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Birthright Israel FAQ

General FAQ

Birthright Israel was a program founded by Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt in 1999 to address the growing divide between Diaspora Jewish youth and the land and the people of Israel.

The Birthright Israel gift is open to all Jewish young adults, ages 18 to 26 who have not participated on a peer educational trip since they turned 18 nor lived in Israel past the age of 12.

If you were born in Israel or have ever held Israeli citizenship or an Israeli passport, you are not eligible unless you prove by official documentation that you left Israel before the age of 12. If you are accepted to the program you will need to obtain army exemption papers from your local Israeli consulate.

Birthright Israel works with Trip Organizers to provide the gift of a free 10-day trip to Israel. Birthright Israel coordinates all air travel, sets high educational and quality standards, procedural guidelines, security policies for all programs and performs extensive quality control reviews of every trip. The 10-day trip is developed and implemented by individual Trip Organizers that Birthright Israel puts through a rigorous approval process. Our Trip Organizer is Hillel International

Yes, you can extend your stay in Israel for a fee determined by the airline you are flying with. You cannot, however, leave prior to the departure date and meet up with the group in Israel. Changes to be made by the students him/herself. The students still must come to the airport on day of departure and then they are on their own.

Drinking alcohol is permitted only under certain conditions. Please see the office Alcohol Policy for more information.

Students will be living in a communal environment. They will be sleeping in a dormitory "style" housing and eating in communal dining halls.

The Birthright Israel trip begins when you meet your group at the airport prior to your departure. You may not leave prior to your group's departure date from the United States/Canada and meet your group in Israel.

Regitration/Logistics FAQ

It is mandatory for all birthright participants to have health insurance for the duration of the trip. Health insurance will be submitted on their application.

If you cancel your participation on the trip after the published deadlines for cancellation, then you will forfeit the security deposit.

Yes. You cannot go on this trip without a passport. The passport must be valid for 6 months after returning from Israel.

No, you have only taken the first step toward your free trip to Israel. There are a few more steps. In order to complete your application, you will need to complete all eight sections of the registration form.

Each participant must pay a deposit, which can be fully refunded or donated afterwards. The deposit is up to $250 USD, depending on which country you are from. This deposit serves a few purposes. During the application process, it acts as one of a few measures designed to reflect the fact that an applicant is serious about the prospect of participating in the program. Once an applicant is accepted to the program it acts as a guarantee that he/she will not cancel at the last minute, which would prevent another person from benefiting from the opportunity to go to Israel. Moreover, the deposit helps cover fees and penalties incurred by the airlines for late cancellations. The deposit also helps guarantee that participants follow Birthright Israel safety and behavior standards. In severe cases where participants violate these rules, their deposit may be confiscated.

A few days after returning home after the trip, you will get an e-mail in regards to the getting your deposit back electronically.

The deposit is paid electronically using either MasterCard/VISA/Debit Cards.

The Trip FAQ

Airline tickets will be distributed at the airport on the day of departure.

It's not a problem. Most people that go on birthright don't. Most Israelis speak English so you'll be able to communicate with them! Also, Tour Educators are fluent in Hebrew and English so they can help you if you need it!

All participants must take part in all activities but your family/friends can come visit you at night time if there isn't a program going on. Also, you can extend your ticket to visit them after the trip.

Hillel trips provide opportunities for students to celebrate Jewish life together and you won't be required to join in organized religious activities. In addition, Kosher food will be served at all tour-sponsored activities and there will be no travel scheduled on the Jewish Sabbath. There will be B'nai Mitzvah ceremony for students that want to participate. In addition, there will be Shabbat dinner with services/prayers.

Birthright Israel is a fun-filled experience that involves extensive touring of Israel, interactive discussions, recreational activities, and time to hang out with friends. If you have specific questions, please contact Michael!