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Come explore, intern and study this summer in Jerusalem!

An amazing opportunity for a select group of students to live, learn and explore Israel. Join OU-JLIC as we create an exciting social and religious summer community in Jerusalem!

For more information about ASCEND, contact


Who: Students aged 18-22, both men and women who have not participated in a Gap year Program.

When: June 19 – August 5*

*Due to the security situation in Israel, dates may change

What: Participants will live in Jerusalem (separate men’s and women’s apartments), work in an internship of
their choice during the day, study Torah on traditional and experiential levels, learn from Israeli business and professional leaders, and explore Israel in the evenings and on weekends. Details below.

Cost: $1,250*

*For every friend you refer to the program who enrolls, you will receive $75 off the cost of tuition, up to 3 friends.

The program includes

  • Housing in Jerusalem (including WiFi, AC, and kitchen; separate apartments for men and women)

  • Health insurance

  • Professional internship placement

  • Educational staff and programming

  • Trips exploring Israel

  • Shabbat meals and programming

  • Occasional group dinners

  • Please note: participants will be ineligible for future MASA funding. Please contact us for details.

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ASCEND offers professional internships during the day and a vibrant evening program offering a full array of teachers, social events and learning opportunities.

  • Spend the summer living in an apartment in Jerusalem.
  • Internship program designed to build your resume and develop work skills. Our professional internship team will find you a fun and exciting summer
  • Weekly professional development and networking opportunities with Israeli business and professional leaders from different fields.
  • Illuminating weekly trips around the Jerusalem area connected to the weekly Torah seminar!
  • Incredible weekend excursions across Israel designed to explore the land and heritage of Israel in a fun way!
  • Fun social programming to explore Jerusalem and make friends.
  • Vibrant Torah study on a variety of topics featuring well known teachers from all across Israel and America. The learning program is accessible for people of all learning backgrounds and skill levels.

Program Tracks:

Ascend offers 2 different learning tracks to cater towards our 2 different populations. Program tracks under the ASCEND program are geared towards creating a space for students to connect with their peers in a more intimate environment. While much of the program is together, the tracks allow for students to participate in Torah learning and programming that is created specifically for their program track.

General ASCEND College track – The General ASCEND learning track will consist of college students from around the world who did not spend a gap year in Israel. The learning will be very hands-on, allowing for students to ask questions and explore their Judaism in a spiritual and experiential way. You will meet students from many different campuses, allowing you to expand your network and form connections with like-minded students. The various trips and programming will have you walking away with lasting friendships. If you are looking for a memorable, impactful and life changing experience in Jerusalem this summer, this track is a good fit.

Post High School Track -If you are currently a high school senior and are not planning to spend a gap-year in Israel, this track is for YOU! The post-high-school track was created to give rising college first-years the opportunity to connect with Israel and Judaism on a deeper level, expand their professional networks, and build lasting friendships. Through trips, internships, Shabbatons, Torah study, and group activities, you will explore the land of Israel and your personal Jewish identity, and will walk away feeling empowered to take those connections and relationships with you to your college campus.



Rabbi Menachem Schrader studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshiva University. He has a BA in Philosophy from YU, an MA in History from NYU, and received his Smicha from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He was on the Torah studies faculty of Yeshivat Hamivtar, teaching Talmud, Bible, and Halachah. He was the director of the Aliza Flatow program at Nishmat. In the year 2000 he founded the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus of the Orthodox Union.


Director of OU-JLIC Israel

Rabbi Shulman is the director of Summer in Jerusalem, OU-JLIC in Israel and Yavneh. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife Jenny and their three kids. He loves to learn Torah, hike, do yoga and bake bread.


Director of Summer Programs for OU-JLIC

Yonina (Silverman) Rosenthal originally from New Jersey, now lives with her husband Gabi in Jerusalem. Yonina holds a bachelors in Psychology and Judaic Studies from Hunter College. She spent many summers at Camp Stone where she has strengthened her love for Torah and informal education in her many different roles. Yonina has a master’s in nonprofit management from Hebrew University and is working towards getting a second master’s degree in Jewish Education. She is also part of the Nachshon Project Graduate fellowship which has helped her get to where she is today. With her past work experience as a placement coordinator from Onward Israel, Yonina is very much looking forward to giving future participants an unparalleled experience on the JLIC summer programs in Israel.

Sarah Smart

Ascend Coordinator

Sarah Smart earned her BA from Cornell University, majoring in Psychology and Near Eastern Studies. After graduating, she worked in the Yachad Summer Department at the Orthodox Union before making Aliyah to Jerusalem. Sarah has been involved in informal education and Jewish communal events for many years, including serving the Jewish community at Cornell and working for Yachad Summer as counselor and Assistant Program Director. During her tenure at Cornell, she spent several years as a fellow in JLIC's Yavneh on Campus program, including working as the Co-Chair of their National Board for two years. In addition to her work with OU-JLIC, she works as a madricha at Midreshet Lindenbaum.