Before You Go

Do I need to know Hebrew to learn at a school in Israel?

For the schools listed on, you don't need to speak Hebrew at all. You will feel totally comfortable in the classes without speaking Hebrew as all classes are taught in English.

In regards to being able to read Hebrew, for the:

Should I get traveler's checks before I go?

No, you do not need to get traveler's checks before you go. There are ATMs all over Jerusalem that take American banks' ATM cards. You'll take out Israeli currency from these ATMs.

However, depending on which bank you have, it can cost you $5 - $6 each time you withdraw money. (Check with your bank before you come to see what the fee is that they charge for withdrawing money internationally.) Therefore, when you go to the ATM machine, you might want to withdraw more money at one time than you normally would so that you don't have to pay this fee as frequently.

Note: some students do bring traveler's checks. There are a number of currency exchange places. Click here to see the ones we found with the best rates.

Where can I get Israeli currency before I go?

If you want to get Israeli currency (called shekels and written NIS which stands for New Israeli Shekel) before you go, ask your bank if they can order some for you. It can take up to 1 week for the shekels to arrive, and your bank will usually charge you a nominal fee to do so.

Alternatively, look in your phone book for a money exchange place in your town. Call them and ask if they carry shekels or can order some for you.

Do I need a visa to go to study in Israel?

If you're an American or a Canadian, you can enter Israel for 3 months without needing a visa. When you arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, you will pass through the Passport Inspection where they will stamp your passport with a 3 month "tourist visa." Every time you leave Israel and then re-enter, your 3 month tourist visa starts all over again.

If you are planning to stay longer than 3 months, your school should be able to help you get a student visa from the Israeli Ministry of the Interior. Ask your school to help you once you're in Jerusalem.

How do I get a student visa? (from Simchat Shlomo's Web site)

If you would like to get a student visa before coming to Israel, bring the following documents to the Israeli Consulate in your area. (Note: these are the same documents you will need in order to apply for a visa once you're in Israel).

  1. Your passport valid for at least two years.
  2. A letter of your acceptance to your seminary or yeshiva addressed to the Consulate of Israel.
  3. The visa application form in duplicate. Forms can be obtained from the Israeli Consulate.
  4. 2 passport sized photos.
  5. Proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses.

Where can I find scholarships to study in Israel?

Click here to find a list of scholarships to help you afford to study in Israel.

How do I call to Israel from America?

To call Israel from America, you take off the '0' at the beginning of the number you want to dial and instead add: 011 972. For example:

  • Let's say the number you're calling is (02) 555-1212, then you would dial:
    • 011 972 (2) 555-1212.

  • Let's say the number you're calling (052) 555-1212, then you would dial:
    • 011 972 (52) 555-1212.

How can I find a place to stay in Jerusalem?

Click here for a list of housing opportunities in Jerusalem.

I'm going to be in Israel for a year but haven't decided where to study. Can I sit in on classes?

Yes. The schools on our list encourage students to drop in for a visit, speak with faculty and current students, and sit in on classes.