Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) is a place of exploration and discovery.
Since 1972 – 26,000 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.
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Our vision and mission
The AMHSI vision is to transform tomorrow’s generation today.
For the 26,000 alumni over the past 45 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 through 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.
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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.
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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 protected].
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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 [email protected].
“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 Fellowship, 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
Galit Birk, PhD
Israel Programs Admissions Director
As part of the Education Team, Galit, who was born and raised in Israel and holds a Doctorate in Psychology and a Masters in Human Resources, is responsible for Israel advocacy and education for schools and synagogues, recruiting students for JNF’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel as well as partnering with Texas Universities in both Israel programming and recruiting for student programs to Israel. Formerly a Parent Coach in private practice serving families in the Dallas area and then the Pastoral Care Director at Temple Emanu-El Dallas, Galit is excited to further engage with the Dallas Jewish community while making new relationships both locally as well as across the state. Bridging her passions for education and all things Israel, Galit brings her enthusiasm and go-getter spirit to the state of Texas! Contact at 214-433-6600 x944.
Reuven Arye Weisberg
Reuven lives in Moshav Aviel with his wife, Shoshana and their 3 children. Before becoming a licensed Israel Guide, Reuven Arye was a yeshiva student, musician, counselor and mentor for young men, a husband and father, combat medic in the Israeli 101st Airborne, a sourdough bread baker and baking teacher, a goatherd in the Judean hill country, fieldworker in the organic farms and vineyards of the coastal plain, and a student in the Land of Israel Studies Dept. at Haifa University. As a guide and teacher he strives to integrate his skills and experiences such as musical performance, drama, storytelling, textual study, meditation and more. His goal is to educate and to facilitate personal connection. “I can’t know what detail or experience will be the one that touches the heart or expands one’s mind, but my hope and prayer is that within the kaleidoscope of studies and experiences during one’s time in the Land of Israel there will be those brilliant moments of understanding, connection, and identity building.” Reuven is continuously challenged and uplifted by life in Israel and welcomes everyone to “walk this land” in order to make it a part of them.
Tracy made Aliya in 2012 to Kiryat Gat in the south of Israel with her husband and four daughters. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Tracy received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Cincinnati in Jewish studies and a Masters in Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Tracy has spent most of her career in a variety of Jewish educational settings including as a Jewish day school teacher, adjunct profession of religious studies and director of education for a Conservative Synagogue. She is a life-long learner and lover of Israel and Jewish culture and believes strongly in encouraging students to explore, question and find real meaning in their Jewish identity and connection with Israel.
Originally from Atlanta, GA, Michael moved to Israel with his wife, Julie, in 2010. Their daughter, Tiferet, was born in March, 2014, and she is a first generation Jerusalemite.
Michael was a student at AMHSI in the Spring of 1998 and is honored to return to AMHSI to teach. He studied for his BA in Classical Studies and Ancient History at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Between college and moving to Israel, Michael spent 5 years in the Washington, D.C. area working in politics for AIPAC’s Leadership Development Department, and another 2 years in Israel, studying in Yeshivat Darche Noam and living/working on Kibbutz Beerot Yitzchak.
Before becoming a Licensed Tour Guide in Israel in 2015, Michael spent several years guiding in Jerusalem at the City of David, Western Wall Tunnels, and Southern Wall Excavations. Michael has guided numerous groups on their summer Israel trips, including Ramah Seminar.
After graduating with a B.A. in History, Michael quickly came to Israel and spent many years studying at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, where he received rabbinic ordination.
Over the past eight years, Michael has been the Director of Jewish Student Connection in Denver, CO involved in Jewish education in both formal and informal capacities. He is passionate about helping people develop their own personal connections to Judaism, the Jewish people, and Israel.
During his years in Israel, Michael met Ariella, raised in South Africa and Australia. Where else would a Jewish guy and girl from different continents meet? Michael and Ariella have four children - 3 boys and a girl - who were born in Israel, Texas, and Colorado.
