(November 24, 2020, Jerusalem, JNS Wire) Masa Israel Journey, founded by the government of Israel and The Jewish Agency, hosted a 24-hour virtual Masa Gap fair for English-speakers on Sunday, November 18, 2020. There was a 45% increase in fair participation compared to last year, demonstrating that a gap year in Israel is in high demand.
With many high school and college campuses still closed due to COVID-19, the virtual fair consolidated resources for families to learn about the gap year opportunities in Israel. The event featured 40 Masa Gap organizers with a variety of program options, including academic, service learning, volunteer, and leadership programs. Attendees included students and parents from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, South Africa, Colombia, Russia, Argentina and Brazil.
“Masa Gap is an increasingly popular option worldwide for high school students after graduation. Registration this year increased 40% compared to last year and there was a 120% jump in registration by Ivy League students,” said Masa Acting CEO Ofer Gutman.
Ellie Miller, whose son is a high school senior in the U.S., said: “I really enjoyed the Masa gap year virtual fair. It was helpful to see the broad array of choices available. There are so many different programs and an option for everyone.” She added, “the travel opportunities offered within and outside Israel are especially impressive. COVID-19 has created some limitations and the opportunity for my son to safely venture out into the world is exciting. It was also encouraging to hear how the different programs help high school graduates become more independent.”
Ben, 17, from London, shared: “I think the Masa gap year fair was a super great event. COVID has made it feel harder to have a gap year, but this event was really inspiring and shows how many programs are still going ahead. I now will really consider going to Israel!”
Currently, there are more than 7,300 Masa Fellows in Israel participating in long-term educational experiences, and at least a thousand more are expected to arrive later this programming year. All programs are operating with respect to Israel’s Ministry of Health safety and health guidelines.