URJ Heller High achieves this mission by elevating and deepening our students’ knowledge of and connection to Jewish history, Judaism, Zionism and the modern State of Israel. With Israel as our classroom, we build a dynamic learning environment where formal instruction, experiential learning and travel combine to bring Jewish living and learning to life. Our skilled and engaging teachers create an inclusive community that fosters the development of future lay and professional leaders for Reform Judaism.
With over 3,500 alumni since its founding in 1961, URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) is the most experienced and most trusted high school in Israel program for meaningful Jewish learning, spiritual experiences, personal growth, and academic success.
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URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) is for Jewish High School students in grades 10 through 12. Heller High is an intensive academic program and is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. All instruction is conducted in English with the exception of the Hebrew Ulpan (intensive Hebrew program).
The educational structure of the program includes small classes and small group tutorials ensuring that students fulfill the requirements of their home high schools, while fully immersed in the study of the history, culture and land of Israel. At the conclusion of the program, students receive an official transcript that is recognized by their home high schools. Our Director of Admissions and staff work closely with parents and schools to plan a special curriculum that fits into every participant’s academic schedule of required courses. Students can arrange to take Advanced Placement, PSAT, and SAT examinations while in Israel. If a student is pursuing an IB diploma, we recommend they come to Heller High for a semester during their sophomore year.
Please be sure to consult the URJ Heller High Program-Course Catalogue, which contains a complete listing of courses at Heller High. All applicants should bring a copy of this document to your home high school when discussing the program with guidance counselors or teaching staff. Please be aware that Heller High requires you to provide us with a copy of the syllabus from your home high school for each of your general studies classes. We will use these to ensure that you learn in Israel exactly what you would have learned at home.
Israel: Land, Culture and People 210 classroom hours per semester Includes 25 field trips
Hebrew Language Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced 100 classroom hours per semester and 30 field hours per semester
Physical Education 5 hours per week, earned through field trips
English Language and Comparative Literature 5 classroom hours per week (unless English requirement has been fulfilled)
Special Online Classes
In accordance with our desire to utilize technological advances and give each student the educational experience best tailored to suit their needs, while maintaining our commitment to high academic standards, since the Spring 2012 semester, URJ Heller High has offered a number of courses online. In the past, parents have incurred significant expense when we have had to bring teachers out for one class with a student who is taking an unusual course. The introduction of this new technology has significantly reduced the cost of these private courses and has also given us access to teachers who would not have been able to come to Tzuba.
These courses are conducted live with a teacher and use online conference facilities to ensure effective interaction between teacher and student. The platform used includes a whiteboard which both teachers and students can write on, with the results immediately visible to all. It also has a system for both sides to upload assignments, reading material, homework, etc. which teacher and student can access simultaneously and discuss.
The courses given online are one-on-one or one-on-two, so that the students are always actively engaged in the lesson and there is a meaningful dialogue between student and teacher. Another advantage is that all the lessons are recorded and are available to the students afterwards for review. This also means that if a student is ill, or misses a lesson for any other reason, he or she can view the lesson as soon as it is convenient.
Heller High currently uses two companies to provide these online services. Both companies supply these services to schools in Israel and the USA. The service is especially useful for students who have courses which are not standard and for whom bringing out a teacher especially for them might not be feasible or could be very expensive.
Regularly Offered General Studies Courses
If you don’t see a class listed here, we may be able to provide private tutorials for an additional fee. Please contact Director of Admissions, Robin Kulwin for more information.
|AP English Language|
|AP English Literature|
|Pre - Calculus||Regular||Honors|
|AP Calculus AB, BC||Regular||Honors|
|AP Physics 1,2|
|AP Environmental Science|
|AP World History|
|AP European History|
|AP U.S. History|
|AP U.S. Government|
|AP Economics Macro, Micro|
|AP Spanish Language|
|AP French Language|
Throughout the semester, students are thoroughly acquainted with the history of the Jewish people through a comprehensive class called Israel: Land, Culture, People. Israel as the birthplace and the center of that history throughout the ages is the ideal place to teach and demonstrate the development of the people, culture, and land. By combining classroom and field study, students witness, in a hands-on manner, the flow of Jewish history.
