AMHSI-JNF Alumni & Friends Newsletter
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In his writings of “The Laws of Repentance,” Moses Maimonides, the Rambam, explains, “The principle of freedom of choice is a basic concept and a pillar on which the entire Torah & mitzvoth rest, as it is written: ‘See, I have set before you today to choose between life and good, death and evil’ (Deuteronomy/D’varim 30:15).” In other words: we have a choice in the matter, a choice in how we shape our lives, our destiny. But how can we make such decisions, and if necessary – changes – without dedicated time toward such contemplation? Filling our lives with truth and purpose cannot be purchased on Amazon. This period of time is an awakening that begins with the Shofar blasted every day leading up to Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year. This awakening calls on us to discover the great potential that lies within us.
In 5780 we ask that you choose to invest in our future – our children – and take an active role in ensuring that they have the capacity to forge their link in the chain of Jewish continuity. Click here for more information or contact us directly at 800.327.5980.
William Shakespeare famously asked: “To be, or not to be?” In 5780 We choose TO BE!
Wishing you and your family a Happy and Sweet New Year - Shana Tova U'metuka
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Year in Review
What a year we’ve had! Thanks to alumni like you, AMHSI-JNF continues to grow and expand to new communities. Read about ways you can stay involved with AMHSI Alumni & Friends below.
Get Back to Israel with Jewish National Fund!
Are you missing Israel and looking for an opportunity to get back? JNF offers several trips all year round suitable for all age groups. There’s something for everyone to explore – here is just a sampling:
Alternative Winter Break
Spend a week making an impact by volunteering in Israel with children, the environment, people with special needs and minority communities.
Upcoming Alternative Winter Break Trips:
· Southern Israel Experience: December 21 – 30, 2019
· Urban Experience: December 21 – 30, 2019
Explore Israel with Israelis on a JNF Israel Adventure. Jewish students age 18-26, who have never been on an organized peer program to Israel, can begin the journey of a lifetime with Shorashim! View trips and register now at israelwithisraelis.com.
Upcoming AMHSI Information Sessions
Do you know any teens who want to learn more about AMHSI-JNF? Do you want to share your own experience with potential students? Information Sessions are informal community gatherings for prospective students and parents. Check our list of upcoming meetings – invite friends, join us to share your experience, or let us know if you’d like to host a meeting in your community.
Contact your Israel Programs Admissions Director (IPADs) below.
|9/22/2019||Bala Cynwyd, PA||Jackson Pincus||[email protected]|
|9/22/2019||Fairfax, VA||Greg Litcofsky||[email protected]|
|9/24/2019||Bethesda, MD||Rafi Glazer||[email protected]|
|10/6/2019||Weston, FL||Alicia Press||[email protected]|
|10/13/2019||Upper Dublin, PA||Greg Litcofsky||[email protected]|
|10/17/2019||Pittsburgh, PA||Liam Reis||[email protected]|
|10/20/2019||Pinecrest, FL||Alicia Press||[email protected]|
|10/28/2019||Rockville, MD||Rafi Glazer||[email protected]|
|11/10/2019||Miami Beach, FL||Alicia Press||[email protected]|
From left to right: David Brandies, Ari Beal, and Sam Finkelstein
February 2019 Impact Fellow
Being a leader means many things to me. Leadership comes with a skillset, and a confident, positive attitude. As an Impact Fellow, I had the opportunity to develop specific skills in the leadership arena. I realized that being a leader is not just about how easily you can command a room. Much of leadership has to do with your overall character and how you present yourself. At AMHSI, I stepped out of my comfort zone in every way as I tried new foods, met new friends, and explored new places. I certainly faced new stressors and challenges too and, in turn, developed confidence in myself as an adaptable and more mature person. Over time, my positive energy was contagious, and I realized that being positive and confident is a key part of being a leader. AMHSI also challenged me to develop myself as a public speaker. I practiced this skill by giving a tour of campus and by participating in public speaking workshops. Now I am able to talk to any group of people, regardless of my affiliation with them or their age, about my experience in Israel. I also learned how to write blogs and create promotional videos.
Once I got home, I was able to use my Impact Fellowship skills to speak about my amazing, life changing, and influential experience I had at AMHSI. I was given the opportunity on numerous occasions to participate in online information sessions, talking to prospective students from across the country. I also was given the amazing opportunity to speak in front of my congregation about my time at AMHSI. The fellowship not only gave me tools, but also the desire to use those tools to help promote and share the experience I had. More than that, I gained a new network of friends and colleagues - my AMHSI family. Six months ago I had just left AMHSI, and today I am still in constant communication with our Impact Fellowship Coordinator, my teachers and madrichim, as well as all my other best friends from both the Impact Fellowship and my entire session. In September, the Impact Fellows from Philadelphia and I will be attending the Jewish National Fund National Conference as some of the youngest members to take part in the weekend. AMHSI really helped me to develop a Jewish identity and my own idea of what Judaism means to me. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about Judaism and develop my own understanding, as well as gain lifelong skills, a family, and a second home I will always love.
Summer 2011 AMHSI-JNF Alumna, United Nations Intern
AMHSI-JNF alumna Sarah Marasco at an event at the United Nations honoring Israel’s 70 years.
1. Please tell us about your internship at the UN.
I interned for the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations at UNHQ in NYC for three months. My role was working under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2nd Committee), which focuses on helping developing states around the world. As such, my position was not constricted to only debating about anti-antisemitism and negative resolutions against Israel. I also was able to highlight how Israel is a light upon nations, sharing our technology and expertise around the world to help better it.
During my time, I participated in writing speeches, drafting and negotiating resolutions for both ECOSOC, and the General Assembly. I also was responsible for orchestrating a side event, "Harnessing Innovation for Sustainable Development", which we invited several Israeli companies (Nufiltration, Hilico, etc) and MASHAV (Israel's Agency for International Development), to showcase how Israeli technology is impacting the world. The event took place in honor of Israel's first Voluntary National Review, during the High Level Political Forum, where I was responsible for several members of the Knesset such as Minister of Environmental Protection, Ze'ev Elkin, during their visit to the UN. In short, I was given a high level of responsibility for important tasks, and sometimes found myself representing Israel in political declaration negotiations. I enjoyed every minute of it.
2. What type of influence did AMHSI have on your decision to pursue this internship?
Every life choice I have made since graduating the program in 2011 has been heavily influenced by my time at AMHSI. I had no knowledge about Israel or Judaism before stepping foot on Eretz Yisrael after that long El Al plane ride. Following my AMHSI experience, my life has revolved around Israel including studying at Tel Aviv University. My decision to return to America and take this internship was driven from a longing I had to serve the Jewish state and people, and spread the truth about its beauty, a personal mission that I was unaware of until AMHSI.
3. Was there any specific lesson or takeaway from AMHSI that was of use to you during your internship?
What I learned at AMHSI was that although conflict and controversy may be a central part of the Israeli narrative, there is so much more to Israel that much of the public doesn’t appreciate, due to disproportionate media coverage. This enabled me to engage in conversations at the UN about Israel, and to share light about all the incredible developments and social projects that contribute to Israel's story, and hopefully gave others a more comprehensive understanding of our country.
Know a great candidate for AMHSI? Interested in hosting an Information Session?
Contact Rabbi Greg Litcofsky, National Director of Recruitment
We want to hear from you! Tell us what's new! Contact Elana Lubka. Please also help us find your fellow alumni by forwarding this email to your former classmates.