Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) is a place of exploration and discovery.
Since 1972 – 24,000 alumni later – AMHSI has been pioneering the academic and experiential study of Israel and Jewish history at the high school level. Students are inspired to live outside their books, encounter new ideas and challenge themselves to find their own link within the chain of Jewish continuity.
Our unique pedagogical approach fuses formal classroom study and experience-based learning, enhancing students’ intellectual understanding of history and emotional connection to identity. AMHSI provides students with the context and framework to form their own sense of Jewish peoplehood in preparation for college and life beyond.
The AMHSI model highlights the benefits of a long-term Israel program. Our Hod HaSharon campus allows for an immersive experience through informal encounters with Israelis, exposing students to the local culture, language, and environment, as well as providing them with a place to call home. Students also enjoy independence within a structured system, developing learning and leadership skills while forming friendships and making memories that last a lifetime.
Our bold vision of transforming tomorrow’s generation today encourages students to return to their home communities prepared to give back and inspired to become the rising generation of Jewish leadership.
Our vision and mission
The AMHSI vision is to transform tomorrow’s generation today.
For the 24,000 alumni over the past 43 years, the impact of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel is reflected in their ongoing commitment to Israel, to Jewish life and to making our world better.
Our mission is to create a transformative experience for teens though study abroad programs in Israel.
AMHSI’s multifaceted approach to experiential learning provides multiple entry points into the Jewish narrative, encouraging each and every student to discover their own way to connect to their heritage.
High School in Israel was founded in 1972 by Rabbi Morris (Z”L) and Lenore Kipper, together with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
The school revolutionized experiential education, and in particular, the way history was taught and the way Israel was experienced, by providing a historically chronological exploration of the land, through the study of historic events, places and people.
Following the involvement of the Muss family in 1981, the school changed its name to the Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
Founded to capitalize on the enormous educational benefits of engaging high school students in the study of the history and culture of Israel, AMHSI’s innovative program is recognized today throughout the US and abroad for providing the ultimate in quality Israel educational programming.
In 2013, AMHSI merged with JNF with the goal of further growing and enhancing Jewish continuity and Israel connectivity amongst youth.
AMHSI can tailor its programs to fit any specific religious or programming requests from day school groups or other community trips.
AMHSI has been a leading provider of custom-designed academic programs in Israel and Eastern Europe for Jewish day schools and community programs throughout North America and Australia since 1995. We work with each school or community organization to create a meaningful, engaging and transformative Israel educational experience for 8th grade trips and high school students with programs ranging in length from two weeks to five months.
To find out more about programming options for your school or group, please contact Head of School, Mordechai Cohen, at email@example.com.
We are proud to share that ninety eight percent of AMHSI alumni consider the program the most transformational educational experience of their lifetime!
Because of the impact of the AMHSI experience, many of our 24,000 alumni and their family members have expressed their appreciation and gratitude in writing or on video. Often, alumni return to campus to see us in person (some several years later with their children!). A large percentage of our incoming students are children of AMHSI alumni. Read below to see how AMHSI has impacted the lives of our graduates!
Prospective students who would like to speak with an alumnus prior to attending AMHSI should contact their local AMHSI Director of Admissions.
If you have a testimonial you want to share with us, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about my religion, culture and Israel, but also I got to hike mountains, meet a famous artist, go to the beach, travel the country, sleep in the desert, eat endless hummus, meet extraordinary people that changed my life for the better and most importantly, I learned to try new things. Going on AMHSI is something that separates you from the pack and will make you unique when applying for colleges, internships and jobs. Trust me.” -Brett Kaufman, April 2011
“Because of Muss, I am forever changed as a friend, a student, a world citizen, and a Jew.” -Isabel Glass, February 2014
“Going on AMHSI was by far the most amazing eight weeks of my life. I learned so much and was able to connect to Israel in a new, unique way. I met unbelievable people that I am sure will be life-long friends and my teachers were outstanding. Everything felt right. I saw so many spectacular historical sites, my favorites being the Kotel, Masad, and Yad Veshem. The feeling I had is really too much to explain, but I really became attached to the land and found no trouble uncovering my Jewish Identity. It’s a feeling and experience I will keep with me for the rest of my life.” -Jamie Weil, April 2010
“HSI is a great program to go on. It was a great trip for me because it prepared me for college.” – Jordan Neam
