• Just Like Me: Meeting Israeli Students from Brenner High School

    Nobody said that moving halfway across the world for four months would be easy. During my first couple weeks at URJ Heller High, the new challenges that I faced forced me to mature and reach out of my comfort zone. Adapting to such a unique environment can be a difficult task for some, but the opportunities that the program provides make it easier for us to adjust to our new home. One of these opportunities was our trip to visit Israeli students at Brenner High School.


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  • Who Are the Students of Spring ’19?

    Yesterday, seventy-six North American high schoolers landed at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv to begin the Spring 2019 semester of URJ Heller High.


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  • 10 Fun Facts about the Spring 2019 Madrichim

    Spring 2019 departs in just a few days, and our staff in Israel are hard at work getting ready for the arrival of our newest students. Six of those staff are our wonderful  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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  • Jew is Right? (Part 2 of 2)

    After hearing from Rabbi Yehoshua, we met Rabbi Noa, a Reform rabbi who works at the Israel Religious Action Center, much like the RAC in Washington. She was born to a secular family who raised her with strong values based in social action. This led her to work her way to become the head of the Jerusalem Open House-LGBTQ+ Center. She also works to connect Jewish and Palestinian students in order to better relations.


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  • Jew Is Right? (Part One of Two)

    With the promise of breakfast in the Zula (student lounge) due to Israel's municipal election day, and Jewish History class in the Belmont lecture hall, we all got up excited and interested to see how class that day would go. As we all got seated in the Belmont (lobby of Tzuba Hotel), we discussed our expectations for the day.


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  • Inside and Outside the Hebrew Classroom With Sima

    As part of a Heller High education, every student takes an intensive Hebrew course that immerses them in the culture and society of Israel through its dominant language. The last time I took Hebrew was probably 15 years ago - so I thought for my own safety it would be best to attend a beginner level of study. The teacher today was the smiley, lighthearted Sima - a woman with tremendous patience, energy, and humor, and a long time veteran of Heller High. The day’s assignment for the 6 students in this class was to successfully order coffee in Hebrew.


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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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