WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

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WUJS Student Profile- Alex Rosen

Name: Alex Rosen, 21
Hometown: Skompton, IL
WUJS Track: Jerusalem Learning at the Pardes Institute
College: University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
Major: Psychology and Chemistry

Why did you decide to take 6 months and come to Israel?
I grew up with Israel and Judaism very close to me, going to a Jewish day school and high school. To me Judaism always meant family, community gathering, and connection; However, it wasn't until college that Judaism became a way for me to think. Judaism is not what I experience only on Shabbat or holidays, it's something I feel everyday. I find it important for me to live in Israel for 7 months and experience the epicenter of our religion.

What are you doing while on WUJS?

I am excited to begin learning at The Pardes Institute on their summer program. Until then, the learning track participants have been enjoying seminars and classes centered around text, torah study and Jerusalem.

What are you looking forward to the most?
I am looking forward to being not only in Israel, but feeling a connection to Jerusalem through text and study that this track will provide me. While at the same time, learning Hebrew and experiencing and seeing Israel first hand.

What are you nervous about?
Being in Israel is a little nerve racking to me. The difference in culture and everyday life is something to get used to.

Where else have you traveled in the world?
Canada, Italy, India

What Israeli food are you hoping to eat a lot of during your time in Israel?
I'm excited to have shabbat dinner with my fellow WUJS participants in our apartment building!

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WUJS Student Profile- Jacob Singer

Name: Jacob Singer, 23
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
WUJS Track: Jerusalem Arts
College: Stevenson University
Major: Interdisciplinary


Why did you decide to take 6 months and come to Israel?
In order to find more about the Jewish culture, traditions, anthropology and to feel as part of a humongous Jewish population. In addition, in order to grow as an individual.

What are you doing while on WUJS?

I am planning on writing a play, and directing, producing, publicizing and starring in it.

What are you looking forward to the most?
Meeting Jewish people from all around the world and making new friendships.

What are you nervous about?
Adapting to a new way of life.

Where else have you traveled in the world?

I have traveled to Canada and the Bahamas.

What Israeli food are you hoping to eat a lot of during your time in Israel?
I hope to eat lot of Falafel.

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WUJS Student Profile- Amanda Gurin

We're almost 2 weeks into the Spring 2011 machzor. We will now be featuring profiles of the new participants throughout the semester! Keep checking to see what they're up to!


Name: Amanda Gurin, 22
Hometown: Scarsdale, NY
WUJS Track: Peace and Social Justice, Jerusalem
College: University of Rochester
Major: Public Health

Why did you decide to take 6 months and come to Israel?
I have always wanted to live in Israel for an extended period of time, I love feeling like a resident of a place rather than a tourist. I had been to Israel 3 times before and just couldn't get enough, so I decided, after being stuck in a job that I really disliked, and before I start graduate school that I would take the opportunity to live in one of my favorite places in the world.

What are you doing while on WUJS?

I will be interning for a professor in the Department of Health Inequalities and Minority Health at the Braun School of Public Health of Hebrew University. I will be helping with some of the professor's research.


What are you looking forward to the most?

I am looking forward to developing a true routine and a life here in Jerusalem and of seeing parts of Jerusalem that I have missed in the past. I am also looking forward to catching up with my Israeli friends that I haven't seen in a while.


What are you nervous about?
The atmosphere in Israel, and Jerusalem, in particular, can sometimes be very tense so I am slightly nervous about that, and obviously when something such as a bus bomb strikes so close to home it can be nerve racking, but it is unfortunately part of Israelis' reality. I just hope that nothing like this happens again.


Where else have you traveled in the world?
I have traveled to some of Europe, including England, Ireland, Italy, France, Denmark, Sweden and Holland, but I have definitely traveled to and around Israel the most.


What Israeli food are you hoping to eat a lot of during your time in Israel?
Hummus, falafel and schwarma, of course!

