World Mizrachi secures $2 million for Masa Israel program

World Mizrachi, a religious-Zionist organization, has secured $2 million for Masa Israel grants and scholarships for North American Jewish families, which will allow youth to spend a gap-year in Israel, according to a press release from the organization on Wednesday.
As a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, funding was cut to many programs of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa included. But following substantial fundraising efforts, World Mizrachi was able to secure money in order to bring youth to Israel. 
A quarter of the funding for Masa came following commitments secured between World Mizrachi and the Jewish Agency for $500,000, raised from private donors in conjunction with Masa-accredited yeshivas and seminaries. An additional $1 million also came from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which typically provides funding for the Masa program.
“We are grateful for the herculean efforts World Mizrachi took to rightly restore the Masa grants and scholarships that have helped send our children – the future Jewish leaders of our people – to Israel for life-changing gap-year experiences,” Religious Zionists of America executive vice president Rabbi Ari Rockoff said in a statement. 
“What World Mizrachi did to restore this program was innovative and, more importantly, done with a sensitivity to the importance of unity within the World Zionist Congress,” Rockoff added. 
Following the success of World Mizrachi in the World Zionist elections, which allowed the organization to gain influence in many important departments, they were able to secure entry for some North American students and set up a framework for quarantine in light of the COVID-19 situation. 
“The gap-year experience in Israel is a pivotal time in so many Orthodox Jewish young adults’ lives, where they come to experience Torah and Judaism within a framework that sets them up for religious and communal leadership roles and helps to influence the depth of their relationships with and commitment to Torah, Israel and the destiny of the Jewish people,” said World Mizrachi CEO Rabbi Doron Perez. 

“The gap-year is a transformative time for personal growth and leadership development,” he said, adding “it’s imperative that communally we invest in making sure that the yeshiva and seminary gap-year is as accessible as possible to all of our young adults.”

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