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Tochnit Shalem

Goal of the Program

The Shalem Program strives to prepare its graduates as Modern Orthodox Zionists in their communities. Their growth throughout the year and the tools they develop should assist them in continuing an Orthodox, Torah centered lifestyle at college and in broader society. Their Jewish identity should also encompass a broad sense of responsibility to the Jewish community and a spiritual and practical connection to Medinat Yisrael.

Goal of Program
The Shalem Program strives to prepare its graduates as Modern Orthodox Zionists in their communities. Their growth throughout the year and the tools they develop should assist them in continuing an Orthodox, Torah centered lifestyle at college and in broader society. Their Jewish identity should also encompass a broad sense of responsibility to the Jewish community and a spiritual and practical connection to Medinat Yisrael.

Attitude towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael

The Zionistic and religious significance of Medinat Yisrael and a strong, dynamic connection to Eretz Yisrael are pillars of the Shalem Hashkafa. This is expressed through our Limmud, practical experiences in Israel, and field trips. Yom HaAtzmaut is celebrated as a Chag within the calendar and the Halachik and spiritual ramifications are explored.

Attitude towards University Studies

Students are encouraged to attend university and to integrate in the outside world as confident Religious Zionists. Secular studies are viewed as integral part of our world and a positive part of personality development. Our students have studied at a wide range of universities in North America and Britain.

Attitude towards Extracurricular Activities

Torah Im Derech Eretz is an integral part of our philosophy. A majority of the program is “extra-curricular.”

Preparation for Post Israel

An emphasis is placed throughout the year on enabling the students to continue to implement their growth whilst keeping a strong, respectful relationship with their families and communities.

The "Successful" Student

Successful alumni will have completed their college education and continued their religious and spiritual growth through both learning and practice. They will have been active in Jewish and Israel issues on campus and will be involved in the Jewish community. Hopefully they will have visited Israel again during their college breaks or free semesters both to strengthen their connection and to learn.


Shalem participants are expected to dress appropriately for an Orthodox program, as guided by Halacha, and to create a general atmosphere of tzniut. For men this includes, minimally, below-knee shorts and shirts with sleeves (t-shirts are acceptable). Kippot are worn by men. For women this includes, minimally, skirts that extend past the knee when seated or full-length baggy pants. Shirts must meet the skirts or pants. Shirts should have sleeves that extend a minimum of half way between the shoulder and elbow; t-shirt are acceptable, cap sleeves are not appropriate. For both boys and girls, clothing should be un-torn and not tight or form fitting.

Guidance Personnel

The Shalem faculty is made up of Religious Zionist role models (men and women) who are available not just to teach but also to provide guidance and advice. The faculty is comprised of madrichim, mekashrim (a senior staff position), and teachers. The main spiritual guides of the program are HaRav Dr. Yehuda Jayson, the Rosh Tochnit, and HaRav Alan Goldman, Mashgiach Ruchani, who are available for sichot, chevrutot and shiurim.


Madrichim live with the students during most parts of the year. Participation in all classes and most activities is mandatory and attendance is taken. There is no curfew and students are expected to be mature enough to organize their time appropriately. Students are held accountable to our security regulations and must conform to our policies on drugs and alcohol.
The curriculum is a combination of Limudei Kodesh, Ivrit and Zionism. Students have the opportunity to focus on either Tanach or Talmud BeIyun (with everyone studying some of both). A range of other shiurim address subjects of interest and relevance to the students. Many classes focus on Modern Orthodoxy and the development of our student’s hashkafa. In core classes there are different levels and some are given in Ivrit (depending on the students' level).

Courses Offered

Contemporary Issues Facing Modern Orthodoxy,
Religious Zionism,
Jewish Thought Throughout the Ages,
Being Orthodox on Campus,
Jewish Philosophy through Aggadah,
Practical Halacha,
Topics in Halacha,
Topics in Machshava,
Parshat HaShavua,
Women and Judaism (for women only),
Ethical Teachings in Judaism,
Mesillat Yesharim,
Advanced Pirkei Avot,
Rav Soloveitchik,
Rav Kook,
Jerusalem in the Historical Jewish Experience,
Themes in Zionism,
Zionism and the Arts,
Israeli Society Today,
Israeli Cinema,
Lost Jewish Communities,
Minorities in Israel,
Arab-Israeli Conflict,
Hebrew Ulpan

The classes on Zionism and Jerusalem are both accompanied by field trips and limmud in the field. Our curriculum includes a wide range of traditional and modern Jewish thinkers. There is a strong focus within our curriculum on Religious Zionist thought and thinkers. Please see the Shalem website for course descriptions and a schedule of classes.