“AMHSI changed my life for the rest of time. It helped me grow up and look into the meanings and prospects of my future and past. I am so amazingly grateful to all those who helped send me on this wonderful journey, which I still find myself walking.” -Danielle Zabrauskas, December 2009
“It was amazing to learn new things about my ancestors. It made me feel more connected that I ever did before.” -Ella Debode, April 2015
“I had the passport and I spoke the language but I didn’t have anything to show for it. It would’ve been hard for me to defend Israel before; now, I have the tools that I need.” -Britt Jacobson, AMHSI – Milken Tiferet Israel, Spring 2015
“Alexander Muss High School in Israel was one of the best experiences I have ever had! I got to meet some awesome people and make tons of new friends!.” -Natalie Avraham, December 2004
“HSI gave me an intense love and commitment to Jewish life and being involved in the Jewish community.” -Joshua McLeod, February 2007
“HSI offers a premium education on the history of the Jewish establishment of the state of Israel, an ultimate bonding experience and an opportunity to interact with and visit Israel, the Jewish homeland. The teachers are knowledgeable and engaging, the counselors accommodating and warm, and the dorm life is vibrant. Don’t think about it, just sign up and I can assure you that you won’t regret it.” – Bernard Cohen, Summer 2011
Parent and grandparent testimonials
“Many thanks to AMHSI staff for a wonderful experience at HSI for our granddaughter, Deedee. She really did fall in love with Israel and came home very happy and excited about the experience and the new chevra. We are very grateful.” - Michael and Connie
“I was truly not prepared for the depth and wealth of all that Sarah would get from her AMHSI experience – from the wonderful teacher she has, to the tiyulim all over the country, to the innovative learning and teaching, to the camaraderie with the other students, to the free Shabbat experiences, and even the chance to actually LIVE in the community and walk into town, shop, eat, smell and breathe the culture and life of Israelis. Wow!” - LaurieRegister Now
Orit RomeCo-Executive Director
Orit Rome is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds a BA degree in Accounting and Economics from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Although she was born in Israel, she spent her teens in Australia. While studying, Orit was active in the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), where she also served as regional president. Since returning to Israel in 1996, Orit has gained deep financial and managerial experience. Prior to joining AMHSI, Orit was an auditor for Price Waterhouse Coopers and a Financial Director in the high-tech and industrial arena.
Rabbi Leor SinaiCo-Executive Director
Originally from New York, Rabbi Leor Sinai made aliyah, moving with his family to Israel in June 2011. As a young adult, he was involved in NYC’s night life as a club producer and MC (Master of Ceremonies), in 1995 that all changed while he spent the academic year abroad studying at Haifa University in Israel. Leor returned to the States and completed his BA with a major in Jewish Studies and a minor in Theater from the City University of New York’s Hunter College. He has previously worked in the fields of leadership development, organizational advancement and consulting. Leor decided to continue his education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, receiving ordination and a Masters in Hebrew Letters in 2009. He continues to work passionately on building a network of partners, with Israel at its center, focusing on Jewish continuity and Israel connectivity for generations to come. Leor began his tenure as Co-Executive Director at the international Alexander Muss High School in Israel in October 2013.
David MitchellDean of Education
David Mitchell was born and raised in Northern California. He completed a double BA in History and Hebrew Texts at the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He then received an MA with honors in Bible from the Hebrew University. David made aliyah in 1975, and lived on kibbutzim for seven years. He is married to Ruti, a native Israeli and together they have two sons and two daughters. David has been in education since college, and served as a teacher in Jewish day schools and Hebrew Schools in Northern California, and worked as a research and teacher’s assistant while in graduate school. He taught history for the Young Judea Year Course and taught career soldiers history and Hebrew grammar while serving in the Israel Defense Forces between 1980-1982, where he still serves on active reserve duty.
In 1984, David became a teacher at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. During that time, he also served as an Israel emissary for the Youth and Hechalutz Department of the Jewish Agency to the Pacific Southwest Region of USY. In addition to teaching history, he has also traveled to the US with AMHSI to train Philadelphia-based Jewish educators, and has served as a Scholar-in-Residence in Boca Raton, spoken in camps and elsewhere. David was named Dean of Education in 2004.
Rachelle SevittActing Dean of General Studies
Originally from the UK, Rachelle has been working at AMHSI as a part of the academic staff since 1997 teaching chemistry and math. She received her BS and MSc in Chemistry from Kings College, University of London. She is now serving as the Acting Dean of General Studies.
Yardena Spector-NizriDean of Students
Born in Israel, Yardena was very active in the Scouts Youth Movement for many years and later became the Program Director of Short Term Programs for Young Judea from 1994 to 1998. She went on ‘shlichut’ from 1998-2000 for the Jewish Agency to work for Young Judea in New Jersey.
Since 2000, she has worked as Dean of Students at AMHSI and in 2004, was made Director of Programming and Student Life.