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Esther Phillips Interns at Oleh! Records

Esther Phillips, 25, Toronto, Canada

IADT, Seneca College, B.A. in Fashion Design, Fashion Business

Track:Internships Tel Aviv | Israel Programs | WUJS Israel Hadassah

Internship:Oleh Records, Product Development/ Marketing (fashion/music)


Living in Tel Aviv on the WUJS program has been a great experience for me. Tel Aviv is a fun and bustling city to live in with a lot of young people, art and culture. The WUJS program provides the framework for living here and getting the most out of our Israel experience. The weekly siyurs help educate us about the history and current political issues in Israel, while also allowing us to explore different parts of the country. Group activities within Tel Aviv such as going to see concerts, theatre, movie nights etc. are also a definite bonus. The thing I like the most about the program is that it gives participants freedom to experience Israel in a way that is not overly structured. I have formed many close friendships with other participants and Israeli's that I am sure will last a lifetime. This in itself has made the experience on WUJS worthwhile.


Oleh! Records is an independent, non for profit record company operating out of Tel Aviv, Israel. This organization promotes and supports young talented Israeli musicians by helping them get discovered abroad. All of the artists signed by Oleh! Records sing in English in order to reach a wider audience. Oleh! supports modern youth culture and artists with alternative music styles, representing ambassadors for Israel. We want Israel to be seen as the modern country it is with a happening music scene, art and culture instead of through the skewed perception that negative media coverage often portrays.


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What were you doing before you came here?

I studied Fashion Business at Seneca College in Toronto. This concentrates on the business side of the fashion industry in areas such as buying/merchandising, management, sales, product development, and marketing. Before this I studied fashion design at The International Academy of Design where I had hands on experience constructing garments and learning how to put together a fashion line.


How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

A friend of mine researched the program for herself and then told me about it. She is on the program as well.


What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

My main role is to work on the development of a fashion label (Oleh!) that will help further brand and bring awareness to the organization. I am working alongside graphic designers to create a hip streetwear line (made up of graphic printed teeshirts, hoodies, and other accessories) influenced by Tel Aviv street art and the music scene in Israel. I develop the framework for the line and also help pitch it to potential retailers with a written business proposal. My other responsibilities apart from the fashion line are directly related to promoting the record company and its artists. I help update media online media portals such as the main website, facebook, twitter and My Space. I have also been involved in viral marketing campaigns (spread through youtube and email) and have helped organize and promote educational workshops for musicians in Tel Aviv. I work closely with group of other interns and often get to be involved with their individual projects related to viral marketing promotions, sponsorship and event planning. We all bounce ideas off one another and it's a great working environment.


What are your goals for this internship program?

My initial goal was to gain valuable experience in product development and marketing. Furthermore, I am excited about developing a fashion line for a worthy organization, linking fashion with music and further branding Oleh! Records abroad.


Have you had any difficulty settling in?

No. I have actually adjusted fairly well considering the cultural differences and the distance from home. I think that living with roommates who I've become good friends with and being in a program with other participants makes a big difference. 


What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

Most of my friends were supportive and thought it would be a good experience for me. Others warned me about pissing off Arabs and getting bombed. I think they were kidding...

Donna Feinstein Interns for the Opera House and Haaretz Newspaper

Donna Shlomit Feinstein, 23, Houston, Texas

University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art

Track: Internships Tel Aviv | Israel Programs | WUJS Israel Hadassah

Internship: Prop designer at the Tel Aviv Opera House and Photographer at Haaretz

Links: The Israeli OperaHaaretz Daily Newspaper Israel, Israeli News Source



Tel Aviv is a very exciting city that never sleeps. There is always something to do, and I discover new things almost every time that I go out. As a fluent Hebrew speaker, it is so refreshing to step outside of my apartment and hear everyone around me speaking in Hebrew.


The WUJS internship program is a nice exposure to living in Israel. I have become very close with the people in the program, the weekly trips are enjoyable, and the internship placement was very successful. The Opera House is a very exciting establishment. Major operas and performances are performed on the stage year-round. 