The method employed for this course is an interdisciplinary core curriculum in which students study history during 70 class days, 25 of which are spent at sites which reflect the period of history under investigation. All classes and field trips are based on the reading of primary source material from the appropriate period and group discussions. Students are expected to take notes during hikes and are examined on the presented material. A core curriculum teacher is appointed to guide students through all of Jewish history. Classes are small, never exceeding 18 students, thus allowing for the maximum participation of all students.
The content of the class draws upon the following disciplines: Archeology, World Literature, Comparative Literature, English Composition, History, Sociology, Geography, Comparative Religion, Western Civilization, Political Science, and Physical Education. As the course covers many disciplines, a student’s transcript may reflect the grades and credits earned in these subjects under either a reciprocal or specific course heading.
The study of Hebrew is a crucial tool in understanding the history and culture of ancient and modern Judaism and Israel. URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) students don’t need to have any previous knowledge of Hebrew to attend the program; all students are tested and placed in Hebrew classes based on their level of Hebrew knowledge. Up to five different levels of Hebrew language instruction are offered each semester. A formal textbook including workbooks and readers are used in the Beginner and Intermediate levels, while the Advanced levels employ various resources such as Hebrew newspapers. The Hebrew Ulpan is 100 classroom hours per semester and 30 field hours per semester.
As part of the Hebrew Ulpan, students study the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) in its original Hebrew and learn to converse with their Israeli peers. An anthology of contemporary Hebrew literature containing songs, poetry, and short stories is integrated into the course instruction. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of language skills that will facilitate students’ ability to communicate within contemporary Israeli society, and students are encouraged to utilize their Hebrew skills as they meet Israelis and travel throughout Israel.
For the Reform Jewish teen looking for the ultimate in Jewish living and learning, URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) is an unparalleled experience.
Since 1961, thousands of exceptional young Reform Jews have had a profound experience on our program, spending an unforgettable semester living and learning in Israel.
Spend four months immersing yourself in the richness of the land, culture, people, and history of Israel. Celebrate Reform Judaism and progressive Jewish life, and take part in extensive tours of the country.
Discover a new passion for Judaism, and find out what it means to be a young leader as you gain critical knowledge and form lifelong friendships!
What awaits you at Heller High?
Exciting and engaging hands-on learning, stimulating discussions, and the chance to literally dig through thousands of years of Jewish history. Immerse yourself directly in the material you study through small classes, extensive touring, and field trips every week. Discover new things every day about your Jewish history and your personal future as a leader of the Jewish people.
Much of the learning at Heller High is done in the field. Students spend upwards of three days a week on field trips and cultural excursions, visiting the very historical sites they are learning about in their classes.
From participating in active archaeological digs in the desert, to engaging with modern Israeli culture in Tel Aviv, students become intimately acquainted with the land, people and culture of Israel.
Negev Desert Adventure
Spend three unforgettable days and nights of hiking and exploring the Negev Desert! Ride camels across the desert, jump off sand dunes, and sip fresh tea in a Bedouin tent.
Then, travel from the Negev to Eilat to snorkel the waters of the Red Sea and dive to coral reefs from the beaches of Eilat.
Yam L’Yam (Sea to Sea)
Take part in a challenging and rewarding hike from the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) to the Mediterranean Sea.
Camp out under the stars, swim in natural streams and waterways, and bike the terrain, all while intimately getting to know the land of Israel. Gain experience and skills in climbing, orienteering, mountain biking, and wilderness camping.
Students spend 4 days working side-by-side with Israeli soldiers, learn about their lives and backgrounds, and make a meaningful contribution to the military base. They get a deeper knowledge of the role the IDF plays in the defense of Israel and in the social fabric of the country. At the end of the semester, hours worked at Sar-El are counted as community service and confirmation will be provided to the student and their home high school.
Following the study of the Jewish experience in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Modern Period, URJ Heller High students join together in a 5-7 day pilgrimage to Krakow, Lublin, and Warsaw in Poland. The pilgrimage includes a moving and meaningful visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek concentration camps.