While they had enjoyed living in Colorado, the Sunshines are thrilled to have returned to Israel in August of 2018 and Michael is excited to continue his passion for Jewish education and connection at AMHSI.
Director of Operations
After spending over 25 years in Fundraising Operations including 8 years at JNF, Caren happily moved into Admissions Operations recently in joining the AMHSI team. Caren is a tried and true New Yorker, being raised in the 5 boro’s, attending school upstate and now living on Long Island. Caren loves to travel and looks forward to visiting our campus as often as possible.
Assistant to the Deans and HoS
Amanda is a Queens, New York native and made Aliyah in January 2017. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication and Event Planning from SUNY Oneonta. Amanda came to Israel through a Masa internship program and interned at a conference planning company. Amanda then worked in a nonprofit organization in New Jersey helping to place volunteers with various volunteer opportunities before returning to Israel to make Aliyah. After making Aliyah Amanda studied Hebrew through the Misrad HaKlita and worked at a gan. Amanda is very excited to start a new chapter at AMHSI.
Felice was born and raised in Queens, New York and then made her way to New Jersey with her husband after they were married. She holds an MS in Audiology from Hunter College and worked in the field for several years before leaving to have her four children. For the six years prior to making Aliyah in 2018, Felice worked in Administration for two different Jewish organizations. She loves living in Israel, especially to be closer to her daughter who is serving in the IDF. Felice joined the AMHSI family in March of 2019 as Executive Assistant to Co-CEO Leor Sinai.
Felice lives with her family in Elkana. They enjoy tiyulim in the many beautiful parks around Israel, visits to museums and relaxing on the beach. They couldn’t be happier to call Israel home.
Amit was born in Jerusalem to Tsabar parents. At the age of 7 Amit moved with her family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for 4 years through the Jewish Agency. Upon her return, Amit joined the Scouts youth movement where she was active until 12th grade. Amit was recruited to be an Educational Director in the IDF and was an officer in the Navy. After her army service, Amit started her studies in the Hebrew University, and now has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition.
Richard Abrams "Rick" has always worked as an innovative, enthusiastic, Jewish educator with experience in managing projects and staff. He has demonstrated his strengths in collaboration, writing, editing, and music. He possesses a deep and abiding commitment to bringing innovative Jewish learning and Israeli culture to every context where he has worked, be it in formal or informal settings.
Rick received his M.A.J.E. from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR, Los Angeles in 1994. Since graduating, his work and writing have focused on all aspects of education for both youth and adult learners, first at The Brandies-Bardin Institute in Southern California, and then at the URJ National offices, as the assistant director of the Department of Adult Jewish Growth, and then as the marketing director of the URJ Books. Since then, he has worked at three congregations bringing experiential learning filled with Israel programming, environmental awareness and music to each setting.
Having been an active member of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ for over 20 years, in his spare time Rick is an amateur musician, playing in the “house band” of a local soup kitchen monthly, or on the bimah at the synagogue whenever he’s asked. He is also an avid amateur chef and baker. (Just look at his Facebook page.) He has been married to his best friend, Lori Price Abrams, for 27 years, and is the proud father of Sonya (21) and Micah (16).
Israel Programs Admissions Director
Rafi Glazer joins JNF as the Israel Programs Admissions Director serving the Mid-Atlantic region. Rafi comes to JNF from the American Jewish Society for Service, where he coordinated and ran service-learning trips for Jewish high school students. After trips to Israel in elementary school, high school and college, Rafi has staffed numerous Birthright trips and is looking forward to the many times that he will be helping others explore their identity to Israel with this new position. Rafi graduated from the University of Rochester with degrees in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies. He now makes his home in Silver Spring Maryland, where he is also a volunteer with Jews United for Justice. Rafi is an avid traveler and hopes to get to all 50 states. Rafi’s passion for service-learning as well as connection to Israel makes him excited for this new and exciting position. He can be reached at [email protected]
Campus Communications and Student Liaison
Elana holds an MA in Educational Leadership and Management from Tel Aviv University and a BA in Religious Studies and Hebrew and Arabic Language Studies from Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Upon making Aliyah to Israel in 2014, Elana worked at Beit Daniel as the External Relations Coordinator and served as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Changity. She currently works as AMHSI's Campus Communications and Student Liaison. Elana loves working with teens, sharing their transformative experiences and engaging them with further alumni opportunities.
