The safety and security of URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) students is our number one priority, and we thank parents for entrusting their children to our care. We look forward to providing a safe, challenging and enjoyable learning experience in Israel. Heller High has always been very cautious and conservative. The information is subject to change as security situations in Israel warrant. Parents will be updated by email throughout the semester regarding schedule changes and additional security precautions. Flexibility is required from students, parents, and staff, as schedule changes are inevitable. Infractions of the security procedures will be viewed most seriously. The staff at Kibbutz Tzuba and in the US are continually available to answer any questions that you may have.
- Itineraries are reviewed on a daily basis to determine if the route and destination provide the highest level of safety. We are always prepared to make changes in our itinerary if need be
- Our staff consults daily with the Security Department of the Jewish Agency for Israel, who are in constant contact with the government, police and military authorities
- We do not travel through Palestinian controlled areas of the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip
- Public transportation is never used; we use only our own Heller High chartered buses
- An Israeli security guard travels with each group when required by the Situation Room
- Our staff are reachable 24 hours a day in case of an emergency
- All students and parents sign the B’rit Kehillah “Heller High Code of Conduct” expressing their willingness to abide by all rules, regulations, and safety guidelines
- Our staff and participants receive a thorough orientation regarding expectations for appropriate behavior and safety and security procedures and protocols
- We have contingency plans to move groups to safety or bring groups home if necessary
Heller High faculty is made up of many qualified and experienced instructors, including subject specific coordinators. The program employs madrichim (counselors) who live and work directly with the students. Learn more about our staff and faculty.
All madrichim have obtained a college degree or have finished army service in Israel. There are 15 students per madrich. The Jerusalem staff works in tandem with the staff in the United States and the Director of the URJ Camp & Israel Programs.
Within Israel, participants travel only on private coach buses and do not travel in or near the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Participants travel to the Kotel (Western Wall) and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem only under the direct supervision of Heller High faculty and staff. Students are allowed to take inter-city buses with the approval and coordination of the staff.
Participants travel to and from Israel on airlines that provide appropriate safety and security. Heller High has an understanding with the Government of Israel to ensure that our students have priority on flights from Israel if required. Contingency plans are in place (as they have been for many years) to either relocate the group in Israel or to bring them home if the need should arise.
Disciplinary action is not arbitrary and an attempt is made to be progressive in our approach. However, specific activities such as, but not limited to: security infractions; the possession or use of drugs, nicotine or alcohol; unexcused absence from the program; violation of curfew; acts threatening to other participants; possession of a knife or any other item that can be construed as a weapon; destruction of property; and theft are considered dangerous enough to warrant expulsion. Security infractions on the part of the participants will not be tolerated and can lead to expulsion.
Students are encouraged to keep their personal items with them at all times. Unaccompanied items in Israel are considered “suspicious objects” by security authorities and are dealt with accordingly. Students are also encouraged to be alert and to pay attention to what is happening around them. Participants should not divulge information about who they are and their itineraries to strangers, regardless of how attractive they may be. Visitors are not permitted to stay overnight in kibbutz dorm rooms with our students. Visiting family members may reserve guest rooms at the kibbutz guesthouse.