December 3, 2008 / 6 Kislev 5769
"When I thought about staying in Israel for more than a few months I wanted a program in which I could literally connect to the land, be involved in Tikkun Olam, and advance professionally. The Jewish Agency MASA Eco-Israel-Living the Land program, incredibly, met all of my needs."
Karin Fleisch, 27, can easily be called "a woman of the world". Born in New York, she moved to Israel with her parents at the tender age of five months. When she was six, they returned to the United States. Although Karin went to a Solomon Schechter School in New Jersey, she was more involved in the local music scene than in the local Jewish scene.
At the age of 17, she went to Poland and Israel on a March of the Living program. Her passion for Tikkun Olam led Karin to teach English in Ecuador after graduating with a degree in philosophy and political science from Boston University. "It was an amazing experience," says Karin. "Because of the program we started, more kids are going to school. I was also the only Jewish person there and my Ecuadorian friends helped me build a Succah from sugar cane."
Karin then went to work for a food bank in New York City, and alongside her desire to get healthier foods into the school system she wanted to actually experience the planting and harvesting of food. When a friend told her about MASA's Eco-Israel – Live the Land program she was really excited. But she didn't know if she could afford it. "The MASA scholarship helped me tremendously," says Karin. "I would not have been able to do the program without it."
Karin is working together with Israelis and 10 other MASA participants on the Adam and Eve ecological farm in central Israel, where they combine community living, sustainable building and organic farming. "It is a permaculture apprenticeship," explains Karin, "and I am learning so much professionally."
At the same time, Karin describes her time on the farm as "really powerful." She adds, "I feel intimately connected to the land. Israel is an experiment in nation building and I treasure and value this. I can't think of any other program I could have done in Israel that would have given me everything I wanted."
After finishing the five and a half month program, Karin plans to apply for a Dorot Fellowship in Israel, and then go on to study for her master’s degree in public affairs.
With the support of donors throughout the world, the Jewish Agency can continue to fund programs that provide young Jews like Karin Fleisch with a love of Israel and a sense of belonging in the Jewish world. These programs have inspired thousands of young Jews to leave their homes and build better lives for themselves in Israel- with your help these numbers will continue to grow. To learn more about how you can contribute to these vital programs.
To learn more about the program, click here. To join us in our efforts, click here.