Birthright trips returning to Israel after long COVID hiatus

Participants must be fully vaccinated, and Birthright Israel continues to work closely with Israel’s Ministry of Health to ensure a comprehensive and dynamic Covid protocol.

 BIRTHRIGHT PARTICIPANTS attend an event at the International Conference Center in Jerusalem in 2015, celebrating ten years since the inception of the program. (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
BIRTHRIGHT PARTICIPANTS attend an event at the International Conference Center in Jerusalem in 2015, celebrating ten years since the inception of the program.
(photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)

About 2,000 Birthright Israel participants from 45 states and provinces in North America will land in Israel in the coming weeks for the first trips of 2022. The flights, which begin this weekend, mark Birthright Israel’s return after a series of suspensions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After a long hiatus, we are excited and honored to bring back so many participants from North America on these important and exciting tours to Israel,” Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark said.

This is the current list of Birthright Israel participants who are expected to arrive in February and March from each state or province in North America (in alphabetical order): Alabama: 1; Alaska: 3; Arizona: 1; California: 54; Colorado: 19; Connecticut: 13; Delaware: 1; DC: 10; Florida: 42; Georgia: 1; Hawaii: 1; Illinois: 18; Indiana: 2; Iowa: 2; Kansas: 1; Kentucky: 2; Louisiana: 2; Maine: 1; Manitoba: 1; Maryland: 17; Massachusetts: 33; Michigan: 8; Minnesota: 1; Mississippi: 1; Missouri: 3; Montana: 2; Nevada: 4; New Hampshire: 5; New Jersey: 28; New Mexico: 1; New York: 100; North Dakota: 12; Ohio: 20; Ontario: 2; Oregon: 3; Pennsylvania: 30; Rhode Island: 7; S. Carolina: 3; Tennessee: 3; Texas: 16; Vermont: 3; Virginia: 8; Washington: 7; Wisconsin: 7.

“I am so excited to go on my Birthright Israel trip next month,” said Kayla Dinsfriend, a chef and culinary educator from Sitka, Alaska. “I have been looking forward to this for so long, it almost doesn’t seem real. I can’t wait to step into the life and culture of Israel and eat all I can along the way.”

The 2020 outbreak of COVID led to a break that ended in May 2021, before the Delta variant grounded the trips again. This was followed by a suspension due to Omicron in December, when the program was forced to cancel, even though 3,000 young people from North America had registered.

First birthright trip to Israel in over a year. (credit: EREZ UZIR)First birthright trip to Israel in over a year. (credit: EREZ UZIR)

The Birthright Israel organizers are optimistic about the future as they greet the February and March participants and look forward to the summer, when they will welcome an additional 15,000 North American young people along with others from around the world. The summer season, which launches in May, will be the last opportunity for young adults aged 27-32 to participate in a Birthright Israel trip. Starting in winter 2023, the trips will be restricted to those aged 18-26.

“We expect to bring about 3,000 young adults from around the world in the next two months, and during the summer, we expect about 15,000 from North America and nearly 20,000 worldwide,” Mark said. “Our summer trips are filling up quickly, and we are excited and optimistic that we will now be able to accommodate the 100,000 North American young adults that signed up for a trip over the last two years and couldn’t travel due to COVID.”

Participants must be fully vaccinated, and Birthright Israel continues to work closely with the Health Ministry to ensure a comprehensive and dynamic COVID protocol, taking care of all participants’ needs while in Israel.

Taglit-Birthright Israel says it offers a free, life-changing trip to Israel for young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 32 that transforms the Jewish future. Its mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the less connected, the opportunity to visit Israel on an educational trip.

Birthright Israel says it is the largest educational tourism organization in the world and has provided more than 750,000 journeys to Israel.