SoFla Teens Discover and Deepen Connection to Israel at High School in Israel

Alexander Muss High School in Israel inspires South Florida teens to connect with their heritage while also empowering them to become informed advocates for the Jewish homeland once they reach college.


 By JD Krebs


For Florida native Mia Finvarb, attending Alexander Muss High School in Israel (Muss) was never in question. Both of her parents, as well as her two older brothers were Muss alumni, and she knew that this was the path for her as well.


“I wanted to discover Israel on a different level,” she said in an interview with ILTV News. “[I also wanted to] learn more, go into more detail and more depth, and learn where I come from.”


Joshua Dobrinsky, another Florida native, agreed, though Muss was recommended to him by a friend rather than family. “I felt really disconnected with my Jewish roots,” he said. “So I wanted to learn more about the country and its history, but also who I am.”


As Jewish National Fund-USA’s flagship college-prep study abroad experience in Israel, Muss uniquely blends a standard high school curriculum and college-prep classes with experiential learning that uses the land of Israel as a living and breathing classroom.



However, for Joel Reinstein, a longtime Muss board member whose three kids all attended the study abroad experience, it’s not just about the learning, but the connections the students create – both with Israel and each other.


Their connection, how they felt about Israel after attending the program was dramatically different than what they understood before they came to Israel,” he said. “They fell in love with the country, they fell in love with the kids in their program, and the end result is they’ve really stayed connected with the Jewish people in many ways, and I really think a lot of it is because of Muss.”


Finvarb notes that Muss also helps students prepare for college by giving them the independence that comes from living in a dorm away from home, using that freedom to travel around Israel with friends. “My friends and I would go out on the town and get food,” she said. “We would just explore everywhere.”


Josh was impressed by how welcoming the people in Israel were. “I’ve gone to a bunch of the local parks around, and (it’s amazing) just seeing how friendly everyone is,” he said, adding that he and his friends would often play ping pong in the park with the locals.


As for what they take home with them, Reinstein just hopes that their passion continues throughout college. “They need to have a depth of feeling because campuses around the United States are really tough places to be,” he said. “With a love of Israel and with an understanding of what life is really like in Israel, I think they have the tools to deal with life going forward.”


In honor of its 50th anniversary, Muss is also launching a fundraising campaign for a $10 million endowment fund, safeguarding the institutional belief that the life-changing experience of studying in Israel should be available to beyond those who can afford full tuition. For more information about Muss, visit or contact Zohar Vloski at


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