1. 80% of all participants are from the USA and Canada
Even though Birthright Israel trips are available to participants from across the globe, and groups from 64 countries have participated, the USA and Canada still account for the most participants.
2. One man has pledged over $250 million to Birthright Israel
Although trips are funded by the support of over 30 000 donors, the government of Israel, and Jewish Federations, Sheldon Adelson has played a fundamental role in making Birthright Israel as big as it is today.
3. If you go on a Birthright Israel trip you're more likely to marry a Jewish spouse
It's a fact. A study was conducted among young Jewish adults by Brandeis University which found that among Birthright participants 72 percent will marry Jewish spouses, compared with 51 percent among non-participants. The same study found that 25% of Birthright Israel alumni marry other Birthright alumni!
4. There have been some interesting niche trips along the way
We are only one week into this new year, but we've got big expectations for 2017, and we're kind of impatient for it to be amazing... Lucky for us, the last few days have been pretty good:
1. We've made A LOT of new friends
2. Had our first ever LGBTQ Birthright Israel trip
3. Got off to a great start with a bit of sunrise yoga on Masada
4. Been absolutely "Wowed" by nature
5. Connected to our roots and spirituality
6. Eaten amazing falafel sandwiches. Seriously, it looks a bit messy, but they were so good they had to make the list.
7. Got masked and muddy at the Dead Sea
8. Experienced something totally different
9. Had one of the best nights out in Tel Aviv, the famous nightlife city
10. Visited Jerusalem... and many more amazing places in Israel!
Now do you see why the first week of 2017 has got us feeling so optimistic? If you want to come experience all the above and more in Israel this year, then make sure you Sign Up now for 2017 Priority Status read more
Remember that free t-shirt you won? Was it amazing? Probably not. It's sad but true, but the likelihood of anything "free" being awesome, or not involving some kind of hidden cost, is quite low.
That's why Birthright Israel isn't "free". When you add up the return flights, accommodation, food, transport, sites and activities, the whole package comes to around $3000.
Fortunately, you're not the one paying the bill!
A few exceptionally generous philanthropists, together with the Israeli government, have made it possible for you to have an incredible $3000 travel experience without having to fit the bill. If you ask us, that's pretty amazing, and is definitely not something to be taken for granted.
If it's free, how good can it be?
While it is a free Birthright Israel trip after all, and doesn't cost you a dime, it's definitely not a "cheap" experience. The generosity of Birthright Israel's supporters has ensured an exceptionally high standard of trip, and in turn made it t read more
I'm a Science guy, he's religious, she's a sorority girl, and they're into meditation. Could we be more different?
We were 40 strangers about to share our space, our time, and our travel snacks for the next 10 days. It's understandable that I was nervous.
I figured that all things going well, we'd get on just fine. The trip would be fun, and at the end we'd all go our separate ways and probably never see each other again.
What I didn't expect was that this weird bunch of people would be the heart and soul of my trip. That when I'd look back on the experience, I'd say that above all the awesome things we did and saw, it's the people that were the real highlight for me.
At first I thought we were just lucky, but then my trip counselor let me in on a little secret.
"It's not just us, it's what Birthright Israel brings out in people."
No matter where we're from, or what unique talents we might have, when we touch down in Israel, we're on equal ground. We're all experien read more
"Come to Israel for free! Do this, do that, get this, get that..."
You know the drill.
Yes, Birthright Israel trips are free, and that is amazing. However, the real key to a meaningful experience isn't what you get.
Woah, hold up. Are we about to release trade secrets? Probably.
Here it goes: It's about the people. It's about the connections you make. And this is twofold, on the one hand you connect with other American Jews, and on the other, you build a connection to Israel and its people. That's quite an achievement in 10 days if you ask me.
Now, the "connecting with other American Jews" part is easy, you already have 3 definite things in common. You all have some kind of Jewish connection, you're all of a similar age, and you're all up for an adventure. The connecting with Israelis part, takes a little more effort on our part, but that's why you travel with peer group soldiers, and why we organize volunteer activities.
You Get, You Give, You read more