A native of Wisconsin, Elana loves the outdoors, running, and exploring Israel.
A Long Island native, Stephanie was grewa up in a Zionist community with strong ties to Israel. Stephanie first visited Israel in 2002 and has made her way back over 15 times, visiting every chance she gets. Always involved in Israel related programs and activities throughout her education, Stephanie knew that her career would be in servicing the Jewish community and Israel. In 2014, Stephanie graduated from New York University with a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Judaic Studies. Following graduation, Stephanie spent three and a half years years at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York where she served as the Program Coordinator in the Israel and International Affairs Department.
Stephanie is excited to be a part of the AMHSI and JNF family and can’t wait to help get teens to study in Israel!
Stephanie currently lives in Cedarhurst with her husband Tzvi and 2 year old (extremely cute) daughter Hallie.
Lisa Tobin is a Licensed Social Worker, with advanced degrees in Judaic Studies (MA), Social Work (MSW) and Education (MA). She was most recently the Director of Inclusion Initiatives at the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and Director of NJY Camps’ Round Lake Camp. She has a strong background in the Jewish Federation world, at the Associated Jewish Federation of Baltimore, and the UJA of Stamford. She is a FEREP scholar. Prior to that, her background is in educational evaluation and special education. Lisa is active in Jewish life in West Orange, NJ, where she lives with her husband and children.
Polly Hyams Sherman
Dean of Students
Polly was born and raised in Bristol, England. She has a BSN in nursing and is a registered Nurse and Midwife. She is qualified in group leadership and facilitation with an emphasis on working with teenagers, sexual health and communication dilemmas in social settings.
Polly made Aliyah 25 years ago and has been working in the field of nursing and midwifery continuously, with the addition of group work, youth leadership, counselling and facilitating various support groups relating to emotional and physical health of all ages.
Polly loves working with young people. She considers her role to be multi-faceted. Working very closely with and supervising the director of informal education, training counsellors to work with teens and also coordinating health and wellness services which include supervision and close communication with the campus nurse. She sees her office as a safe haven where all students can come and talk and receive emotional support as well as a vibrant energetic place to talk through dilemmas and ideas with counsellors regarding their work with the students.
Polly is married to Marc and lives in Modi’in with their two boys and various animals.
Adi Paul Hakim
Israel Studies Educator
Adi has been living in Israel for over 25 years, guiding for 15 years and teaching as an Israel Studies Instructor at AMHSI since 2009. Adi was born in Sydney, Australia. Adi credits his parents for instilling within him a love for Israel and a pride of our Jewish heritage. Adi was an active member and leader of the Betar youth movement. Adi has a Bachelor of Science with a major in Zoology and a minor in Genetics. He is currently finalizing his Master's degree in Marine Archaeology at Haifa University. Adi was awarded Sergeant Major when he served in the Nachal paratroopers of the Israeli Defense Forces. Following the army, Adi established a state of the art health club by the name of Great Shape. Adi has completed The Ministry of Tourism Israel Tour Guide Course with the Society of Protection of Nature of Israel. Adi is a 6th Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate and has represented both Australia and Israel in many international competitions. Adi lives in Raanana, Israel with his wife, two children and dog.
Director, Roots Israel
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.
Director of Admissions, Florida
Andrea Schleider has been a Director of Admissions for AMHSI since 2012. Prior to that, Andrea spent several years working in media relations and communications at Habitat for Humanity. She has more than seven years of experience working in development for the Jewish National Fund and for Lehrman Community Day School in Miami. During her twenties, Andrea attended, WUJS, a program based in Arad, Israel, which gave her the opportunity study Jewish history, learn Hebrew, and work in Israel. After completing the program, Andrea lived in Jerusalem and worked for the Jewish Agency’s, Partnership 2000. Andrea has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Communications.