In Krakow, we delve into the Jewish experience in Poland in the late Middle Ages and the Modern Period leading up to the tragedy of the Holocaust. Students visit the Ghetto area of Krakow, and the concentration and death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek. Prior to returning to Israel, participants visit the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Through this pilgrimage, students are acquainted with the rich – though precarious – life of the Jews of Europe, and gain an appreciation for 1,000 years of European Jewish culture
Community and acts of loving kindness are encouraged throughout the semester through volunteer projects and special visits to some of the following: old age homes, soup kitchens, residential hostels for developmentally disabled adults, a battered women’s shelter, an afternoon play center for severely handicapped children, Reform Movement pre-schools, synagogues and new immigrant absorption centers, and work towards improving Israel’s environment. Students learn about the special Jewish approach to giving of themselves as they engage in work projects. These visits often conclude with lively song sessions that bring joy into the lives of others. Students may receive credit from their home high schools and synagogues for their participation in this community service.
Taking standardized tests is an important aspect of preparing for college. URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) is proud to offer students the opportunity to take the PSAT, SAT, and AP Exams right at our home at Kibbutz Tzuba, and we can arrange for students to take the ACT in Jerusalem. We also offer prep courses for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests.
The PSAT will be given on the URJ Heller High campus in October. There is nothing students need to do in advance to take this. URJ Heller High is a PSAT testing center and administers the exam on campus. Exam fees will be invoiced by URJ Heller High directly to the students’ accounts and a bill sent to parents. As the results need to be sent to your high school, please make certain that you bring your home school’s test code number to Israel as well as your Social Security Number.
If you require any special accommodations, be sure to speak with your high school Guidance Counselor in advance of coming to Israel. Your Guidance Counselor will work in cooperation with College Board professionals to provide the necessary documentation.
The SAT is given in Israel on Sundays rather than during Shabbat on Saturdays. Students on the Fall semester generally take the SAT in December while students on the Spring semester generally take it in May. High school seniors who are planning to attend URJ Heller High’s Fall Semester should take theses exams before coming to Israel.
If you plan to take the SAT while in Israel: You must register for the SAT before you leave for Israel in order to make certain that there is space. You must register online through the College Board’s website. Fill out the registration form carefully, noting that you will take the test in a foreign country (there is an additional charge by the College Board for this service).
You must apply to take the exam at URJ Heller High at Kibbutz Tzuba, and register for the Saturday test date (but be advised that in Israel these tests are given only on a Sunday and no Rabbi letter is required for this arrangement.) Our testing center code is 74-423. As the results need to be sent to your home high school, make certain that you bring your high school code number and your Social Security Number to Israel. For specific answers concerning the SAT, please refer to the Educational Testing Service website.
At this time, there are no ACT testing sites in Israel. The only exception is for students who have been approved by ACT for accommodations and can take the ACT at Kibbutz Tzuba. This must be done prior to the semester in Israel.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP)
URJ Heller High is an AP testing center and exams are administered on campus in May. In accordance with AP registration policies, AP registration will now take place in November.
Fall Semester Students: a Heller High administrator will handle the registration for students who plan to take the AP exam in May. When students return to their home high school for the Spring semester, the registration will be transferred from Heller High to the home high school.
Spring Semester Students: Students taking AP courses should register for AP exams in November at their home high school. In January, the AP exam registration will be transferred from the home high school to Heller High School in Israel.
Please contact Robin Kulwin, Director of Admissions, for additional information.
NY STATE REGENTS EXAM
We know that the college preparation process is a source of much apprehension for high school students today. Our mission is to help students be successful at every stage of their entry to college life: from the application process, all the way to navigating those first years away from home. URJ Heller High staff and faculty are available to assist you in the various aspects of the college application process.
Taking standardized tests is an important aspect of preparing for college. URJ Heller High is proud to offer students the opportunity to take the PSAT, SAT, and AP Exams right at our home at Kibbutz Tzuba, and we can arrange for students to take the ACT in Jerusalem.
WORKING ON APPLICATIONS FROM ISRAEL
Our college Guidance Counselor and English teaching faculty are happy to help students with college admissions essays and are available to proofread them before submission. Our Academic Registrar will be available to advise students on the technical side of the process. In addition, any forms or essays which need to be submitted while a student is at Heller High can be faxed or scanned and emailed from our school office.
