This past spring semester, four teens from Nashville’s Jewish community participated in the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program. For four months the teens, Eden Rice, Max Lapidus, Jackson Schneider, and Ben Poster, studied, traveled, and experienced life in Israel. The program focuses on academics while building life skills that students will carry with them into their futures. Below are reflections from two of the participants, Eden Rice and Max Lapidus. For more information on the AMHSI program, visit www.amhsi.org.
Pictured l. to r.: Jackson Schneider, Ben Poster, Eden Rice, Max Lapidus
After spending the past four months in Israel, it would be hard for me to pin point one life changing moment because there were so many. We traveled around Israel, confronted the tragic history of our people in Poland, and hiked from the Mediterranean to the Kinneret. We spent time in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tzfat, Haifa, the Golan, Eilat, and all over the Negev. Though Israel and all of its stories were outstanding and definitely life changing, when people ask me what the best part was, I immediately say the people. I made forever friends from all over country, and I can’t imagine not having them with me as I experienced this past semester. One major highlight was Yam l’Yam, a 45-mile hike from sea to sea. We spent every day hiking and swimming in beautiful waterfalls until we arrived at a new campsite each night where we would reflect on our day, make a fire, and cuddle up in our tents.
Another element that had a huge impact on me was our trip to Poland. Though it was difficult, visiting the camps and old ghettos was very eye opening and meaningful. We visited Yad Vashem before we left, and our Israeli Studies teachers helped us understand and deal with the painful stories from and memorials to our past.
Going on Muss was one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve come home feeling more confident in myself and in my knowledge of Israel’s long and complicated history. I now eagerly wait for the day that my friends and I can reunite on the beaches of Tel Aviv, return to the Kotel, and experience Israel’s magic again.
Nashville students in Israel with Alexander Muss High School in Israel program.
Prior to going, Alexander Muss High School in Israel was always described as the best four months of someone’s life. I heard this phrase so many times, but now I truly understand it. If I had to reflect on what was most important, I would immediately answer the people. All my best
memories were formed surrounded by them. They are people who I know will be in my life in the future.
Apart from the people, we also took part in some amazing field trips. Our hikes took us to places with spectacular views where we could see all of Israel. Our trips allowed us to dive into the history of Israel. Apart from the history, our trips also allowed us to explore the culture of the country. Our weekends spent in different cities allowed us to dive into different cultures within the country. We also took trips, on which we were able to learn more about ourselves. Our four-day hike across the country gave us time to reflect on how we grew during the semester. We reflected on memories and how thankful we were for our time in Israel.
The final aspect of this journey, which I though was most impactful was the way it allowed me to grow as a person. For the first time I was thrown into a situation where I had to balance both school and real life, without my parents. Along with this I now had to make sure I was taking care of my sleep and my eating. Being in this situation prepared me for the future when I will attend college.
Being in a foreign country, I was also forced to figure out how to make it around with a language barrier. I had to learn and adapt to situations whether that was in different cities or even just on the program. Learning how to live alone and adapt were things that helped me grow as a person during these four months.
In conclusion these four months really were the best four months of my life, and I would strongly suggest going on the trip.