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Stephen Muss (Miami)

Israel is essentially a living classroom because we are living here and learning new things everyday.

Israel has been my home for a little over a month and it has been amazing. The things I’ve learned so far will always stay with me. I’m having the time of my life. Israel has definitely changed my life and it’s like my living classroom. For example, I feel like it prepares us for college life and living on campus without our family and with a bunch of new faces has prepared us and in a way matured us which I love. I love being more independent and not relying on my parents for everything. Also, I love how interactive our classes are. Especially never growing up going to Jewish/Hebrew school, I love learning about our history and our ancestors. 

Another thing is our tiyuls add to Israel being like our living classroom. Every tiyul we learn something about our history and it’s different than just learning about it in a textbook. We actually visit the sites where events happened. Which is exactly like our living classroom because we are there in the moment where the event happened. Just like our ancestors did so many years ago. Not only are we very active and learning full on about the events, our class is very active. We re-enact certain events which is very fun and interesting to see how Jews and other cultures lived back then. Israel is essentially a living classroom because we are living here and learning new things everyday. 

Last but not least, Israel has taught me many lessons. For example, I appreciate the culture so much more and since I’m half - Israeli, I feel more like myself. I’ve always wondered why I act a certain way and why I’m so “Jewish” and now I really found myself because I’m surrounded by people who want to learn the same thing to me and that’s so important to me because that’s why Israel is like our living classroom because we also learn things from each other and it’s such a cool opportunity. We discuss many different topics, from our opinions on Judaism and what it means to us, to little things like how to bargain at the shuks.