Miller Family Establishes New Scholarship for JNF-USA’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel
For first year college students, life on campus brings with it a plethora of firsts. Living away from home, managing class schedules, and discovering a new food pyramid made entirely of coffee and instant noodles. Yet, for Jewish students, they are also confronted for the first time with the insidious propaganda of the anti-Zionist movement and those espousing anti-Semitic tropes. And while this can be confronting, a new study abroad scholarship for high school students in Arizona will give them the tools and confidence to become effective and proud advocates for Israel on campus.
Thanks to local philanthropists Lori and Adam Miller, their new Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI/Muss) Miller Scholarship will ensure Jewish high school students from Arizona are prepared to speak intelligently, and with facts, about their homeland.
Lori and Adam Miller (Courtesy JNF-USA)
The Millers have always felt a deep connection and love of their community and Israel. “Israel was always important to me and a big part of my life and my Jewish identity,” said Lori. Along with her husband, Adam, the couple have been taking their children, Hannah and Jacob, to Israel since they were babies.
In addition to their familial bond to Israel, Hannah has a personal connection to Muss. “Our daughter received the Schwartz-Hammer Impact Scholarship, and she attended Foundations Israel, the 6-week summer program where she learned a tremendous amount,” said Lori. Both Lori and Adam were pleased that Hannah gained such a unique academic and culturally immersive experience during her time in Israel and felt she was well-prepared to become a proud Jewish and Zionist student at college.
In fact, Hannah loved her time in Israel so much that after she was admitted to Harvard, she took a gap year before college, where she went to live and work on a kibbutz in Israel.
Since her daughter’s most recent return from Israel, Lori started to become more aware of – and concerned by – the growing tide of anti-Semitism faced by Jewish students on college campuses. “I was learning more about the BDS movement, anti-Semitism, and the overall anti-Israel sentiment,” shared Lori.
Motivated by her concern for Jewish students on Arizona college campuses, as well as other college campuses across the country, Lori joined her Alexander Muss High School in Israel Board of Directors, in addition to establishing the Merit Scholarship.
“We are very blessed to be in a situation that we can start a scholarship fund,” Lori said. “Our goal is to make it an endowment fund so that it helps kids attend Muss for many years to come. Our Jewish community is growing and the funding and resources to support our teens needs to grow also!”
Over the years, Muss’ American semester abroad campus located just outside of Tel Aviv has developed a reputation for academic excellence with feedback from parents and students suggesting that the grads of many of the students improve on their return to the U.S. In this spirit, the Millers intend for their scholarship to be merit-based. “We don’t want it to be just financial aid,” Lori said. “Having it be merit based allows it to bring Arizona’s best and brightest to study there.”
According to Lori, the ideal applicants are students who want to achieve academic success while also immersing themselves in 4,000 years of Jewish history right where it happened. “You don’t just sit there in a classroom,” said Lori. “You learn about the Bar Kokhba revolt and what happened on Masada and you see it with your own eyes. You’re learning about the Holocaust and you’re going to Yad Vashem. It’s for kids who want to learn. It’s about experiential learning, living in a dorm, and making friends for life.”
Lori also hopes that the scholarship will inspire even more students to be inspired to become advocates for Israel on campus while also preparing them for the reality of what to expect. “I want them to learn about and celebrate the history of Israel so that when they are on their college campus and hear all of the falsehoods spread about Israel, they will have a foundation and hopefully the confidence to effectively advocate for Israel,” she said. “Our goal is that this scholarship will help the next generation; these kids will have great experiences and they will want to send their own kids to Israel. This is why we want this scholarship to continue in perpetuity.”
The newly established scholarship will cover a portion of the tuition, and room and board costs for the 6-week summer program. “We are still seeking donations to make sure this is an endowment fund to last for generations. As we see the rise in anti-Semitism across the country and we see the attacks on synagogues, we need to do something to educate our kids. Our goal is to help the next generation.”
For more information about scholarship opportunities at JNF-USA’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel, visit amhsi.org or contact Israel Programs Admissions Director, Jennifer Sosnow at [email protected] / 480.447.8100 x983