Masa, Israel launch volunteer teaching program


(JTA) — North American college graduates will teach English in a new program targeted at underprivileged communities in Israel.

Masa Israel Journey and the Israeli Ministry of Education launched the Israel Teaching Fellows volunteer program late Monday.

Approximately 100 students will serve as teachers in a 10-month service program designed to help address Israel’s educational inequity and the widespread underperformance of youth in low-income communities, according to Masa.

The inaugural program will begin in August; applicants will be notified of their acceptance in May.

Israel is joining the trend of foreign governments sponsoring college graduates who are native English speakers to teach English in their countries. Other countries with similar programs include Japan, France, Spain and Chile.

Following an initial training period, the teaching fellows will live in small groups in Israeli communities and teach for 20 hours a week. The fellows also will choose and design secondary volunteer projects in their communities. Pedagogical support, Hebrew ulpan, host families and trips will be provided during their service.

The fellows must have college degrees and experience as educators and leaders. They also must demonstrate the ability to excel in a challenging, cross-cultural environment and the desire to be immersed in Israeli society.

Volunteers will pay $1,000 to participate, which includes the airfare to Israel, and receive a monthly stipend for food.

Masa Israel, a joint project of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel, has nearly 10,000 participants in volunteer and academic programs and 16 post-college programs dedicated to service.

"It’s important to give young adults the opportunity to express their idealism through volunteering, and Israel is a place where they can really make a difference," Masa Israel’s North American director, Avi Rubel, said in a statement. "The Israel Teaching Fellows will enhance English education in Israel while building bridges between the American and Israeli communities."

Recommended from JTA