Rona MelnikDirector of Operations, Israel
Rona Melnik was born and raised in Hod HaSharon, Israel, and grew up close to the AMHSI campus. After her army service, Rona returned to AMHSI as a madricha. She holds a BEd in History and the Studies of Israel from Beit Berl College and is a certified guide. She also received a Master’s degree in Jewish History from Haifa University. Rona has been an educator at AMHSI since 2003 and moved to the office in 2014.
Israel Studies Educators
Mordechai CohenIsrael Studies Educator, Incoming Head of School
Mordechai Cohen loves teaching and loves to see his students excited by their Jewish heritage. Mordechai brings with him a rich and qualified background in leadership and Jewish/Israel education, having worked extensively with youth in a number of settings. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in International Relations, Mordechai went on to study at different yeshivot in Israel. He served as a coordinator for the Livnot U’Lehibanot program in both Tzfat and Jerusalem. He also studied on the Pardes Educators Program and did post-graduate study at Hebrew University’s Melton Center. He went on to teach at New Jewish Community High School in Los Angeles. Mordechai then returned to Israel and worked as a pedagogy instructor for the teacher training program at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Mordechai also worked as a tour operator for the Israel Experience Ltd. In 2009, Mordechai returned to North America and served as the Jewish Studies Principal for the Danilack Middle School of Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto, North America’s oldest and largest day school. In 2013, he once again returned to Israel and is now an educator at AMHSI.
Aubrey IsaacsIsrael Studies Educator
Born and bred in bonny Scotland, Aubrey made aliya as soon as he finished high school. He studied in yeshivot in Jerusalem and in Gush Etzion, served in the tank corps of the IDF, received a BA in Jewish History and at Bar Ilan University, rabbinical qualifications and an MA in Jewish Thought from Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva.
Aubrey served as Director of Jewish Education in Glasgow, Scotland and then for 11 years as Rabbi and then, Director of the WUJS Institute in Arad. Aubrey joined AMHSI as an educator in 2004 and in 2011 became director of the school’s new Negev Campus at Eshel HaNassi. Aubrey has a special love for the desert and lives in the northern Negev town of Arad.
Yossi KatzIsrael Studies Educator
Yossi Katz was born in 1956 in Philadelphia. As a teenager, Yossi was active in United Synagogue Youth (USY) and served as Regional President. He also spent over 15 years at Camp Ramah in the Poconos as a camper, counselor and Division Head. Yossi made aliyah to Israel in 1978 and served in the Israel Defense Forces as a combat soldier in a Reconnaissance Unit. Yossi Katz joined AMHSI in 1980 and is the author of the book: A VOICE CALLED – STORIES OF JEWISH HEROISM.
Rabbi Philip NadelIsrael Studies Educator
Rabbi Philip Nadel grew up in southern California and holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, in Political and Economic Development in the Third World. He received Rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988 and has focused his professional endeavors in Jewish day school education. Prior to making aliyah with his family in the summer of 2007, Rabbi Nadel lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin since 1996, and was the Co-Director and Jewish Studies Principal of Milwaukee Jewish Day School.
Rabbi Nadel is also a graduate of the Senion Educators Program of the Melton Centre for Jewish Education in the Diaspora at Hebrew University.
Rabbi Nadel has been an educator at AMHSI since 2007. From 2012-2014, he served as a Head of School at AMHSI. Upon concluding his tenure as the Head of School, Rabbi Nadel has returned to being an AMHSI educator.
Elhanan BrownIsrael Studies Educator
Elhanan Brown made aliya with his family at the age of 6. He grew up in Jerusalem in the fun-loving neighborhood of French Hill. Elhanan spent his summers at Ramah Poconos as a camper and on staff. In 2003, Elhanan came to work for AMHSI as a madrich. While completing his degree in Informal Education, Israel Studies and the Tour Guiding course at Beit Berl College, he returned to AMHSI and has been teaching here since 2007.
Danny SteinIsrael Studies Educator
Danny Stein grew up in Philadelphia, PA and attended the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy) for middle and high school. In 11th grade, he came to AMHSI with his class for 4 months. It was then that Danny’s tenure with AMHSI began.
After graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in History and a BA in Psychology and spending time in different corners of the world, Danny returned to Israel as a counselor (madrich) at AMHSI. It was then that he met his wife, Chana, who was his co-counselor. After a year at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Danny came back to AMHSI in 2008 a third time – as an educator. Danny and Chana lived on campus where Danny was also the Director of Dormitory Life and Spirituality. Today, they live in Moshav Mevo Modiim and are proud parents to Adva and Neve Chaim.
Akiva GershIsrael Studies Educator
Akiva grew up in New York. He received a BA from Brown University, Providence, RI in Environmental Studies and Religious Studies. He completed coursework for an MA at the Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education. After studying in several Yeshivot in the USA and Tzfat, Akiva was ordained a rabbi.
