With a history of educational excellence as a Study in Israel program spanning 30 years, Naale Elite Academy’s academic reputation precedes it.
Founded in 1992 it has brought some 19,000 Jewish teens from countries all over the world to study in the best boarding high schools in Israel on full three and four year scholarships.
It is also well known that Naale’s academic program provides world-class Jewish and Zionist education, as well as outstanding general studies programs and an internationally-recognized high school diploma upon matriculation.
And it goes without saying almost, that its unique Study in Israel program connects young Jews from around the world to their Jewish roots, making it one of the best high schools for study in Israel in English programs.
But here are three things that you might not know about Naale Elite Academy at some of the best high schools:
STUDY IN ISRAEL – TRIPS, TRAVEL AND TENTS!
Trips and tents as part of the best high school in Israel experience? Of course!
At Naale, school trips and field trips are an integral part of the program and are what makes the Study in Israel educational program one of the best there is. The trips strengthen the connections between students—both amongst Naale students as well as with their fellow Israeli classmates at the various youth villages and builds the students’ self-confidence and sense of independence.
There are three class trips a year–minimum.
“Basically we try to provide the kids with as many field trips as possible,” said Rachel Peretz, Naale coordinator at the Ayanot Jewish boarding school in Israel.
“These are Tiyulim (treks),” said Peretz. “You carry your own backpack, cook your own meals and sleep in a tent. You go as a group, and it gives you the chance to push yourself to do things you wouldn’t normally do, and experience things you wouldn’t experience on your own. And add to that that you are doing all this with your friends—it really makes your friendship bonds stronger. You learn how to overcome your own challenges. Those are our kind of trips.”
Beside the Naale trips, the boarding schools have all-school trips as well, some are one day affairs, while others are also sleep-outside-in-the –tents trips of several days.
“We never sleep in youth hostels,” said Peretz. “Living in a boarding school is a bit like a hostel so we take our students out in tents to the field.”
Over the three or four years of study at some of the best boarding high schools in Israel, Naale students experience the whole width and breadth of Israel—so many sites packed into one little country: from Eilat, the Dead Sea and Masada in the south to the Galilee, Mount Hermon and the Golan in the north. And of course, Jerusalem in between.
After the corona pandemic years, they managed to get the students to all those places in one year, said Peretz. It was extremely important to them that this aspect of the study in Israel program not be lost because of the pandemic, she said.
“We slept outside a lot this year!” she laughed. “These trips help the students bond and really get to know Israel through their own feet; to become an Israeli.”
Naturally, the students take on responsibility according to age, and in the first year the staff normally plans and prepares the trip but by the time the students reach 12th grade, they are practically planning the excursions on their own (with adult supervision and consultations), mapping out the trip, and planning the meals.
Sometimes the first time someone goes to sleep in a tent there can be some concerns, admitted Peretz, but after that first hurdle the students look forward to the next trips with anticipation.
“Your friends and the staff encourage you along the way, and no one leaves you behind,” she said, even climbing mountains. “Everyone gives a hand to make sure you reach the top and it is a feeling you can’t imagine. It is a feeling like no other when you reach the top and you feel like you can do anything.”
ALEF, BET, GIMMEL—LEARNING HEBREW IN THE BEST HIGH SCHOOLS
Hebrew—the ancient language of the Jews revived by Eliezer Ben Yehuda. Naale students study in Israel—in Hebrew.
Of course the first year is spent intensively learning Hebrew, in group lessons according to Hebrew knowledge level ranging from those who know little or no Hebrew, to those who have some background in the language.
It is a real immersive experience, and by the end of the first year of study in Israel students are able to conduct their daily life in Hebrew. But there are always tutors and staff available to help—including also the Israeli students at the boarding school who are eager to lend a helping hand to the Naale students.
“There are many opportunities to use the language and thank goodness for Google translate these days, which is really helpful at least at the beginning and everyone uses that,” said Peretz. “But with all the activities and school field trips, and studying in Hebrew, you really learn the language quickly and you gain more confidence in speaking Hebrew. Even if you make mistakes, no one makes fun of you and everyone encourages you and helps you.”
Also living with Israeli students on campus, joining them in after-school activities, helps the Naale students to become immersed in the Study in Israel experience, making it easier and faster to learn Hebrew, she said. Nonetheless, Naale students are given some reasonable adjustments or accommodations such as extra time when taking their matriculation exam.
Naale students are given some reasonable adjustments or accommodations such as extra time.
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU—MAKING FRIENDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
At Ayanot there are students from some 20 different countries—from Japan in the east to the US in the west and everything in between, noted Peretz, and the situation is very similar in the Naale’s other study in Israel programs.
“When you arrive to your Naale boarding school in Israel there are a lot of other kids who are just like you going through the very same experiences, who have the same concerns as you,” said Peretz. “You are a part of something and don’t feel like a stranger.”
In addition to sharing the same experience of adjusting to a new environment, new school, new language and new people with young people from around the world, the Naale staff works hard to build a bonding relationship among the students, said Peretz. Students get to know each other and respect each other and after three or four years of studying in Israel together, they truly become like a family, she said.
Moreover, she said, the Israeli students at the Naale boarding schools in Israel every year eagerly await the arrival of the Naale students to welcome them and show them around.
“They want to make the Naale students feel at home. It is a very family-like atmosphere,” she said. “The experience of Naale is so strong that the kids who are with you become like more than family. There is always someone in the next room or down the hall who is ready to encourage you if you get homesick or bring you tea if you don’t feel well.”
During the year, students who have family in Israel bring their Naale friends with them on visits, and during semester breaks and over the summer vacations, students host one another in their homes.
“You can’t imagine what a strong connection is created during the three or four years of study in Israel at Naale and how close those friendships are—stronger than any other friendships,” said Peretz.