Growing up in Sacramento, CA, Amy Albertson was not very connected to her Jewish community. “Only my dad is Jewish, so it was just one part of our family,” Amy explains. “We would only celebrate holidays like Passover and Chanukah.” It wasn’t until she started college at Portland State University that Amy began to explore Judaism on her own, getting involved with the Greater Portland Hillel, and eventually becoming the Hillel’s vice president. Amy also started Portland State University’s Israel group.
Amy’s renewed interest in Judaism led her to participate in a summer Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, which she extended into a two-month stay in the country. “During that time, I was just on vacation and not doing much,” she recalls. “I knew I wanted to find something productive to do in Israel after graduation, and everyone recommended Masa Israel.”
Amy picked the Masa Israel program “Israel Way – Tel Aviv Internship Experience,” which helped her land an internship at Marom Group, a consulting firm working with non-profit organizations in Israel. Amy worked in resource development alongside the director of special projects, researching cases for clients like the city of Yavneh.
“I’m really interested in non-profit work, and resource development was a new area of the sector for me,” Amy says. “I worked with a small staff, and it really felt like a tight community.” In her free time, Amy would go to the beach or take day trips to destinations like Caesaria or Jerusalem with her friends. She also enjoyed checking out the culinary scene of Tel Aviv. “Israeli breakfast is my favorite,” Amy notes. “I recommend Room Service on Dizengoff and Nordau.”
In addition to gaining professional skills and exploring a new country, Amy says her time in Israel gave her new perspective on her life. “Before, I was more uptight about having everything planned out really far in advance. I’ve learned over the past five months to go with the flow,” she says. “I’m still young, and there are lots of opportunities and plenty of time for me to do really interesting things that will develop me as a person, which will ultimately make me ready to take on the rest of my life.”
Although she is now back in the United States, Amy hopes to return to Israel to find a job or participate in another program. She recommends other young adults take advantage of the opportunities available in Israel. “There’s really no better way than Masa Israel to spend an extended amount of time in Israel. The support you get from being on a program is great because moving to Israel on your own is very difficult. And there’s no way you won’t be able to find a program that is right for you.”
Amy Albertson served as the Vice President of Greater Portland Hillel, and recently returned from an internship in Israel. Learn more about opportunities for Hillel students with Masa Israel Journey here.