Akiva has a rich background in both formal and informal education. For several years, Akiva directed “The Tiyul”, a program of the 92nd St Y in New York. Tiyul is a pluralistic traveling community service program for Jewish high school students. It visits small Jewish communities along the east coast of the US, volunteering at a wide range of agencies and places both in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities there.
Akiva also taught in Hebrew Schools and day schools and led workshops for CAJE (Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education) on Jewish Environmental Ethics.
Akiva published the 2000 Environmental pamphlet, L’avdah U’ L’Shamra, a pamphlet on the Jewish obligation to protect the environment. For several years, Akiva has served as a scholar in residence for AMHSI Shabbatonim and conducted workshops on Jewish music and spirituality.
Reuven SperoIsrael Studies Educator
Reuven earned his BA in Linguistics, holds graduate degrees in International Law and Education, and has studied at Hebrew Union College and the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Before joining the staff at AMHSI, Reuven was the Director of Jewish Education in Columbus, Ohio, and worked at Hebrew University and the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel.
Gavriel PortenIsrael Studies Educator
Gavriel has been pursuing his passion, educating adults and youth about Judaism and Israel, for over 20 years, both as a guide in the field and senior educator in the classroom.
Born in the US, having made Aliyah with his parents, Gavriel grew up in Jerusalem, while spending his summers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. He attended the Har-Etzion Hesder yeshiva for six years, combining Jewish learning with army duty. He earned his BA in Psychology and Jewish History at Hebrew University, and his law degree from Bar Ilan University.
Gavriel’s diverse cultural and religious background brings to the table a rich and deep picture of the beautiful land of Israel. He has guided youth and adults, families and communities, educators and academics of various denominations and faiths, and is always looking forward to encountering new and different worlds from his own.
Miriam TekuzenerIsrael Studies Educator
Miriam Tekuzener, born in Jerusalem to American parents, is fluent in both English and Hebrew and has a BA in Archaeology, Informal Education and is currently studying her MA in Jewish Education at Hebrew University. Miriam has worked as a tour guide for the last 10 years with students on Israel programs such as Birthright and Meor, camps such as Yavneh and NSCY and has guided day schools from both the United States and Australia. Miriam loves guiding groups of all ages and nationalities.
Yoram CharuviIsrael Studies Educator
Yoram Charuvi was born in Jerusalem. He served in the IDF with the Infantry. Yoram received his BA in Jewish History from Tel Aviv University and his MA in Contemporary Jewry from Hebrew University of which one year was spent studying at New York University. For thirteen years, Yoram was a guide in the Young Judea Youth Movement and has been a history teacher at high schools in central Israel for the past fifteen years. Yoram currently lives in Tel Aviv with his wife, Dana, and daughter, Ella.
Maor PerryIsrael Studies Educator
Maor Perry was born and raised in Eley-Sinai, a Jewish settlement in the north of the Gaza Strip that was evacuated in August 2005 as part of the disgengagement plan. He was raised in an Israeli Modern Orthodox family. In the military, he served in the Navy as patrol boat commander and still serves in the reserve. Maor holds a B.Ed from Beit Berl College and majored in Israel Studies and Social Science. He is also a certified tour guide through Beit Berl. Maor started working with AMHSI in 2008 as a counselor and today, is an educator at the school.
Allison Finn PintoGeneral Studies Teacher, AP Audit Coordinator
English, AP English
Allison holds a BA in English from George Mason Univeristy and a MA in Education from the College of William and Mary.
Allison taught English, including AP, at American high schools prior to moving to Israel. She has received numerous awards for instruction and has also sponsored extracurricular activities.
Naomi Strom DeriGeneral Studies Teacher
Naomi Strom Deri holds a BA in Fine Arts from Brooklyn College and a BS in English Education from New York University. She also holds a MA as a High School English Teacher from Brooklyn College.
Naomi taught high school English in New York City prior to moving to Israel. In Israel, Naomi became licensed to teach English in the public school system and worked as an English teacher for advanced and native English speakers in Israel.
Naomi was born and raised in San Francisco and made Aliyah in 2008. She lives in Herzliya with her husband and son.
Dr. Glenda SacksGeneral Studies Teacher (On Sabbatical)
English, History of Art
Dr. Glenda Sacks holds a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and a MA in Fine Arts from the University of South Africa. She also holds a MA in English Literature from Bar Ilan University in Israel.
Dr. Terrance MintnerGeneral Studies Teacher
History, AP History
Terrance Mintner holds a PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BA in International Relations from Edgewood College. Aside from history, he holds graduate minors in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies.
