Birthright Israel

After Birthright Next, What's Next?

Follow-up programs to engage returnees from Israel have been problematic; several are seeking to fill the vacuum.

Editor and Publisher

As successful as Birthright Israel has been, providing free, guided trips to Israel to more than 400,000 young adult Jews from across the diaspora, the follow-up efforts with its alumni have been problematic.

Gary Rosenblatt

Why Birthright Is The Real Game Changer for Israel

Special To The Jewish Week

For the first time in Israel’s 67 years of existence, the conversation surrounding the Jewish state has changed. Rather than seeing Israel as a place of conflict, young people are now looking at it as a place of opportunity. For their parents’ and grandparents’ generations, Israel was perceived as needy, as a place solely of war, of turmoil, as a place defined by its existential threats. Not since the earliest days of the Zionist movement has there been such incredible positive energy and enthusiasm for Israel as there is now. 

Ido Aharoni

Birthright Turns Focus On Trip Leaders

Launches ‘Taglit Fellows’ program to focus on problem of follow-up with alums.

Staff Writer

For 14 years, Taglit-Birthright Israel has focused its educational efforts on the thousands of 18-to-26-year-olds it sends to Israel each year. Now, the organization is broadening its sights to the Americans who staff the trips.

A Birthright session at an archeological site in Israel. Courtesy of Birthright Israel

The GA in Israel:

Leaders Of Tomorrow

How do you build future Jewish leaders? Video blogger Aaron Herman spoke with current Taglit-Birthright Israel participants about their experiences in Israel at the JFNA GA in Israel.

How Birthright Is Changing Jewish Life

Special To The Jewish Week

A decade ago, Jewish parents worried that their children wouldn't marry Jewish or have a bar or bat mitzvah for their own children. Today, however, we see a younger generation that is marrying within the faith and looking to raise their children Jewish, while maintaining a strong bond to Israel. 

Jewish Agency Plans $300M Initiative To Boost Birthright, Teen Programs And Aliyah

Assistant Managing Editor

At a time when Jewish organizations that offer Israel youth trips are struggling to compete with the free Birthright Israel experience, the Jewish Agency For Israel is working to boost participation even higher, the quasi-governmental agency told Haaretz.

A Jerusalem conference will unveil the initiative, a project of the Jewish Agency and the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that could ultimately cost $300 milion, in October. The target for implementation is early 2015.

Some 350,000 college-age youths have participated in Birthright Israel. Photo via

Birthright Israel: Learn The Lessons

Special To The Jewish Week

Birthright Israel, the free 10-day trip to the Jewish state for 18- to 26-year-olds, is a great project. It enables scores of people to visit Israel, many of whom would otherwise never have the opportunity.

Elan Ezrachi

Tim Boxer On NJOP

Jewish Week Online Columnist

To reconnect Jews worldwide with their faith, Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, formerly of New York’s Lincoln Square Synagogue, founded the National Jewish Outreach Program in 1987. Prominent hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt donated $1.5 million to jumpstart the organization that helps Jews  rediscover the principles of Judaism and learn how to engage in Jewish ritual.

Michael Steinhardt, Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald and Sam Domb (Photo by Tim Boxer)

Hungry For A Different Israel Experience

Birthright ramps up niche trips, offering themed tours for foodies, techies, musicians and more.

Special To The Jewish Week

Jerusalem — The daughter of a chef and the communications director for a children’s cooking TV show, Natasha Miller is a self-described “huge foodie.”

Her boyfriend, Alex Blau, classifies himself as an “almost obnoxious foodie,” who takes constant photos of his meals.

So when Miller, who had been thinking about going on a Birthright Israel trip but was “sort of on the fence,” found out about a culinary-themed one, she “was sold” — and convinced Blau to come along.

Birthright culinary tour members take photos of the fare at Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market. Amy Spiro

Other: The Fastest Growing Jewish Community Segment

Special To The Jewish Week


Quick, what’s the fastest growing part of the Jewish community, or at least the New York metro area’s Jewish community? Orthodox? They’re growing, but not the fastest. Conservative? Nah. Reform? Not anymore. Reconstructionist? Nope.

According to the recently released study of the NY Jewish community, the group that has doubled its share of the community, growing from just 15% to a whopping 37% is [drum roll, please]…OTHER. That’s right, “other”. [Source: Jewish Community Study of New York, page 121].

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