What is the housing like throughout the year?
Participants will live independently in apartments with a mix of Israeli and American peers. This independent living environment will encourage mature decision-making, and introduce participants to layers of Israeli society they would not have the opportunity to experience living in a dormitory. Participants will develop life skills that will serve them well in Israel and in life beyond the program!
Participants will be familiar residents of the Rehavia/Beit Shmuel neighborhood, frequenting shops and shopping in the local markets. Participants receive a stipend for their food, keep a kitchen that meets the needs of each participant in the apartment, and share responsibility for cooking meals with their roommates. Back to top
I am observant. Will this program meet my needs?
The program is designed as a pluralistic experience. Observant participants will be able to comfortably live a fully observant life on the program. However, all students will engage and in some cases live with peers who practice their Judaism differently. We encourage these encounters. Our staff is constantly supervising the participant community, and is always available to ensure that our participants’ needs are met. Back to top
Does the program observe kashrut?
Any food served in public forums by the program is strictly kosher. Each individual apartment is under the discretion of its residents, after a facilitated decision-making process guided by our staff at the beginning of the program. When participants are out on their own, Kashrut is not enforced. Back to top
How much spending money do you recommend?
We recommend bringing between $3,500 and $4,500 for personal expenses. Should participants choose to travel internationally during vacations, they may want to bring more money. Back to top
Do participants have cellphones? Access to email? What is the best way to connect with family at home?
Cellphones are mandatory for all participants. All apartments are equipped with Internet access. Internet is also available at the Shalom Hartman Institute. We generally find that cellphones and Skype are the most common ways to stay in touch. Back to top
For safety and security reasons, all participants are required to have a local cell phone in Israel. We have made arrangements for a discounted group cell phone rental through "Israel Phones" for participants on the program. Why rent via Israel Phones?
All incoming calls and text messages are free. Outgoing calls are based on low usage rates.
Several packages are available, including low rates for data usage if you wish to bring a smartphone.
By renting an Israel Phone via our link, program staff will have a record of your cell phone, and you will be automatically included in group messaging.
Delivery of the phone in Israel is free for all program participants.
Be sure to submit your Israel Phones order at least two weeks prior to your arrival in Israel.
You can look up your assigned Israeli cellular number 1-3 business days in advance of your arrival in Israel by logging into your Israel Phones account and selecting "What’s My Number". If you have any further questions about your cellular phone rental, feel free to contact IsraelPhones directly at 1-866-8ISRAEL (from the US), 1-866-302-5512 (from Canada) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to top
Do I need to make arrangements for a visa?
Israel requires visas for anyone staying the program three months. Accordingly, all participants must obtain an Israeli visa in order to attend Hevruta unless the participant has an Israeli passport. We encourage you to approach your local Consulate General of Israel or the nearest Embassy of Israel 6-8 weeks before the start of your program in order to request a special visa for longer term stays in the country. Back to top
Passport and Visa Rules in Israel
Please read this section carefully. If you have visited Israel in the past, the entry rules for short term stays and longer term stays are very different. It is best to plan ahead now to avoid complications down the line. Back to top
Visa Requirements for Entering Israel
Israel requires visas for anyone staying on a program for more than three months. Accordingly, all participants must obtain an Israeli visa in order to attend the program, unless you have an Israeli passport. We encourage you to approach your local Consulate General of Israel or the nearest Embassy of Israel 6-8 weeks before the start of the program in order to request an A2 visa – which allows for multiple entries. In order to obtain an A2 Visa, you must visit a consulate or embassy with the following:
A letter from the program validating your acceptance to the program
A valid passport
Two passport sized photos
Completed Visa Application
We encourage you to contact your local Israeli consulate or embassy prior to your visit, and confirm that you have all necessary documents.
The Israeli consular staff has final jurisdiction with regards to granting a visa. Should you encounter a problem when requesting the visa, an internal letter from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be provided to clarify the procedures. If there is still a problem, please contact us directly. Keep in mind that the A2 Visa does not entitle you to work in Israel AND is only valid for a maximum of a one-year stay in Israel. Back to top
Passport Expiration Rules
All visitors to Israel must arrive with a passport that is valid for six months from the date that you arrive in Israel. If your passport expires in less than six months from the start of your trip, you may not be allowed to enter Israel. We require all applicants to submit a valid copy of their passport during their online application process. Back to top
Requirements for an Israeli citizen
If either of your parents is a citizen of Israel, or if you lived in Israel at some point in the past, it is your responsibility to make sure that your status with the Israeli Defense Forces is worked out and clear. If you hold an Israeli passport, you must enter Israel with your Israeli passport. If either of your parents are Israeli citizens, you may still have obligations to the State of Israel that must be worked out prior to your trip even if you do not have an Israeli passport. It is important that you take care of these matters before you arrive in Israel. We recommend that you contact your nearest Israeli consular office if you have any questions or to explore the matter. Back to top
My parent is an Israeli citizen. Can I go on the program without getting drafted by the Israeli Army?
Yes. Contact the local Israel consulate and request a year-long deferral from the army. (Find your local consulate by visiting www.mfa.gov.il) Back to top
It is our understanding that Israeli law states that children born to Israeli citizens are automatically Israeli citizens, even if only one parent is Israeli and even if those children are not born in Israel. If a participant has Israeli citizenship, it is essential that s/he obtain the year-long deferment from military service as well as a valid Israeli passport prior to departure. Israeli citizens should be aware that they cannot stay in the country for more than 12 months without endangering their future immigrant rights if they should choose to move to Israel.
Compliance with applicable laws is the responsibility of the participant, and while the information above is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing, participants should consult with their own advisors, as Hevruta cannot accept responsibility for the sufficiency of this information or for its applicability in any particular situation. Back to top
Can family/friends visit me during the program?
The best time for family and friends to visit their participant in Israeli is during our December and Passover vacations. The rest of our time is heavily scheduled, with little time for a participant to explore with friends and family away from the program. We will do our best to accommodate visiting friends and family within the rigors of the program. Back to top
I have friends on other programs; will I have time to see them?
During your free time and breaks you will have time to spend with friends on other programs. The programs often have simultaneous free Shabbatot; this is a great opportunity to spend time with your friends. Back to top
Is there time for personal exploration?
We provide ample opportunities for personal exploration and self-growth. Participants are encouraged to seek out their own unique experience and ultimately achieve a high level of independence within the context of the program, and in accordance with our community values and expectations. This move towards independence is balanced with the comfort of knowing that the program staff are available as support and as guides at all times. Back to top