Terrance was awarded several grants to conduct his dissertation research in Venice, Italy.
Ron ErezGeneral Studies Teacher
Ron Erez holds a BA in Mathematics from Tel Aviv University and a BA in English Literature, also from Tel Aviv University. He also received his MA and PhD in Mathematics from Tel Aviv University.
Shlomo SudaiGeneral Studies Teacher
Shlomo Sudai studied Applied Mathematics at Tel Aviv University. He has been teaching mathematics at all levels, with a focus on Calculus AB and BC, for the past 28 years. Shlomon has also taught math in Hebrew in the Israeli public school system.
Brian FrankGeneral Studies Teacher
Brian Frank holds a BSc in Math and Physics from the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and a BEd from University of South Africa.
He enjoyed many years as science and mathematics teacher and Deputy Headmaster at Northcliff High School in Johannesburg, South Africa. He spent some time as manager of South African Expo for Young Scientists, the national science fair. As headmaster of Yeshiva College in Johannesburg, he participated in a number of courses in Israel, and decided to make aliyah.
Teaching at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel enables him to continue to help young people develop their mathematical and scientific talents.
Monica SingerGeneral Studies Teacher
Monica Singer holds a MA in Mathematics from the University of Bucharest in Romania.
Monica has taught Mathematics ta the German School in Bucharest. She was also an assistant teacher for special mathematics at the Polytechnical Institute of Bucharest and a teacher at Israeli high schools, largely in the Herzliya area.
Monica has collaborated in the compilation of several excercise books in elementary Geometry, Algebra and Trigonometry.
Monica is a native Romanian speaker and speaks English, German, French and Hebrew fluently. She is married with three children.
Tasha EllistonGeneral Studies Teacher
Dr. Michael ShterenshisGeneral Studies Teacher
Dr. Michael Shterenshis holds an MD from Tashkent State Biomedical University. He specialized in the History of the Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and in the History of the Sciences at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Michael has lectured at the Midreshet Yerushalaim University and worked at the Uzbekistan Embassy. He has taught all levels of biology, anatomy and physiology, forensics, environmental sciences, and chemistry up to AP. Michael also teaches various historical subjects.
In 2003, Michael occupied the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Isradon Publ., Ltd. He is the author of 22 books.
Ronit OfirGeneral Studies Teacher
Lab Director, Chemistry & Biology
Ronit Ofir holds a BSc in Chemistry from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Ingrid MessikaGeneral Studies Teacher
Ingrid Messika holds a BSc in Chemistry and Life Sciences from the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and a diploma in Chemistry from Tel Aviv University. She also holds a teacher certification in Chemistry and Biology.
Ingrid taught Biology, AP Biology, Chemistry and Computer Sciences for 27 years at the American International School in Israel. In addition, she has trained teachers in the use of the internet in science through the Open University of Israel.
Over 40 years ago, Ingrid made aliyah from South Africa and is married with four children.
Dr Yeshayahu Ya’akoviGeneral Studies Teacher
Dr. Yeshayahu Ya’akovi holds an MSc and PhD in Radiation Chemistry and Radiation Biology from the University of Manchester in the UK, as well as a BA in Pharmacy.
Yeshayahu serves as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry in drug development and also lectures both in Israel and abroad in pharmaceutical industry forums. He has published more than seventy scientific publications and serves on a number of government committees.
Yeshayahu made aliyah in 1974 with his wife and they now have four children and live in Jerusalem. He is a captain (retired) inthe Medical Corps of the Israel Defense Forces.
Rabbi Don PetermanGeneral Studies Teacher
History, Government, Sociology
Rabbi Don Peterman holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California and was ordained at Hebrew Union College.
Lauren WoodGeneral Studies Teacher
Lauren Wood holds a BA in History with Social Studies Certification and a MA in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Esther FellmanGeneral Studies Teacher
Esther Fellman holds a BA in Political Science from Hillside College.
Esther came to Israel in June 1983 from Guatemala, along with her husband and at the time, three children. She now has five children and eight grandchildren. In Guatemala, Esther taught English and Jewish Studies at the local Jewish day school, and English and Social Studies at The American School and at a secretarial school.
Esther believes that teaching at Alexander Muss High School has been a very fulfilling job. It not only touches the students’ heart and mind with Judaism and Zionism, it also makes them commit themselves to those ideals as well and they become involved in their communities and in Israel for life.
Pia SchalimtzekGeneral Studies Teacher
Pia Schalimtzek holds a BA in English and a BA in Latin from Teacher Training College at the Jonstrup Seminar in Denmark.
Pia teaches at the international American School in Even Yehuda. She also teaches Danish at a school for Nordic languages in Tel Aviv.
