Blog  62 Teens Arrive In Israel for Spring 2017 URJ Heller High Semester

62 Teens Arrive In Israel for Spring 2017 URJ Heller High Semester

I am thrilled to share that the Spring semester of URJ Heller High: Isaac and Helaine Heller EIE High School in Israel (formerly NFTY-EIE High School) in Israel commenced this week.

The students have met with their staff and teachers and are settling into Kibbutz Tzuba, their home for the next four months in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem, all under the inspired supervision of our Principal, Rabbi Loren Sykes, and his exceptional team.

62 outstanding young people will have a challenging and rewarding semester living and learning in Israel. These students will immerse themselves in Jewish history and culture, spend time learning and speaking Hebrew, and grow their independence and personal Jewish identity. They will form a tight community and develop friendships for a lifetime. Furthermore, URJ Heller High students will develop deep connections to Israel and the Jewish people while engaging with Reform/Progressive Judaism in Israel.

As a program accredited by the Middle States Academic Association, URJ Heller High ensures that our students excel in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, but also all the classes required by their high schools back home. Our students will also rigorously study for standardized tests, so they can be prepared for the next steps in their lives.

These 62 students come from 17 states plus Canada. They include:

  • Seventeen from California, eleven from New York, seven from Massachusetts, five from New Jersey, five from Illinois, two from Texas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ontario, one from Alabama, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Louisiana.
  • 50 kids attend NFTY events
  • 43 are alumni of URJ camps, including thirteen from Camp Newman, nine from Eisner camp, seven from URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, three from Crane Lake, George, Harlam, two from Greene Family, one from URJ Myron S. Goldman Union Camp-Institute, Kutz Camp and 6 Points Sports Academy in North Carolina.
  • 40 URJ congregations from across North America have a student on this program.

Since 1961, thousands of teenagers have spent a semester in Israel on NFTY-EIE, the Reform Movement’s most intense and powerful Jewish living and learning experience.

NFTY-EIE High School in Israel has received an extraordinary endowment gift of $5,000,000 to help fund scholarships and to invest in program excellence. We now offer scholarship support for as much as 40 -50 % of the tuition in order to allow more students to have this rich experience. EIE is currently in the process of renaming the program: URJ Heller High: Isaac and Helaine Heller EIE High School in Israel.

Know of a teenager in grades 10-12 who is interested in NFTY-EIE? Please contact Elise Englander, EIE’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator at or 212-650-4095. She will help answer any questions you have about the program. Please also share EIE with your friends, family, and clergy and staff at your synagogue.

We are currently  accepting applications  for Summer 2017, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.

URJ Heller High is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and our blog is regularly updated. Here you can see pictures about what our students will accomplish during their months in Israel and read words about their amazing experience.

With warm best wishes and lots of gratitude,
Paul Reichenbach