What do you do if you’re a religious girl living in Panama and want to make your home in Israel?
What are your options if your family lives in Italy and you want to study with Jewish girls from all around the world?
What about if you grew up in France and don’t know any Hebrew but you really want to feel part of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel?
To all these questions, and more, the answer is: Naale Amana!
Located in the peaceful yet vibrant city of Kfar Saba, Amana is one of the most prestigious high schools for religious girls in Israel, and Naale students have been an integral part of the Amana story for the last nine years. Back in 2012 there were just 20 Naale students in Amana, but today, around 100 of the 400 girls in Amana’s high school are from the Naale program.
"Israel was like a dream to me," says Esther Capelluto, a Naale student from Italy. "When I discovered the program - I took it immediately".
“We try to mix the Naale girls with the Israelis as much as we can,” relates Rutti Binnes, Dean of Naale in Amana. “In grades nine and ten, the girls learn Hebrew in Ulpan, and by the time they reach eleventh grade, they’re studying in Hebrew and graduate a year later with a high school diploma just like anyone else.”
“We see it as the fulfilment of a prophecy to have Naale students here with us,” adds Rabbi Yossi Kahane, Amana’s rabbi and principal. “It elevates the learning here to another level entirely.”
Naale students come from all over the world to study – for free – in Amana. Sarah, from Panama, was overjoyed when her parents gave their full backing to her decision to come and study in Israel. “Even though I’m an only child, they wanted me to come,” she relates. And Amana’s staff does the utmost to make sure parents are kept completely in the loop.
“We call it the triangle,” says Rutti Binnes. “There’s us, and the parents, and the students, and it’s so important to keep the parents updated not just on the learning but on all the activities and social aspects.”
Naale students are on-campus all week but for Shabbatot and most festivals, they can spend time with Israeli families, very often at the homes of their Israeli classmates. “Israelis may be loud, but they’re super-sweet!” says Naomi from the USA.
“It’s one nation, one heart,” adds Bayla, who is from Canada. “It’s amazing to be here, to support Israel, and to be part of something that’s bigger than ourselves.”
“I always tell my friends that they should come,” Sarah adds. “I don’t know what they’re waiting for!”