Pia made aliyah from Denmark and is the happy grandmother of seven grandchildren!
Giselle GrossGeneral Studies Teacher
Giselle Gross holds a BA in Political Science from the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico.
Jeanne LumbrosoGeneral Studies Teacher
Jeanne Lumbroso holds a BA in English Literature from the Sorbonne in Paris.
Helen WuGeneral Studies Teacher
Helen Wu holds a BA ffrom Sichuan Union University and a Teaching Certificate in French Language from Bar Ilan University in Israel.
Monica KrebsGeneral Studies Teacher
Monica Krebs holds an MA from Vermont College of Norwich University. She also holds a BA in Social Work from Tel Aviv Univresity. Monica received her MA in Translation from the University of Buenos Aires and her MSc from Bolton University in Critical Psychology.
Batya OronGeneral Studies Teacher
Batya Oron holds a BA in Bible Studies and Political Science and a Teacher’s License from the Universitiy of Haifa in Israel.
Dalia Ben AriGeneral Studies Teacher
Dalia Ben Ari holds a BEd and Teacher’s License from Beit Berl College in Israel. She has over thirty years of experience in teaching Hebrew Language.
Yaffa KassGeneral Studies Teacher
Yaffa Kass holds a BEd from David Yellin Teachers Seminar in Jerusalem.
Malka YasminGeneral Studies Teacher
Malka Yasmin holds a BEd from Beit Berl College in Israel.
Rina FriedmanGeneral Studies Teacher
Rina Friedman holds a BA in Social Science.
She has previously lived in Atlanta, GA and taught Hebrew at a local Jewish day school. She is also teaches Hebrew at the International Ulpan in Netanya, Israel.
Pnina CohenGeneral Studies Teacher
Pnina Cohen holds a BEd from Beit Berl College in Israel.
Ronit KoblenzGeneral Studies Teacher
Ronit Koblenz holds a BEd from the American Jewish University and a BEd from the Seminar Kibbutzim.
Jacob ScharfGeneral Studies Teacher
Jacob Scharf holds a MA, and PhD in Electrical Engineering. He has served as a Special Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and Teaching Fellow at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey where he taught courses in math, science, and engineering.
In Israel, Jacob has taught math and science at the high school level and in the Israeli army. Jacob has also worked as a professional and development engineer at hi tech companies.
He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.
Directors of Admission
Alicia PressDirector of Admissions
Alicia is a third generation native Miamian and an early High School in Israel alumna. Alicia has long been affiliated with Temple Beth Torah of North Miami Beach and was a member of USY. Alicia attended the University of Florida, earning a BS in Political Science and returned to Miami pursuing a career in the luxury jewelry and watch industry. In 2010, Alicia joined the staff of Feeding South Florida, the state’s largest food bank, as the organization’s Program Director. Alicia managed and coordinated the organization’s five largest programs serving the Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach county areas.
During her tenure at Feeding South Florida, Alicia became involved with the Temple Beth Emet Nosh Fest Event in Cooper City and now sits on the Executive Steering Committee for the yearly event. She also is on the executive board for the South Florida Hunger Coalition and the Starlight Foundation’s annual Fundraising Gala benefiting Miami Children’s Hospital. Alicia is still an active volunteer in many community-based organizations.
Alicia’s passion and support of both Israel and the AMHSI program has been a lifelong commitment and she is dedicated to giving students the opportunity to experience Israel through this outstanding program.
Andrea SchleiderDirector of Admissions
Andrea Schleider came to AMHSI in August of 2012, after spending several years working in media relations and communications at Habitat for Humanity. She has more than six years of experience working in development at Jewish National Fund and at Lehrman Community Day School in Miami, FL. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Communications from the State University of New York at Old Westbury. During her mid-twenties, Andrea attended the WUJS Israel program, allowing her the opportunity study and work in Israel.
Dana Gerbie KleinDirector of Admissions
WI, IL, ME, VT, NH, MA, RI, CT, Upstate NY (Albany to Rochester)
Dana Gerbie Klein lives in Boston, MA. She was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Evanston. She first visited Israel with her confirmation class on a NFTY trip when she was 16. After graduating from Tulane University, she lived for a year in Yoqneam, Israel as a Sherut Laam volunteer and returns to Israel frequently to visit. She has a Master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service from the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. She worked for several years at the Jewish Federation of the North Shore in Marblehead, MA. Dana’s 3 daughters are all alumni of AMHSI. She is passionate about sending teens to Israel with AMHSI!
