Frequently Asked Questions

Judaism, Israelis, and Hebrew

Shabbat is celebrated together as a community and is a great opportunity for the participants to bring bits and pieces of their familiar Shabbat experiences from home to Nesiya, as well as learn and celebrate Shabbat in new and exciting ways. There is a traditional Shabbat environment (where group activities don’t violate traditional Shabbat observance) as well as a comfortable atmosphere of relaxation.

Shabbat is also a great time to rest for the participants from the busy week of activities and traveling, therefore we use the opportunity to slow down and eat big meals together, singing songs, and have group discussions about what was experienced throughout the week.

Nesiya is a Shomer Shabbat and Kosher program. All group activities are Shabbat-friendly, and Nesiya celebrates Shabbat as a community – engaged in discussion, rest, relaxation – we create a comfortable environment for all the denominations of Jewish teens.

If you are open to the experience of exploring Israel with other types of Jewish teens, it will be an incredible experience of sharing various observances of Judaism.

No way! Nesiya has teens from all over the Jewish spectrum. Every year Nesiya aims to have a participants from all denominations: Unaffiliated, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, Israeli Secular, and Israeli religious.
Nope! The program is bi-lingual, meaning that we translate all discussions and group activities into both English and Hebrew. We expect the Israelis participants to have functional English, and from the North Americans we do not expect knowledge of Hebrew.

Nesiya is a great opportunity to start learning Hebrew or practice the Hebrew that you already have. The Israeli teens would be more than happy to have a lively conversation in Hebrew!

If you’re rambunctious you might even learn a word or two of Arabic or Amharic!

Of course – that would be great! Our Israeli participants are usually happy to host the North American participants for the free Shabbat. If a participant doesn’t have family and friends in Israel, they can experience a true Israeli Shabbat. This is a crucial part to integration into the Israeli culture.
No. Nesiya is Jewish and Zionist, and as such we believe in presenting a broad range of opinions and thoughts about the critical questions of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the nature of Jewish democracy. Our staff represents a spectrum of voices, and our guest speakers will continue broadening that conversation.  Whereas Nesiya does not take a political stand, participants are encouraged to formulate and voice their own opinions, and organizationally we believe in the profound importance of exposure to a spectrum of political stances even if they are sometimes difficult to hear.

Safety and Security

Nesiya works closely with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) “Situation Room,” where they go over our itineraries day-by-day and advise on adjustments they feel must be made.

Nesiya has been around for 30 years, and we have run programming through both intifadas, as well as Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, all under strict security and the supervision of our seniors educators, Keshet Tours, and the IDF.
Nesiya participants travel on private tour buses at all times, and we always have an armed security guard with us when we are traveling off base. The North American participants are not allowed to use public transportation, and for the free weekend, even though the Israeli participants are allowed to ride public transportation, if they are bringing one of the North American participants home, a parent will come to get them.
There are a limited number of slots of unstructured free time off of the bases during Nesiya, primarily for shopping and exploring. The participants will be in small groups and there will always be counselor in the area, with defined boundaries; this free-time is also pending security clearance.


Yes. Nesiya has scholarships available!

Nesiya can offer special scholarships for teens from the Boston and Cleveland areas.

There are also merit scholarships for participants who have attended the following programs: Brandeis summer programs, BIMA, Etgar 36, Panim, Bronfman Youth Fellowship Israel.

A special scholarship is awarded to those participants who have applied to the Bronfman Youth Fellowship Israel.

Need-based Financial Aid is available. Parents of the participant must fill out and return the Financial Aid Form in full [this can be requested from a Nesiya staff member at].

Of course!

Nesiya encourages you to apply for any and all local funding and grants to include in your tuition for Nesiya. Usually communities have Jewish Federations, synagogues, Rabbis’ discretionary funds, programs such as Passport to Israel, Gift of Israel, etc. that help assist teens and their families to save, match, or grant money for travel to Israel.

There are resources out there for teens looking to travel to Israel, you just have to start looking for them!

The sooner one gets started on ‘fundraising’ money from different organizations, the better!

Speak with us! It never hurts to ask us, here at the Nesiya office, about whether there is scholarship money available. Whether there is local funding or our own scholarship funds available, we want to try to help you come on Nesiya – so send us an email and we’ll start the process.


Nesiya is a unique summer program that has been around for 30 years of programming!

We are different from other Israel programs in the following three categories:

Diversity – Nesiya is made up of a diverse group of teen peers because we are not affiliated with a specific movement of Judaism. Nesiya participants come from all different walks of life – geographically, religiously, culturally, and socioeconomically.

Israeli participants – We are one of the only programs that has fully-participating Israeli teen peers on the program with the North American teens for all five weeks of the program

Arts workshops, Community Service, Israeli-Arab/Palestinian dialogue – Nesiya includes a couple of elements that are unique to the Nesiya program. The arts (music, movement, writing, and visual arts) are used to express the journey through Israel for 3-4 different workshop days, along with a final project.  A two-day community service project is also included, as well as a dialogue with Israeli-Arabs/Palestinians in order to get to the know the real Israeli culture and society.

Yes! We would love to put you in touch with some Nesiya Alumni from your area to speak with them about Nesiya and their experiences in Israel on Nesiya. Please contact us to put you in touch with them:
Nesiya is not all about the arts. If you’re not such an arts-focused person, Nesiya will still be a great Israel program for you. True, we do have 4-5 days of arts workshops on the program. We see the arts as a means and form of expression to do alongside the journey through Israel. There are plenty of Alumni who have not been ‘into’ the arts and have loved their Nesiya experience! Some have even expressed to us that the arts workshops allowed them to explore themselves and express themselves in a way that they would never have expected.
The arts workshops are approximately 4-5 days of the Nesiya summer program that are used as a tool to express the journey that the Nesiya-ers are taking throughout their summer in Israel. Different Israeli artists and educators are brought in for the workshops to teach and guide the Nesiya participants in their journey. The options mainly include: music, visual arts, writing, and movement.
On Nesiya the schedule is varied, as we’re doing different fun and exciting activities every day!

Check out the sample itinerary!

The Nesiya experience strives to have a diverse group of Jewish teens and draws participants from all over North America…

…recent alumni are from: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Durham, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Providence, Dominican Republic, Silver Spring, Albany, Cincinnati, Cleveland…

…and all over Israel: Tel Aviv, Merom Golan, Zichron Yaakov, Ashdod, Bn’ai Darom, Elkana, Mitzpe Netofa, and Jerusalem

Yes. In striving to create an inclusive community, we are aware that prior relationships can limit one’s ability to develop new relationships. Since most Nesiya participants do not know each other before the summer, we encourage friends who join Nesiya together to open themselves up to new friendships.
Questions Raised and Discussed on Nesiya
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