The day I got the call that I had been accepted as a fellow made me the happiest girl alive
As I am getting ready to leave for Israel for two months, I start to reflect back on what brought me to the spot I am at now. Last year, as a freshman, I remembered seeing Instagram and Snapchat story posts by two girls a year older than me at my school of them in Israel as a part of Muss. I became interested and mentioned it to my parents who were not as familiar with the program. To learn more, my parents and I went to an interest meeting with about eight other families to video call with some of the students who were there at that point and just to learn more about AMHSI in general. I was definitely interested but I knew that with my overnight camp in the summer, it would be too much to do Muss and camp. However, I knew that the two girls who went to my school who were on Muss also went to camp so I asked them what their process was like. They mentioned how you can apply to be a fellow and earn a scholarship. My parents loved the idea of me possibly becoming a fellow because they know I am enthusiastic about whatever it is I am doing and love to share with friends, hoping that they will eventually do it too.
After writing a few essays and joining a zoom call, I had a realization that: wow! I could actually be going to Israel for the first time soon! Next, the part of this process I was most nervous about for sure- the interview. I just knew that I had to be myself and really let them know why I wanted to be apart of AMHSI and why they should choose me as a fellow. I wanted to broaden my Jewish studies and learn more about the culture and religion and I knew that this would be the best way for me to learn! I was super excited to possibly be meeting over thirty other students from all around the United States. I figured we would all become super close by the end which got me really excited. I knew that if I was chosen as a fellow, I would spread all the information I know to my friends hoping that they would do it in the future. Already, I told a few of my friends who have not heard that much about it and they all became interested for possibly next year or the year to follow. They also told their siblings who are younger so it has already been spread to many people who are developing an interest and starting to look into it.
The day I got the call that I had been accepted as a fellow made me the happiest girl alive. I could not wait to start this incredible, life changing journey with new friends learning about my religion and the origins of it in depth. Also, I had always heard about how amazing Israel is and I had never gone before so I was excited to have the opportunity to go. I was literally counting down the days when I heard there was going to be a meeting with all the fellows soon. I grew more and more excited by the day. At the meeting, I loved getting the chance to meet the other fellows, who all happened to be so nice and friendly. I started the packing process, which was incredibly stressful yet so exciting and over thirty students from the trip made group chats already which we have all been texting in getting to know each other.
As I am preparing to leave, I am excited, nervous, and hopeful. I am excited to learn more about my religion, Jewish culture, and Israel in general. I have never been intense hiking before or visited mountain sites so I am very excited to the tiyuls. As I am starting to talk more to the other students, I can’t wait to meet them and get to know them all. However, I am very sad to leave my parents, friends, and my dog, Riley, because I know I will miss them a lot but I know there will be many activities to keep me distracted from missing home. I also have never been that far across the world before so I am anxious to see what it is like. Although, I am hopeful this will be a life changing experience for me that I can tell other people about in hopes that they will do it too. I am hopeful that this group of students will become so close with one another that for many years in the future, we will all stay so close. Lastly, I am thankful for my family and AMHSI for giving me this incredible opportunity that I can not wait to be apart of in five days!!