Dean of Israel Studies
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.
Israel Studies Educator
Benjy grew up in Sunderland in the North East of England and was a dedicated member of Bnei Akiva. After graduating from school he spent two years studying in Yeshiva in Israel, he returned to England and completed a BA in archaeology and MA in Jewish history. During this time he served as National Director of Bnei Akiva UK.
Benjy made Aliyah with his wife in 2005 and since then has been working as an educator on various programs including the Machon L’Madrichei Chutz Laaretz, Rammah Israel and Young Judaea Year Course. He is also an educator at Yad Vashem.
Benjy lives with his wife, Emma, and three children Noa, Adi and Nadav in Modi’in.
Israel Studies Educator
Lisa Biton was born and raised in Northern California. She holds a BA in Classical Studies and European History from Santa Clara University and a MAT from USC. Lisa studied abroad at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva in 2005 and fell in love with the land of Israel- and her Israeli husband. She made aliyah in 2009 to the southern city of Kiryat Gat. Lisa has worked for AMHSI since 2010, as both a general studies teacher and an Israel Studies teacher, and at both the Hod Hasharon campus and Eshel Hanasi Campus. Lisa and her husband have three children, and they love living in the Negev.
Israel 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.v
Israel 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 disengagement 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.
Israel Programs Admissions Director, Pacific Northwest
Alissa lives in Seattle, WA. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, she first fell in love with Israel as a participant of AMHSI herself. Her time at AMHSI started what would become a lifelong passion for travel, Israel and Judaism and is so lucky to be able to work for a community that gave her so much. When Alissa isn’t travelling the world or frolicking around Mt. Rainier, she spends her time in coffee shops throughout the city, as she continues her lifelong search for Seattle’s best vanilla latte.
Israel 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.
Head 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.
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.
Israel Studies Educator
Doni Kandel was born and raised in Los Angeles. After high school, he came to Israel for a year and a half of yeshiva and decided to stay for good. He spent many years in informal education, as a participant, and later, West Coast Director, of the Zionist youth group Bnei Akiva. He was also a camper, counselor and Assistant Director of Camp Moshava Wild Rose in Wisconsin. He holds a BA in Political Science and Military Strategy from Bar Ilan University and an MA in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security from IDC Herzliya. He has worked as a journalist for both Israeli and American publications, and, after a brief stint in the high-tech scene, found his passion for teaching, as a general studies teacher at AMHSI. He taught History, English Literature, Sociology and Psychology. In 2016 he was added to the Israel Studies staff and is thrilled to share his passion for the people and the land of Israel with his students.
He currently lives in Mazkeret Batya with his wife and daughter.
General Studies Teacher, Mathematics and Chemistry
Born in Australia Gary taught mathematics before moving to Israel in 1979. In Israel he lived on kibbutz, served in the army and later completed an MSc at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Quantum Chemistry and a PhD in Space Physics at the Tel-Aviv University. Gary later studied at JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs), NASA, California working on the comet Halley rendezvous mission.
Over the years Gary worked in a number of Hi-Tec companies including LUZ (solar energy) and NDS an early Israeli start-up which provided encryption services for broadband and broadcast content. Gary also worked in the fields of oceanography writing papers on computational circulation models for lake Kinneret as well as at the Israel Aerospace Industries where he was a senior engineer working on mission control algorithms for both military and commercial satellites.
General Studies, English
Michele Annis is from Manchester in the north of the United Kingdom. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from Leeds university followed by a Teaching certificate. She also holds LAMDA qualifications as a Drama teacher. Before making Aliyah, Michele taught in Lubavitch Girls School in Mancheste. Michele lives in the neighboring city of Raanana with her husband and two daughters. She has an elder son still living in the UK. In her spare time Michele enjoys going to the Theatre and finds plenty of interesting productions to see in Tel Aviv!
