Those teens have a virtual cornucopia of choices to choose from: the number of seminaries, yeshivas, and national-service/learning programs that exist in Israel increase every year, yet some still cannot find a program tailored to meet their needs. Some teens may not want to spend the entire day learning Torah, while others may want fully-accredited courses to transfer over to schools back home. In response to this need, NCSY and Bar-Ilan University will offer a new and unique co-ed program for those students, “Israel Experience,” which will combine classes in one of Israel’s top universities with an extracurricular program incorporating popular NCSY style trips and activities.
Rabbi Steven Burg, International Director of NCSY, declared, “When Bar-Ilan approached NCSY to discuss a jointly-run program for North American teens, I knew that many NCSY members would benefit from its unique aspects. There’s a real need for a post-high school university program in Israel under Orthodox auspices, and NCSY is proud to help fill that need.”
Rabbi Ari Kahn, Director of Foreign Student Programs at Bar-Ilan, explained, “My first choice for this partnership was the Orthodox Union. It is one of the largest, most influential organizations on the American Jewish scene today.”
Rabbi Tully Bryks, currently the NCSY Director of the South Florida Region, will make aliyah this summer and serve as the Director and Dean of the program. Rabbi Burg said of Rabbi Bryks, “He has a powerful combination of creative talents and a warm personality which has drawn thousands of students to him.”
Rabbi Bryks stated, “This program is a great opportunity for those students who wish to continue their academic pursuits in a university but also have a strong desire to explore their Jewish roots and connect to their homeland. I am pleased to be a part of this initiative as these students make their mark on the Jewish people.”
Participants in the “Israel Experience” program will have a complete university experience studying in Bar-Ilan, a world-respected institution located in Ramat Gan, just outside of Tel Aviv, where they can take classes taught strictly in English or combine English courses with Hebrew-taught classes. Credits earned at Bar-Ilan will be easily transferable back home in American colleges. Participants will live in student dorms on campus; have a choice of internships and participating in community service activities; and participate in NCSY Shabbatons and trips throughout the school year.
Bar-Ilan is ranked among the top universities in the world. It houses the Middle East’s largest English-language library; over 30,000 students from countries across the world; a large Jewish Studies curriculum with over 1,500 different courses; and of course, the added benefit of being in Israel.
Participants in Israel Experience will go on trips and Shabbatons throughout the school year. The trips will range from historical and religious sites, and include activities such as skiing, ATVing, camel riding, and rappelling. “As we explore Israel and enjoy these activities, we’re also going to be learning about the Jewish significance behind each location we visit. This will truly help make the year in Israel a living experience,” explained Rabbi Bryk.
“Israel Experience” is limited to 100 students, and while there is rolling admission, the program is already 60 percent filled.
The cost will be $18-20,000, comparable to the current tuition rate of Israeli seminaries and yeshivas and less than half the price of a year’s tuition at most American private universities. Financial aid is available to those who qualify; there will be both need-based and academic-based grants, as well as an early registration discount.
For more information on financial aid and details about program components, visit Israelxp.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.