Birthright Israel is a program offering a free trip to Israel for Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26. It is the largest Educational Tourism Organization in the world. Their mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the unaffiliated, the opportunity to visit Israel.
A group of Birthright participants from Cleveland, Ohio USA
Founded in 1999
It was founded in 1999 by a few Jewish philanthropists led by Michael Steinhardt and Charles Bronfman with the idea that by bringing these youngsters to Israel, many for the first time, it will strengthen their Jewish Identity and the connection of the Jews of the Diaspora with Israel.
This free trip is possible due to the help of many sources, like the State of Israel, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Federations, the Jewish Agency, parents of the participants, alumni and many other donors from around the world.
An emotional arrival to Israel of one of the groups
To motivate people to continue exploring their Jewish Identity, their support for Israel around the world and maintaining their connection with the Israelis met on the trip.
The participants are encouraged to take active roles in Jewish organizations once they return home.
Taglit group on a hiking tour to the Kineret
Birthright in numbers
Since its inception in 1999 Birthright has brought to Israel more than half a million young adult, from 66 countries, all US States and Canadian Provinces.
It has contributed $1 Billion to the Israeli economy, including 750,000 nights booked in hotel rooms, $76 million spent on gifts and souvenirs, and the creation of 750,000 workdays for Israelis.
Through the program the participants have connected with over 80,000 Israelis that have introduced them to a more personal aspect of life in Israel. This has been the most effective of all facets of the program.
Since the proram’s inception, the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, at Brandeis University has conducted rigorous research to evaluate the program and learn about its impact on the current generation of Jewish young adults. The evidence from the Brandeis studies indicates that
“Participation in Birthright Israel positively alters participants’ trajectory of Jewish engagement and connection to Israel”.
A special group of Young Mothers on a Birthright Group
The Educational Part
The trips are operated with different tour operators. The tour guide which all have been licensed by the State to be Guides, have to go an extra preparation to be Birthright Guides. They are accompanied most of the time by young Israelis as their peers to encourage open discussions about identity, geopolitics, religion, and Jewish life.
They visit the whole country including nature, holy places, Shoah museums and all places concerning contemporary Israel.
They celebrate Shabbat together and engage in the learning of Torah, Talmud and Hebrew as a living language.
Copyright Tuchman Israel Guide
2015 - 2018