• Inside and Outside the Hebrew Classroom With Sima

    By Jon Ramsay 10/23/18 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.  As part of a Heller High education, every student takes an intensive Hebrew course that immerses them […]


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  • Outside the Classroom With Evan and David

    In Judaism, tombs are lessons and graves are meant to teach us about life. They are to be visited and reflected on. And that is exactly why parents and students traveled to Galil, the north of Israel, to visit an ancient Jewish necropolis from 200 CE, Beit She’Arim. This tiyul, or field trip, was aimed at continuing the classroom Jewish History study of Oral Law and the Mishnah that Evan and David had started with Heller High earlier in the week.


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  • Inside the Jewish History Classroom With Evan and Talia

    What hits you first is the noise. This is not a quiet classroom. This is not a lecture hall. No one sits back or fades away - there just isn’t a chance to. A Heller High Jewish History class is a kinetic, active, participatory space where students and teachers respond to each other with enthusiasm and equal power, taking individual responsibility for learning but also working together as a cohesive unit towards a common goal of study.


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  • Getting There

    When you have a 10 hour, 15 minute flight ahead of you, there’s a natural concern about who you’ll share an aisle with. Will they make your trip feel like it’s 16 hours or 2? The entire span of human variety is wide open as you anxiously wait to see who you’re stuck or blessed with.


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  • More Than Just Sweetness

    Growing up, I was always taught to love Israel. Looking back, my early love might have had something to do with sugar being involved whenever we were learning about Israel. In Shabbaton we made sugar-cookie and frosting maps of Israel; friends would come back from Israel with pop-rocks crackling chocolate; and some of the first words I learned in Hebrew were “glidah” (ice cream) and “oogah” (cake).


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  • Meet the Fall 2018 Madrichim

    With less than one week to go until the departure of Fall 2018, our staff in Israel are hard at work getting ready for the arrival of our newest students. Three of those staff are our wonderful Fall 2018 Madrichim (counselors)--Nitzan, Mili, and Omri. Our Heller High Madrichim play a crucial role in the success of a semester. They are the staff who interact the most with our students--planning programs, accompanying them on all trips, and serving as mentors and advisors to them during their four months in Israel.


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  • School’s Out For Summer

    On June 1, the Spring 2018 semester of Heller High came to a close. The students have returned, and the final transcripts have been sent; summer is here and school is out! So what does the Heller High staff do now?


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  • Life Over Death

    The first thing I saw this morning was  lichen [slow-growing plants] growing on a tombstone in what was once a thriving Jewish shtetl in Poland, a true Kehillah Kedoshah, Tykocin.


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  • “An Unforgettable Experience”- the Spring 2018 Parents’ Pilgrimage

    Last week, 90 travelers returned from the most recent Heller High “Parents’ Pilgrimage.” Each semester, family members of our students are invited to join the program in Israel for a unique and inspiring ten-day trip.


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  • Unexpected Shabbat Encounters

    As Shabbat approaches, I want to share with you an exceptional experience we had last week at Kibbutz Tzuba. On Shabbat morning, we were joined by Daryl Messinger, Board Chair of the URJ and her husband, Jim Heeger, who is also deeply involved in Jewish communal leadership. It is not every week that we are joined by such distinguished guests!


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