March 24, 2017
My first trip to Israel was, like many others, on a birthright tour. I could very easily characterize my sentiments towards Israel prior to that trip as apathetic. I knew of the country and its conflicts, but the magnitude was too much for me to delve into. Those ten days completely changed my perspective and I actually left with more questions than I had arrived with. One night, a Masa representative came to talk with us about opportunities that we could look into if we had an interest in returning to Israel. I signed up to receive more information and that is how I came about the Israel Government Fellows, the program I am currently enrolled in. IGF is a unique program which “offers outstanding and highly motivated young university graduates an experience at the heart of the Israeli government, combining internships in government ministries and related organizations with educational seminars, Hebrew language studies and trips around the country.” I was drawn to the selective nature of the program, and the possibility of getting professional development in a foreign country at a government level. The program comes at a cost though, and when I found out I had been accepted, I turned to the JCA for assistance.
It is hard for me to fit my whole experience in Israel onto one page. I got here on September 1st of last year and since that time I have lived in two different cities, taken Ulpan classes to learn Hebrew, attended weekly educational lectures on various topics pertaining to Israel, traveled around the country, and come into contact with so many new and interesting people. One thing is certain, the JCA was instrumental in helping me take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
I am currently interning with the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative, a task force from the Prime MInister’s Office which seeks to reduce global dependence on oil and establish Israel as a hub for alternative fuels and smart transportation. I am a valued and respected member of the team, researching and reporting on various topics which pertain to the organization’s interests and activities. I am humbled to be part of an organization which is working towards such noble goals. Being environmentally minded from an early age, it has been easy for me to become very invested in the work being done. In fact, I have decided that I would like to stay on after my program finishes in June. I find the work I am doing very fulfilling and necessary in a world troubled with environmental issues.
I would like to thank the JCA for making these past six months and indeed the future path I will be taking possible. Growing up in the small town of Rockport, you could always feel a sense of community. I am so happy to have gotten that very same feeling in the support the JCA gave me.