US Peace Corps and Top American Service Programs Explore Volunteer Opportunities in Israel

November 14, 2010 / 7 Kislev 5771

Teach for America, Peace Corps, and City Year travel to Israel to explore opportunities for young adults

Representatives from leading American service organizations, including Teach for America, Peace Corps, City Year, and other organizations will travel to Israel this week to explore volunteering opportunities offered through Masa Israel Journey. With young adults’ growing interest in international volunteer opportunities, Masa Israel, a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, is making Israel a global hub for service programs.

Masa Israel collaborated with Leadership Development at City Year to develop a study tour that will enable American and Israeli service organizations to share best practices in leadership development and community service. Among the 19 service organizations participating in this study tour are Teach for America, Peace Corps, City Year, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the American Jewish World Service, UJA Federation of NY, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, JCPA, Avodah, Hillel, Jewish Funds for Justice, New Israel Fund, Repair the World, Uri L’Tzedek, and Ve’ahavta.

“I haven’t heard of another country pulling together people for this purpose,” said City Year’s Director of Leadership, Dr. Max Klau. “The study tour has the potential to impact the American service movement and the Israeli service movement.”

This year, Masa Israel will bring 10,000 participants to Israel on 180 five-to-12-month volunteering, career development and academic programs. Masa Israel participants invest thousands of hours of community service to Israeli society each year and Masa Israel offers 16 post-college programs exclusively dedicated to service. Many participants parlay their volunteering into jobs in North America. In the last two years, Masa Israel has seen a surge in recent graduates participating in volunteering and career development programs; Masa Israel’s “A Better Stimulus Plan” ( continues to engage thousands of recent college graduates in exploring these opportunities in Israel.

“As a community service activist and a former Peace Corps volunteer, I know there’s great potential to increase the number of Americans volunteering in Israel,” says Masa Israel’s North American Director, Avi Rubel. “It’s important to give young adults the opportunity to express their idealism through volunteering, and for a Jew, it’s especially meaningful to volunteer in Israel.”

The tour and the emphasis on growing volunteer and social activism opportunities in Israel reinforces the new direction of the Jewish Agency as reflected in its strategic plan. The operative part of the plan, approved last month in Jerusalem, calls for the Agency to focus its work into two areas of activity: one, to increase the number of young adults on experiences in Israel, including Masa; and second, to increase opportunities for social activism in Israel -- precisely what this tour for representatives of leading American service organizations aims to facilitate.

The weeklong tour will include visits to volunteer programs in the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas and consultation sessions with policymakers and senior practitioners.

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220;
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780



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14 Nov 2010 / 7 Kislev 5771 0