Experience Israel

A New Dawn: Becoming an Ambassador for Israel

Dawn Kassirer grew up in Orange County, New York with a Christmas tree in her home. Masa was a turning point for her.

Growing up, my connection to Judaism was that we attended synagogue twice a year for the High Holidays. We had a Christmas tree and a stocking that said “Shalom” with Jewish starts on it. 

After I graduated from the University of Albany, I became closer with my father’s parents. I learned that my grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor, and my grandfather had been a partisan fighter in Poland. My burgeoning relationship with them led to my visiting Israel with Taglit-Birthright.  During the trip, I met my grandfather’s brother. The whole experience was a jumpstart to my leading an active Jewish lifestyle, with a commitment to supporting Israel.

Birthright was obviously a turning point for me. But when I came back I felt a little bit lost because I wasn’t sure where to go. I didn’t have direction. Meanwhile I made a few new Jewish friends and bought my first Menorah. I kept getting emails from Masa Israel about following up my Birthright trip, and would delete them until last year, when I came to another turning point: I was feeling stuck in my job. So, I inquired about what programs were available to me.

I decided on Career Israel Journey, which arranged an internship for me in early 2016 with Puzzle Israel, which offers personalized tour itineraries of Israel. Masa Israel subsidized my experience.

Masa sparked something in me. They run a lot of activities that span all the programs, such as leadership seminars and networking events. I took advantage of every Masa event that I could take advantage of in those five months. I made connections with dozens of different programs and hundreds of different people.

When I came back to New York this summer, it was with an impetus to be more involved in Jewish life. I want to be an ambassador, not just for Judaism but for Israel. I’m looking for a job in Jewish leadership and already started looking for a way to get back to Israel as soon as possible.

I think I have an important story to tell. That’s what Masa ignited in me, wanting to share my story.

 

11 Oct 2016 / 9 Tishrei 5777 0
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