Daily Schedule
During volunteer components the schedule varies. Please see the Shalem website for more detailed information. During the learning component every day runs from Shacharit at 7:30 until 18:30 with breaks for lunch, Mincha, dinner and Maariv. Most evenings there is either an optional Beit Midrash or a guest speaker. Lunch is between 12:30-14:00 and dinner between 18:00-19:15.

Language of Instruction
The vast majority of classes (with the exception of Ulpan) are in English. We offer a track of Limudei Kodesh in Ivrit for those with better Hebrew skills when appropriate.

Ulpan or Hebrew Class

Formal Ulpan for 6 months of the year is an integral part of our educational program (in both Community Volunteering and Jerusalem Studies). We run the Ulpan on many different levels. It should be noted that since 6 months of the program are spent volunteering in a Hebrew speaking environment on a daily basis, the greatest amount of Hebrew learned by our students is via immersion.

Assessment and Grading

The program offers up to 27 college credits. As such there are papers or tests in all accredited classes. The tests can be either written or oral. All students can receive an official transcript with their grades. Attendance is taken in all classes and full participation is expected.

Shana Bet

We offer a subsidized Shana Bet program for those wishing to further enhance their growth and connection to Israel. Each Shana Bet program is specially tailored to the individual.

Joint Program

We receive our credits through the American Jewish University’s College in Israel, an academic institution accredited by the WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges).
In addition to the Rosh Tochnit and Mashgiach Ruchani, faculty members are all Israeli (from birth or who have made Aliyah) and the male teachers have all been in the army. They are experienced formal and informal educators with vast experience teaching "Shana BaAretz" students. Some teach at other yeshivot and seminaries. In addition the students will have the opportunity to interact with other Torani and Zinonist guest speakers throughout the year. For a full staff listing, please visit the Shalem website.
Extra-Curricular Activities
While the program places an emphasis on learning, a majority of the program is “extra-curricular,” i.e. non text-based, formal studies. Volunteering, living, and experiential activities abound throughout the program.

Interaction with Israelis
Since significant portions of the program are spent volunteering, our students have a tremendous amount of interaction with Israelis and Israeli society at large. Additionally, students are encouraged to spend their free time throughout Israel either with family or friends or by being set up with host families by the program. A goal of the program is for the students to see as much of Israel as possible and to interact individually with Israelis. We also arrange group Shabbatot in different Religious Zionist communities around Israel. Our Zionism class includes a weekly update on current Israeli politics and how it relates to our students, the country and the Jewish people. Students are encouraged to participate in events that interest them and that will enhance their understanding of current Israeli society.

Special Informal programs
Throughout the year there are special seminars that relate to Aliyah, Campus Activism, and issues related to Religious Zionism. Guest speakers on a variety of Torah, political, and Zionist subjects are regularly invited to speak to the students. There is a siyur (field trip) once or twice a week.

Sports Facilities
Our facility in Yerushalayim has a brand new, state of the art sports facility. When outside of Yerushalayim, our students are encouraged to utilize local Israeli facilities.

Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
There is a group Shabbat or Shabbat BeYachad either on campus or somewhere around Israel every 4-6 weeks. Beyond this, the students are free to explore Israel or stay on our campus / in their apartments as they wish. Students spend Chagim with family or friends or are set up by the program with Religious Zionist host families. Throughout the year the program is responsible to offer board and lodging to the students. Any student who desires can be set up with host families for the year or for individual Shabbatot. The week of Pesach is a vacation time for the students. We suggest a wide range of appropriate activities for the students to explore during break. All students have a base and home on our campus if they require it.

Field Trips
There are a lot of field trips on our program. There are two field trips every week during the Jerusalem Studies component. There is a field trip once a week during Community Volunteering. Throughout the year other brief excursions or field activities are offered. The goal of these is to connect between what is being learned and where it actually happened and also to connect the students to Eretz Yisrael.
Level of Learning Offered
Beginner – Advanced

Hebrew Knowledge Required
Beginner – Advanced (options for shiurim in Hebrew)

Religious Observance Required
The program is designed for students who are shomrei Torah uMitzvot.
Type of American Student
Students come from across North America. Most students are graduates of Yeshiva High Schools. Students are often times active in Bnei Akiva and / or NCSY. A typical Shalem student is interested in having an experiential, religious year in Israel; a true Shnat Limmud uMa’aseh – a year of Learning and Doing.

Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)

Foreign Student Percentage

Number of 1st Year American Students

Number of 2nd Year American Students

Other Nationalities
2 Canadian

Number of Students per Class
Classes are generally around 15 students. Chaburot and sichot are generally in smaller groups.
Living Quarters
Our students’ accommodations and living arrangements differ throughout the year, depending on the component of the program. When in Community Volunteering students live in apartments in Bat Yam that have fully functional kitchen facilities. Students are generally two to a room in a three bedroom apartment. Apartments include wireless internet. Students choose their own flatmates / roommates. During this component, students receive a stipend from the program and budget, shop and cook for themselves. When in Jerusalem, students are housed in a brand new, state of the art facility. The campus is located in the Givat Massua area of Jerusalem, near the Zoo. Each room has a private bathroom and shower. Nutritious and tasty meals are provided three times a day. The facility in Jerusalem is equipped with wireless internets, a gym, computer lounge, basketball courts, laundry room, and library. During the Israeli Experience component, many students are in apartments provided by the program, but accommodations vary according to placement (Marva = army base/ communal meals, Kibbutz = volunteers housing/communal meals, Magen David Adom = apartments with stipends / Merkaz Klita with living stipend etc.)

Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
When in Community Volunteering students live in apartments in Bat Yam that have fully functional kitchen facilities.

Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
The students "home base" is open to them throughout the whole year for both accommodation and meals. This could be in our apartments or on our campus. At our campus, dining room and other facilities are open throughout Chol HaMoed. The only days that our main Jerusalem campus is closed is Rosh HaShana, Leil Seder, and Yom Kippur.

As a collegiate level program, our students do not have a curfew and are allowed to sleep off-campus with prior approval. Students sign out for Shabbat a few days in advance and have to leave an address and a landline phone number. Curfews will be imposed on individual students who do not handle this level of responsibility well.

Security Arrangements
Our program is part of the Jewish Agency security net. As such, we receive security guidelines and updates from the security forces through them. All students have a cell phone that is fitted with a GPS tracking system. Generally, our security guidelines are dynamic (they change in accordance to the current situation) and may encompass areas of travel or modes of transport. We are in continuous contact with parents updating them on security guidelines, especially when changes have been made. In the event of a security incident, we check up on the well-being of participants who may be in that area and then update the parents by e-mail. Our campus in Jerusalem is enclosed by a fence and guarded 24 hours a day.
The Shalem Program has been running for 9 years as the Orthodox track of Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel program. The program is geared to Orthodox High School graduates who wish to have an experiential year in Israel -- combining Torah study with volunteering and living experiences in Israel in a strong Religious Zionist context. The program, which is made up of three separate components, is located in different locations throughout the year, including Bat Yam and Jerusalem.
Accrediting Universities
We receive our credits through the American Jewish University’s College in Israel (AJUI), an academic institution accredited by the WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges). Shalem participants can receive up to 27 credits that are recognized by the WASC.
$15,500 (2007-08). Includes roundtrip airfare from JFK to TLV, all accommodations, meals, field trips, insurance, college credits.
Additional Information
Shalem offers students a hands-on, real experience in Israel in an Orthodox framework that provides students with the opportunity to connect with Torat Yisrael, Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisael and contribute to Israeli society. We strive to put our philosophy of Torah Im Derech Eretz into practice. The program is appropriate for students who are Shomrei Mitzvot, confident in their Zionist Orthodox identity, and are interested in both spiritual and community growth throughout their year. Students should feel comfortable being in an Orthodox environment side by side with non-Orthodox Jews (participants of Young Judaea’s Year Course) and be able to utilize opportunities for individual growth, learning and experience.
Contact Information

Tochnit Shalem
Phone: 011 972 52 603-9107

Givat Massua area of Jerusalem

Total Student Population:

Learning Level:

Hebrew knowledge required:
Intermediate: Shiurim are in Hebrew and English

Rosh Yeshiva:
HaRav Dr. Yehuda Jayson, Rosh Tochnit