Masa Israel Journey Blog

March 15, 2010
 
By Joseph Kluger, OTZMA
 
Why would you ever want to live in Israel? This is the first question one of my best friends asked me when I told her I was moving to Israel for 10 months on a program called OTZMA. The thought of living in Israel was never on my mind 2 or 3 years ago. My curiosity all started with my trip to Israel on Birthright and hearing the experiences of my brother who made aliyah in 2006.
 
My name is Joseph Kluger and I am 24 years old. I grew up in San Antonio, Tx with my four brothers and graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2007. I was the president of Hillel at UTSA and led friday night services on board the cruise ship I worked on. Judaism has always been apart of my life and coming to Israel was naturally the next step.
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March 09, 2010
 
Service in the United States Army is anything but easy, and being a Jew in the military only complicates matters further. 
 
One of only a handful of Jews in the army, I was barraged with questions about Judaism, most of which I lacked the knowledge to answer adequately.  Upon completing my service, some of which I spent in Iraq, I headed back to the Middle East to learn Hebrew at the Masa Israel Journey-accredited Ulpan Akiva program, hoping to gain the necessary skills to learn more about my religion.  While in Israel, I also took part in Masa Israel’s Building Future Leaders seminar series, and crafted an outreach program for other Jewish soldiers in the U.S. Army.
 
Raised in Northern California, I attended synagogue on the high holidays and the occasional Friday night.  Though I went to Hebrew School until I was 13, had my...
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