Eldad Rafaeli

Finding Our Roots

To be a better person, one first has to develop a deeper understanding of one’s self. The Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI), located in Hod Hasharon, aims to help Jewish youth from around the world do that, and much more. Along with solidifying a sense of Jewish identity, it encourages them to build their own personal relationship with the Land of Israel, the people of Israel, and the texts at the heart of the Jewish tradition.

Each year, almost one thousand Jewish youth from the United States, Britain, Australia, and other countries around the world begin a several-months’-long journey of self-discovery in the State of Israel. Through an emphasis on experiential learning — there is nothing, students insist, quite like a biblical history lesson at the site described in the Bible — students are exposed to the range of values, dilemmas, and aspirations that characterize Jewish thought, as well as the social, religious, and political spectrum that characterizes society in Israel today.

From the responses of participants, the experience seems to be well worth the effort. As one student explained, “I learned a huge amount about who I am as a Jew, as a Zionist, and to be honest, as a person.” So far as souvenirs go, this one’s about as good as it gets.