Isabella Mintz

Programme: Kibbutz Ulpan, Post-College Internship
Duration: 4 months
Accommodation: Kibbutz Ketura, South

As I start to prepare for my third experience in Israel, I’m bursting at the seams with excitement. I came to Israel last year in September 2014. I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and eager to learn about my Jewish heritage and to experience Israeli culture.

I volunteered at Kibbutz Ketura, located in the South, for four months. I chose this kibbutz because my father lived at the same one when he was my age, my grandfather lives close by in Eilat, and I also have quite a few family friends living there. As soon as I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms. Israelis may seem tough, but they’re definitely soft on the inside. Sabras. Kibbutz Ketura is where I fell deeply in love with this mystifying, unique country. I learned more and more everyday and my thirst for knowledge kept growing.

Isabella Mintz

I became interested in discovering everything that Israel has to offer, especially the language. When the program at Ketura was coming to a close, I came to the realization that I was not ready to leave yet. I felt at home here in Israel.

I decided to apply for an Ulpan program at Kibbutz Yagur. Masa helped greatly in finding the right place for me. They even gave me a grant of $1000 that subsidized the cost of the program significantly. Besides only learning Hebrew and becoming familiar with the Kibbutz way of life, I met some of the most unbelievable people from all across the globe. At Kibbutz Yagur I learned Hebrew three days a week and worked three days a week. We were allowed to do as we pleased on Shabbat. My friends and I would go for nature hikes through the Karmel Mountains, which were just a step outside our back door. We would lounge by the pool and feel simply bewildered by the beauty that was surrounding us. Everyday I was shocked by the splendor of Kibbutz Yagur, and Israel in general.

Now here I am, almost one year later, still just as driven to experience more of Israel. I am ecstatic to begin my internship with FIDEL, The Association for Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Again, Masa guided me so wonderfully in choosing the perfect program tailor made for me. I cannot wait to call Tel Aviv my home for five months, and I cannot wait to work in the field that I am most passionate about: activism.

The first time my father and I traveled to Israel when I was a child, I was shocked and confounded by the divide between the Ethiopian Israelis and the rest of the Israelis. I noticed that many Ethiopian Israelis were living in poverty stricken neighborhoods and were working jobs that they were overqualified for. I felt almost as if I had gone back in time. Since I am from London, a multicultural and diverse city, this was especially jarring for me. This was the moment I realized that something needed to change, and I wanted to be part of the revolution.

There are no words for how delighted I am for the opportunity to work with Ethiopian children and help contribute to an experience that they wouldn’t likely have without FIDEL. I am also eager to work with my boss in developing marketing campaigns and raising awareness of this social injustice.

I can’t wait to see where my future will take me.

 

For more information on this, and other programmes, please visit www.MasaIsrael.org/find-program, or keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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