Some 200 North Americans will be able to volunteer as teachers' aides in next year's Israel Teaching Fellows (ITF) program.
This year's pilot program, which saw the placement of 68 Jewish North American young adults, was successful enough to more than triple the number of placements for next year.
The program, launched by the Masa Israel Journey and Israel's Ministry of Education, was created to address the widespread underperformance of youth in low-income communities.
Masa Israel Journey connects young adults, ages 18-30, to immersive five-12 month internship, volunteer, and academic programs in Israel. The program is a joint project of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel, which runs service, internship and academic programs in Israel.
ITF has seen a surge in applications from high caliber recent college graduates who are forgoing the job search for meaningful service opportunities abroad, particularly with the economic challenges faced this past year by the United States.
Following a two-year stint in healthcare, Harvard graduate Julia Kingsdale left Boston to teach in Israel's periphery. "There's something sort of spontaneous, albeit chaotic, about Israel," said Kingsdale. "Teaching in Israel requires a mindset shift where you can't intensely plan every detail; you need to focus on the situation at hand, which is something I find really refreshing."
For "Teach for America" alumnus Chris Harty, who taught in Southern Louisiana, the Israeli classroom experience has expanded his professional insights. "I came to Israel because I wanted to see how a different education system works," said Harty. "I've learned that in Israel, students can run through the hallways and still show up to class on time and ready to learn."
In addition to teaching for 20 hours a week, Teaching Fellows receive ongoing pedagogical support, enroll in Hebrew courses, live alongside peers in their communities, and develop secondary volunteer programs.
Ed note: To speak with an Israel Teaching Fellow from your community, contact Masa Israel's North American Director of Public Relations Rachel Trager Sales at (212) 339-6048, (917) 371-5569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.