In 2016, when the Pearlman family stepped out to support and celebrate the modern Jewish state, they never imagined where Detroit’s Walk for Israel would take them.
On that day, they crossed paths with a Naale Elite Academy representative and have since found an ideal educational program and an amazing opportunity for their son Josh during his formative high school years.
Alicia Pearlman, Josh’s mother, and fellow Naale mom Terri Dyess will operate the Naale booth at Detroit’s 2018 Walk for Israel May 6.
Josh is in ninth grade and attending a specialized STEM high school program called Anieres Elite Academy in Israel. As a STEM-minded teen with a love of math, science and technology, Josh was a perfect fit for the school.
“We chose the Anieres program because of the math and science and because it feeds into the Technion,” Pearlman said. “We also liked that the class sizes are very small, and Josh gets more attention than he would in our public high school. Learning Hebrew and living in Israel was a big part of the appeal as well.”
The program, which operates various schools throughout Israel, was created as a partnership between the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Parents only pay a modest one-time application fee and acceptance fee, and then airfare to and from Israel, tuition, room and board, laundry fees, special trips and some spending money are fully paid for by the government and the Jewish Agency.
Pearlman says that while there are challenges to sending her son so far away for high school, the benefits outweigh them tenfold.
“Josh has grown up both personally and educationally since he has been away at school,” she said. “He’s become a lot more independent and has made a lot of friends from all over the world.”
When it comes to life off campus, Naale ensures a well-rounded education and supportive environment for students who take advantage of the free high school programs in their network, which span a wide range of religious and academic tracts.
Gaby Dyess, whose mother Terri will be operating the Naale booth with Pearlman this year, attends Mosenson Elite Academy in Hod Hasharon. While the schools are on different sides of the country, the Naale family is a close-knit one, for both students and their parents.
In fact, there is a whatsapp group for parents to support each other, share information and bond with other Naale parents.
“I would recommend this program to students/families that love Israel and want a specialized program for high school,” Pearlman said.
Both families are excited to connect the Metro Detroit community to Naale and Israel at the Walk for Israel, 1:30 p.m. Sunday May 6, at Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield. Earlier in the day, there will be a special presentation by Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Israeli music, entertainment, bouncies, popcorn, face painting and more.