(photo credit: SYLVIE ROSOKOFF)
What’s the best way for young Jews to explore their heritage? For so many people there can only be one answer: Birthright Israel. This 10-day, life-changing trip in Israel has become a right-of-passage for young Jewish adults worldwide. And this year, the organization is celebrating a significant milestone: 18 years of giving young Jewish adults the gift of Jewish pride and connection to our people and our home.
A year ago, I joined Birthright Israel Foundation as President & CEO and I am so honored to be part of such an incredible organization. There is nothing on earth like the Birthright Israel experience. For each participant, this journey brings them to the heart of who they are and where they come from. And it leads them on a path toward the Jewish community. This could not be more critical for our people than it is today.
Studies by Brandeis University show that participants return home with an increased level of commitment to the state of Israel, marrying a Jewish partner, raising a family in the Jewish tradition and joining local Jewish organizations.
600,000 participants have taken this journey since 1999, which means Birthright Israel is helping an entire generation develop a meaningful connection with their Jewish identity and their homeland. Just take it from our alumni.
Jenna, who attended Birthright Israel in the spring of 2013, says, “My relationship with Judaism made a 180-degree turn since coming back from Birthright Israel. I realized how important my religion is. I met my husband on our trip, and now we can’t wait to send our children on Birthright Israel one day!”
For young Jewish adults like Jenna, Birthright Israel has helped them embrace their Jewish identity and given them tremendous pride for their heritage and the State of Israel.
Perri, who participated last winter says, “Birthright Israel is a once in a lifetime experience. I wasn't expecting to feel such a strong connection to Israel, and now I want to go back so badly.”
These are feelings they will pass along to their own children, ensuring that the impact of Birthright Israel will be felt for generations to come. Participants often come home and say these magic words: “Birthright Israel changed my life.”
Birthright Israel is able to provide this extraordinary trip to each participant as a gift -- with help from generous supporters. I hope you will join me and become a stakeholder in the Jewish future. There is no greater gift we can give our children and grandchildren. Visit our website
to learn more.
Here are some of the 2017 figures we are especially proud of