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Jewish National Fund's Shirlye Kaufman Birnbrey Impact Fellows Chosen to Spend a Semester in Israel

December 2, 2015 – Atlanta, GA - Jewish National Fund (JNF) is proud to announce that the Shirlye Kaufman Birnbrey Alexander Muss High School in Israel Impact Fellowship Program has chosen two Atlanta high school juniors to send to Israel for the spring semester for an once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Alexander Muss High School in Israel.

Established by Shirlye’s children – Jeff and Alison Kaufman, Richard (z”l) and Barbara Kaufman, Mark and Nancy Kaufman, and Karen and Craig Senft – the Shirlye Kaufman Birnbrey Impact Fund is a merit-based scholarship funding two Atlanta high school students per year to attend a semester – four months – at AMHSI. Through this generous support, two students will enjoy the opportunity to experience the semester of a lifetime.

Tyler Schwartz, who attends Milton High School, and Carlie Ladinsky, a student at Walton High School, were the exceptional students chosen by a selection committee based upon merit and their dedication to the land of Israel. They will both be in Israel in the spring of 2016.

Both Schwartz and Ladinsky were excited to get the news that they were selected for this special opportunity. “I sprinted up the stairs and called out to my parents to share the amazing news. I was utterly shocked, but in the most excited and grateful way,” said Ladinsky. “The indescribable feeling of bliss I felt inside of me assured me that this would be the greatest experience of my life.” Schwartz said, “I didn’t sleep all night because I could not stop thinking about this incredible opportunity, and everything that I am going to experience.”

The fellowship, which includes everything from on-campus housing to field trip costs, was established to provide Atlanta high school Jewish teens with the extraordinary opportunity to discover their own connection to the land, people, history, and culture of Israel. AMHSI's unique pedagogical approach fuses traditional classroom study and informal experiential learning, as students not only gain knowledge but also have the opportunity to explore Israel as a living classroom.

“Our mother promoted the importance of funding Jewish schools,” said Shirlye’s daughter, Karen Senft, “So, in her memory, we now provide Impact Funds to the Alexander Muss High School in Israel to fund scholarships to Atlanta students who wish to study in Israel. We established this fund to continue our mother's legacy to future generations of Jews and the advancement of Jewish culture.”

Since 1972, AMHSI has been pioneering the academic and experiential study of Israel and Jewish history at the high school level. Students are inspired to live outside their books, encounter new ideas and challenge themselves in infinite ways. Our vision of transforming tomorrow's generation today impacts the building of a brighter future for tomorrow. For the 24,000 alumni over the past 43 years, this impact is transformative and is reflected in alumni’s ongoing commitment to Israel, to Jewish life, and to making our world better. 

The AMHSI model highlights the benefits of a long-term Israel program. Ninety-eight percent of alumni consider AMHSI the most transformational experience of their lifetime. At AMHSI, students reestablish their relationship to identity and peoplehood. Students leave AMHSI wanting to give back to their home communities and better prepared for life on college campuses and beyond.

For more information about applying for next year, contact  Judy Schancupp at or 404.236.8990 x858.


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