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Two parents whose sons went to Naale recently spoke to Israel National News about their children's wonderful and life changing experiences.

“My son Dovey always wanted to come to Israel from the time he was a young boy he used to dream of it and read books about it and talk about it with us and beg us," says Dana Margolis, mother of Dovy. "Then we heard about Naale and he kind of pushed and we started opening up to it and thinking about it. And then COVID happened and then a lot of things changed in our life and as a family we alls tarted thinking about making aliyah,” Dana says. “Naale was just a perfect option for him.”

What is the advantage of the Naale experience for children versus visiting Israel on a vacation and seeing all the different aspects of the Jewish State and then going home after a few weeks?

“It’s the best way to connect, to live your regular life in Israel and get a structure around your life in Israel. It gives it more meaning in a way rather than seeing it as a place you come to visit and after two weeks you take off and head back,” says Jonathan Jacob, father of Avi.

He explains why he chose to send Avi to Naale: “We had spent a fair it of time in Israel, back and forth, and our son was very interested in coming to Israel, and he also pushed. We felt that he was of our four children probably the one that it made the most sense to do that for, in the sense that he was really quite an independent young man.”

Dana mentions that the staff at Naale were instrumental in her son’s positive educational and social experience.

“We were so grateful for all of the teachers and the staff and the education in particular. Coming to Israel and studying about Judaism in Israel makes it so much more real and relevant and the academics were pushing Dovy to work really hard, which is great for him, both in general studies and in their [religious day studies]. The school does a fabulous job of integrating a holistic curriculum,” Dana says.

Between classroom learning and field trips, the students receive an education they could never get from studying about Israel at a distance, she adds.

They also make lifelong friends who have come to study and experience Israel from all over the world.

“When he called us up and he had friends from Brazil and Italy and various parts of America and Canada – now these are his closes friends, he’s five years out of high school and these are by far his closes friends – it set a structure for him socially that was unparalleled,” Jonathan says.

Dana adds: “We came from Milwaukee so we didn’t have a whole lot of exposure to the big wide world out there. For him to realize that there are Jewish communities in all of these difference around the world and to see the spirit of all of them coming together in Israel to study together and to build friendships together has been so fantastic.”

Jonathan praises the Naale framework for helping Diaspora parents understand how the education system works in Israel.

“From a parental perspective, one of the most important things is we’re used to North American framework. We understand how the education process works there with a lot less familiarity in terms of how [it works in Israel], what does it mean in terms of further study, for example for army service and options prior to the army. So the Naale framework and Shaalvim specifically were fantastic in terms of helping the parents understand some of those steps,” he says.

“I was in contact with both Dovy’s rebbe and the principale of Naale almost daily. They were very responsive to any questions or concerns that I had. We met often on Zoom, and it was a real partnership,” Dana explains.

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Both families are now living in Israel after having made aliyah.

Jonathan comments about the advantage of his son having lived in Israel for several years before the rest of his family: “There’s an element of showing up the ropes but certainly that’s sort of faded.”

Dana explains that “it’s a beautiful combination. He can come home for Shabbat and he can spend time with us. We can go there, drive him back and forth. That’s a perfect outcome.”

For parents who are thinking of different options for their children – they love Israel and they hear about this program – what does they say to them?

“They have to learn more about the program and the framework and how it works. It’s a wonderful program,” Jonathan says. “It’s also important to understand your child and whether it fits his or her personality. It requires a fair degree of independence. That isn’t something available to all kids. But it also gives much independence and teaches a lot.”

Dana adds: “I believe that children have a very bright future here in Israel. If it’s something that’s right for the children, if they are independent and want to do it, really desires and wants to to it, it’s an incredible opportunity. It gave Dovy a lot and it really helped him grow up in a positive environment and to feel like he was really part of something and he has so many options open to him now going forward that he didn’t have when he was in yeshiva in the United States.”

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