About Year Course

Since 1956, Young Judaea Year Course has inspired more
than 10,000 Jewish gap year students - from every religious, cultural, and political persuasion - to build a lifelong committment to pluralist Jewish values, repairing the world, leadership, and Israel.

The Year Course Community

Originally founded as the gap year program for members of the Young Judaea movement, Year Course participants now span a broad range of denominations, youth movements, summer camps, educational backgrounds, and affiliations. The group's diversity helps foster a dedicated and engaged community
of participants with a shared commitment to Year Course values.

While most participants continue directly to college in their home country after Year Course ends, many alumni have eventually chosen to put down their roots in Israel - whether by enrolling in Israeli universities, choosing to serve and enlisting in the IDF, or making Aliyah and calling Israel home.

Our Values

Personal Growth

Year Course strengthens each participant’s self confidence, independence and sense of responsibility. Using Israel as a laboratory for teaching participants about tolerance and pluralism, Year Course introduces them to different communities across the country, providing a supportive environment in which participants can explore, grow and mature during a dynamic year in Israel.

Jewish Identity

We are dedicated to the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), family, and community. By improving participants’ literacy in Jewish history and tradition, Hebrew, and contemporary Israeli culture through college-level courses, Year Course fosters a positive sense of Jewish identity preparing participants for a lifetime of Jewish communal engagement.

Understanding Israel

Year Course provides a comprehensive Israel experience, establishing knowledge of and connections to the country’s geography, language, people, history and contemporary life. By learning the history and thought of Israeli society, culture and politics,  participants explore the centrality of Israel in Jewish life and responsibility toward the diverse communities and groups that call Israel home.

Leadership Development

Participants are challenged to improve their leadership skills and awareness of their value and abilities as maturing young adults. We prepare and encourage participants to return home and become active members, leaders and Israel advocates within their Jewish communities and far beyond.

The Year Course Team

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Ariel Magal
Director, Year Course


Ortal Mussachy-Erez
Deputy Director, Year Course


Rabbi Adam Drucker
Director of Education, YJI


Tal Hirsh
Tel Aviv City Manager


Gil Schlezinger
Special Programs Manager


Kineret Zemach
Administrative Manager


Orit Somech-Segal
Director, Ulpan Hebrew Learning


Dafna Laskin
Director of Service, YJI


Daniel Smith
Enrollment Manager, YJI


Talia Goldin
Director of Marketing and Recruitment
‍Young Judaea Israel


Ekka Peck
‍‍Young Judaea Israel


Tamar Vogt
National Field Representative,
Young Judaea Israel


Maia Suez
Marketing Associate,
Young Judaea Israel


Masa Israel Journey and Year Course

Masa Israel Journey is the global leader in immersive international career development and leadership experiences in Israel for young Jewish adults from around the world. With a variety of long-term programs in Israel, Masa is able to provide meaningful, enriching experiences to young Jews from many different countries, backgrounds, levels of education, and fields. Since its founding in 2004, Masa has helped over 150,000 young adults from 60+countries to strengthen their connection with Israel, empowering a new generation of connected, committed, and inspired young Jewish adults. These young adults are changing the face of the Jewish world and Israel, as professionals, community leaders, and advocates.

Year Course in the News

The Jewish Daily Forward

In surprise twist, enrollment in many Israel gap year programs ‘skyrocketed’ amid pandemic.

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Tablet: New Read on Jewish Life

There’s a new wave of North Americans moving to Israel for a different way of life.

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The New York Jewish Week

As Colleges Go Virtual, Students Go to Israel, switching gears to avoid missing the campus experience.

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More Long Island students are taking a gap year. Here's what they're doing instead of school.

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Jewish Telegraphic Agency

As colleges go virtual, students instead are heading to Israel on gap year programs.

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Atlanta Jewish Times

High school grads choose Israel gap year, sensing that their freshmen year in college wouldn’t be the norm.

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