Frequently Asked Questions
How does Birthright Israel view pluralism?
Birthright Israel's motto is clear and simple: we seek unity without uniformity! The diverse makeup of our participants is seen as a great asset and the ultimate example of Jewish pluralism. Our approach is to offer each participant an equal place in sharing their voice about Judaism, Israel and identity — irrespective of personal background, political views, religious beliefs or practices, sexual orientation, gender identity etc. Birthright Israel does not endorse any ideological and/or religious line. We are 100% pluralistic and inclusive!
Is Birthright Israel an apolitical organization?
Unequivocally, yes. Birthright Israel is committed to the State of Israel as a sovereign, Jewish and democratic state, and upholds its standing as the historic and eternal homeland of the Jewish people. Within that framework, Birthright Israel refrains from any political or ideological partisanship in its platform. Birthright Israel promotes a culture of open, safe, pluralistic and meaningful dialogue and seeks to unite young Jewish adults with each other and with the State of Israel.
Do parents of participants donate to Birthright Israel Foundation?
A participant's new-found love of Israel and connection to their roots is often felt by their parents. It is a little something we here at Birthright Israel Foundation like to call the "Birthright Bounce" — when the magic jumps from the participant to the parent.
Parents feel the effects of their child's experience so deeply that year after year they pay it forward — making it possible for another child to claim their birthright. Birthright Israel Foundation is tremendously grateful to this profound group of committed individuals who donate a significant amount to ensure a vibrant Jewish future for all.
Why is Birthright Israel free for participants who can afford to travel to Israel?
Birthright Israel was launched as a manifestation of great Jewish values, such as communal unity and cross-generational responsibility. As such, Birthright Israel is a gift which is offered to any eligible Jewish young adult by our generation, irrespective of his/her personal financial situation. Maintaining these founding values is most important, and we believe that such individuals who could have afforded the trip will eventually "pay it forward" by joining our body of donors and investing in the continued success of our program.
A Birthright Israel trip can be the first Jewish decision young people will make on their own, without their parents. As the world of travel becomes more accessible, we know Israel may not be their first-choice destination. By taking out the financial commitment, ensuring this trip is a gift, we are leveling the playing field, making this decision to travel to Israel and connect with their roots as easy as possible.
If there is no longer a waiting list, why do you need more funds?
There are over a hundred thousand eligible young Jewish adults in every corner of the world. We need more funds to recruit young adults who are not aware of Birthright Israel or their place in the Jewish community. Take a moment to think about the young adults who have no desire or attachment to Israel or their Judaism. Think about those who do not live in a vibrant Jewish community or those that do not live in a Jewish community at all. With more funds we can build even better recruitment tools and increase the number of participants we send annually, so every eligible young Jewish adult out there can receive the gift of Birthright Israel.
The trip sounds great, but what happens after participants get home from Israel?
Our mission is to provide the participants with a life-changing educational experience in Israel. The follow up after the trip is already happening when they get home. We partner with many Jewish organizations and empower them to follow up with alumni. We want these organizations to help the alumni continue their Jewish journey, whether it is through Moishe House, Hillel, AIPAC, a local Federation or many other Jewish organizations.
Alongside the community involvement in ensuring the alumni's journey continues, Birthright Israel Foundation is currently working with our colleagues in Israel on a post-trip engagement app. The focus of the app is to create a streamlined communications platform that is visually engaging with curated content sourced by organizations and projects around the U.S. This in turn will provide alumni with a robust marketplace of ongoing connections and opportunities both at home, on campus and in their community.
What are the eligibility requirements?
The Birthright Israel gift is open to all Jewish young adults, ages 18 to 26* who have not participated on an educational trip since they turned 18 nor lived in Israel past the age of 12. Eligible individuals are those who identify as Jewish and are recognized as such by their local community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism. Applicants must also have at least one Jewish birth parent or have completed Jewish conversion through a recognized Jewish denomination.
* Note: Birthright Israel is currently offering the gift to 27-32-year-olds with limited availability as a pilot program.