Haaretz is a left-wing newspaper based in Tel Aviv that discusses controversial topics. 


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What were you doing before you came here? 

I was a student at the University of Texas in Austin studying video art, photography and printmaking.


How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

I heard about this program through my mother, who found an advertisement in the local Jewish newspaper.


What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

My responsibilities at the Opera House are to create props for the stage by specific deadlines. My responsibilities at Haaretz are to take photographs of Israel on a weekly basis, as well as censor talkbacks, proofread articles, and translate articles from Hebrew to English.


What are your goals for this internship program?

My goal is to make important connections within the art field in Tel Aviv.


Have you had any difficulty settling in? Fortunately I have not had any difficulty settling in as I am fluent in Hebrew and my family (with the exception of my parents and brother) lives in Israel.


What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel? My friends joked that I was moving to Israel to find a husband!


Kelly Nahmia, 28, Thessaloniki, Greece

Palazzo Spinelli for Interior Design, Florence, B.A. in Interior Design

Track: Internships Tel Aviv

Internship: Danny Israelevits' office


I'm working in an architecture- interior design office and its owner is called Danny Israelevits. Its an office that mostly takes over villas and secondly public projects like schools, city counsils, cafes.They take over the whole project from the beginning, from its structure till the inside part and that's where interior design takes over.

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For me, living in Tel Aviv has been a very nice experience, although I feel there are so many places to see and visit that I haven't been still and want to. The whole atmosphere reminds me very much of my country where they are a bit crazy, like the Israelis. The WUJS program is a very nice program for someone who wants to get to know Israel. It's a very good experience and I would recommend it specially to young people. It's a very good 'passport' for someone who wants to live in Israel after all. 


What were you doing before you came here?

I was working in a furniture company.


How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

From a friend who is a masa program. Find out more at Masa Israel.


What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

To design the project that's gonna be given to me.


What are your goals for this internship program?

To learn more things about my occupation and the owner to appreciate my work.


Have you had any difficulty settling in?

No, except for the fact that I don't have my car and I don't know the language which has been a problem sometimes.


What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

They were so excited that they wanted to take them with me!


Amy Ovadia is Social Networking with Telalivit.com

Name: Amy Ovadia, 23, Lafayette, CA.

California Polytechnic, B.A. in Nutrition

Track: Internships Tel Aviv

Internship: www.telalivit.com 


Telalivit, still fairly new, is a social network aimed at olim hadashim. It helps people that have just moved to Tel Aviv settle into this city.  This is done through helping people find jobs, volunteer opportunities, living arrangements. Additionally, Telalivit is about helping new olim meet others through social events. As an intern, I help plan Telalivit events, such as Shabbat dinners, or for instance, an event for lone soldiers.  We also plan to join with other organizations such as PresenTense and StandWithUS. 

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Tel Aviv is a unique and special city.  Up until now, I have never lived in a city that doesn't sleep, but it is very exciting. There is always something going on. I like that while in Tel Aviv, you can meet people from any country! Additionally, I appreciate how you can see Hassidic men walking down that street, while a minute later, you see punk-rock teenage girls with pink hair walking down the same street. I enjoy being on the WUJS internship program and I enjoy learning about Israeli culture, whether it be from our siyurs or simply living life here.


What were you doing before you came here?

I just graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I finished in June, received my B.S. in Nutrition and minored in Biology. For a short time, I interned with a County Public Health Department in San Luis Obispo.


How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

I searched through all of the MASA programs offered and came across this one. Find out more at Masa Israel.


What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

I am responsible for publicizing exciting events in Tel Aviv, letting olim hadashim know about Telalivit and helping manage the website.


What are your goals for this internship program?

I would like to meet as many new people and make as many new connections as possible. A main goal for me is to improve my communication skills, as this is something important and useful for any career and all aspects of life. Also, I'd like to continue to go to various events. For instance, I've been able to attend a speech by Shimon Peres, a dinner for lone soldiers etc.


