By: Nitzan Levy, NCSY Alumnus 2012
A conference for five days, free room, free food, and a chance to miss school—that is how I was introduced to the Masa Leadership Summit.
My name is Nitzan Levy and I am currently an NCSY Alumnus attending Bar Ilan's Israel Experience program. Some friends on my program introduced me to the Masa Summit and told me I should go just because it would be fun and it is free. I chose to apply and then for some reason the website was giving me problems. After some time I gave up, thinking it just wasn't meant to be. Then a few weeks later a good friend of mine from another program told me to email the answers of the application to Masa and apply that way, so I did and the next thing I knew I was packing my bags for the program!
Going in, I assumed it would be a fun program similar to NCSY's LTS (Leadership Training Seminar), soI was excited to go. But this Summit ended up being completely different. Walking through the doors of the hotel and seeing how jam packed the schedule was intimidated me a bit at first. The first thing to do was go to lunch, which exposed exactly how many people there were on this summit—over 400 people, both on gap year programs and graduate students, all in one place, from all over the world!
Everyone was split into groups based on what their plans for the next year were. My group consisted of students attending universities in Florida, Canada, and Maryland, lead by Jessica, who is involved with the Hillel at University of Maryland (GO GROUP 14!) Throughout the conference, our group met at least twice to discuss the ideas we gained from the summit and how we can apply them to our campuses in the coming year. Everyday we learned new ways to inspire others and advocate for Israel, whether by learning from our group leader or watching a trained professional debate or pitching our own ideas to each other. Our days were filled with different classes, training us on how to be leaders and spread knowledge about Israel in effective ways. At night, the program was more laid back, with activities around Jerusalem such as the Kotel tunnel tours and the Tower of David Light show.
Overall, the Masa Leadership Summit was way more impressive then I expected. All the different activities and classes taught me how to advocate for Israel effectively and be more involved on my school campus next year. I also made new friends from all over the world and reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. It was an experience of a lifetime, and I couldn't be more grateful to Masa for providing me with this opportunity!