Leo Baeck Leadership Corps / Scholarship to Israel
What is URJ Heller High?
Since 1961 more than a thousand high school sophomores, juniors or seniors have participated in the URJ Heller High (formerly North American Federation of Temple Youth Eisendrath Israel Exchange NFTY-EIE), an extraordinary semester in Israel for North American Reform Jewish youth. The purpose of Heller High is to provide an opportunity for outstanding high school students to spend a semester in Israel under the sponsorship of the Reform Movement. The experience is intended to develop young leadership and to increase Jewish knowledge and commitment to Jewish life and learning. Students in Heller High immerse themselves in study and in experiencing the Land of Israel and its cultures and people during the Spring Semester (January – June) or during the Fall Semester (August – December). Students are immersed in Hebrew Language via Ulpan and also attend fully accredited General Studies Courses whose credits transfer to their regular high school back home.
Heller High has evolved from a host-family model in the major cities of Israel to a kibbutz residency program at Kibbutz Tzuba in the Judean Hills outside of Jerusalem. Heller High also features many group experiences, such as a week-long Poland trip, hiking expeditions in the Negev Desert and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee and also “Gadna” (IDF training camp) where students can interact with their Israeli peers.
What is the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps?
The Leo Baeck Leadership Corps (Gar'in Leo Baeck) will (1) support outstanding Beth Emet youth who are attending Heller High to develop increased Jewish identity, strong leadership skills, and greater Jewish commitment; and (2) build a community of young Jewish leaders at Beth Emet who, upon returning from Heller High, will make meaningful contributions to Beth Emet and the Jewish community.
Who can participate in the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps?
The Leo Baeck Leadership Corps is open to students who commit to developing their leadership potential while in Israel and returning to share their skills and experiences at Beth Emet. Participation is open to any eligible Beth Emet high school student who has been accepted to attend or has an application pending to Heller High and who successfully completes the Leadership Corps application and interview. Members selected for the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps may receive a financial award from the Leo Baeck Scholarship Fund from the Beth Emet Foundation. In 5771 Beth Emet sent two students to the program - Itay Solomon and Yonah London - who spent their spring semester in Israel.
What are the privileges and responsibilities of the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps?
Students accepted as part of the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps will:
- Represent Beth Emet in both formal and informal leadership roles at Heller High and at Beth Emet.
- Participate at Heller High with other Corps members in leadership training and activities as identified by Beth Emet.
- Identify and explore a chosen area of leadership study during their time in Israel.
- Prepare and implement, in consultation with the Youth Director, a program of activity in their area of leadership study during the year following their return to Beth Emet.
- Write a personal reflection upon the conclusion of their service experience at Beth Emet.
What is the application process? When is the application deadline?
All applicants to the Leo Baeck Scholarship must first complete the Heller High application process. After submitting the Heller High application to URJ, Beth Emet members must download, complete, and return the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps application packet:
Download LBLC General Information
Download LBLC Application Instructions
Download LBLC Application
Interested students must submit a fully completed application. Applications which are incomplete, hard to read, late, or completed by anyone other than the applicant will not be advanced to the interview stage.
What is the selection process?
A personal interview will be conducted by the Beth Emet Leo Baeck Committee with applicants who (1) submit fully completed and legible applications by the deadline and (2) possess a record of service and leadership making them serious contenders for membership in the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps. The purpose of the interview is for the Committee to meet the applicant, to insure membership in LBLC is appropriate, and to explore future leadership possibilities within Beth Emet upon the applicant’s return from Heller High.
What if I am not part of the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps? Can I still go on Heller High?
Participation in the Heller High program does NOT depend on participating in the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps. All Heller High participants remain valued Beth Emet representatives in the program and will be invited to share their experiences with the congregation and prospective Heller High participants.
Do I receive any financial assistance?
Members selected for the Leo Baeck Leadership Corps may receive a financial award from the Leo Baeck Scholarship Fund at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue. Receipt of funds is contingent upon acceptance to the program and upon the annual allocation of funds for the LBLC from the Beth Emet Foundation. Failure to complete the program will necessitate repayment of the scholarship.
What other financial assistance is available to me?
All Heller High applicants may apply for additional financial assistance from Beth Emet. Other merit scholarships and financial need-based assistance are available through URJ and the Jewish Federation. Contact the Rabbi’s Office or call 847-869-4230 ext. 306 for details.
Where can I get more information?
Contact the Beth Emet office or call 847-869-4230 at ext. 301 for more details.