidre. That's
when it hit me, I'm in Jerusalem, I'm a majority! The silence of the city for all of Yom
Kippur truly enhanced the day, and as soon as the sun went down, and people enjoyed
their food, the streets echoed with hammers and nails as residents built their sukkot.
Where else in the world can you experience this? I am a New Yorker and am used to
being surrounded by Jews, but I have found that there's something in Jerusalem for
everyone. Bars are packed at 3am on Thursdays with 20 somethings. H&M just opened
in the Malka Mall, the restaurants are amazing, affordable,and Kosher! I have found that
no matter what my friend's level of observance is they have found a love for shabbat,
sitting around the table with friends, eating, singing and drinking. What is usually said?
"When in Rome do as the Romans do!"

What's been most challenging?
I thought it was really going to be hard keeping in touch with family and I'd feel 6,000
miles away. Skype has actually kept us closer, being able to see everyone's faces on
Thanksgiving made the day go by much easier. What's even better is when you're in
Israel so many people come to visit! I came to Israel really wanting to learn Hebrew. It's
harder than I thought it would be! Being in Jerusalem everyone speaks English so it's
very hard to practice. I loved our Ulpan program, the teachers are our peers and we play
games and practice our Hebrew for practical situations. It has been a challenge keeping
up with the work, practicing in between class and feeling confident speaking out on the

Tell us about your other world travels:
We had a short Hanukkah break. My husband and I took a trip to Paris. We
don't know a word of French, we passed a clothing store close to the Moulin Rouge.
As we shopped we were nervous because we had questions, but how would be
communicate in our non existent French? I look over and see a Hamsa on the wall,
that's usually a strong clue to speak Hebrew or defiantly NOT to speak Hebrew. I look
closer and he has a "birkat hanoot" (blessing of the store) hung on the wall. Soon
enough we said "Efshar medabear ivrit?" (can we speak hebrew?) His face lit up and
started speaking Hebrew a mile a minute. Soon enough we were saying "le'at le'at"
(slower slower!) He was an Israeli who grew up right outside of Tel Aviv and we know
we made his night! This was not the first time our Hebrew has come in handy in our
travels, now after 3 months of Ulpan I'm actually able to participate in these world wide
encounters! After our year in Israel we are spending the month of June backpacking
across Europe and visiting close to 9 different countries. We're excited to continue to
 explore the world and then return to "normal life" back in the states in July.

Abby just completed the WUJS arts and intern track in February. For the remainder amount of time in Jerusalem she's studying at the Conservative Yeshiva and helping out with WUJS marketing and the new machzor! Want to know more about Abby's time is Israel? Check out her blog! http://havespousewilltravel.blogspot.com/

WUJS Student Profile- Sherri Lichtman

Name: Sherri Lichtman, 26
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
WUJS Track: Tel-Aviv Internship
College: University of Maryland School of Law
Major: Law

Why did you decide to take 6 months and come to Israel?
To have the opportunity to experience a new country while having real life, every day interactions that would benefit me (hopefully) with respect to my job search when I return home.

What are you doing while on WUJS?
I am working at a law office doing research and problem solving.

What are you looking forward to the most?
Getting to know my way around Tel Aviv and taking advantage of all it has to offer.

What are you nervous about?
Doing well in my internship and getting lost.

Where else have you traveled in the world?
Around the US.

What Israeli food are you hoping to eat a lot of during your time in Israel?


WUJS Student Profile- Jacob Singer

Name: Jacob Singer, 23
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
WUJS Track: Jerusalem Arts
College: Stevenson University
Major: Interdisciplinary

Why did you decide to take 6 months and come to Israel?
In order to find more about the Jewish culture, traditions, anthropology and to feel as part of a humongous Jewish population. In addition, in order to grow as an individual.

What are you doing while on WUJS?

I am planning on writing a play, and directing, producing, publicizing and starring in it.

What are you looking forward to the most?
Meeting Jewish people from all around the world and making new friendships.

What are you nervous about?
Adapting to a new way of life.

Where else have you traveled in the world?

I have traveled to Canada and the Bahamas.

What Israeli food are you hoping to eat a lot of during your time in Israel?
I hope to eat lot of Falafel.

jacob singer.jpg

WUJS Student Profile- Amanda Gurin

We're almost 2 weeks into the Spring 2011 machzor. We will now be featuring profiles of the new participants throughout the semester! Keep checking to see what they're up to!

Name: Amanda Gurin, 22
Hometown: Scarsdale, NY
WUJS Track: Peace and Social Justice, Jerusalem
College: University of Rochester
Major: Public Health

Why did you decide to take 6 months and come to Israel?
I have always wanted to live in Israel for an extended period of time, I love feeling like a resident of a place rather than a tourist. I had been to Israel 3 times before and just couldn't get enough, so I decided, after being stuck in a job that I really disliked, and before I start graduate school that I would take the opportunity to live in one of my favorite places in the world.

What are you doing while on WUJS?

I will be interning for a professor in the Department of Health Inequalities and Minority Health at the Braun School of Public Health of Hebrew University. I will be helping with some of the professor's research.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I am looking forward to developing a true routine and a life here in Jerusalem and of seeing parts of Jerusalem that I have missed in the past. I am also looking forward to catching up with my Israeli friends that I haven't seen in a while.

What are you nervous about?
The atmosphere in Israel, and Jerusalem, in particular, can sometimes be very tense so I am slightly nervous about that, and obviously when something such as a bus bomb strikes so close to home it can be nerve racking, but it is unfortunately part of Israelis' reality. I just hope that nothing like this happens again.

Where else have you traveled in the world?
I have traveled to some of Europe, including England, Ireland, Italy, France, Denmark, Sweden and Holland, but I have definitely traveled to and around Israel the most.

What Israeli food are you hoping to eat a lot of during your time in Israel?
Hummus, falafel and schwarma, of course!

Amanda Gurin.jpg

High Holidays in Jerusalem

Ever wonder what it's like to spend the High Holidays in Jerusalem? Check out what WUJS alum Rachelle Butt from New Jersey has to say about her experience on her blog! You could be in Jerusalem for the High Holidays this year! Registration is now open for WUJS Fall 2011 Machzor! Apply now!

High Holidays in the Holy Land!


WUJS alumni- Lisa Heller

Lisa Heller from Fall 2009 Machzor just came back to Israel by staffing a Young Judaea Birthright trip! Check out what Lisa has to say about her WUJS experience on the Jerusalem Learning track! WUJS alumni- Lisa Heller

WUJS Spring 2011 has begun!

On Monday, 21 participants arrived in Jerusalem and 20 in Tel Aviv. They came from all over the world including Columbia, France, Netherlands, Belgium and the United States. All excited, and ready to go for the next 5 1/2 months of interning, volunteering, arts, Hebrew Ulpan and much much more. This group could not have arrived at a better time in Israel. Purim! A time of year filled with costumes, celebration and of course Oznei Haman (Hamentashen). Delicious! They are looking forward to the coming weeks of orientation which includes intensive ulpan, group activities and seminars about Israeli history, culture and society. Yesterday we did a group hike to Nachal Elal in the north. Spring is here in Israel and it is so exciting to see it in bloom!