All around the world, parents and Jewish teens seek to balance the need for an affordable quality education and the desire for Jewish expression. Jewish parents look for ways to provide their children with a solid Jewish identity and a quality education.
For many, the cost of full-time Jewish education is prohibitive, yet a public school education comes at the expense of the social discomfort. For many families, Jewish education is relegated to bar/bat mitzvah lessons, with the need for a solid academic foundation taking priority. Developing and maintaining a strong sense of Jewish identity becomes a challenge for many teens and young adults.
Looking beyond the traditional options can hold the answer to all their needs.
For some 1,600 Jewish students, the solution to this ever-common dilemma has an address. Though radical, these families have decided to invest in a non-traditional way, giving their children the adventure of a lifetime and sending them to high school boarding programs in Israel.
For Ryan Frank, of Los Angeles, and hundreds of his American peers enrolled in Naale Elite Academy’s 25 schools, they found the perfect fit. Naale’s programs provide both an affordable education and great Jewish atmosphere. The tracks offer independent teens in 9th through 12th grade a top-notch Jewish education with a full scholarship - in Israel.
Ryan Frank of Los Angeles is having the adventure of a lifetime completing his high school education in the unique Naale Elite Academy program in Israel. While attending boarding school in Israel might seem like a radical approach at first, Frank explained that for him and his family it was the perfect solution to a common problem.
“My family obviously misses me but they are very happy that I got this chance in my life,” Frank said. Though he had never been to Israel prior to enrolling in Naale, he was driven by a desire to visit. “I heard about the good education so it seems like a great idea,” said Frank, who is attending Mosenson in Central Israel. “This is the greatest thing that ever happened in my life. I can't recommend it enough.”
Naale Elite Academy runs specialized tracks include secular and religious programs, an intensive level science and art programs, as well as separate groups for students from predominantly English, French, Spanish and Russian speaking backgrounds. While on the program, students are supported by a whole network of professional assistance, including dorm counselors, social workers, language specialists, psychologists and of course dedicated teachers.
Students take the internationally recognized Israeli high school matriculation exam, the Bagrut. While students are given assistance if they wish to make Aliyah after completing Naale, eventual Aliyah is not a requirement of the program. Although it is a 3 or 4 year course, completing all four years at Naale Elite Academy is not mandatory. Students are free to transfer back to their home countries at any point in time. The Naale full scholarship covers all tuition fees, full board in the on campus boarding school, health insurance, extracurricular activities, trips and excursions, and initial flight to Israel. (Limited registration and acceptance fees to do apply.)
Laurie Green, 17, of East Brunswick, NJ, is overjoyed to be part of Naale Elite Academy program Amana. She “I love the connections with friends that you make here,” she explained. “Both with the other Naale girls and the Israeli girls.”
“I remember that even when it’s hard, it’s still worth being here at the end,” Green added,
The Naale program offers students many special memories. For Green, she treasures the fun and memorable experiences. A favorite: “We went on a trip to Ein Gedi. We saw the waterfalls, went to Masada and got to ride on camels. Then we slept all together in a Bedouin tent in the desert. It made amazing memories,” she said.
To overcome the challenges of mounting tuition costs of Jewish schools, more and more Jewish teens are discovering that Naale Elite Academy is holds the solution to all their problems, with the added benefit of gaining meaningful lifelong experiences, independence and skills. In the meantime, hundreds of Jewish students like Frank and Green are having the greatest time!