06 Apr A Masa Dream Come True
The last time Basha was in Israel — her 10th visit to the Jewish State — she stayed with a family friend in Rishon LeZion and fell in love with the city. So when she decided the time was right to apply to be a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow (MITF), she knew that’s where she wanted to live.
“I had been looking into MITF for almost two years before I even applied. I was obsessed with the program from the moment I saw a promo video, and I knew it would be my next step after college,” recounted Basha. “MITF is one of the longer programs Masa Israel Journey offers and it gives participants an authentic Israeli experience; it’s the real deal.”
Basha flew to Israel from Dallas in August 2020. During most of her time as a Fellow, the country has been on lockdown due to the pandemic. So Basha has been teaching classes on Zoom, except for a few weeks when COVID numbers were doing better and she was able to teach in-person and truly bond with the students.
“With corona, I knew going in that my MITF experience would be different, but it didn’t make me want to withdraw my application—I’m actually so happy that I spent this COVID-19 year in Israel,” shared Basha. “Here, I’m making a real impact on these kids’ lives and the community of a country that I love.”
“I am watching my students go through this very difficult time, and I have the ability to help them grow,” she added. “I watch my student’s confidence grow in speaking English, and I actually learn from them and try to grow my own confidence in speaking Hebrew.”
As a participant in MITF, Basha has been living with several other Fellows as roommates in an apartment. She was initially nervous about making friends and being in quarantine with roommates she’d never met before. But through multiple lockdowns, they’ve grown very close, with Basha even calling them her “family here in Israel.”
Her roommates really came through for her when it was Basha’s 24th birthday. It occurred during a lockdown, so Basha’s roommates planned an incredible surprise, blindfolding her and walking her down to a beautiful field within the restricted 300-meter range of their apartment, having prepared the most thoughtful picnic for them all to enjoy.
“Everyone thinks that a lockdown birthday is so unfortunate but I cried from happiness so many times on my birthday, and even though it was during a lockdown, it is, bar none, the best birthday I’ve ever celebrated in my life so far,” said Basha.
When reflecting on her time with MITF, Basha is nothing but thankful for the opportunity to be a Fellow and happy she got to have this amazing experience. And as an added bonus for Basha, thanks to efforts by Masa and The Jewish Agency to petition the Health Ministry, she was eligible as a Masa participant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Israel.
“I had been dreaming of doing MITF for years and I’m still in shock that I got to fulfill that dream. I know my own life will never be the same after this,” Basha stated. “And to anyone else thinking about doing MITF, I’d urge you to do it. It will change your life and help you grow as a person.”