HSI continues programs despite regional conflicts

Sarah Caplan

Senior Sarah Caplan visits the Western Wall on her trip in 2012.

By Dana Harris, Online Opinions Editor

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The Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, has remained intact since the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E.   Seeing it, touching it and leaving a prayer within the Western Wall is an incredible experience.

   Thanks to the Alexander Muss High School Program (HSI), high school students can see the Western Wall and many other attractions while living in Israel for a semester.

Alexander Muss offers the opportunity to earn high school and college credits while living in Israel.  It can either be an eight-week, six-week or summer program.

Juniors Rachel Glick and Carly Raizon will be taking advantage of this opportunity by attending the Alexander Muss High School Program in April for eight weeks.

“My dad went on the same program when he was my age,” Glick said. “He always talks about it as an amazing, life-changing experience.”

  Students live in dormitories, take classes in the morning and afternoon and travel all around Israel during the week and weekends.

“I chose this program because a lot of people I know have gone on it and loved it,” Raizon said.

The campus is located in Negev. From there, the students travel through all of Southern and Northern Israel.  Students go to historic sites such as the Second Temple and Masada and hike on Mount Giboa and Sataf Springs.

Despite the recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas, most students attending feel confident about security.

“I am not nervous about going due to all of the conflict with Hamas,” Glick said. “I know that they have been able to negotiate a ceasefire, and I hope that they will be able to keep it in place.”

According to alumna senior Sarah Caplan, who went on the program her junior year, Israel Defense Force soldiers were around and always “carrying a weapon,” and a “guard or paramedic” accompanied the group for hiking.

“The Muss program makes every effort to ensure the safety of their students, while also ensuring that the students have a fairly normal day-to-day existence,” Glick’s mother Helene said.

The students visit the sites they learn about in class and learn a great deal of Jewish history.

“I wish I could put into words how amazing this trip was,” Muss alumna junior Jessica Weinreich said.  “The best I can say is that you have to do it.”