Birthright Israel began with a bold idea – offering a free, life-changing 10-day trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26 and, in doing so, transforming the Jewish future.
Its mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the unaffiliated, the opportunity to visit Israel.
Today, Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world.
Founded in 1999 by a remarkable group of committed Jewish philanthropists led by Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt, Birthright Israel aims to strengthen Jewish identity, Jewish communities, and connection with Israel and its people.
The gift of a Birthright Israel trip is made possible thanks to the generous support of many sources, including the State of Israel, the program’s founders and other philanthropists, the Jewish Federation system and Keren Hayesod, the Jewish Agency for Israel, parents of trip participants, alumni of the program, and thousands of individuals donors from around the world who believe in our mission.
In North America, Birthright Israel Foundation raises the necessary funds thanks to 30,000+ donors each year, to ensure that Birthright Israel remains a gift to young Jewish adults for years to come.
The gift of a trip to Israel from Birthright Israel is designed to offer an educational peer experience. As such, while the trip is available to young Jews all over the world and from various backgrounds, there are guidelines for eligibility.
All participants must be between 18 and 26 and have finished high school by the time their trip departs. If you are turning 27 prior to May 1 for summer trips, or December 1 for winter trips, you are not eligible to participate in the upcoming round of trips.
*Those applying from the UK must be between 19-26 years of age.
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.
*Those applying for trips leaving from the Former Soviet Union are eligible if they have at least one Jewish birth grandparent. The accuracy of information pertaining to the heritage of an applicant for a trip leaving from the Former Soviet Union is also verified by a local Consul before an applicant is considered eligible.
Previous Israel Experience
If you have been to Israel before but only with your family or on other personal business, you are still eligible.
You are not eligible if you have been to Israel for approximately three months or longer* since the age of 12. You are also not eligible if you were in Israel as part of a touring group, educational program, study program or an organized extended residential program since you were 18 years of age or older.
There are a few programs such as volunteering for Magen David Adom, participating in the Maccabiah games and Federation missions that do not affect your eligibility.
If you were born in Israel or are an Israeli citizen you are only eligible if you left Israel before the age of 12. If you have served in the Israeli Army or volunteered on an Israel Army base after the age of 18, you are not eligible.
If you were born in Israel or have ever held Israeli citizenship or have held 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.
*Inclusive of when, during the approximate three-month time period, travel outside of Israel occurred.
Results of Birthright trips
After living and breathing their Jewish heritage in Israel, research by Brandeis University proves that they consider themselves more connected to the Jewish people and to Israel, more interested in exploring their identity, have a deeper understanding of the situation in Israel, and make plans to return.
More than 190,000 young people from all over the world have traveled for the first time to Israel since the start of Taglit-Birthright Israel in 2000.
Registration is in September (winter trips) and February (for summer trips).
If you would like more information about Taglit-Birthright Israel, Birthright Israel Foundation or Birthright Israel NEXT, please use the contact information below.
Questions about registering for a trip? Please e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Trip Information Hotline: 1-888-99-ISRAEL (1-888-994-7723)