Have you had any difficulty settling in?

Not particularly. It takes getting used to living with so many people, but at times it can be fun.  There is always something going on.


What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

They were very excited for me! They told me not to get married while I am here.

Jacob Kieval, the WUJS Media Man

Jacob Kieval, 22, Sharon, MA

Wash U in St. Louis, Film and Media Studies

Track: Internships Tel Aviv

Internship: Meirav Productions


WUJS welcomes our new intern! Jacob Kieval is now the WUJS video and media production intern. He is responsible for interviewing, recording and editing video profiles of our students, interns and staff. He follows them in their natural habitats in the office or in the field. This video and media productions opportunity is allowing him to practice his skill and to be in creative control. Jacob's is also interning part-time at Meirav Productions where he can further enhance his technical skills and network within this industry.


Every Friday Jacob posts a new video!

Don't miss out, YouTube - simps500's Channel


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What were you doing before you came here?

I was finishing college and then teaching video production at Camp Ramah in New England over the summer.


How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

Google.  I wanted to go to Israel after college, and looked into programs that would get me there doing something cool. Find out more @ Masa: WUJS Intern Tel Aviv


What responsibilities will you have during this internship?

I'm working part-time for WUJS doing the weekly video and interviewing other people at their jobs, as well as other short segments.  

At Meirav Productions, I am an assistant technician, helping to digitize footage on their computers and get it ready for editing, as well as other odd jobs here and there.


What are your goals for this internship program?

I hope to gain work experience, improve my Hebrew, have a good time in Israel before I enter the "real world", and make a lifetime of memories.


Have you had any difficulty settling in?

I once ordered way, way too much food at a shuk (market), but this was mainly because the guy kept offering me more and I didn't realize it was costing me more.


What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

"Cool" or "I'm jealous!" or "Well, I'm going to London, so..."




Shira Ballon Gets Art Inspiration in Jerusalem

Shira Ballon, 25, Palo Alto, CA

UC Irvine, Studio Art

Track: Jerusalem Arts WUJS Arts

See her work: Jerusalem Artist's


My inspiration mostly comes from working, and from conversations with people that have interesting things to say. Being in Israel/the Middle East, of course, provides a great amount of visual stimulation - patterns in the rock look like things I've been painting for years, as though I had remembered them from a past life or something, and seeing that makes me want to paint more. 

The city is loud, and dirty, and crammed with stuff and people, and the desert is quiet and expansive. The intensity of politics and culture is monumental. When you can't understand a language it's just sounds and shapes - It's never-ending here. But I never really believed in waiting for inspiration from things like that, they help, no doubt, they are all part of what you think about everyday. But it turns out my inspiration mostly comes from working, from seeing what happens, and from conversations with people that have interesting things to say.


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How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

When I would daydream about the future I would often search the internet for Israel programs, and this one jumped out at me because of the art program, which I hadn't found elsewhere. Find out more Masa: WUJS Arts Program


What are your goals for this WUJS Arts program?

I hope to get a lot. I hope to gain some focus in my work and personal growth, I hope to get a firm grasp on the Hebrew language, I hope to spend some (more) time in the desert, and develop relationships with people who I can learn from and who can learn from me. 

What opportunities are taking advantage of while on the Arts program in Jerusalem?

A group of us went to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for the opening of  the Sigalit Landau show, that was fantastic. The museum is beautiful and the work was stunning. There have also been other street fairs and concerts in Jerusalem; free jazz at the Yellow Submarine, there is always something, its great. 


What type of work will you display at the WUJS Arts final exhibit?

I paint and draw so my work will consist mainly of 2D pieces, but I've started to work with very basic video, just a little. So that might work its way in. 


What classes are you taking while in the Arts program? 

