(photo credit: Courtesy)
Birthright Israel-Taglit will double the number of free trips it offers to college-age Diaspora Jews this summer to at least 20,000, thanks to a $25 million donation by the Adelson Family Charitable Foundation, it was announced on Tuesday.
Just two months ago, the foundation, started by Las Vegas-based tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, donated $5m. to birthright.
"The birthright israel program is one of the best ideas our time has seen because it has the greatest potential to maintain Jewish continuity in the face of growing assimilation," Sheldon Adelson said.
Miriam Adelson, who is Israeli, said, "The program's success has convinced us that our donation would be well utilized."
Birthright israel, which together with the Jewish Agency provides free trips to Israel for Jews aged 18 to 26 who have never visited on an organized program, has brought approximately 120,000 young people to the country since 2000.
According to Gidi Mark, birthright's director of marketing, the new donation will help cut into the waiting list for birthright trips, which currently stands at about 40,000.