Ramaz was one of the earliest proponents of a year of study in Israel after high school and continues to encourage its students to consider seriously such an experience. Spending a year studying Torah in Israel after graduation is viewed as the natural extension of the religious Zionist philosophy of the school. It is an opportunity for our graduates to translate the educational values of the school into practice. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Principal of Ramaz, often reminds parents that the Upper School is a five year program, the last year being one of living and learning in Medinat Yisrael.
Ramaz believes that although a year of study in Israel before college may not be appropriate for everyone, each student and family has the obligation to give the decision serious consideration. The Israel Guidance Office is dedicated to educating students and their parents by providing information and advice regarding the various programs and institutions in Israel.
The process of guidance begins toward the end of the junior year when each student is assigned to an Israel adviser. The adviser maintains contact with the student throughout the senior year in order to become acquainted with the student's needs, guide the student through the variety of options and provide assistance during the application and interview process.
Although this system of individual advisement is the primary means of guidance, the Israel Office also conducts class wide events as part of its mission to educate and inform. One such event is the Israel Alumni Evening in September of the senior year, when Ramaz graduates who have recently returned from their year in Israel participate in a panel discussion of their experiences for the benefit of seniors contemplating the year of study.
During the fall of the senior year, representatives of the post high school institutions in Israel are invited by the Israel Office to speak to interested students about their programs. These lunchtime visits afford our students the opportunity to determine where they will eventually apply.
Parents of seniors are invited to join their children on an evening in November for the Ramaz Israel Night. Families attend presentations given by representatives of the programs in Israel. Israel Night is designed to familiarize parents with some of the options that their children are considering and facilitate an informed decision on the part of each family.