Fresh off their college-prep semester abroad experience at Jewish National Fund-USA’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel (Muss), 26 students wanted to do even more. These students, all members of the organization’s Sababa Fellowship program, have now taken on a new project—protecting children in the Negev by supporting the fortified Sderot Indoor Recreation Center. And with a month to go, the Fellows have already raised thousands of dollars for the Recreation Center.
Jewish National Fund-USA’s Sababa Fellowship is a nine-month program open to alumni of Muss who are committed to developing their leadership and involvement with the organization. Highlights include networking, outreach training, nonprofit experience and leadership opportunities. Upon completion of the Fellowship, students are uniquely poised to become strong, articulate pro-Israel leaders in high school, college, and later, in the professional world.
As part of the Fellowship, the participants research and fundraise for a project in Israel. This year, the students chose the Sderot Indoor Recreational Center, a bomb-proof playground and community center that provides children with a fun place to simply be kids and feel normal while giving parents peace of mind that their children are playing in a safe environment. According to the students, their time at Muss was a heavy influence on their decision.
“One of the trips taken on Muss was to Sderot, where we walked around the city and learned about the many safety procedures, technological structures and procedures implemented throughout the area,” said Logan Freiberg, a Sababa Fellow and a junior attending High School in Commack, N.Y. “Out of these, the most shocking to me was the bomb-shelter bus stops. Something so simple and ordinary to me, such as waiting for the school bus, can be a life-or-death situation for the children of Sderot.”
He added that “hearing the stories of rockets hitting the area and seeing the bomb shelters used in children’s playgrounds and bus stops, I have grown a greater appreciation for the safety I feel at my home, and it inspired me to give back. I want the children of Sderot to feel safe doing simple things such as waiting for the bus and playing with their friends.”
Other Fellows are simply grateful for the experience.
“Going on Muss was one of the best decisions I’ve made,” said Joely Granatt, a senior from Studio City, Calif. “I got to experience life in Israel while making lifelong friends. I deepened my connection to the Jewish religion. And on top of everything else, learning about Jewish National Fund-USA and all of the amazing things they do inspired me to fundraise for Israel and the kids living there.”
To learn more about Alexander Muss High School in Israel, go to: amhsi.org.