General Studies Teacher, English, History
Hepzibah Alon received her Masters degree in English literature from Bar Ilan University and her Bachelors degree in English Literature and Linguistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has been a teacher for 14 years, having taught middle school, high school and college classes. She loves to learn and to teach and finds joy in creating a student centered environment that encourages critical thinking skills. Along with teaching at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, she is also a Program Associate for Facing History and Ourselves where she mentors teachers, and provides professional development for Jewish Day Schools in the United States. She grounds her classroom in the idea that academic rigor goes hand in hand with ethical reflection and emotional engagement in a safe classroom environment.
General Studies Teacher, History, English
Noa Cooper holds a BA in the Humanities and an MA in Modern Jewish History from Touro College.
Israel Programs Admissions Director, LA Area
A Native of Los Angeles, Lex Paul grew up involved with Israel and entrenched in his local community – attending Day School, working at summer camps, and running a local youth program. After managing bars and restaurants in Seattle and Los Angeles, Lex rediscovered his passion and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people and lived for 6 years in the Negev Desert, working with developing small communities. Now back in California with his wife and two children, Lex is excited to bring more young people to experience AMHSI in Israel.
Dr. Glenda Sacks
General Studies Teacher, 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.
Israel 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, Neve Chaim and a new baby girl.
General Studies Teacher, Math, German
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.
Israel Programs Admissions Director, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North & South Dakota
Originally from a small city in Illinois, Amy moved to Minneapolis during college. She first visited Israel with her family at 11 years old and returned recently to see how much Israel has prospered. Her educational background is in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota.
Amy has been in Jewish communal work for all of her adult life both professionally and as a volunteer. Most recently, she worked with NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster and Adath Jeshurun Congregation where she did fundraising, membership recruitment and community organizing. Amy and her family are very much immersed in the Twin City’s Jewish community and Herzl Camp, a Zionist overnight summer camp where she is a past president of the organization.
Amy is excited to use her passion and love for Israel to help even more high school students discover the AMHSI experience!
General Studies Teacher, Hebrew
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.
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.
General Studies Teacher, Latin
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!
General Studies Teacher, Math
Rabbi Leor Sinai
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.
Director of Admissions, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas
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.
General Studies Teacher, History
Ryan comes from a family of teachers: he loves teaching and helping people grow in their knowledge and identity. Ryan has a rich and varied background in education and youth leadership. He finished his MA in History and Philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal in 2008 and finished his training in university teaching, during which he worked as a TA in the university and a replacement teacher in Dawson College. In 2010 he moved to Israel and began working as an English teacher in Branco Weiss High School and also worked in adult learning centers in the evenings. Ryan started teaching history at AMHSI in 2014 and enjoys making history relevant for today’s generation.
General Studies Teacher, History, Latin
Lauren Ziv holds a BA in History with Social Studies Certification and a MA in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
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.
Dr. Debby Mir
General Studies Teacher, Science
Dr. Debby Mir is an environmentalist and life-time learner teaching biology, chemistry and environmental studies at AMHSI, while completing a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.Sc.Ed) at the Technion. She was a professor in Environmental Studies before moving to Israel, and currently works as an adjunct professor at several Israeli academic institutions, supervises theses and engages in research with academic and government partners.
General Studies Teacher, Lab Director, Chemistry & Biology
Ronit Ofir holds a BSc in Chemistry from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Israel 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.
General Studies Teacher, Chinese
Helen Wu holds a BA from Sichuan Union University and a Teaching Certificate in French Language from Bar Ilan University in Israel.
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.
Israel Studies Educator
Akiva Gersh is originally from New York and made aliyah to Israel in 2004. Since 2007, he has been teaching Jewish History and Modern Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, where he guides visiting high school students through the story of the Jewish people, mainly through tiyulim (excursions) to historical, cultural, religious, and ecological sites around the country. He is also a contributing blogger at the Times of Israel as well as a musician. In 2010, Akiva created Holy Land Spirit, an uplifting and spiritual musical experience for Christian groups visiting Israel that fosters interfaith celebration, understanding, and dialogue. In 2017, Akiva published his first book entitled "Becoming Israeli", a compilation of blogs and essays about the experience of making aliyah and acclimating to life in Israel. Akiva holds a BA in Religious Studies from Brown University, an MA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University and received rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov in Jerusalem. He and his wife live in Pardes Hanna with their four children.