Barb AdelmanDirector of Admissions
Barb Adelman attended AMHSI on the February session of 1998 and is thrilled to serve as Director of Admissions in Minnesota. Barb grew up in the Minneapolis community and earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan and MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Barb became the Young Leadership Director at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation following graduate school, where she remained until moving to the Israel Center in 2011, at which point she first began her career with AMHSI. After a stint in New York City, she is now happy to be back in the AMHSI fold and carrying on with her recruitment of Minnesota students, as she is deeply passionate about Israel education.
Karen RappaportDirector of Admission
Karen Rappaport has made her home in Santa Monica, California for more than 20 years but she is still a Southern girl at heart. Born in New Orleans, she grew up in Clear Lake City, Texas and was a member of Shaar Hashalom where her parents were active lay leaders for the small congregation. Karen attended the University of Texas and graduated with her BA in English and her BJ in Journalism/Public Relations before moving to the East Coast to earn her Master’s degree at New York University. She has spent years working in marketing/public relations for both corporate and entertainment industry clients before deciding to follow her personal passion for Israel. Active in her synagogue, she has served on the board and in many volunteer positions at Kehillat Israel, the nation’s largest Reconstructionist congregation. Karen also holds leadership positions with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in Santa Monica. Married with three children, her daughter, Aliza, is an AMHSI alumna (April 2012) and her son, Sean, is an AMHSI alumnus (December 2013).
Carol VedermanDirector of Admissions
Wash. DC, DE, MD, VA, WV
Carol Vederman was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. After graduating from college, she moved to Boston where she handled the tenure and promotion process for the Office of the Provost at Boston University. Upon returning to her hometown, she then spent the next ten years as Assistant to the Executive Director at Washington Hebrew Congregation. During this time, she earned a MEd in Secondary Education from The George Washington University. Her background in education and in synagogue life makes her a wonderful fit for the AMHSI team.
Marni HellerDirector of Admissions
Marni Heller grew up in Rockland County, New York and graduated from Frisch High School in Paramus, New Jersey. She received a BA in Communications with minors in Business and Judaic Studies from the State University of New York at Albany. After a long and successful career as the owner of a clothing sales business in New York, Marni became involved in Jewish camp experiences, serving as a Division Head with Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, New York for seven years, as well as working with Ramah during the off-season in the areas of camper and staff recruitment, programming, special event planning, fundraising and development. Most recently, Marni served as Director of Recruitment and Outreach for NJY Camps. Marni has also taught Hebrew School at Beth El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle, New York and served as Special Event Consultant for the Westchester Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
In addition to her Jewish-related endeavors, Marni has always been passionate about fitness and nutrition. She holds a Certificate in Fitness and Nutrition from New York University’s School of Continuing Education and has been certified as a Personal Trainer, Spinning Instructor, Kickboxing Instructor and Children’s Yoga Instructor.
Yael TamarDirector of Marketing, Communications and PR
Yael comes to AMHSI with a rich background in marketing and communications. Prior to joining AMHSI, Yael led the PR and online marketing efforts at Forum Mobile Inc., a public telecom company. Previously, Yael was a Business Development & Marketing Executive at Innowattech, Ltd., a green energy Israeli startup company. Additional experience includes due diligence at Ernst and Young, marketing strategy consulting at Magna Capital and managing her own IT startup ventures. Yael is a writer and a blogger on a variety of topics ranging from high tech to health and food. Yael has a BA and MA in Economics from Hunter College, New York, NY. She was an AIPAC liaison to Hunter College, a Hasbarah Fellow from Aish International, and interned for Hillel Foundation at Hunter College.
Jordana Bickel CohenDirector of Online Enrollment
Jordana Bickel Cohen was born and raised in New Jersey and made aliyah in 2011. Jordana previously served as the Recruitment and Registration Manager at the Israel Experience for their Jewish Agency summer programs and Masa long-term programs including Career Israel, Israel Teaching Fellows and Israel by Design. Prior to making aliyah, she was a participant on the WUJS Young Judea program in 2010 volunteering with Ethiopian youth.
Danielle WeinbergMarketing and Communications Manager
Danielle is originally from Dallas, TX and made aliyah in 2012. She attended AMHSI in 2003 with the American Hebrew Academy. Danielle holds a BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the IDC Herzliya and a MA in Middle East Studies from the Univeristy of Chicago. Danielle previously worked at MAOZ as a Project Manager and at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University as a research assistant in the Arms Control and Regional Security program.
