How Career Israel Helped Me Land My Dream Job

by Mara Kurlandsky

I went on Career Israel from 2009-2010. I interned half at Beit HaTfuzot, the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, and half at Omanoot: Israel through Art. I loved living in Tel Aviv, but to be perfectly honest, I suspected at the time, and thought for a while after, that my time in Israel had been at best, a fun way to spend time while applying to grad school, and at worst, a bad financial decision. I had already spent 8 months traveling after college and going back to Israel (I spent my junior year abroad there) was a way to continue avoiding the real world.   

My experience ended up playing a large part in securing my dream job.  I just finished my M.A. in Museum Studies in Washington, DC and I’ve started working at a very well-known museum exhibit design firm, which happens to be redesigning the new permanent exhibitions at Beit HaTfuzot. I couldn’t have gotten the job without my master’s degree, but my edge was definitely my experience at Beit Hatfuzot as well as the ability to read Hebrew.

I’ll be working on a number of different projects that alone would have been enough to make the job fantastic. But getting to work on the Beit Hatfuzot redesign – with the possibility of travel to Tel Aviv for work – is a dream come true. And for that, I’m grateful for my Career Israel experience.

Exploring my Israeli Identity in Israel

My name is Netta Gal-Oz and I am from Palo Alto, California. I went to the University of California, Davis, and studied Communication and Psychology. I graduated two quarters early and decided that I wanted to try out living in Israel. Being Israeli-born and having moved back and forth a couple of times, I have struggled with being too Israeli in America, and too American in Israel. I worked closely with Hillel at my university, both as an intern and on the board of directors, was in a Jewish sorority, and started up a Muslim-Jewish coalition on campus. I went to many advocacy conferences for Israel, and I felt as if I was not sure where I belonged. I decided to try to live in Israel, on my own, without my parents, as an adult. But I also wanted to work and improve my resume – which is why Career Israel was the perfect program for me.

I intern at Tel Aviv University as a research assistant in the Child Clinical Psychology lab. I work on multiple researches. I help administer surveys, plug in coding, and do background research. Once a week, I also volunteer at a PDD preschool – a preschool for autistic children.

I wanted this internship because I want to go to graduate school in clinical psychology, and I knew that having more research experience would be beneficial. What I did not expect was enjoying working with autistic children. This part of the internship was offered to me by my supervisor and at first I was very skeptical. But it has become the day I look forward to most, and if I cannot come in on my usual day – because of a program trip or seminar, I move things around in order to come in on a different day. I have found immense passion for the children and an interest in child clinical psychology. So much so, that I am considering applying to child clinical psychology as opposed to adult.

The program itself has been fantastic as well. We have had engaging seminars and fascinating trips throughout Israel, learning about the culture, politics, and geography. I cannot say what my favorite trip has been because they have all been so amazing. The North Trip had extremely fun aspects as well as difficult hikes and beautiful scenery – definitely my favorite scenery so far. The Ein Gedi trip was fun because we got to see the Dead Sea – and I had never been.

I think I would have to say that the Negev trip was my favorite – not because of the hiking-because carrying those three liters of water killed my back. But because of the experiences and knowledge I gained, and the one most unique experience I had – which I hope to carry with me forever. We were hiking at 4 in the morning in the desert, and it was raining (sounds miserable, right?) and it was very cold and the tour leader told us to all separate and sit alone and meditate for 10 minutes. At first I thought – I’m freezing cold, it’s pitch black darkness in the desert, and it’s raining on me.  Sitting around for 10 minutes sounds awful. But then, I sat – and it was so peaceful and quiet and barren. And out of the silence came the Moazin, the Muslim call to prayer, from a hill just beyond our path. A minute later, a different call to prayer started playing from the behind the hill to our left. Sitting in Israel, in the desert, and being surrounded by this spiritual moment was the most touching, incredible thing.

I would recommend this experience to anyone and everyone. Career Israel has taught me so much about myself, and has helped me grow and blossom in the direction of the person I want to be. It has helped me experience Israel in many of its shades, showing all kinds of opinions and information, painting a full picture of this tiny, fascinating country.

Thank you to Masa for helping fund these trips and allowing so many of us to get an amazing experience in this country.

Saving Children’s Lives in Israel

My name is Molly Piccione and I am from Babylon, NY. I studied Exercise Physiology at the University of Miami and came on the Career Israel internship program shortly thereafter to spend time living and learning abroad before I go to medical school.

I have two internships here in Tel Aviv.  The first is in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center in Tel Hashomer Hospital, and the second is at Save A Child’s Heart. Coming from an Exercise Physiology background, my original purpose at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center was to assist with patient care on the floor, but recently I have had the opportunity to get involved in research.  I just began a project of data organization from past patients in order to establish a database for future studies.

My second internship here is volunteering at Save A Child’s Heart. SACH is a non-profit organization that works in conjunction with the Wolfson Hospital to bring children, and a parent when possible, to Israel for life-saving heart surgery.  They also provide pre- and post-surgery consultations as well as living accommodations at no cost to the families during their stay in Israel.

One of my favorite things about both Tel Hashomer and SACH is the hands-on experience I’m getting with patients. As a future medical student (hopefully) it is incredible to interact directly with the type of patients to whom I will hopefully spend my career attending.   Also, being in Israel has helped me learn a lot about my identity as a Jew and how I want to incorporate that into my professional and personal future, and I am thoroughly enjoying learning more about modern-day Israel.

As such, my favorite Career Israel seminar was the Religion and State Seminar where we heard three different perspectives of the current situation of Judaism and its relation to the State of Israel.

Working with Autistic Children in Israel

My name is Michelle Fogelson and I am from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I graduated from University of Minnesota in December, and I will begin graduate school this coming September.  This window of time was the perfect time for me to spend time in Israel, and Career Israel was the perfect way for me to grow professionally and have and independent experience in Tel Aviv for a few months.

I am currently interning with the Association for Children at Risk, which is an organization that provides therapeutic service to young children with Autism. I work in a “gan” (kindergarten) with eight pre-school age children who are each on the autism spectrum.  My time is split between helping in the classroom with the educational staff, and working alongside the therapists in physical, speech and occupational therapy. The highlight of my experience has been getting field experience in therapies with children with autism. This is an experience I would have never gotten in the US at this point in my educational and professional career. As I begin my graduate studies in social work I will call on these experiences.

In addition to the internship, Career Israel provides us with trips and seminars every few weeks.  My favorite seminar this year was the Yom Hazikaron seminar during which we learned about Israeli Memorial Day which is celebrated very differently than I am used to celebrating Memorial Day. Being at Latrun when the siren sounded throughout the country announcing the start of the holiday was a memory I’ll have forever.