General Studies Teacher, Spanish, Psychology
Monica Krebs holds a BA in Social Work from Tel Aviv University. Monica received her MA in Translation from the University of Buenos Aires and her MSc from Bolton University in Critical Psychology.
General Studies Teacher, Hebrew
Ronit Koblenz holds a BEd from the American Jewish University and a BEd from the Seminar Kibbutzim.
Dana Gerbie Klein
Director of Admissions, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, International, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming
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!
General Studies Teacher, French, Spanish
Giselle Gross holds a BA in Political Science from the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico.
Dalia Ben Ari
General Studies Teacher, Hebrew
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.
General Studies Teacher, French
Jeanne Lumbroso holds a BA in English Literature from the Sorbonne in Paris.
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.
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.
General Studies Teacher, Math
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.
Efrat (Effie) Ostroff
Israel Programs Admissions Director, Midwest
Effie was born and raised in Israel. Following her national service in the Israeli Navy, Effie went on to study at Hebrew University in Jerusalem where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and then continued her academic studies attaining a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Ben Gurion University. Effie has held several challenging and exciting leadership positions in international hi-tech companies like HP as well as with younger start-up companies. Effie has always wanted to give back to the community and loves doing this as a qualified educator (Beit Beryl). Effie has several years of experience working with Israeli high school students and has taught at Kiryat Ono High School one of the highest rated high schools in Israel.
In the summer of 2015, Effie, her husband Dan and their three children relocated to Northbrook, IL to continue the expansion of Dan’s internet technology business. The three teenage children are thoroughly enjoying their experience attending the Jewish day schools in the area.
Dr Yeshayahu Ya’akovi
General Studies Teacher, Science
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.
General Studies Teacher, Biology
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.
Israel 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.
Dr. Michael Shterenshis
General Studies Teacher, Chemistry, Biology
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.
General Studies Teacher, Spanish
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.
Executive Assistant & Human Resources
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.
General Studies Teacher, Math
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.
Rabbi Greg Litcofsky
National Director of Recruitment
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Rabbi Greg Litcofsky is a proud alumnus of Alexander Muss High School in Israel. He is the son of two Jewish educators and lives with his wife and three children in Livingston, NJ. He is a graduate of Penn State University, holds a Master’s Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and was ordained in New York at The Hebrew Union College-Jewish institute of Religion. Throughout his career he has brought a passion to his work for Jewish education, social justice, leadership development and Zionism, working as a passionate advocate for the Land and the People of Israel. Prior to joining the AMHSI team, Greg was an active member of the National Alumni Council. He also currently serves on the board of JOIN for Justice. AMHSI was a life changing experience for Greg and says “what a blessing and gift it is to be able to do this holy work helping a new generation of students experience the same muss magic I did 25 years ago! I can’t wait for my own kids to go!” Greg remains a diehard Philly sports fan and tries his best to enjoy a good round of golf when he is able.
Director of Enrollment and Admissions
Originally from south Florida, Alex decided to move to Tel Aviv in 2012 to complete her M.A. degree in Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University after her initial visit to Israel on a Birthright trip in 2008. The desire to move back to Israel was consistent since the trip and was working with Birthright before moving over. Once her B.A. degree was completed in International Relations at Florida International University, she hopped on a plane to Israel.
Alex was working for Masa in Miami during her time studying for her B.A. and continued to advocate for Americans to study abroad in Israel during college and for internships. In 2014, she made Aliyah and found her passion teaching students in a variety of subjects including math and biology. She is excited to see students excel in their studies at AMHSI and continue to make friendships through the common bond of an Israel experience.
Israel Studies Instructor
Jacob grew up in the German colony in Jerusalem after his family made Aliyah from New York at five years old.
Jacob fell in love with the world of education as a teenager while working at a sports camp in Jerusalem.
Since then he spent multiple summers working as a camp counselor in the USA, and also three years as a girls basketball coach in Israel.
