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Impact Fellowship Blog

Irreplaceable Experiences- Tyler Bienstock

Now that more time has passed, I really have gotten a feel of how special this program is. The way we do school here, build friendships, interact with locals and much more is much preferable compared to regular school in my city in my opinion. Which brings me to the wonderful trips and adventures I have been on in this program. From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, we really have been busy. I find these trips, or tiyuls as we call them here, to be the key component in learning about this place. Now that’s out there, I would like to share a bit about some of my experiences on a few of my favorite trips.

First, we have the historical city, Jerusalem. We have visited Jerusalem quite a bit so far this semester but each trip there gets even more exciting as we learn more and more about the culture surrounding it. The visits to the market, experiencing the best meat I’ve ever had, the architecture, culture and most importantly the history, Jerusalem has a lot cultural significance and we know Israel wouldn’t be what it is today at all without it. Visits to the Western Wall and putting notes in with friends and walking about is one of many examples of bringing everyone closer together. Not to forget the massive amount of educational content to be absorbed in museums and historical sites in the ancient city as well to name a few is also an enormous part in all our experiences in Jerusalem.

Next, I would like to share about my experience in Tel Aviv. Although seeing what some of this program has to offer, its phenomenal field trips with friends you have made is essential. We couldn’t have a lot of these experiences if it wasn’t for our time in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv has a market like Jerusalem, but this one is a lot bigger so walking down the huge streets full of shops, seeing what wacky and cool souvenirs we can collect is a big part. However, the large amount of significant history it has packed in only about 100 years hooks us all into the recent but interesting lessons we have learned, from being told about politicians, how Israel became a state, to how the massive amounts of money poured in startups to build the economy that eventually resulted in a huge city all from a few dunes of sand is all still fresh to me. I loved being a part of this city’s history and learning its origins and am looking forward to going back more and seeing as much as possible.

The last trip we have been on that was a huge highlight was our time in Tsfat. We walked around a bit throughout the times we visited the city on the mountains. Although Tsfat isn’t as big as the other cities I have mentioned, it still is just as significant to me. Our class has been there only twice, but both times were very educational, I still had a great time shopping and experiencing what was on the streets of Tsfat. My favorite time we went there was with my Israeli Studies teacher, Reuven. All the trips we take with our teachers brings us closer to them, but I think when we went to Tsfat with his family for Shabbat was when we got closest. This reminds me how each teacher builds an individual relationship with each student, and it is nice to know they care for you as a person not just a student. Anyways, on “Shabbat in Tsfat” as they called it, us students had a lot of activities that brought everyone closer together and bonding experiences happening naturally along the way. Talking about Judaism around ancient sites, shopping with friends, getting closer to others around me and being on the streets taking it all in was magical for me and not to mention the gorgeous sunsets that made the trip that much better.

To sum it all up, I wrote about these places because I think every teen should get the chance to go on these trips and see what I saw. Some of my favorite memories I have of this trip so far are the times I think how the alternative to this amazing tiyul we are on is regular school. I always wonder how my life could have been so much different if I decided not to go on the program and miss out on all these wonderful places we visit. Israel makes me excited to learn and knowing each new day holds a new and exciting lesson gives me so much more than I could ever have at my home life. Taking this opportunity to come was the best decision I have ever made, and I hope one day I can inspire a future student to have their own adventure of a lifetime. AMHSI makes me feel like I am at home, in my own land with my own people with the outstanding new friends I’ve made here. I hope anyone can read this and get somewhat of an idea of the wonders and inspiration I get every day here. Israel will always be my home away from home even when I’m back in the states because this program really is lifechanging for each and every student on it.

Tyler Bienstock