• Experiencing Purim in Tel Aviv

    On our bus ride to Tel Aviv, the excitement was tangible. All of us were all dressed in costumes and looking forward to the Purim experience in Israel. Since Israelis had already been wearing costumes the entire week leading up to the holiday, we knew that it was going to be a completely different experience than any Purim from back home.


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  • Women of the Wall

    Religious Freedom in Judaism

    It is written in the Tanakh that Jews are meant to spend the month of Adar in celebration. During Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the month, the Women of the Wall (a female-run Jewish organization fighting for the right to pray and read from the Torah at the Western Wall) celebrate by congregating at the Western Wall. They pray, sing, and dance to welcome the new month. It is believed by Orthodox Jews that it isn’t kosher to hear a woman sing. Because of this, the Women of the Wall are often called harassed and called names by those who disagree with their cause.


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  • The Sages of Lublin Yeshiva

    Poland Pilgrimage

    Our day began at the esteemed Sages of the Lublin Yeshiva. During its time (1930-1940), it was one of the most prestigious and competitive yeshivot in the world. Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the leader of the yeshiva, trained the elite to become knowledgeable and personable educators of Torah. The learning center was in Lublin because it was the center of Torah scholarship in Europe at the time.


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  • What Our Spring 2019 Parents Said

    Last week, the Spring 2019 semester of URJ Heller High returned from four incredible months in Israel. As our students returned to their homes across North America, we heard so many beautiful words of reflection from their parents. Below is a sampling of what the parents of Spring 2019 had to say. “Words are not […]


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  • Summer on the Road

    It’s that time of year again: grades are in, transcripts are done, and the classrooms at Kibbutz Tzuba are quiet. But the summer is still eventful and fully packed for our senior staff, some of whom will be working with our partner program, NFTY in Israel. In addition, Rabbi Loren Sykes (school principal) and David […]


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  • 4 Ways a Semester in Israel Prepared My Daughter for Life

    By Susan Morrel, RJE This blog post originally appeared on ReformJudaism.org Just after Passover last year, my daughter, Shaina, a student at URJ Heller High at the time, returned from her home-stay with an Israeli family. Shaina described how she and the other teens stayed up late and talked about their plans after high school. The Israelis’ discussion of […]


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  • Echoes of Auschwitz: a Poem by Adrian Ellett

    Echoes of Auschwitz By Adrian Ellett, 11th grade, Weymouth, MA Desperately I search For something to connect the words to Some meaning to be gained Some answer “Work will set you free” They stand hollow And meaningless in their irony And hollow too stands this place itself You would think might throng with souls Those […]


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  • 15 Students and Parents Tell Us About the Fall Semester

    Being here on this program has been the best experience of my life, and the lessons I have learned here will be ones I carry with me throughout the rest of my life. I have learned independence, time management, self-advocacy, confidence, endurance, and more. The education I’ve received about Israel has made me feel even […]


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  • Two Ways to Teach the Holocaust

    By Jon Ramsay 11/20/18 This blog post is part of a featured series by writer Jon Ramsay, friend of URJ Heller High. This series was written during a ten-day trip alongside the students of the Fall 2018 semester.  There are two separate strategies to educate high school students on the complicated tragedy of the Holocaust. […]


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  • $1,000 Discount Announced for Fall 2019

    The Fall semester of this program presents a unique opportunity for students: they get to celebrate High Holidays and Hanukkah together; build a very close, tight-knit community; and experience the beauty of autumn in Israel as they hike, climb, swim and explore.


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