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Naale Elite Academy: Building a motivated student body for lifelong friendships, academic excellence

At Naale, our screening process ensures that Diaspora teens are placed in the Naale program that best fits their social, academic, and cultural needs, creating a study abroad experience with a lifetime impact.

Naale Elite Academy participants (Courtesy)
Naale Elite Academy participants (Courtesy)

At Naale Elite Academy, we just completed this year’s first successful screening round of potential students for our program, which places Jewish teens from the Diaspora into unique Israeli schools for a life-changing, immersive educational experience.

At the end of each screening round, we find ourselves continually impressed by the brilliance, motivation, and strong character of Jewish teens all over the world who are interested in studying in Israel with Naale.

Naale offers Diaspora teens numerous educational settings in which they can reconnect with their roots, experience Israel (and Israelis!) from the inside, and learn in an environment that fosters independence, academic excellence, and personal growth.

Our thorough screening process is a critical aspect of what makes Naale such a positive and transformative experience for our participants, as it ensures we create a student body that’s driven, smart, and supportive.

Here’s what our screening process entails, what we look for in our potential students, and how that ties into the incredible environment we strive to create.

Naale Elite Academy participants (Courtesy)

We look for students who are sociable, well-rounded, serious about their studies, and have the potential to thrive when living in a new environment, several time zones away from their families.

Our team of psychologists fly to applicants’ communities and meet with each student face-to-face, gauging their levels of emotional, social, and intellectual maturity. Applicants are engaged in conversation surrounding their understanding of the commitment and challenges that accompany studying abroad.

It’s critical that students are enthusiastic about participating; at Naale, we’re looking to discover who is ready for the intense experience of adjusting to a new culture and language. The screening also includes academic and cognitive testing, group activities with other applicants, as well as one-on-one interviews with the parents of prospective students.

Thanks in large part to our customized, in-depth screening process, we’re able to bring the most dedicated students possible to the program. A staggering 95 percent of Naale students graduate, compared to 86 percent of American high schoolers and 78 percent of Israeli students for non-Naale Jewish students.

Naale participants enjoy access to trained counselors, resident advisors, “house mothers”, regular tutoring both in Hebrew and academic subjects, social workers, psychologists, and more, all of whom work as a team to ensure that our students succeed both academically and socially.

Naale Elite Academy participants (Courtesy)

Who benefits from the Naale experience? Students from 64 countries.

Students who are interested in the adventure of a lifetime, are curious about life in Israel, and who love to learn both in the classroom and in the context of the wider world around them will thrive at Naale. The program is perfect for teens who are ready to face the challenges of mastering a new language and connecting with their fellow students from a rich array of different countries and backgrounds.

Naale offers a number of school options for students, depending on their level of religious observance, primary language, and academic interests. There are both coed and single gender schools in the Naale network, along with focus-specific schools such as Earth Sciences and technology-based programs.

Our participants’ reasons for joining Naale are as wonderfully diverse as the student body itself. Some apply because they’re looking for a meaningful Jewish high school experience that won’t break the bank (Naale is a fully subsidized program). Others are intrigued by the opportunity to live and study alongside other Diaspora teens from 64 countries around the globe.

“I chose Naale because I wanted to connect to my Judaism in Israel, but my family was not ready to make Aliyah,” says Naomi Cohen, originally from Chicago. “What’s special about Naale is the bond you make with the kids in your class. You’re all going through the same thing, you’re all there for each other, and you feel like you have a family in Israel.”

Cultural diversity for lifelong enrichment

With students from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, Naale participants receive unique insight and perspective into Diaspora communities, traditions, foods, and cultures. As a program composed of teens from across the globe, students share unique customs and an insiders’ view into their homelands, while bonding over the shared Jewish heritage that unites them.

Naale Elite Academy participants (Courtesy)

Naale’s strength comes from its vibrancy and diversity. Students gain critical exposure to other cultures, while simultaneously strengthening their own Jewish identities. Even students from large cosmopolitan cities cite the ability to connect to and befriend Diaspora teens from around the world as one of their favorite aspects of participating in Naale.

What success at Naale looks like

Academic success at Naale means that students leverage all their support and resources at their disposal to vigorously pursue their studies, apply themselves, and graduate from the program with an internationally-recognized high school diploma and strong Hebrew skills.

But there’s another important aspect to success for students at Naale: growing into the best versions of themselves. For different students, that could mean forming lifelong friendships and connections, strengthening their social skills, solidifying their Jewish identities, or becoming comfortable in their own skin.

We’re proud of the positive transformations our students undergo during their time at Naale, as they learn critical skills that will serve them throughout adulthood. If Naale seems like a great fit for your teen, you can learn more about the application process here.

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