Matt Futterman – MITF with Israel Experience
I didn’t want to leave college and was nervous about what I should do this year. Then I decided to join MITF with Israel Experience and am so happy with how things turned out.
Living in Rishon LeZion
I live and work in Rishon LeZion, the 4th largest city in Israel, you can tell by the sheer amount of shopping, dining, and entertainment venues in the city. Tel Aviv is just a stone’s throw away so there’s no shortage of things to do. On a typical week, I head there about once or twice for things such as Pub Trivia night, Wednesday night Kabbalah lectures and dinners, or Masa career development seminars. My roommates and I live in a recently renovated apartment in a great location. There’s a mall right down the street from us and we’re a 4-minute walk from Rothschild St. which is Rishon’s version of Main Street.
Teaching in Junior High
Teaching English in my school has been wonderful. My experience is a bit different than many of the fellows work in elementary schools while I was placed at a Junior High School. The kids know more English here than they do at the lower levels but they think we’re pretty cool all the same. The best part is working with a student and watching them have that ‘lightbulb moment’ where it finally clicks.
The working can be difficult but it’s as challenging as it is rewarding. I’ve learned to say “I don’t speak Hebrew” in Hebrew pretty well but the rest of my conversational skills are still lacking. Not knowing the dominant language is something you get used to but it can still be frustrating. The worst is when I go grocery shopping and don’t know what it is I’m buying. But I always manage.
Holidays in Israel range from relaxing (Shabbat) to festive (Purim!), but either way, they are very frequent. The cool thing about having Shabbat every week is that it’s a good reminder of just how much (or how little) time we have left to the program.
Personally, I make it a goal to do something different from one Shabbat to the next. I might go to my host mom’s for Friday night dinner or spend the Shabbat with my religious family who I hadn’t had the chance to really bond with until I began living here.
Sometimes I’ll explore different cities in the country (Tzfat is a place you really need to explore beyond Birthright), while other times I’ll meet up or hang out with friends both inside and outside the program.
Homesick? Not me!
When I first began this journey, I was afraid I might get really homesick, but only rarely has that happened since I got here. And even in those moments, it doesn’t take away from the incredible experiences I’m having.
Research the program and if it sounds good, just do it...
Don’t let any fears or worries stop you from this adventure!