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 Leadership Briefing 
The Jewish Federations of North America - The Strength of a People. The Power of Community.
Israel Experience to Operate OTZMA Program
January 4, 2013

The OTZMA Israel experience program, which has been run by The Jewish Federations of North America for 27 years, will continue to offer young Jewish adults an opportunity to live in Israel, learn Hebrew and volunteer in small communities. Upon completion of this year’s program, JFNA will transfer ownership of OTZMA to the Israel Experience Educational Tourism Services Ltd., a subsidiary of The Jewish Agency for Israel.
 
The Israel Experience specializes in providing organized trips to Israel for teens, university students and adults from all over the globe. With a mandate to “facilitate and implement Jewish-Zionist experiential/educational visits to Israel in order to strengthen Jewish identity among Jews – especially youth – living in communities outside of Israel,” the Israel Experience will maintain the mission and values that have made OTZMA a success for nearly three decades.

“We are thrilled to have found a wonderful new home for OTMZA with the Israel Experience,” said Michele Sackheim Wein, OTZMA chair. “We are confident the Israel Experience will help continue to provide the brand of life-changing Israel programs for young adults for which OTZMA is known.” 
 
In determining the best new home for OTZMA, JFNA utilized a professional task force and advisory committee comprised of past and present OTZMA chairs. After a thorough process that included vetting and interviewing several organizations, JFNA selected Israel Experience based on its successful track record in both short- and long-term Israel experiences for young adults, its valuable relationship with Masa Israel Journey and Israel Teaching Fellows, and its financial stability. In addition, Israel Experience currently provides OTZMA with logistical services, thus is well-versed with its program.

“We are very excited to become the new home for OTZMA,” said Erez Cohen, director of Israel Experience’s Long Term Program division. “We have known the program for years, and have been proud to be its logistical provider over the last several years. We believe in the program and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure its long-lasting success.

“We appreciate JFNA’s trust and support in choosing us as the most appropriate home for the program,” Cohen continued. “We hope that this cooperation will lead to further future collaboration between the Israel Experience and JFNA.”
  
Through OTZMA and its passionate volunteers and professionals, JFNA has proudly sent more than 1,400 Jewish young adults from nearly 100 communities in North America to Israel. In its new home with the Israel Experience, OTZMA will continue to develop young leaders around the Jewish community, and create strong connections to Israel and the Jewish Federation world.
 
For more information on OTZMA, please contact JFNA’s Sandy Schlenoff at (212) 284-6522.

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