An advertisement in New York City’s Times Square on Thursday displayed a send-off message to thousands of Masa Israel Journey (“Masa”) Fellows starting their long-term, immersive experiences in Israel.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of young adults from around the world have arrived in or are preparing to travel to Israel for a gap year, internship, study abroad, volunteer or professional training program with Masa. All Masa Fellows are required to enter a seven-day quarantine period upon arrival with respect to the Israeli Ministry of Health’s safety regulations and guidelines.

In late June, Masa opened registration for its 2021-22 program year that started this month. More than 6,500 young adults from around the world have registered to date. Ahead of the Jewish New Year, 3,000 American Fellows have already landed in Israel, including 1,000 from New York.

Interest and registration for Masa programs continue to climb for North American applicants; with an increase in Masa Gap Fellows, as well as a 54 percent rise in Masa Career Fellows, and a 10 percent increase in Masa Academic Fellows participation compared to last year. Additionally, registrations from global participants in Masa Academic Fellows have increased 20 percent, and Masa Career registrations have more than doubled.

Among the current group of Fellows is Jason Botesazan from New York, who is interning in the advertising department with Minute Media. He holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational and industrial psychology from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. After the company piqued his interest two years ago while studying at Tel Aviv University, he knew he wanted to come back and work for them to jumpstart his career.

“I realized that I could connect with the company through Masa Career opportunities and participate in an internship that matched my interests well. I love the internship and am really happy at my company. Thanks to Masa, I can boost my career and contribute to Israel’s economy. What could be better than that?” he said.

Masa Acting CEO Ofer Gutman explained that “the increase in demand amid a challenging period has been inspiring. We’ve recently extended our program offerings to those aged 16 to 35, as we work to continue offering more life-changing, long-term opportunities to Jews from around the world. Our programs not only offer unparalleled internship, work and study experiences at top organizations and schools, but also give young adults the chance to live like locals, and contribute to Israel’s rich and vibrant culture.”

“As we prepare for the Jewish New Year,” he added, “we welcome the endless possibilities a new year presents.”

JNS

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