(September 13, 2021, Jerusalem, Israel, JNS Wire) Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF), a Masa initiative in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education, launched its 11th year of programming. 165 English-speaking young Jewish professionals arrived in Israel from English speaking countries at the start of the academic year.
Following a brief seven-day quarantine, Fellows will teach English in elementary and middle schools within Israel’s social and geographic periphery, including in the cities of Beit She’an, Ramla, Be’er Sheva, Haifa, Jerusalem, and more over the course of 10 months in classrooms or in small groups, depending on the schools’ needs.
Some Fellows will teach in religious schools from Shabbat-friendly, kosher apartments. Others will teach in youth villages and provide meaningful mentorship and ESL support.
“We are thrilled to welcome the next MITF cohort of bright and motivated young adults that will increase English literacy among Israel’s youth,” said Ofer Gutman, Acting CEO of Masa Israel. “As back-to-school fervor sweeps the nation, this exceptional group of young Jews from the diaspora will arrive at the perfect time to deepen their connections with the global Jewish community and Israel.”
This year’s cohort is comprised of a diverse group of individuals. They join the program from a wide array of English-speaking countries, mainly from the United States, England and Canada. Fellows range in levels of cultural or religious Jewish observance. There is also a growing number of Fellows from top universities, including Brown University and Berkeley. Many fellows hold teaching certifications and have previous field experience, including in teaching special needs; some having already taught English outside of their home country: in Hungary, Germany, Thailand, and more.
“There are countless reasons I’m excited for MITF,” said Hannah (Taylor) Burch. “Meeting friends and colleagues, a firsthand experience of Jewish life in Israel, traveling to historic sights, tasting authentic foods, becoming proficient in Hebrew, helping children learn about English and American Jewish life—I couldn’t name them all. All I can say is that I can’t wait!”
Masa is anticipating in-person classroom experiences for both teachers and students and is prepared to adapt the programs in the interests of health and safety.
The MITF program not only provides opportunities for professional development; it increases the global Jewish community’s connection to Israel. 30 percent of MITF alumni have immigrated to Israel with some choosing to continue working in various frameworks of education.
As Romy Larson, who majored in Special Education at Cleveland State University and will be part of MITF this year, puts it: “I am so glad that Masa offers a teacher’s track for me to use my skills more fully in the classroom in Israel. Something I’m looking forward to the most in Israel is gaining a new perspective in teaching. I know I will be a better and more fully rounded teacher because of my time in Israel.”