Engaging young adults is a cornerstone of Federation’s commitment to fostering vibrant Jewish life in LA. Our program team employs a multi-pronged strategy to create networks, affinity groups, leadership development initiatives, and a variety of other creative ways for young people to both connect with existing Jewish opportunities and develop new ones for themselves. Through our partnership with Masa Israel, we provide one such opportunity — a chance for young adults to develop their lifelong connections to the Jewish world and the Israeli community.
Josh Scott recently participated in Career Israel through a Federation-Masa program/opportunity and shares, below, about the impact living and working in Israel had on him.
Josh’s Guest Blog:
My experience living in Tel Aviv, Israel as a participant of Career Israel was exceptional in every way, and I am quite sure that the others from my group would confirm my opinion. I first learned of the various Masa programs during my Birthright Israel trip in May 2016, and I immediately knew it was the type of thing that would be perfect for me in my early days of being a post-graduate. My experience consisted of living in an apartment in central Tel Aviv from January-June, working an internship at Max Security Solutions, and taking several trips with my Career Israel group throughout Israel, enjoying and learning about everything the state and its amazing history have to offer.
The great thing about Masa programs is that they benefit your professional life and social life. My internship at Max Security Solutions was the most educational and stimulating experience I could have asked for. A private intelligence company, it provides tactical intelligence and geopolitical consulting to corporations around the world. I worked as an analyst with the team specializing in the Asia region, collecting actionable information relevant to the business continuity of clients within the region and composed time-sensitive reports and assessments. As someone with a degree in political science and a profound interest in geopolitics and international relations, this was the perfect industry to educate myself and feed my interests. Every individual with whom I worked was helpful and personable, yet each challenged me to analyze situations and events in the most insightful and intelligent ways possible. One of the best parts of being a member of the Max team was that the office was filled with an incredibly diverse staff of analysts and administrators from all over the world, including Israeli executives who spent decades as officers in the IDF. During my internship, I had the opportunity to meet with Federation members from several different countries and, with the Max CEO, give presentations to our guests. I took great pride in explaining the impact of my internship and expressing my gratitude for a program that allowed me to connect to Israel in a way I had always wished I could. After the presentation, I was able to meet with some incredible members of the Federation with whom I have remained in close contact. I am thankful for their continued assistance in my personal and professional development.
During my free time and activities with Career Israel, I had some of the most memorable experiences of my life. My apartment was a short walk from the beach, and I shared it with a large group of people who became my close friends. There are so many things to appreciate in Tel Aviv with the amazing weather, delicious food, and unique culture to provide constant fun and entertainment. The trips and activities that Career Israel organized for us were always engaging, enjoyable, and incredibly educational. From speeches by professors and venture capitalists, to weekend trips to almost every historical landmark in Israel, we were always able to have fun while also gaining priceless knowledge about the state, its history, religion, politics, economics, and culture. Each time we finished a trip or activity, I always seemed to feel enlightened. The most surprising and notable aspects of these events were how in depth they were. As opposed to touring the typical sites, we found ourselves visiting different Jewish communities of the West Bank and discussing the political situation of the region. We hiked for several hours to reach a waterfall in the Golan Heights, while, in the same day, visiting a small town and engaging with its Israeli-Arab inhabitants about their experiences and views from a different prospective. As someone who had such a rewarding experience throughout my Masa program, I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Federation to a Shabbat dinner for a large group of high school students visiting Israel for March of the Living to share my amazing experience with all of them.
I am grateful to have also received the Marks Endowment Fellowship grant from the Federation, which made my time in Israel much more financially feasible. The fact that so many representatives from the Federation have been there to support me in so many ways makes me incredibly proud to be a Jewish American and reinforce my appreciation for having this unbelievable internship opportunity. After spending several months in Israel and gaining a true love and respect for the culture, I know that in my future I will always be the strongest advocate possible for the Jewish state people. This experience has shown me that Israel, its affairs, and its fair treatment are of vital importance not just to the Jewish people, but to all of us proud citizens back here in the USA.