Hi! My name is Kate Shapiro and I’m a current senior at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Illinois. During second semester of my junior year, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad at
Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI). I spent two months on a campus located in Hod Hasharon, a city located about 20 minutes outside of Tel Aviv, where I took all of my normal classes like math and English, as well as an Israel studies course. We also traveled all over the
country to places like Jerusalem and the Kotel (Western Wall), Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights, and so many other beautiful and significant places. I found it incredibly enriching to learn history were it actually happened and walk in the shoes of my ancestors while simultaneously immersing myself in the local Israeli
culture. Yet, what truly had the biggest impact on me was the people I was surrounded with. The community at AMHSI was one like no other and I met the most amazing people who inspired me to better myself and the world around me say after day. These people are now my family, and no matter how many miles
away we live from each other, they will always be there for me. Leaving them was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
After my school ended, I decided to extend my stay in Israel for another two months in the summer. I felt such a strong connection to the Jewish homeland and I believed that my journey in Israel had just begun. During the hot summer months, I participated in a service trip called
Roots Israel. Through Roots, I was able to volunteer in a school for refugees, paint bomb shelters in the south of Israel, and help plant trees and beautify the land. Roots gave me the opportunity to give back to the place that has given me so much the past two
I will forever be grateful for being provided the opportunity to travel to Israel and further develop my Jewish identity. Being surrounded by 70 other Jewish teenagers has fostered a sense of unity and community that I have never experienced before at home. Meeting new people and learning about others has
allowed me to learn more about myself as Jew, a Zionist, and a person as a whole.
About the Author: Kate is a senior at Deerfield High School in Illinois. Her and her family are members of Congregation BJBE. When Kate is not in Israel for the summer, she is usually at Beber Camp in Mukwonago, WI.