MANCUNIANS Jonathan Roland and Harrison Goldman are among scores of young people coming to the end of their Masa Israel programmes.
Masa Israel’s volunteer programmes focus on building strong communities, ensuring the success of at-risk youth, encouraging collaboration and coexistence between local Arab and Jewish populations, teaching English as a foreign language and so much more.
“All our programmes draw on the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and are guided by the principals of social responsibility and social justice,” explained London-born Ben Baginsky, director of the Masa Academic Programmes in Israel.
“Masa Israel volunteers are able to integrate service with the exploration of Israel as they help create a more just society.”
Jonathan is the son of Geoffrey Roland and the late Anne Roland.
For the last 10 months, 27-year-old Jonathan has been teaching English to six-12 year olds in Ashdod.
Jonathan is planning to emigrate to Israel and has registered for an ulpan to continue his Hebrew studies.
“When I started Masa, I had not intended making aliya, but was thinking more along the lines of contributing something to Israel while at the same time improving my Hebrew,” Jonathan explained.
“Participating in Masa has afforded me a really great appreciation for Israelis and the struggles they face on a daily basis.
“In the UK, schools hold fire drills, while in Ashdod, we practise rocket drills!”
Before joining the Masa programme, Jonathan was a head hunter for a large company, but found “working in a corporate job was not that rewarding, after all”.
Harrison, the son of Howard Goldman, of Prestwich, and Francine Showman, of Whitefield, will shortly be returning home after living in Tel Aviv and participating in the Masa Top Israel Interns programme.
The 23-year-old — who studied history and art at the Courtauld Institute, London, worked for Christie's Auction House and then furnished a house for an Australian billionaire — was placed at the Centre for Bauhaus (International Style Architecture & Design) in the Dizengoff Centre.
“My main task was to help with the restoration of Dizengoff Square, sourcing art deco objects to sell in the centre’s shop as well as guiding and helping out in general,” he said.
“The internship allowed me a realistic opportunity to experience at first-hand life in Tel Aviv and is a perfect taster for those possibly weighing up aliya.”
Harrison is hoping to find work in an auction house or art gallery upon return to the UK.
Fellow participant Natasha Packter is from London, but has a large family in Leeds.
The 22-year-old, a Masa Teaching Fellow, was placed at a school in a low socio-economic area of Bat Yam.