What are our alumni saying?

How has their experience with us contributed to their careers?


James preparing the Ottoman walls of Khan el Shwarde for new lime mortar.

James Davis

Charleston, North Carolina
BA Art History: College of Charleston
Current Position: Digital archivist
Working remotely with the Israel Antiquities Authority historic archives on a large scale digitization project, and as a Community Manager for BiblioLabs, ‘an ecosystem for the curation and distribution of history’.
Saving the Stones Spring 2013

I wanted to thank you all personally for the unforgettable and irreplaceable experiences during my time in Israel.  The things you have helped me to accomplish and the relationships I have established over the past three and a half months will undoubtedly shape my life for years to come.

You have all played a vital part in developing a program which provided all the participants with not only an incredible understanding of conservation, but  also the opportunity for personal growth and learning beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  Your dedication and thought to our experiences in the main contributor to the quality of the success of Saving the Stones.  It is what sets this experience far apart from anything I have been involved in before. You all provided genuine care, support, encouragement, rust, and friendship which went well beyond the expectations for program leaders.   It was truly a special experience to come to a foreign country and be immediately part of a family as we were with Saving the Stones.

I can’t thank any of you enough, and this goes professional and personally.  You are all truly wonderful people.

Sincerely, James Davis


Gail, getting her hands dirty exploring the construction of mudbricks and earthen plasters.

Gail, getting her hands dirty exploring the construction of mud bricks and earthen plasters.

Gail Gershenov

Westchester, New York
BA Medieval Studies: Skidmore College
Current student at Pace Law School
Saving the Stones Fall 2009

I just wanted to let you know how helpful everything from the program has been for me so far in law school! I study mostly real estate and land use law, and because of Saving the Stones I have so much to put in. No one believes me that I learned so much about architecture in the program; and they are very impressed with what I have to tell them about Israeli conservation. – May 2013



Yonatan leaning against a fallen column in the historic Roman city of Beit She'an.

Yonatan leaning against a fallen column in the historic Roman city of Beit She’an.

Yonatan Rosen

Palo Alto, California
BA Architectural History, Theory, and Criticism: Hampshire College
Current MA candidate, studying Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Saving the Stones Fall-Spring 2009-10

In the beginning, the experience was sort of like looking into a kaleidoscope. On visits to sites throughout the country, we discussed the many facets that play into conservation, including the sites’ historical and religious contexts, modern political realities, and of course, preservation techniques of the sites’ materials. In each conversation, we delved into sensitive and complicated issues and I appreciated that the IAA did not shy away from challenging discussions.

Living in Acre has made me especially cognizant of the sensitive nature of this work. A large part of the population is Muslim and every morning at 4 AM, I am awoken by the call to the prayer.  Until Saving the Stones, my Israel had largely consisted of the upper middle class neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, and where my grandmother lives.  In Acre, I almost never heard English spoken in the streets and the perspectives I gained are worlds away from those I was accustomed to on previous visits to Israel.
This environment has complemented my work well, as each participant was expected to conduct his/her own personal project during the semester. I chose to study the mandate government’s attempts to conserve Acre in the 1930s, analyzing trends and creating an interactive interface of old photographs as a simplified database. I also studied an old prison in Acre’s Old City, where Irgun fighters were jailed before the establishment of the State of Israel.
Because of the expertise I developed, I am able to take part in meetings with the IAA as they convert the prison into a museum. Israeli society is not hierarchical and they take my work seriously in their planning. My work with Saving the Stones was very gratifying. Working alongside young people from all over the world, including Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Israel, and the United States, who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim, and care deeply about conservation was inspiring. It was a privilege to be involved in work that is both personally meaningful and significant in Israel.