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Excellence in Torah and general studies in a tranquil environment

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excellence in TorAh And generAl STudieS in A TrAnquil environMenT

Excellence in Torah and general studies in a tranquil environment

History of Shaalvim and Naale at Shaalvim

Shaalvim yeshiva high school for boys provides a high level of Jewish studies and strong secular studies as well. The school is situated in the Kibbutz Shaalvim/Nof Ayalon yishuv community in central Israel near the city of Modiin. The high school itself and the post-high school yeshiva at Shaalvim are long-established. The Naale program at Shaalvim is in its ninth year.

All types of religious boys attend Shaalvim, and the school adheres strongly to religious Zionist values. Shaalvim is suited to boys seeking a yeshiva framework with an emphasis on Talmud or Gemara learning. At the heart of the school is the beit midrash, and Torah studies are of primary importance. 

School environment

The school atmosphere is warm and family-like. Most students dorm at the school, including native Israeli students. There is a range of religious backgrounds among students. Students are very social with one another, spending time studying together and enjoying recreational activities. 

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What type of student typically attends Naale at Shaalvim?

Students at Shaalvim span the range of religiously observant boys. What unites them is a commitment to Torah learning and the desire to learn both Jewish and general studies at a high level. Shaalvim students come from different types of Jewish communities throughout the US and around the world. Some families plan to make aliyah, and want their children to attend high school in Israel ahead of the family so they can begin to integrate. 

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What type of student typically attends Naale at Shaalvim?

Students at Shaalvim span the range of religiously observant boys. What unites them is a commitment to Torah learning and the desire to learn both Jewish and general studies at a high level. Shaalvim students come from different types of Jewish communities throughout the US and around the world. Some families plan to make aliyah, and want their children to attend high school in Israel ahead of the family so they can begin to integrate. 

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Supportive, inspiring staff

Naale’s staff at Shaalvim are very dedicated to students, and maintain a connection that lasts long after students have graduated. Nearly all staff members live within the yeshiva compound. Rav Daniel Hershenson, who oversees Naale at Shaalvim, lives within a minute’s walk of the dorms. Local residents join the yeshiva minyan, lending to a feeling of interwovenness with the community at large. 

The staff are primarily graduates of Hesder yeshiva programs who have served in the Israeli army and who learned in post-high school yeshivot. Religious Zionism features strongly at the school. At Shaalvim, the message is clear that it is a privilege to live in the land of Israel and to study Torah.

Many staff members live in yeshiva housing, on the kibbutz, or in the adjacent yishuv of Nof Ayalon. This lends to an atmosphere of rustic simplicity without frills, emphasizing learning and Torah values.

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Preparation for a life of commitment to Torah and professionalism

Shaalvim students learn both Jewish and general studies at a high level. In terms of bagrut studies, they study 5 yechidot or points of Oral Torah (ToShBA), and intensive amounts of Gemara. Naale students will typically learn 3 yechidot of Tanach (Bible) and 5 yechidot of Machshevet Yisrael, or Jewish philosophy. 

In their studies, students cover a broad range of topics in Jewish thought and philosophy.  Gemara studies resume in the evening hours (seder erev, or night seder). Naale students also have study partners, or chevruta-style learning with the gap-year students who come from abroad to study at the post-high school yeshiva at Shaalvim.

As far as general studies, students learn all of the foundation subjects. The megamot or electives offered are physics, computer science, biology, greenhouse agriculture (on the premises of the kibbutz), land of Israel studies (a hybrid of history and geography), and beekeeping. 

Naale students study in English at first, and gradually transition into Hebrew studies with the support of the staff. Hebrew acquisition is another goal of the Naale program at Shaalvim.

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Extras that make Shaalvim special

Night seder learning is an important part of the curriculum. Shiurim and special guest lectures are featured regularly. Martial arts are offered in grades 11 and 12. 

Situated on a kibbutz, the yeshiva has access to greenhouses and a bee apiary. Beekeeping and agricultural studies at a yeshiva are unique to Shaalvim.

The dorming experience

Naale students sleep in separate dorm rooms within the same building. Israeli students are encouraged to form friendships with Naale students and invite them home when possible. The level of integration with the Israeli students varies from year to year. 

Facilities at Shaalvim

The school has a workout room with an instructor. There is a music room, as well as arts, cooking, Arabic language, and mechanics, and more, depending on a minimum number of interested students. 

There are running chugim, a basketball league and high school sports leagues where games are played against other schools. 

Meaningful integration with Israeli peers, in and out of the classroom

Naale students and native Israeli students spend time together on school Shabbatot and on tiyulim or school trips.

Several Shabbatot every year are a “Shabbat Yeshiva” or “in-Shabbat” in which all students remain at school and enjoy an atmosphere of bonding and togetherness over Shabbat.

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DID YOU KNOW?

In recent years the school won the ministry of education award for excellence as well as other awards for excellence. A graduate of Shaalvim has won the President’s Award. The school is one of only two schools in the country that offer a beekeeping megama. 

Social media

There is a web page for the Naale program within the larger website of the high school. There is an Instagram account opened by students, as well as a Facebook page for the post-high school program.

COPING WITH CORONA

At first, the distance learning was not time-bound. Lessons were sent to be completed on students’ own time. More recently, synchronized studies have been incorporated in which students learn virtually at a set time with the rest of their class.  

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