The Israel trip is a unique opportunity offered by Aish NY in partnership with the Israeli Government and Olami Worldwide to Jewish students age 18-26. Students travel to Israel for 15-18 days, where they connect with their Jewish heritage, learn how to advocate for Israel, and explore the major issues that impact their lives as future Jewish leaders. During the trip students will travel to the various regions of Israel, learn Israel advocacy skills, form deep bonds with their peers and study Jewish history and philosophy. The typical day involves 3 hours of educational sessions in the morning followed by touring in the afternoon and evening.
Jewish students age 18-26 are eligible to apply to the Israel trip. Past participants on Birthright are eligible as well. Students in the Maimonides semester fellowship on campus will be considered first for spots on the trip, but others may apply as well and will be considered. Please contact your local Aish NY educator if you have questions regarding eligibility, or the Aish NY campus coordinator at 212-921-9090.
The Israel trip normally costs the participants $600, although this can fluctuate at times due to factors outside of our control. Graduates of Maimonides will earn an additional $300 stipend which they may apply to the trip if they choose, bringing the cost down to $300. The actual value of the trip is approximately $3600. Generous sponsorships by Aish NY, the Israeli Government, Olami Worldwide and other donors enable all participants to automatically receive a very large scholarship toward the trip.
Full participation in the activities, classes and programs on the trip itself are the main requirements of the trip. Certain trips require an additional activity after the trip such as organizing a recruiting event on campus, attending a post-trip reunion shabbaton, or completing a post-trip journal entry. Please inquire during your interview as to whether your trip has any of these requirements.
In Israel it is customary to give a small tip to the trip’s bus driver. We recommend bringing $25 with you which will be collected during the trip for tips. Additionally, there will be some meals on the trip that are not provided and are the responsibility of the student to purchase themselves, such as dinner on a free night etc.
The goal of the trip is to educate young Jewish students about the critical issues facing the Jewish people, learn more about their rich heritage, and connect to their homeland, so that they have the knowledge to make informed Jewish choices as they start their adult lives. Students are encouraged to maintain the connections and community that is formed during the trip after they return to campus through reunions, pro-Israel and Jewish initiatives, and other programming such as Maimonides 2 and advanced learning programs.
Residents of North America must hold a US or Canadian passport valid for at least 6 months from your last day in Israel. If you are not an American citizen, you may need a visa and have other restrictions; please contact your closest Israeli consulate for more information.
If you do not already have a passport, you should begin obtaining a passport as soon as possible. You will be required to provide your passport number and a photocopy of your passport prior to our issuing your airline ticket. If you realize after the cancellation deadline and after being assigned a flight that you will not have a valid passport by your departure date, we may need to cancel your trip. No one can travel to Israel without a valid passport.
Yes! Extending tickets will be possible once we have notified you that you have been ticketed on a specific flight. All ticket extensions will be at the expense of the participant. Students also have the option to extend their ticket once in Israel through the airline. The most important thing is to call before your flight. If you miss the flight without calling, they may cancel the ticket.
Students who decide to extend their ticket for participation in an approved learning program may be eligible for extension subsidies and other scholarships. Please ask your trip leader about this opportunity if you are interested.
Trip insurance is also available for extension through the travel agent.
We maintain regular communication with the Israeli government. We receive the most updated information, which allows us to take the strongest relevant precautions. A group’s itinerary will be changed immediately to reflect any heightened risk or security concerns.
The program does not visit areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority or any other areas deemed unsafe by the Government of Israel, and we are accompanied by security as required by the government.
There is free time on the program. Students will be given detailed instructions concerning places they should not go during their free time.
While each day has different activities as we travel around the country, most days include a few hours of exciting seminars and discussions about Judaism and/or Israeli politics, an afternoon tour, and free time or an evening activity. Please take a look at the sample schedule online to get a general feel for a trip schedule. No two trips are exactly the same, but they follow similar schedule patterns.
One of the goals of the trip is to give students a taste of living in Israel and to experience Israeli society. Although the structured programming guides the majority of the day, certain nights are left free for you to enjoy on your own, provided you honor the security guidelines. In addition to designated free time, you are more than welcome to extend you stay so that you can have more time to visit with family and friends in Israel. It is important to note that as the trip is heavily subsidized, full participation during the actual trip is required and it is generally not possible to see family during the scheduled parts of the trip, which include the vast majority of hours during the trip.