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Ask Israeli students what Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are doing in Israel and they’ll tell you that Fellows are there to make learning English fun.

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are tasked with improving English learning outcomes of elementary and middle school students in low-income neighborhoods throughout Israel. As high English proficiency is an admissions requirement for many Israeli universities, knowledge of the English language plays a major role in social mobility in Israel.

While Fellows assist teachers in some of Israel’s most overcrowded classrooms, most of their work takes place outside of traditional learning spaces. By working with small groups of students outside the classroom, Fellows help to decrease class sizes so students can get more individualized attention from Fellows and teachers alike.

“It is more fun to be with them than it is to be in class with a teacher because we learn in a fun way and have fun outside the classroom,” said May Levy a fourth grader from Petach Tikvah.

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May with 2014-2015 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow Desiree Eslamboly

The opportunity to leave the classroom to play games and work on assignments in a less formal setting give students a break from the monotony of the school day.

May’s older sister Tahel explained that English class with her teacher felt like any other class day — it’s something she has to do. “However, with them [the Fellows], we are more interested in learning.”

The relaxed environment changes the dynamic between students and Fellows from that of student-teacher to one that more closely resembles a big brother/big sister mentorship. “The students respected me like a teacher, but treated me like a peer,” said Jamie Gold, a Los Angeles native who taught English in Rishon LeZion in 2012-2013. “They knew it was a privilege to get to hang out with me.”
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Jamie Gold in her hometown of Los Angeles, California

Most Fellows join the MITF program with little-to-no education experience. It is only after an intensive orientation period, which includes pedagogical training designed by the Israeli Ministry of Education, that they begin working in Israeli schools.

Those Fellows who come from the education world enjoy exploring alternative teaching methods and witness the difference it makes for the students. “I saw myself as the lead member of the English language hype squad in which my main mission was to make learning fun, and to talk about Justin Bieber and Beyoncé as much as possible,” said Jennifer Blitz, a teacher from New York who spent the 2013-2014 school year teaching in Petach Tikvah. “The kids were curious and engaged in learning.”

From pop culture to lessons on holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, Israeli teachers also recognize the benefits of Teaching Fellows’ outside perspectives that they bring to the classroom. “They expose the children to current and fluent English,” Carni, a first through third grade English teacher in Petach Tikvah said. May and Tahel agreed, noting that they and their classmates enjoy asking questions and learning about Fellows’ lives outside of Israel.

Carni also pointed out the important work that Fellows do with those students who have special education needs and learning disabilities. For example, one of her students started the year off not knowing any English letters of the alphabet. After several months working with Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, he not only knew the alphabet, but was also starting to learn how to read.

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May with 2014-2015 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow Josh Klein

For some Fellows, this work goes beyond their teaching hours and becomes their self-designed service project. Max Unger of Arlington, Texas currently lives and teaches in Ramle-Lod, where he and an Israeli teacher have set up a tutoring program for struggling students to continue their English studies at home after school. “In class, they’re less comfortable in front of the more advanced students and don’t want to be made fun of,” Max said.

In the school and in the community, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows raise the bar on English education in Israel. Teachers and students agree that they are invaluable assets to the schools in which they work.

Masa Israel Journey is currently accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Masa Israel Teaching Fellows. Spots are limited and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Start your application now.

The following is sponsored by Masa Israel Journey

As the son of a Conservative rabbi, Daniel Hammerman, 22, grew up surrounded by all things Judaism and Israel. “I felt very connected at a young age,” the Stamford, Connecticut native explained, in discussing his decision to participate in a Masa Israel volunteer program focusing on Arab-Jewish coexistence. “Growing up with this knowledge made me want to learn more and become more active.”

During high school, Daniel was the Vice President of Israel Affairs in his USY chapter. While earning his BA in International Relations from American University, he studied the Arab-Israeli conflict, became active in numerous pro-Israel groups on campus, and interned with both AIPAC and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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In the spring of 2015, with graduation looming, Daniel searched for a job to fit his interests and desire to impact Israeli society. Soon, Daniel learned about the Yahel Social Change Program‘s new track in the mixed city of Lod. “Working with Arabs and Jews on the ground to make positive changes seemed like a great opportunity,” Daniel said.

The program’s location also appealed to Daniel, as he is currently engaging with a new side of Israel. He notes that it’s a more complex experience than he’s had during previous trips to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem because Lod is a truly mixed city where he finds himself surrounded daily by Jews and Arabs.

“I want to give them a hopeful reality for the future.”

Through Yahel, Daniel has shaped his Masa Israel experience to fit his passions and interests. In addition to his volunteer work in a community garden and the city’s young adult center, Daniel spends his mornings volunteering at an Arab elementary school. This is a truly unique experience for both Daniel and the students as he is the first American and non-Israeli Jew that most of the children have ever met. “I’m a fresh face, so they want to play with me and hang out with me,” Daniel explains.

He is also happy to answer his students’ questions and indulge their curiosities because he aims to show his students that Jews and Arabs can be partners and live peacefully together. “I hope they can carry that positive perception of Jews and Americans with them,” Daniel said. “I want to give them a hopeful reality for the future,” he said.

