Blog  27 Students Arrive in Israel for Fall 2017 URJ Heller High Semester

27 Students Arrive in Israel for Fall 2017 URJ Heller High Semester

We are thrilled to share that the Fall 2017 semester of URJ Heller High commenced last week. The students have begun to settle into their new home at Kibbutz Tzuba, and have started classes in Hebrew, Jewish History, and general studies. They celebrated their first Shabbat in Israel at the Kotel (Western Wall) and have already gone on several off-site trips, including an archaeological dig. They are being guided by an exceptional staff of teachers, Madrichim (counselors), and senior leadership, led by Principal Loren Sykes.

These 27 students have now embarked on what promises to be a challenging and fulfilling experience – a full semester living and learning in Israel. They will be fully immersed in Israeli culture, learn Hebrew, and explore the history of the Jewish people at the sites where it took place. The will also grow as individuals as they gain independence and strengthen their own connections to Judaism and 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 27 students come from 12 states, plus Canada, Russia, and Israel. They include:

  • Nine from New York, two each from California, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Ohio, and one each from Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia, and Ontario
  • 19 actively engaged NFTY participants
  • 15 URJ Camp alumni; students on this semester have attended Eisner, George, Greene, GUCI, Jacobs, Kalsman, Kutz Camp, Newman, Six Points Sci-Tech, and Six Points Sports
  • 19 students from URJ Congregations across North America

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

URJ Heller High 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.

Know of a teenager in grades 10-12 who is interested in Heller High? Please contact Casey Wright, Heller High’s Recruitment and Marketing Associate, at  or 212-650-4095. She will help answer any questions you have about the program. Please also share Heller High with your friends, family, and clergy and staff at your synagogue. We already have over 60 applicants for Spring 2018, but there is still space available! We are also accepting applications for Fall 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.