Besides Ulpan, I'm taking a course on Kabbalah and our Art class, Art and Israel. Both are great and I wish I had them twice as often. I didn't previously know very much about Israeli art and art history and Ofra's lectures, speakers, activities, etc - metzuyan


What did your friends say when you told them about your plan to come to Israel?

I don't really have any Jewish friends in Chicago, so there was definitely more to explain and more reassuring to do regarding safety. In general though, they thought it was really cool and wouldn't shut up about it. As long as I don't make aliyah.


Have you had any difficulties settling in? 

The first day I was at a grocery store, wasn't even buying anything just looking around, and then I walked through the Emergency exit door on my way out. Shame. 


Check out more of her artwork Flickr: Shira Ballon's Photostream

Jacob Hellman Takes Center Stage in Jerusalem

Jacob Hellman, 21, Baltimore, MD

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, BA  Theatre/Dramaturgy

Track: INTERN JERUSALEM, WUJS Arts

Placement: Center Stage Theater-Merkaz Hamag'shimim Hadassah The Merkaz


The Merkaz Center is a multipurpose community center that supports Zionism, Jewish pluralism, and social activism. The Merkaz offers varieties of programs to tourists and olim. It is a place where people can feel at home when far from it. The Center Stage Theater gives olim a chance to express their artistic selves and experiment with art in their own language. This center, sponsored by Young Judaea creates an international artist community in the inspiring city of Jerusalem. Learn more Center Stage Theater


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What were you doing before you came to Israel?

I had just graduated college and had spent a month in Ecuador with Dramatic Adventure Theatre, touring, building a community center, learning Andean mask dancing, and working with children and creating an original piece of theater that we performed in NYC Off-Off-Broadway upon return to the USA. Unfortunately, I was not accepted by any theater internship I applied for, so I decided to take the study abroad I never got to have and come to Israel to learn and do theatre.


How did you hear about this WUJS Israel program? 

Fliers, brochures, emails, and a campus MASA liaison; it also helped that a really good friend of mine did the program last year and had a great time. Find out more @ Masa


What do you hope to get out of this program?

I hope to see more of Israel, learn more Hebrew, make friends, and build up my theatre resume.


What are your responsibilities as an intern?

I'm the general theatre intern, doing pretty much anything that needs to be done around the theater as well as dramaturging (researching) the shows, performing in them, doing tech., and working on writing some plays of my own.


What theatre performances will you take part in?

October (date TBA) - Spontaneous Combustion. At Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah, Germany Colony, Jerusalem. A 48-hour play festival that I'll be writing for. In English. Tickets are 20 NIS, 30 NIS for a free beer and a door-prize raffle ticket. Minyan discount - bring 9 friends and get in free!

"Spontaneous Combustion" at the Center Stage Theater | Entertainment | Jerusalem Post


November (dates TBA) - The Comedy of Errors, by William Shakespeare. At Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah, Germany Colony, Jerusalem A hilarious play considered to be one of Shakespeare's greatest comedic successes. In English. Featuring WUJS Jerusalem participants Jacob Hellman and Daniel Minahim Silva.


December - an original play by Jacob Hellman. At Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah, Germany Colony, Jerusalem. In English


January/February - The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. A theatrical adaptation of the literary classic. At Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah, Germany Colony, Jerusalem. In English.


Have you had any difficulties settling in?

So far, I've done pretty well. It was hard to buy laundry detergent, because the containers for detergent are very similar to fabric softener. I also think I might have bought dish soap instead of hand soap...but soap is soap, right? It cleans, it does the job. I have a pretty good sense of direction (and a handheld GPS) and other than getting turned around in the tinier streets and alleyways of Jerusalem, I have not gotten seriously lost.


What did your friends say when you told them your plan to come to Israel?

I found out I was accepted into the program via email at a hostel at 11 PM on my first night in Quito, Ecuador (for the DAT trip), after traveling for almost 24 hours. I jumped for joy and immediately ran upstairs to tell the other program participants, who were impressed and wished me luck. Other friends, family members, and synagogue members wished me luck and told me to be safe.