Tzedakah is a Hebrew word that resonates for most American Jews. Perhaps you remember collecting coins…
We’re the first to admit there are countless Jewish causes worthy of your support.
As a charitable entity, Birthright Israel Foundation is fortunate to have strong relationships with a variety of these Jewish nonprofit organizations. Not only does some of the funding for Birthright Israel come from them, but alumni often go on to support valuable Jewish nonprofits professionally and financially.
As alumna Maya Horowitz puts it: “In supporting others, we strengthen ourselves.”
Here’s a look at some of the top Jewish nonprofits, the benefits of supporting them, and how they relate to Birthright Israel Foundation.
Jewish Federations of North America
The Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) comprises hundreds of Jewish Federations across the country. Along with lending some support to Birthright Israel, JFNA and Birthright Israel Foundation are connected in many unique ways. For instance, some programs, like our active Birthright Israel Alumni Network in Atlanta, are run through federations, in this case, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
Additionally, alumni, such as Courtney Simmons Demri, have gone on to participate in Federation Young Leadership programs while others have gotten jobs at their local Federation. After his No Limit Birthright Israel trip for Jewish young adults with disabilities, alumni Aaron Kaufman began a job lobbying on disability issues with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. “I love my work in the Jewish community as a disability advocate and find it deeply rewarding,” he said.
Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel, which also lends support to Birthright Israel Foundation, has been working to build a better community for Israel and beyond since 1929.
After alumna Niran Avni went on Birthright Israel, he was selected by the Jewish Agency to serve as an emissary at the University of California San Diego, providing education about Israel on campus.
“During my two years as an emissary at UCSD, I was fortunate to see the effect Birthright Israel had in the college life of the participants,” he said. “Many of these participants continued to be leaders of the Jewish organizations on campus, such as Hillel and the Jewish Student Union, and even more of them decided to continue their journey with a study abroad or an internship program in Israel.”
Hillels provide Jewish life at colleges and universities around the world for thousands of Jewish students, including prospective Birthright Israel participants and alumni.
Alumna Rachel Abramov hangs out at Hillel whenever she’s not in class, and also serves on the Hillel Executive Board. Birthright Israel inspired Casey Dresbach to become the first female president at the University of Miami’s Hillel. Alumnus Corey Dicker believes Birthright Israel has given his university some of its strongest student leaders.
Samantha Payab, meanwhile, worked closely with Hillel to design its website (which incidentally makes it much easier for students to apply for Birthright Israel through Hillel). “Through this, I got to know way more about our Hillel and the other staff members,” she said. “I soon felt extremely at home at Hillel.”
A private research university with Jewish roots, Brandeis University has been conducting rigorous studies on the outcome of Birthright Israel through its Cohen Center for Jewish Studies since the trip’s origin over 20 years ago. Among their many findings on the program’s success:
- 85 percent of alumni call Birthright Israel a life-changing experience
- 93 percent of participants are more likely to be “very much connected” to Israel
- 84 percent of alumni are raising Jewish children
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) works to strengthen the US-Israel relationship.
Birthright Israel Foundation donor Bob Schuckit is an active member of AIPAC, where he said he often witnesses alumni stepping up to take leadership roles because of their experiences on Birthright Israel. “The trip impacts every other Jewish organization out there,” he said. “It takes people who otherwise wouldn’t get involved and gets them involved. It’s a natural combination.”
Along with volunteering, other alumni have taken jobs working for AIPAC, such as alumna Laura Minskoff who said, “nothing ever felt more right to me” and alumna Abbey Taub who said, “I work on behalf of our people and our homeland.”
Jewish Relief Agency
The Jewish Relief Agency (JRA) relieves hunger, improves lives, and strengthens community for more than 6,000 low-income individuals across Greater Philadelphia. Alumna Julie Campbell’s professional life was transformed by Birthright Israel, who became a program assistant at the JRA after her trip and has since continued to work for Jewish nonprofit organizations.
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been planting trees in Israel since 1901. This is the agency alumna Sarah Armet calls her home away from home in New York City.
“It is a privilege to work with like-minded lay leaders and young professionals who share a love for Israel,” she said. “Through my involvement with Jewish National Fund, I have been back to Israel multiple times, visiting places I could never have gone on my own, where I am able to make an impact and get my hands dirty alongside partners and projects on the ground.”
As for the power of Jewish nonprofit organizations, she said: “Together, we are stronger. Together, we can do anything.”
Together, you can help fulfill our mission to ensure a vibrant future for the Jewish people. Donate today so we can give the gift of a Birthright Israel trip to every eligible young Jewish adult out there.