Masa Israel Journey Blog

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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February 24, 2010
 
By Masa Israel participant Jordana Gilman
 
I had no expectations for my first BFL conference, and I was having an awful day when I first arrived to the Ganei Moriah Hotel in Jerusalem half an hour late after four hours of traveling. Things quickly turned around for me, and I was welcomed into the BFL community like a long lost friend. The long weekend transformed my mood and challenged me in so many ways.
 
The Masa leadership program was unique. The tours of Jerusalem were the same famous places but new and interesting stories and facts. The workshops still asked us to practice public speaking and explore our own identities, but everything was done in such a creative way, it all felt new. I especially appreciated this “new” aspect of the conference because I have been to other leadership seminars before and I was expecting more of...
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