One junior from Milton High School and one from Walton High School will spend the spring semester studying in Israel, thanks to Jewish National Fund’s Shirlye Kaufman Birnbrey Alexander Muss High School in Israel Impact Fellowship Program.
Tyler Schwartz of Milton and Carlie Ladinsky of Walton were chosen to spend the semester at Alexander Muss High based on merit and dedication to Israel.
“I sprinted up the stairs and called out to my parents to share the amazing news. I was utterly shocked, but in the most excited and grateful way,” Ladinsky said. “The indescribable feeling of bliss I felt inside of me assured me that this would be the greatest experience of my life.”
Schwartz said, “I didn’t sleep all night because I could not stop thinking about this incredible opportunity and everything that I am going to experience.”
Established by Shirlye Kaufman Birnbrey’s children — Jeff and Alison Kaufman, Barbara and the late Richard Kaufman, Mark and Nancy Kaufman, and Karen and Craig Senft — the Shirlye Kaufman Birnbrey Impact Fund is a merit-based scholarship funding two Atlanta high school students per year for a four-month semester at Muss.
The fellowship, which includes everything from on-campus housing to field trips, was established to help Atlanta Jewish teens discover their own connection to the land, people, history and culture of Israel.
Muss’ pedagogical approach fuses traditional classroom study and informal experiential learning, so students gain knowledge and get to explore Israel as a living classroom. The high school has produced 24,000 alumni the past 43 years.
The Muss model highlights the benefits of a long-term Israel program. Ninety-eight percent of alumni consider the school to be the most transformational experience of their lives. Students leave the school wanting to give back to their home communities and feeling better prepared for life on college campuses and beyond.
“Our mother promoted the importance of funding Jewish schools,” Karen Senft said. “So in her memory we now provide impact funds to the Alexander Muss High School in Israel to fund scholarships to Atlanta students who wish to study in Israel. We established this fund to continue our mother’s legacy to future generations of Jews and the advancement of Jewish culture.”