What Are We Doing?

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An Abruptly Shattered Normal


It was a normal school year. At least, normal for Muss.

That meant small but intense classes, with excited but often tired students. Complicated (oh, so complicated) schedules, as we tried to keep track of Barrack, Semester, Mini-Mester classes, and rooms and trips and assignments and projects and . . .

And then, suddenly, it stopped.

Everyone went home. In less than a week, our campus filled with laughing, excited, curious, intense, talented, searching, questioning, learning, lively students was empty.



The country wasn’t silent, of course. Israel was more intense than in any time in my life, as so many people moved so fast into new and difficult roles. Our madrichim and our teachers rejoined their military units, and many of our graduates were even involved in the conflict, making it incredibly personal.

But our campus did not remain silent for long. Soon, as with many similar spaces across the country, refugees, and displaced residents of towns near Gaza were staying in our dorms, filling them with a new type of sound. Families, children, pets, cars, the sounds of parents trying to find enough activities to occupy all ages, teens helping toddlers do puzzles, middle schoolers riding bikes . . . It wasn’t what we were used to, but it was something. We were doing what we could, as everyone was.


What Comes Next?

Soon, tension set in. What would happen when the next semester began? Would any students return? Would there be a school for them to come to? How would we run our program, in all its delightful and fun complexity and chaos, during a war?

A few students came – maybe more than we had a right to expect. Not as many as we had hoped, but nobody begrudged them. It was difficult to ask people with no frame of reference to send their kids into what must have seemed like a war zone for a semester, where travel and trips – such an important part of our experience – were uncertain at best.

But those who did come arrived with a determination and drive that really stood out. They are well aware that we are living in a critical moment in history and have brought with them not only a deep and profound interest in understanding Israel, but a wider variety of experiences with antisemitism and anti-Israel bias in their home schools. I have been shocked to hear how thoroughly the veil has been lifted, as students have described blatant instances of racism and bias that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

So, we must ask: What are we doing? What are we doing for our students, for our school, for Israel? The answer is that we are doing everything we can. We refused to abandon our mission when it seemed like the easiest course, and reopened as soon as possible. We give the students able to come the best experience we can, and hopefully more and more will return. Our quiet campus will soon be loud again.

Dr. Moshe Glasser moved to Israel in 2020 with his family. He teaches in the AMHSI English department and combines his love for Israel with his love for modern literature.