My name is Sarah-Anne Seligman and I am in 11th grade. I’m from Atlanta, GA and I chose to come to Alexander Muss High School in Israel for the Fall semester of 2020 because I wanted to grow my Jewish Identity, be more independent, and make greater connections with myself and my friends. Upon arriving on the AMHSI program all 71 students were put into a mandatory bidud (quarantine). I had three other girls in my capsule and I became friends with them instantly. We talked about our Jewish identities, got closer, and now I consider them sisters. After the two weeks of laughing, talking, and enjoying life to the fullest, bidud was over and we got our dorm rooms.
I was super nervous to get my room because I had such a good time in bidud, I didn’t want anything to ruin that. After I found out who my roommates were I was in such relief because they are the sweetest people ever. The next day we went on a three day tiyul (field trip) to Mt. Gilboa, hiked down the mountain and learned all about Devora and other Judges in the Tanakh for our Israel Studies class. After we hiked, we went to a swimming hole and swam with everyone which was so fun because it was the first time that everyone was together. Unfortunately, for the next three weeks Israel went into lockdown and we could not go on any Tiyulim so we made the most of it working and being in school. Those three weeks brought the community together and without them I think that people would not be as close as they are today. After lockdown ended, we went to a Tiyul where we farmed and it was such an eye opening experience.
A couple of weeks ago we went to Jerusalem for five days after lockdown ended, it was so fun and spiritual. We crawled through different caves, went to the Kotel, and had a blast. For that trip, I only had one roommate and we became so close. She is one of the nicest people ever and she is my best friend here. When we are not on a tiyul we are in regular classes. I am taking five general studies classes plus Hebrew and Israel Studies. Being at AMHSI has forced me to have really good time management skills, helped me get out of my comfort zone, and helped me gain confidence in my Jewish identity.
JumpSpark helped me come to Israel financially and they gave me people to talk to before I came on the program which helped to know what to pack, what to wear, what to know before going on the program and they were super helpful with everything I needed. I chose to come to AMHSI because I wanted to start my education in Israel Studies, the Tanakh, learn Hebrew, and become a better young Jewish adult.
Sarah-Anne received a $1000 Spark Grant towards a Gap Year in Israel.