What’s the best thing you did in high school? Hear directly from teen Israel experience alumna Edee Polyakovsky on why every teen should consider going to Israel through the Samis Voices video series!
I think that a huge part of what I got out of my Israel experience was knowledge and confidence. And I think that had I not gone, I would not be nearly as knowledgeable about Jewish history and Israel and not nearly as confident in sharing that and even just knowing that about my Jewish identity. Those two things really kind of propelled me through high school and are going to continue to propel me probably for the rest of my life because they’re so important to me.
Question: What was the most exciting thing you did on your Israel experience?
It was the first time I’d ever been in Israel. And so everything I did there, every trip that we went on, every new place that we saw was a first. The first time we went to Jerusalem, the reason we went to the Kotel, the first time we went to Masada. We basically had a crash course of 4,000 years of Jewish history in four months. And then, of course, there was living in Israel and living in that, having that dorm experience. There were 35 other kids in my program, and so we got to be really good friends and just living together, studying together, going to school and traveling. It was really amazing.
Question: How was your academic experience?
It really worked very well because our classes were really small. My math class had five kids in it rather than 30, and that made just so much difference. I learned so much more when I was at Muss in my math and science classes, I came back ahead, not behind.
Question: What do you want other students considering a teen experience to know?
Everything about being in Israel was exciting and new, an amazing opportunity to learn about Jewish history, to learn about Israel, to travel and also to learn about yourself. I would encourage anybody who’s thinking about going to absolutely do it. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.