Growing up, Dawn’s connection to Judaism was attending synagogue twice a year for the High Holidays. After college, Dawn became closer to her father’s parents. She learned that her grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz, and that her grandfather had been a partisan fighter in Poland. Getting to know them better led her to join a Taglit-Birthright trip where she met her grandfather’s brother. Dawn looks at Birthright as her jumpstart to an active Jewish lifestyle and commitment to supporting Israel.

But when she came back, she says, she “felt a little bit lost because I wasn’t sure where to go.” She made a few new Jewish friends and bought her first Menorah. And then she finally opened one of the emails she’d been receiving from Masa Israel, a Jewish Agency for Israel program that offers a wide variety of immersive, international educational and work experiences for young adults. Dawn chose Career Israel Journey, which arranged a subsidized internship with Puzzle Israel, which offers personalized Israel tours.

Dawn sees Masa as a turning point for her, “Masa sparked something in me. In addition to living and working in Israel for five months, I took advantage of every of every one of their leadership seminars and networking events, and made connections with dozens of different programs and hundreds of people. She returned to the U.S., she says, “with an impetus to be more involved in Jewish life. I want to be an ‘ambassador,’ for Judaism and for Israel. I’m looking for a job in Jewish leadership and for a way to get back to Israel as soon as possible.”

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