Masa programs: Falling in love with Israel and someone special

While Masa Israel Journey is not a matchmaking agency, it's not surprising that the programs' participants meet people and fall in love in Israel.

Tel Aviv City Hall on a special display for Jewish Holiday of Love  (photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)
Tel Aviv City Hall on a special display for Jewish Holiday of Love
(photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)
To celebrate Valentine's Day, Masa Israel Journey published the results of its #LoveMyMasa contest.
Masa Israel Journey is a Jewish Agency initiative and offers experiences in Israel for young adults ages 18-30.
The contest's idea was simple: Participants of Masa Israel Journey who found their significant other while on one of the programs had to share their love story on social media with the hashtag #LoveMyMasa.
The couple with the most popular post - who received the most likes and reactions -  would win a one-night stay in a hotel of their choice.
Social media was flooded with hundreds of love stories of couples from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Europe and Latin America.
The contest showed "how young Jews are not only falling in love with Israel but also falling in love in Israel," said Masa in a press release.
While Masa is not an official matchmaking agency, its programs allow people from all around the world to meet and to spend significant time - up to a year - together and even fall in love.
The winners, Anastasia Gutman and Elisey, who are from Russia, met on Masa’s Tlalim career development program and participated in Masa ID – a four-day journey around Israel for Russian-speaking Masa fellows. Today, they live in Israel. 

The participants of the contest shared how their loves stories have evolved since finding love on Masa. Some made Aliyah, some got engaged, others got married.

“Israel truly brings the Jewish people together. When fellows embark on their journeys with Masa, they form personal relationships with the country and with one another,” said Masa Acting CEO Ofer Gutman.
“Israel is where fellows experience personal growth, seize professional opportunities, and develop meaningful bonds. The beautiful connections that are made during a Masa experience last a lifetime,” he added.
Other programs such as Birthright are also popular for finding "the one."