Jacob first started working at AMHSI as a madrich immediately after his release from the IDF in 2013, and he always knew that he wanted to come back as a teacher.
Jacob is a licensed tour guide through Beit Berl college, where he is also completing his degree in Education.
Jacob believes in teaching young students how to ask questions and think, with the hope of inspiring students to explore their Jewish identity and strengthen their connection with Israel.
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Board of Directors
Joseph Wolfson – Chairman
Joseph Wolfson (Villanova, PA), an attorney with Stevens & Lee in Philadelphia, PA, is a former state prosecutor for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. An active member of the Jewish community, Joe is a past President of JNF’s Philadelphia Board, a member of the Executive Committee of JNF’s Housing Development Fund, a member of the Philadelphia Executive Committee, former Chair of Makor, a member of the President’s Society, a member of the Century Council, and past Assistant Vice President of College Activists. He is a member of the Leadership Council of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and past President of the Reading Jewish Community Center. Joseph currently serves as Chairman and is a past President of the Board of Directors of Alexander Muss High School (AMHSI-JNF) in Israel, JNF’s newest partner organization.
Ron Werner – President
Ron Werner (Denver, CO) is President and Co-founder of HW Home, Inc., a Colorado-based home furnishings retailer and design source. Ron grew up in the Chicago suburbs and now calls Denver home. Prior to forming HW Home in 1998, Ron was a Senior Vice President of Investments with Smith Barney. Ron serves on various boards including Alexander Muss High School in Israel, for which he serves as President and was previously Vice President and Chair of the Sales & Marketing Committee. He is also a proud alumnus (1982) of the school. Ron is Co-chair of JNF’s Nefesh B’ Nefesh Task Force. He served as President for the Mountain States Region from 2014- 2016, and now is the region’s chairman. He is a member of JNF’s Century Council and King Solomon Society.
Jerry Sokol – Co-Chair of Development Committee
Jerry Sokol is a partner with the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery based in the firm’s Miami office. Jerry is a corporate attorney who deal primarily on health care transactions. He is ranked in Chambers USA, listed as one of the best lawyers in America, and is on the super Lawyers list. He is also on the Nightingale’s best Transactional attorneys list. Jerry is involved in many charitable organizations including a board member of the Alexander Muss high school in Israel and is a past Founding President of the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center. Jerry spearheaded the historical effort of building a new JCC in Miami Beach. In addition to being Vice President, he is Chair of AMHSI-JNF’s National Development Committee. Both Jerry and his wife Allison are AMHSI-JNF alum and are proud parents of Alumni as well.
Bob Levine – Budget and Finance Chair (Treasurer)
Bob Levine (Teaneck, NJ) is a senior partner at the New York City accounting firm Levine Schaeffer Fink & Moss, P.C., and has a personal law practice as well. Bob has served as President of his synagogue, as Chairman of the Board of the American Zionist Movement, and Treasurer of Mercaz, the Conservative movement’s Zionist organization. Involved with JNF since 1968, he has held a number of leadership positions including National Treasurer, Vice President of Campaign, and has chaired the Budget and Finance, Labor Relations, and Missions Committees. As a mission leader, he has brought over 650 individuals to Israel to see the country through JNF’s eyes. Bob was the recipient of JNF’s 2010 Gould Legacy Society Heritage Award and is a Negev Society and World Chairman’s Council member.
Bob Werner – Secretary and Audit Chair
Bob Werner was a Sr. Vice President of the Werner Company for over forty years, the world’s leading producer of climbing products. Mr. Werner applied his expertise in metallurgy and chemistry in developing new alloys, forms and process greatly expanding the company’s product line and safety of products. Bob is a veteran of the Korean war where he applied his engineering skills developing assets to support our military operations. Bob and his wife Florence are Alum of the AMHSI-JNF adult seminar, and parent and grandparent to AMHSI-JNF Alumni. Bob has served as board Chair for AMHSI-JNF, Israel Tennis Centers, Beit Issie Shapiro (Ranana). Bob serves on the Miami Dade Federation finance committee and is Current AMIIE Board member and secretary. Bob resides in Aventura Florida with Florence his wife of 66 years.