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In the teachers’ lounge Daniel makes a point of building relationships with the Arab faculty at the school. By talking to each other about the current matsav, or situation in Israel, Daniel and his colleagues found themselves “bringing people together and standing together against violence.”

Additionally, Daniel is working to organize a music program to help the children of Lod learn English through song. A lifelong singer, Daniel sees music as a tool for both learning a foreign language and for peace-building. “Music as a whole is a language of expression,” he said. “It’s so easy to share feelings through music and create bonding.” He believes that music education will allow students to share their feelings and create positive change.

“Bringing people together and standing together against violence.”

Last month, Daniel participated in the Masa Israel Global Leadership Summit, which challenged him to be more independent and built upon his existing leadership capacities. The Leadership Summit also introduced Daniel to the broader Masa Israel Community. “I’ve been able to make friends from different countries and build strong relationships that will last throughout my time in Israel,” he said.

Though only a few months into his 10-month Masa Israel experience, Daniel plans to continue working in the field of coexistence. Between his volunteer work through the Yahel Social Change program and opportunities provided by Masa Israel, like the Global Leadership Summit, Daniel is confident in his abilities to lead change and make Israel a stronger society.

Inspired by his story? Learn more by visiting masaisrael.org

Jewish Indie Bands

Hipster Jew —  01/21/2014 —  Comments

Here is our ongoing list of terrible, punny, Jewish indie bands. #JewishIndieBands

alt-Jew
Architecture in Jerusalem
Badly Drawn Goy
Belle & Circumcision
Ben Kveller
Brighton Beach House
Bubbe and the Kvetchers
Built to Kvell
Butthole Daveners
Challah & Wine
Clap Your Hands and Do the Hora!
Clap Your Hands and Say Feh.
Daf Punk Torah
Death Cab for Shlomo
Deer Schtick
Department of Ephraim
Double Mizvah Lovers
Dr. Dov
Explosions in my Intestines
Feh Against the Machine
Gefilte Phish
Grizzly Dov Bear
Goyrillaz
Guided By Boychiks
Haredi Block Party
Hatzalah LTD
Hot Hot Chutzpah
Hüsker Nü
Hüsker Jü
Israelite on Radar
Israelroids
Jew York Dolls
Kosher Milk Hotel
Kvetchshawn
Lana Del O’Veys
Lil Yosef and the East Side Boy zzz
Mem Gimel Mem Tet (Now Know as MGMT)
Modesty Code Mouse
My Morning Service
Nebittze Mouse
Neutral Lactaid Hotel
Neutral Milk Kotel
Nu?
Oy Division
Oy La Tengo
Oy Oy Oys
Panic! At the Discount Outlet
Passover Pit
Peter Baruch and John
Plain White Tzitzit
Santigoldstein
SchMuse
Shksa Shksa Shksa (!!!)
SHVLES
SYNAGOGVES
The Apples in Honey
The Black Hats
The Disappointments
The ‘Lo!’ Team
The Nu Pornographers
The Stein Rosens
The Walkmench
The White Stripe Talit
The צצ
They Might be Golems
TV nor the Radio (on Shabbos)
Wheezer
Yom Kippur War Kids
Yuch

Thanks to @AtlantaJMF @jonselig @liprap @Brizzem @theduckmanz @OMGWTFBIBLE @adamhayden @thejohnqcitizen @RaychFeldman @shannirosa @Flosston @11amAirRaid @chaosrah @itwavezzz @kinislo

Dear hipster jew,

can i replace latkes with french fries? im a single bro, living with other bros, and i dont wanna cook. latkes seem like a ton of work! can i just throw some frozen french fries in the oven, or even better just go buy some fries at my local pub? thanks,

french fry fiend

 

Dear French Fry Fiend,

Don’t get me wrong, french fries are good! And if you’re that much of a lazy piece of shit, I say eat so many french fries until you barf! And if you need some motivation, I DARE you to do it. Because that’s a good stereotype for bros, being unable to step down from a challenge. Okay?

Alright. Is he gone? Good. I wanna talk to everyone else for a second.

What type of asshole chooses french fries over latkes? Why would you not make some frozen hash browns instead? Hell, add some hash to your hash browns and then you’ll have the best Hanukkah ever. But french fries? That’s neither American NOR Jewish, atleast not when it comes to our greatest cultural holidays. Next you’ll eat a Turkey sandwich with a dinner roll and call it a Thanksgivukkah meal?

It’s the holidays for Christ’s sake. Let’s have SOME dignity here.

~ HipsterJew

 

Dear Hipster Jew,

Both of my boyfriends got me the same Hanukkah present, the latest Maccabeats CD. They don’t even know the other person exists! Am I that predictable? And what I am supposed to do with two copies?

Sincerely,

J.A.P, Jewish American Playa

 

Dear J.A.Playa,

Yes, you are predictable. I’m sure both boyfriends assume you are cheating on them, but they’d prefer to live in a fairy tale land. Also, you give good head, so they’re not gonna complain (yet!). And the ‘trickle down economy’ of your dad’s money isn’t hurting either. I’d say accept the two gifts and just be glad these two haven’t run into each other at a bar and played Jewish Geography, or friended the other one on Facebook.

