URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE) offers a fully accredited summer semester which - despite its relatively short duration - maintains the integrity, spirit and high academic standards of the full semester program and focuses exclusively on Jewish History, Hebrew and Jewish skills, without the need for added general studies courses from the students’ home schools. The summer semester in Israel is a meaningful and challenging six week program designed especially for highly motivated teens looking for deeper insight into Israel, Jewish Identity and themselves.
Based at our campus at Kibbutz Tzuba, Heller High offers an opportunity for study intertwined with a fun, exciting summer in Israel. The curriculum is based on the continuity of the Jewish people by following a path through Jewish history in the Land of Israel. Throughout the summer, you will be thoroughly acquainted with the history of the Jewish people, its culture, and its land. 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. Utilizing informal education techniques, you will witness the flow of Jewish history by learning, touring, and experiencing all that Israel has to offer.
The Heller High Summer Session (2017 Heller High Calendar) is approximately six weeks, with 26 days of touring, during which you'll get to see all parts of Israel, from the Golan in the North to Eilat in the South. Trips include special visits to Kibbutz Yahel and/or Lotan in the Arava Desert, Tel Aviv, a weekend in the Galilee, plus all the classical sites such as the Old City of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, Masada and Tsfat. In addition, we also visit sites associated with rise of Christianity and Islam in the area. For those with no prior knowledge of Hebrew the program provides an ideal opportunity to get a working knowledge of conversational Hebrew while those with a more solid basis can take huge strides in their ability to communicate.
You will live the epic story of the journey of the Jewish people. Together with NFTY friends from all over North America, you will participate in an intensive learning environment designed to maximize exposure to all aspects of our land and our people. Heller High strives to create a holy Jewish community in which all participants feel a sense of belonging, friendship, safety, and purpose. This sense of community is evident when we go out on “tikun olam” (repairing the world) projects, which may involve such activities as working with disadvantaged youth or helping prepare meals in a soup kitchen. Another essential part of the experience is “t’filla” (worship) which is integrated into the program in a way that makes it an extension of the normal daily routine.
The summer curriculum bases its program on the continuity of the Jewish people by following a path through Jewish history in the Land of Israel. Throughout the summer, our goal is to thoroughly acquaint participants with the history of the Jewish people, its culture, and its land. 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. Utilizing informal education techniques, students witness the flow of Jewish history in a "hands on" manner.
Participants experience the epic story of the journey of the Jewish people. Together with NFTY friends from all over North America, they will participate in an intensive learning environment designed to maximize exposure to all aspects of our land and our people. The six-week program includes Hebrew Ulpan, an intensive Jewish History course that includes touring to enhance the lessons, as well as fun touring and meeting with Israeli teens.
General Studies, Jewish History, and Hebrew
18 weeks of learning and extensive touring
Includes Gadna and Sea to Sea
Includes trip to Poland
Alternative to home school experience
Focus only on Jewish History and Hebrew
6 Weeks of learning and extensive touring
Northern experience with hiking and swimming
Group stays in Israel
More leisure time
Complement to home school experience.
- Participating in a live archaeological dig at Beit Guvrin National Park
- Floating in the Dead Sea
- Snorkeling in the Red Sea
- Kayaking on the Jordan River
- Visits to Mediterranean beaches
- Riding camels and extensive hiking in the Negev Desert
- Kikar Rabin – this square, in central Tel Aviv, continues to serves as both a reminder of fanaticism, and a symbol of hope for the future of
- Peace in the region. As participants hear the story of Yitzhak Rabin z"l, they will look out over the square that continues to be the site for new rallies
- Hands-on volunteering as part of a mitzvah project such as Yad L'Kashish (the lifeline for the elderly) or Project Leket (picking fruit or vegetables for the needy) to implement Reform Jewish ideals of Tikkun Olam
- Tree Planting – each group will plant a tree in a JNF (KKL) forest to symbolize our commitment to the future, the Land of Israel, and the growth of the Jewish people.
- Bedouin hospitality in the Negev Desert, where participants get to enjoy a Bedouin Hafla (feast) and sleep in a Bedoin tent under the stars
- Biblical Cooking in order to get the flavors and tastes of the Land of Israel preparing their own meal.
- Cultural activities, such as visiting The Museum of the Blind - an interactive experience that teaches participants about the challenges facing alternatively-abled Israelis
- Free evenings (supervised) in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
Daily - Each day the group participates in blessings before and after meals (motzei and birkat hamazon). Each evening, madrichim plan a ma'amad, a spiritual reflection on the day's events. This may include original readings, poems, or songs. Every day will include "Jewish Moments" that are integrated throughout the program while touring at sites, on the bus, or in hotels. In addition, groups may also have a more formal daily tfilla (shacharit or ma'ariv).
Shabbat – Every week NFTY in Israel brings in Shabbat with song, tfilla, and joy. Including a festive Erev Shabbat meal, t'filla, and oneg Shabbat, participants are encouraged to find new ways to experience Judaism. On Shabbat, text study is included with tfilla, allowing participants to find modern meaning in ancient words. At the close of Shabbat, NFTY in Israel concludes with Havdallah and an introduction to the week ahead.
The program enables and fosters individual growth, with the students learning to live in a dorm environment (and making lifelong friendships in the process) while being challenged intellectually by a superb teaching staff. It is also a time for self-examination, with students’ beliefs and identities being challenged not only by the academic curriculum, but also by co-curricular activities such as “Kishrei Noar” – a meeting with Israeli peers which will examine the factors which bond and divide Jewish communities in different countries.
Students will explore Israel from the comfort of the school’s regular base – Kibbutz Tzuba – nestled in the beauty of the Judean Hills. The comfortable rooms include a full bathroom, kitchenette, air conditioning and cable TV, and the students have access to a swimming pool and basketball and tennis courts.
A Sample Academic Day
9:00AM Hebrew Ulpan
10:30AM Jewish History Class
2:00PM Time at the Kibbutz Pool
4:00PM Jewish History Class
Eve Program with Counselors
11:30PM Lilah Tov! (Good Night!)
A Sample Tiyul (Field Trip) Day
8:00AM Depart for Old City
9:00AM Visit Southern Wall Excavation
10:30AM Visit the Kotel
1:00PM Lunch in the Jewish Quarter
2:00PM Visit the Israel Museum and Dead Sea Scrolls
4:00PM Return to Tzuba
Eve Israeli Movie Night
Each student who successfully completes the Heller High Summer Semester will receive an official transcript from the program with the following credits:
- 2 semesters (one year) of Jewish History/Social Science for the "Israel: Land, Culture and People" class
- 1 semester of Hebrew Ulpan
- 1 semester of Physical Education
Of course, like in any reputable high school, credit will only be given to those who meet the rigorous academic criteria of the program. Only those who are fully willing to take on the academic demands of the program will be accepted.
Some schools integrate Heller High courses and grades into their own transcripts, while others attach our transcripts to their own. In both cases, colleges view very favorably the fact that our graduates have spent time studying in-depth courses in a foreign country.