Jackie Danilewitz – Member
Jackie Danilewitz is originally from South Africa, now resides with her husband and family in Haverford, PA. Jackie sits on the JNF USA Philadelphia Board, is the JNF Women for Israel chair in Eastern PA and is a Sapphire Society member. Jackie is a proud parent of an AMHSI-JNF alumnus (2015), and served on the AMHSI-JNF Alumni Committee and sits on the AMHSI-JNF Board of Directors.
David Frank – Scholarship Co-Chair
David Frank (Los Angeles, CA) is Associate Manager of Coldwell Banker’s Beverly Hills North office, the number one sales office in the United States. A member of JNF’s Los Angeles board for 30 years, David was LA’s Planned Giving Chair, and is a past President and current Chairman of the Board. In addition, he served as President of JNF’s Western States region and is a President’s Society and Century Council member. He is also a past member of the Board of Directors of the State of Israel Bonds and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
Karl Kaplan – Co-Chair Sales and Marketing Committee
Karl Kaplan – (Mahwah, NJ) is the Managing director of The Timna Group, LLC, a New Jersey based investment firm founded in 2009. Karl co-founded OSG Billing Services in 1992 and served as the COO until 2013. Karl serves on the boards of Green House Data and Nymbl. Karl has been active in JNF since 1997, a past member of the JNF of Greater New York Board of Directors, and a member of JNF’s Century Council. Karl’s interest includes Israel education and the next generation. Karl is married to Tracy and they have 3 children. Their eldest Jack is an AMHSI-JNF Alum of the 2018 Fall Semester session. Karl serves on the AMHSI-JNF National Sales & Marketing Committee and is Chair.
Alison Karp – Member
A leader in the communication and media planning space for over twenty years, Alison is the President of L’Equipe L’oreal and Executive Director of their Wavemaker content and technology agency. Alison has proven especially adept at consumer-centric, touch-point agnostic, communication planning, stemming from her “consumer needs”-based philosophy. She also has an uncanny knack for conveying otherwise complex media stories in a digestible, succinct, and compelling manor. She lives in New York City with her husband, Dan. Alison is a 1991 alumna of AMHSI-JNF, serves on the Strategic Planning as well as the National Sales & Marketing Committees.
Stephanie Kelman – Member
Stephanie Kelman (Portland, OR) oversees global product creation for kids apparel Nike, Inc. Following a strong family lineage of JNF leaders, Stephanie is passionate about growing the future leaders of JNF. She is inspiring future generations to actively ensure Israel’s existence and not take the Jewish homeland for granted. She is the founder of JNFuture’s Arizona chapter, where she spearheaded the creation of JNFuture Shabbat in the Desert. Along with participating on several JNF missions, she chaired the Young Leadership track of the 2017 50th Reunification Tour. Stephanie has served as Vice Chair of JNFuture’s National Board and JNFuture Chair for the 2016 and 2017 National Conferences. She is a proud member of the Nefesh b’Nefesh Task Force, Women for Israel’s Chai Society, and JNFuture’s Root Society.
Dr. Elliot Norry – Strategic Planning Co-Chair
Dr. Elliot Norry is a gastroenterologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is affiliated with Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health. He received his medical degree from NYU School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Dr. Norry is an AMHSI-JNF alumnus (1979) and parent of alumni, co-Chair of the AMHSI-JNF Strategic Planning committee and an AMHSI-JNF Board Member. Dr. Norry is married to Gail Norry and lives outside Philadelphia, PA
Joel Reinstein – Member
Joel Reinstein is an attorney, originally from the United States, residing in Israel. Joel sits on the Board of Governors at Ben Gurion University and is a supporter of Yerucham. Long time AMHSI-JNF supporter, lay leader, parent and grandparent of 2 generations of alumni. Continued as AMHSI-JNF Board member as part of the 2013 AMHSI-JNF merger, former Chair of Alumni Committee.
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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