Jewish youth from around the world take part in Birthright Israel's Mega Event.
(photo credit: EREZ OZIR)
The Jerusalem Post will grant Birthright Israel with the first ever award for "Most Influential Jewish Organization" of the year, on Sunday.
The Award will be presented to Birthright Israel's co-founder, Charles Bronfman, during the Post's annual conference in New York City.
Over the past 18 years, more than 600,000 Jewish young adults from 67 countries have experienced Birthright Israel’s innovative landmark tour that enables young people to develop connections with their heritage, the larger diaspora community and the State of Israel.
“We are proud to bestow the award for Most Influential Jewish Organization to Birthright Israel. We recognize Birthright Israel’s immense contribution to forging and maintaining ties between the Jewish Diaspora and its homeland and to fostering Jewish leadership in Israel and abroad,” said Jerusalem Post
CEO Ronit Hassin-Hochman. “As we hold our annual conference in New York, we support the important work of the organization most responsible for keeping our two communities on the same track, overcoming distance and differences to forge a shared future for the Jewish people. We are already seeing the impact of Birthright Israel’s near 20 years of operation as its alumni take their place in the world and trust that the generations to come will continue to benefit from its activities for many more years to come.”
That vision was helped this week by a generous donation by Jewish American philanthropists Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson,who made the biggest donation in the organization's history, pledging $70 million on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.
Over the years, the couple have provided massive financial support to the Birthright tour, to the tune of $410m.
The donation was made at Birthright’s annual gala dinner where a total of $125m. was raised, including the Adelsons’ gift, and donations from businessman and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who gave $2m. on the night, and from 650 other private donors.
Birthright said that it would now be able to break its record number of visits by Jewish youth to Israel and reach 50,000 participants in the coming year.
Founded in 1999, Birthright Israel has steadily increased the yearly number of young Jews visiting Israel, growing its number of participants from about 9,500 in 2000 to nearly 48,000 in 2017.
Birthright's innovative model has served as inspiration for other diaspora initiatives across the world in Cuba, Macedonia, Armenia, Ireland, Greece and others.
Today, approximately 70% of Jewish Student leaders in North America are Birthright Israel Alumni.
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