Jan 15, 2021
Remembering the 35 brave soldiers known as Israel's Lamed Heh
By Shani Simkowitz
Jan 29, 2021
Why I dedicated my life to Israel even before I visited it
By Deb Rochford
Feb 12, 2021
The magic chair
By Gaylee Schif
Jan 14, 2016 By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman Category: Education,
1,000 strong in Israel: 'I wish it would never end,' teens say of four-month AMHSI adventure
"History became so real," said 17-year-old Sydney Weinger of Nashville as she boarded a bus to Ben Gurion International Airport last week after spending four months in Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
Weinger's friend and fellow program participant, Anna Koren, expressed similar sentiments. "Being able to learn about Israel, not from a book, but from actually being able to go and experience and see the sights -- I wish it would have been longer," she said.
AMHSI-JNF is an academic and experiential program for high school students. Founded in 1972, the program is now funded and operated by Jewish National Fund. It offers formal classroom study and experience-based learning, enhancing students' intellectual understanding of history and their emotional connection to their identity.
Like other AMHSI students, Weinger, on the other hand, is already considering making Israel her new home. She credits AMHSI-JNF with making her prouder to be Jewish and helping her realize what it means to have a homeland.
"I feel at home here, like I can be myself," Weinger said. "It is the place I am happiest in the world."
In a note sent to her counselors, Nettheim said, "Our entire group, they grew with us and we formed a little family. Although four months is only a short amount of time, I think we all proved that a short amount of time is not wasted. We have created some unforgettable memories. I think it's really amazing how all of us got so close, so quickly."
"I have made some life-long friends," 16-year-old Zoe Tselos of Minnesota said, explaining that she was assigned her roommates, but she chose to hang out with them outside of their room.
"I think I can say I am friends with every single person here, which is really nice," Tselos added. On the one hand, she says she learned that Israel is not only the Bible, but a vibrant state full of life, cultural events, and all threads of Judaism, but she also learned about herself. During hikes and other challenges, she said she would often complain. But as her four months was coming to a close, she realized that every moment was special.
"Live life to the fullest, that is what I learned. On a trip like this, you should love every moment -- the hiking, the food, the friends -- everything," she said.
Nettheim chimed in and said, "We've had a lot of fun times together and I wish it would never end."