03/11/2015

Why American Young Adults Teach English in Israel

Tags: Beit Shean, Israel, I-connect, Overseas, Young Adults, Teens

  • Share This Story

“The warmth with which this [Beit Shean] community has taken me in cannot be articulated... It is exactly the Israel I was looking for."

A group of 10 English-speaking college graduates have been living in Cleveland’s sister city of Beit Shean, Israel. They are spending one year teaching English to students and immersing themselves in the city’s close-knit family culture through Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (ITF).

There are nine communities that graduates can choose from when deciding to become a Masa ITF, but no other city compares to Beit Shean. The city of Beit Shean, which means “House of Tranquility,” is a true destination, known for its natural springs, ancient ruins, and warm hospitality.

Read testimonials from our participants to learn about why they chose to live and work in Beit Shean as an Israel Teaching Fellow. For more information about how you can become a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, please contact Mirit Balkan at mbalkan@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2921.

Danny Altkorn, 22 Chicago, IL
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
BS Applied Mathematics

In Beit She'an I am teaching English to elementary school students from 3rd to 6th grade at a religious school and help coach a youth basketball team in town.

Melissa Chartoff, 26
Ridgefield, NJ
Temple University
BS Tourism and Hospitality Management

In Beit She’an I work in three elementary schools (one secular and two religious) teaching English to a combination of 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders. I generally work outside of the classroom with smaller groups in a tutoring setting.

Additionally, I work with the organization Partnership 2Gether which brings together and maintains the strong connection between Beit She’an and the Valley of Springs with Cleveland. I also volunteer at the Beit She’an National Park as an English-speaking guide.

Jeff Cumonow, 24
Dallas, TX
Eckerd College
BA Ancient Studies

In Beit She'an I teach English in two religious elementary schools working with children in grades 4, 5 and 6. I also volunteer at Beit She'an National Park giving guided tours of the ruins.

Michael DeRamus, 30
Cincinnati, OH
Wesleyan University
BS Management and Logistics

In Beit She'an I teach English to 4th, 5th and 6th graders in a religious elementary school. I also volunteer as an English tutor in the Ethiopian Center in the city.

Michael Giblin, 23
Atlanta, GA
University of Pittsburgh
BA History

In Beit She’an I am teaching English to 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students at two religious elementary schools. I take a small group (2-3 students at a time) and work with them on Basic English grammar, vocabulary, writing, reading, listening, and test-taking skills. I also volunteer at the Beit She’an National Park as an English-speaking tour guide.

Michele Gross, 29
Washington, DC
University of Maryland
MEd Education: Curriculum & Instruction
BA English & Psychology

In Beit She'an I am teaching English to 4th, 5th and 6th graders at a secular elementary school. I also volunteer at a fledgling organic food co-op in the Valley.

"Hello! My name is Michele Gross and I am a participant in the 2014-15 Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program in Beit She'an. Choosing to return to Israel for an extended stay program was an easy decision for me. My first time here was like that of so many others--a ten day Taglit Birthright trip which gave me a taste of the warm Jewish community that would welcome me back with open arms; a community that wanted me to be a part of their future. However, how to get there and where to go was the more difficult part. My career as a high school English teacher in Silver Spring, MD led me to the logical choice of the ITF program. As for location, for the past 11 years I have lived in Washington, DC. I had gotten used to the anonymity of living in a big city, used to the small circles which I created for myself to feel a greater sense of belonging. Upon coming to Israel, I wanted to feel the exact opposite--to become a part of a small community where my presence could make the most impact. So, when it came time to choose where to complete my teaching fellowship, I chose Beit She'an. So far, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The warmth with which this community has taken me in cannot be articulated in this short write-up. It is exactly the Israel I was looking for."

Kennah Rogers, 24
Hot Springs, AR
Arizona State University
BA Global Studies and BSW Social Work

In Beit She’an, I work in a secular elementary school teaching English in the 4th, 5th and 6th grades. Outside of teaching, I teach an “English for Adults” course in town.

Rachel Schwarzman, 23
Toronto, Canada
Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary
BA English and BA Jewish History

In Beit She'an I teach English at a religious elementary school and run a weekly adult ESL class at the community center in the city.

Emma Zoghlin, 23
Rochester, NY
American University
BS Health Promotion

In Beit She'an I work at a religious elementary school teaching students from grades 4-6. I also teach a hula hoop class for children in town and have been involved with coordinating activities in the local library.

"I chose ITF Beit She'an for its relatively small population (~17,000), the opportunity to have a local host family, and the surrounding area's amazing geographic attributes such as the Gilboa Mountains and natural fresh water springs. Working in a smaller community allows us as Teaching Fellows to have a powerful impact on those we work with directly as well as the community at large. Despite its size, we have all been able to join or create our own meaningful volunteer projects that suit our personal interests and can always find enjoyable things to do during our free time. People in Beit She'an are exceedingly welcoming and always make us feel at home. The city's majority Sephardic population also provides us the chance to learn about new cultures and religious practices. Overall, I could not be more satisfied with my choice to come to Beit She'an as an Israel Teaching Fellow."

A few great moments captured


For more information about how you can become a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, please contact Mirit Balkan at mbalkan@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2921.


Explore More:

Our Sister City, Beit Shean
Travel Opportunities for Young Adults in Israel

Learn More: Beit Shean, Israel, I-connect, Overseas, Young Adults, Teens

Comments

Powered by ARCOS | Hosting by Plus Three | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use