Earn College Credit
Opportunity to Earn College Credit: We are pleased to provide Heller High students with the opportunity to earn Jewish History and Hebrew college credits through Gratz College. Gratz College, in Melrose Park, PA, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the State of Israel.
There is no extra work involved. All Heller High students earn 3 semesters of credit in Jewish History Honors and 2 semesters of credit in Hebrew Honors. Gratz has reviewed the Heller High curriculum and determined these courses meet college-level criteria. Our Jewish History course has been divided the Jewish History course into 3 separate courses and students may choose to earn college credit in 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 of the courses listed below:
-JST 120: The History of Ancient Israel (3 credits)
-JST 140: Jews in Medieval Christendom and the Orbit of Islam (3 credits)
-JST 178: Israel Today – Continuity and Change in a New State (3 credits)
-Hebrew Semester I Only (3 credits)
-Hebrew Semester II Only (3 credits)
-Hebrew Semesters I and II (6 credits)
At the end of the semester, Gratz College will issue a transcript upon completion of the course or courses. This means that 10th and 11th graders who take concurrent enrollment courses for college credit will be able to submit their Gratz College transcripts as part of their college applications
Check out Gratz College/Heller High – Opportunity to Earn College Credit for more information.
“There was nothing more readying for college. Four months of living and studying independently among a radically diverse group of people in a country that challenges you… is the ultimate preparation for college.”
– Jason, Binghamton University
OUR ALUMNI HAVE GONE ON TO ATTEND THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS:
- American University
- Ben Gurion University
- Boston College
- Brandeis University
- Columbia University
- Dartmouth College
- George Washington University
- Harvard University
- Hebrew University
- New York University
- Princeton University
- Tulane University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Chicago
- University of Texas
- University of Wisconsin – Madison
- Vassar College
- Washington University
Midway through each semester, we invite parents and family members to join us in Israel for an inspiring eight day trip to visit participants, meet our faculty, and discover our unique learning environment.
The Parents’ Pilgrimage is designed for both those who are first time visitors to Israel and for those who have traveled before. Come enjoy meaningful time with your family in Israel, immerse yourself in our learning experiences, and celebrate Shabbat on Kibbutz Tzuba and at Israeli Reform synagogues.
We hope parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives and friends consider traveling to Israel to join this meaningful group experience.
The URJ Heller High Parents’ Pilgrimage is the official visitation period that has been set aside for you to visit with your children. The Parents’ Pilgrimage is a unique opportunity to experience Israel the Heller High way!
We have designed an interactive program that provides quality time with your child and an opportunity to see some of the attractions of ancient and modern Israel.
The itinerary is designed both for parents and family members who are first time travelers to Israel (there will be group and optional tours to some of the quintessential sites in Israel) and for those who have traveled to Israel before. In the past, we have welcomed not only parents of our students, but younger and older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other members of extended families. Parents have brought siblings of all ages, however, we believe that the content of the program is best suited for those at least 10 years of age.
Our staff has created a special program that will acquaint you with some of the experiences and places that will greatly impact your child during his or her semester in Israel. It is a chance for you to have a first hand experience of the integration of classroom and onsite learning which makes the program such a success. We are pleased to report that those families who have participated in the past have found it to be a very rewarding and exciting experience with their children. We strongly encourage all parents to consider traveling to Israel to join this group experience. It is a wonderful opportunity to:
–Enjoy meaningful time with your child in the Jewish Homeland
–Immerse yourself in the Heller High Learning Experience as you join specially selected classes and tiyulim (field trips)
–Meet your child’s teachers and staff
–Celebrate Shabbat on Kibbutz Tzuba and at Israeli Reform Synagogues with our students, faculty and other parents.
URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) is an intensive academic program and is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. All instruction is conducted in English with the exception of the Hebrew Ulpan (language instruction), and any other foreign language instruction.
The educational structure of Heller High includes small classes and small group tutorials ensuring that students fulfill the requirements of their home high schools while immersed in the study of the history, culture and land of Israel. At the conclusion of the program, students receive an official transcript. The staff works closely with parents and schools to plan a special curriculum that fits into every participant’s academic schedule of required courses. Heller High is an AP, PSAT, and SAT testing site.” Students can take these exams while in Israel.