Harriet FischgrundAdministrative Assistant
Born in New York, Harriet made aliyah in 1974 with her husband, Chaim, and their 2-month-old baby. After graduating with a BS in Art Education from Hofstra University and an MS in Art Education from Queens College, Harriet taught art in New York City. She has worked at AMHSI since 1985 as general secretary in the office and administrative assistant in the General Studies department. She lives in Hod HaSharon with her husband Chaim, AMHSI’s Headmaster Emeritus. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Shelly HananLogistics Coordinator
Born in Israel, as a young girl Shelly was very active in the HaNoar HaOved youth movement (The Federation of Working and Studying Youth). Shelly has strong ties to AMHSI as she attended Mosenson High School in Hod HaSharon (the sister school which co-shares AMHSI’s campus), where she met her husband-to-be. After studying commerce in Tel Aviv, Shelly joined the AMHSI staff in 1994. As Logistics Coordinator, Shelly oversees the day-to-day responsibilities of organizing every aspect of the students’ excursions around the country.
Today, Shelly lives in Hod HaSharon with her husband, Yossi, and three children, Shirel, Gal and Yuval.
Dafna EisenbergLogistics Coordinator
Dafna has been working at AMHSI since 2011 as a logistics coordinator.
She was born in Israel and grew up in the nearby city of Herzeliya. During the army, Dafna served in the Air Force and then studied at the Open University. Before joining AMHSI, Dafna worked at Rimon Tours – a tourism company.
Dafna currently lives in Kfar Saba with her husband and two boys.
Ilanit Yurman has been working at AMHSI since 2002. She is originally from Rosh HaAyin. Ilanit has previously worked as a bookkeeper at other companies. She presently lives in Rosh HaAyin with her twin boys.
Menashe MorHead of Maintenance
Born in Hod HaSharon, Israel, as a youngster Menashe was very active in the HaNoar HaOved youth movement (The Federation of Working and Studying Youth). After completing his army service, Menashe worked for many years in building and construction. He joined AMHSI in 1993. As Maintenance Manager, Menashe oversees the day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining the school. He lives in Hod HaSharon with his wife, and is the proud father of three and grandfather of two.
Chana SteinDirector of Informal Education
Chana Stein was born and raised in the small community of Moshav Mevo Modiim. Chana earned her BA and teaching certificate for special education from the Efreta College of Education in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood. Additionally, Chana has had extensive training in many forms of visual arts. After the disengagement from Gaza, Chana worked as an art teacher and remedial teacher with children formerly from Gush Katif. After spending time running a “Bait Yehudi” or Jewish House in India, Chana found her way to AMHSI as a madricha in 2006. It was there that she met her husband, Danny, who is an AMHSI alum and was her co-madrich during her first group (and now an AMHSI educator). They were married in May of 2008 and are proud parents to Adva and Neve Chaim.
Ayela MeroodyCo-Executive Assistant
Ayela Meroody was born in Israel and grew up in Australia. Ayela returned to Israel in her teenage years and served in the Israeli Air Force. Ayela completed a BA in Government at the IDC, Herzliya and is an Alumna of the Argov Fellows Program in Leadership and Diplomacy. Upon completing her studies, Ayela worked for the Argov program as its Program Manager. She has also worked in different administrative positions in the hi-tech and medical device industries. Ayela lives in Hod Hasharon with her husband, Oren and two children, Zoe and Kai.
Board of governors
|Ronald Lauder||Board of Governors||Co-Chair|
|Stephen Muss||Board of Governors||Co-Chair|
|Joseph Wolfson||Board of Directors||President/Chair|
|Robert Levine||Board of Directors||Treasurer||Budget and Finance|
|Jeffrey Davis||Board of Directors||Chair||Marketing|
|Ronald Werner||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Marketing|
|Stanley Chesley||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Education|
|Robert Werner||Board of Directors||Secretary||Audit|
|David Frank||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Scholarship|
|Andrew Klein||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Scholarship|
|Bruce Gould||Board of Directors||Chair||Development|
|Joel Reinstein||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Alumni|
|Leon Tenenbaum||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Alumni|
|Linda Shapiro||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Recruitment|
|Jill Janowski||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Recruitment|
|Elliot Norry||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Strategic Planning|
|Benjamin Gordon||Board of Directors||Co-Chair||Strategic Planning|
|Joey Blumenfeld||Board of Directors||Member|
|Nina Paul||Board of Directors||Member|
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AMHSI at a Glance
- Main campus in Hod HaSharon, not far from Tel Aviv
- 8-week and 18-week academic year and 6-week summer programs (plus Poland trips!)
- Experiential learning: encounter history where it actually happened
- Balance of academic and fun, cultural and bonding activities
Why Choose Us
- Most loved and recommended Israel-based study abroad program
- International students coming from the US, Canada, Australia, Panama, Austria, Turkey and more!
- A variety of programs to choose from ranging in duration, dates and other options
- Ability to earn college credit from the University of Miami
- College-style campus as a base for learning and travel across Israel