Kesselman Israel Program Scholarship

The Sarah B. and Louis M. Kesselman Israel Program Scholarship Fund enables Jewish young adults to spend a semester or a year in Israel helping them to strengthen their Jewish identity and build a lasting relationship with Israel. The Sarah B. and Louis M. Kesselman Israel Program Scholarship Fund is a fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, the endowment development program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. 


Applications are due Wednesday, May 1, 2024 for programs beginning between June 1, 2024 and May 31, 2025


  • Residents of the Milwaukee metropolitan area or students who have graduated from a Milwaukee area high school
  • Currently attending an institution of higher learning in the State of Wisconsin
  • Ages 18-30
  • Participating in MASA-approved Israel travel/study programs

Other Information

  • Scholarships are for teens and young adults ages 18–30 who are participating in MASA-approved Israel travel/study programs.
  • Funding is not available for peer educational programs.
  • Applicants must be residents of the Milwaukee metropolitan area or students who have graduated from a Milwaukee area high school who are now attending an institution of higher learning in the State of Wisconsin.
  • The maximum scholarship available for program participants is $2500 and applicable to the published cost of the program only. Domestic flight expenses, travel insurance, or personal expenses are not covered by the scholarships.
  • The application must be completed by the student only. The application must be typed with all questions and sections completed. If a section is not applicable, please explain. Applications missing any requested materials will NOT be considered. The quality of the application is considered in the awarding of scholarships.
  • 2022 Tax Form (first two pages) must be included.
  • Upon the applicant’s return to his/her community, the applicant is expected to share his/her experiences through written and/or oral presentations, and to participate in Jewish communal activities in the Milwaukee area.
  • Scholarship funds are sent directly to the sponsoring organization, not the applicant.
  • It is understood that if the applicant is dismissed early from the Israel program due to an infraction of the program rules, the full amount of the scholarship received will be repaid to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation Kesselman Israel Program Scholarship fund.
  • Successful applicants are considered to be representatives of the greater Milwaukee Jewish community.

Recipient Testimonials

Noa Pnina Rosen

“My year in Israel has been the best experience I could ever have! I went to Midreshet Emunah V’Omanut, a seminary where Torah and art collide. Between the classes and the trips, this year has been amazing! My school took us to Tzfat for a shabbat, and we went to this cave with crazy acoustics. Because we are an art based school, we sang. The acoustics matched perfectly with the harmonies we came up with. Throughout the year so far, I have focused on keeping my Judaism alive with my Zionism by expressing it through my art.”

Sarah Berry

“My experience in Israel was truly amazing. I participated in the Science and Health Tech program with Onward Israel and Young Judea. This program is based in Rehovot, Israel where I was able to work at Kaplan Medical Center in their Emergency Room. This has already impacted me in the sense that it has helped me gain clinical experiences that I had not yet received in my college career. It also has made me realize that I would like to work in the Emergency Room when I graduate from UWM.”

Jessica Perl

The Nativ College Leadership Program has been an enriching experience so far. I have learned a lot about Israel and her culture, as well as about myself. I have become more independent, knowledgable, and responsible.”

Yoni Altman-Shafer

“For the past six months, I have been a participant of the Hevruta Gap Year Program in Jerusalem, which is run by the Shalom Hartman Institute. My understanding of Israel is now much deeper. I have spent dozens of Shabbatot in communities across the land, experiencing true Israeli life in a completely unfiltered manner.”

Chanie Appel

“During my gap year in Israel, I am attending the Jewish seminary, Midreshet Tehillah. I decided to pursue a year in Israel to expand my knowledge in Jewish subjects and studies in order to ultimately become a better version of myself. My school is acting as my family during this year, and I am proud to call it my home.”

Shari Sandler

“I am currently participating in the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) program teaching English in an elementary school. I live in the Old City of Be’er Sheva, the biggest city in the Negev region, and I couldn’t be happier with my city placement. It has welcomed me with a great deal of hospitality and it really feels like home.”

Arie Mandelblum

“My name is Arie Mandelblum. “I’m a graduate of Bader Hillel High, and I’m currently attending a post high school program with 140 other students from all over the United States, Canada, and England in Yeshivat Torat Shraga in Jerusalem, Israel. This program that believes in the importance of Torah learning, in the importance of cultivating jewish values, and the importance of learning Jewish law. The topics covered throughout the day range from Babylonian Talmud, Chumash (Bible), Jewish ethics, teachings of the Rambam, contemporary Jewish law and many other interesting and thought provoking topics. Because the majority of the rabbis in the Yeshiva also attended similar post-high school programs, they know how to best answer questions about life, religion, and many other relevant topics. The relationships I’ve built with the rabbis and the friendships I’ve cultivated with the students in Yeshiva are truly priceless. These friendships and relationships are strengthened and built up through the amazing monthly tiyulim (trips) that our Yeshiva takes us on. These tiyulim allow us to explore the land of Israel and witness its incomparable beauty.

As a photographer, it’s truly a delight to live in Jerusalem. Almost every street in the city has a picture-worthy shot. It’s a beautiful city with amazing people, culture, and history. Like most of the other students in this program, I decided to defer my admission to college for a year in order to attend this Yeshiva in Israel. Some might call this a gap year just for the fact that one is putting aside their formal secular education for a year; however, after experiencing a year Yeshivat Torat Shraga, I believe that there is nothing gap about this year. In fact, I’m sure it’s a year that has enhanced whatever life has in store for me in store. This year has been a year of learning, a year of reflection, and a year of exploration. A year that one gets to ask what they really want to accomplish, what sort of career they want to pursue, or what sort of community they want to live in. Questions that are often omitted during high school due to the overwhelming amount of school work and college related things. A year in Yeshiva in Israel means investing in Torah, meaningful friendships, Jewish values. Things that’ll last a lifetime and are truly priceless.”