These hard economic times make traveling next to impossible, especially when it’s for leisure or education. Taglit-Birthright Israel wants to change that. If you are a Jewish young adult between the ages of 18 and 26 and have never been to Israel, Taglit-Birthright Israel would like to provide you a gift of a free educational trip to Israel. Summer 2009 Registration has just opened up today.
Likely you’re having the same reaction as I did: Impossible. Apparently not. Taglit-Birthright Israel has partnered with the people Israel through their government, Jewish philanthropists, local Jewish Communities and Jewish Federations to provide the free, ten-day, peer group trip.
According to the website, the purpose of the trip is to send young adults to experience their roots in Israel as a gift in order to allow for greater communication between Israel and Jewish communities around the world. Additionally, the group wishes for all Diaspora Jews to see the idea of a trip to Israel as a critical part of Jewish life outside of Israel.
Though hard to believe, the gift covers roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations, transportation, the majority of meals and other costs for the ten-day trips approved by the assortment of Trip Organizers. So far, over 200,000 young adults from all over the world have been to Israel through this program and all come from different Jewish religious backgrounds.
So how can you sign up? Taglit-Birthright Israel works through Trip Organizers. While the foundation coordinates and implements high educational and quality standards, guidelines and safety procedures, the trip is developed and carried out by the Trip Organizers approved by the foundation.
By looking through the 23 Trip Organizers, you can easily find a group that suits you. The Organizers represent different religious movements, giving you the opportunity to pick just the right group for you.
One Organizer that has been talked about the most is the Oranim-Israel program. Their slogan is “Let Israelis Show You Israel!” According to Oranim, over 46,000 people have chosen them for their Taglit-Birthright Israel trip more than any other organizer.
Alumni have stated that this is because they felt that they experienced Israel in “a more authentic, more fun, more exciting, more engaging, and more inspiring way than they imagined possible.”
Some of the highlights of the Oranim program include:
“Praying at the Western Wall in the ancient Old City of Jerusalem, sunning in Eilat Israel’s Cancun and enjoying a Bedouin feast after riding camels. You’ll also party in Tel Aviv’s hottest nightclub and dig for 2000 year-old artifacts at a world-famous archaeological site. Classics like climbing Masada, kayaking the Jordan, floating in the Dead Sea and excellent Kosher cuisine are included.”
Additionally, part of the draw to Oranim is the fact that it is a non-denominational Organizer and also offers three college credits for the trip.
If you’re still unsure about the experience and whether it’s legitimate, you may contact members of the alumni association to ask them any question you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org
Taglit-Birthright Israel Official Website
Oranim-Israel Trip Organizer