As for your double Maccabeats album, this is an easy one. Give one to your parents! They’ll think you’re really into being Jewish, and if you’ve played your cards right they only know about the Jewish decoy boyfriend anyway. Nothing like getting points with your parents without even having to spend their money on them!

~HipsterJew

 

If you have any other terrible questions you need answered terribly, please email us info [at] hipsterjew [dot] com.

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  • 24 ways to stand your ground (sexily)

  • 25 people I want to murder my vagina

  • 28 people my mom once called ‘faggy’

  • 30 signs you’re driving while reading this

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  • 39 people who may or may not have been Trayvon once

  • 300 reasons why being a white over-privileged 20 year old rules

Hi everyone!

It’s the summer and no one likes to be on their stupid hot computer. So we’ve decided to rebuild our website while you’re at the beach. Expect a lot of changes in the next month. Expect a lot of bad links. Expect a lot of bad design. Expect a lot of things, just don’t expect much from us.

<3 – Hipster Jew

donald-trump-antisemite

Donald Trump is known to say some outrageous things and have outrageous opinions. His twitter account allows us to see the garbage that spews out of his toupee in real-time. So his tweet about Jon Stewart is not surprising. But it makes us wonder, is this tweet a bit anti-semitic?

Our bright writers decided to answer this:

Chicky: It’s not antisemitic per se. I think (big assumption here) that he’s saying you can’t trust Jon Stewart because *gasp* he changed his name.

Alex the Goy: Yeah, it is sort of a “You can’t trust someone who changed his name (from something JEW-Y)”

Duckman: The undertones are what’s anti-semitic. No one in show business goes by their real name.

IronyonRye: We all know everyone in showbiz is a j00… Btw, does that awful toupee cover up a subspace radio linked to aliens? It would explain his weirdness

Alex the Goy: Donald Trump has a tell for when he’s concealing prejudice: his self-sentient hair writhes with joy. The hair cannot lie. While tweeting, his hair writhed.

Duckman: What’s wrong with pointing out someone is Jewish when trashing them for hurting your feelings? I always point out the religion, ethnicity, and color of skin when talking about people I don’t like.

Chicky: If you can’t be a Jewish celebrity, why not hate them because you failed as a shitty celebrity?

The conversation went on in some weird and funny ways all of which would get us sued by Donald Trump. Or this conversation never happened and I just made it up completely. Anyways, is this anti-semitic? We don’t really know. But this is the second day in a row that Trump has railed against a Jew.

anthony-weiner-gop-valentines

We learned in an interview that Anthony Weiner sexted more hawt young ladieeezzz who never outed him to the public. What does this mean? There are potential hundreds, if not millions, of racy pictures of Anthony Weiner out there in the world today (or in people’s digital trashcans) just waiting to be found. We at Hipsterjew decided to take a stab at what these texts may be about.

  • Making a BLT sandwich on his chest
  • Comparing his weiner to a ny dirty water hotdog
  • Slurping cocaine of a mannequins ass
  • He attached dic pics to every piece of legislation he voted for
  • His penis painted as the statue of liberty and/or empire state building

Well, we did it. It took 3 years but we are famous. 5,000+ likes on Facebook. We offered you all a free sticker if you signed up for our email list, and I learned that we’ve got readers who work in the weirdest of places. Sometimes I’m not sure if you’re joking or if you reaaally work there. I really hope you guys are just super creative. That’s really the only reason I have the section for “Work” on the mailing list. I don’t care where you live, I just want to read funny things. So here are my favorites that you guys put down.

  • Matzoball HQ
  • simon wiesenthal center
  • LOL
  • Camp
  • dance house and sex pavillion
  • haha, what?
  • Im fabulous
  • Loonie toonie
  • your mom
  • High School
  • BustyJew

crunk

Nickname: Manischewitz Crunk
Location: Sacramento, CA
Occupation: starving artist.
But your mother always dreamed you would become: a lawyer, in true Jew fashion. She knew better than to dream of my becoming a doctor. But her wish may come true if I get my PhD in English. Don’t all Jewish mothers dream of a doctor?
Level of Jewishness / Hipsterness: 100% Jew purebred. 100% Hipster Jew. I am the poster child.

I am a WOMAN looking for a MAN

How do you take your coffee?
With coffeemate pumpkin spice creamer. Damn you seasonal flavors.

Favorite vegan dish your mother makes:
Meatloaf. Hipster Jew or no, we don’t play that game.

Oh baby, tell me what you put on your bagel.
I slowly slather a big dollop of cream cheese on my freshly toasted everything bagel, seductively smearing the white cream all over the body of the bagel, paying extra special attention to fill the hole.

When you make ‘bad decisions’, what is your drink of choice?
TEQUILA! ole.

What is the most obscure band you’ve ever seen?
You’ve never heard of them. DUH.

Anything else you’d like to add?
My mother thinks I am quite the catch.