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LEADERSHIP BRIEFING

BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL OFFERS MATCHING GRANTS
TO MEET SURGE IN DEMAND

 

Birthright Israel, the Federation-supported program that provides young Jewish adults with free Israel experiences to strengthen Jewish identity, is reporting a surge in demand, forcing the program to wait-list thousands. To help meet this challenge, Birthright Israel has announced a 1:1 matching grant for new or increased dollars. It is critical we continue to support our partnership with Birthright Israel, which remains a model for our Federation movement in inspiring young people to connect to their Jewish identity. Since its inception a decade ago, Birthright Israel has sent more than 230,000 young people to Israel, with the help of more than $100 million in Federation support. 

Below is an announcement Birthright Israel has distributed about this issue. For details on the matching grant, please contact Shira Hutt, of the BRI Foundation, at (212) 457-0041, or JFNA’s Rachel Litchman at (212) 284-6583. 

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 -Taglit-Birthright Israel announced today a sharp increase in eligible applicants for the program’s summer session, up 12 percent from the same session last year.  

After closing North American registration for 2010 summer trips yesterday, Birthright Israel said nearly 39,000 Jewish young adults had qualified, up from 35,500 last year. With 15,000 summer spots available, Birthright Israel faces the prospect of leaving at least 24,000 applicants home. 

“We’re just wrapping up a great winter season in which we took almost 11,000 participants from 24 countries, and demand grows every year,” said Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel. “We know the impact the trips have on Jewish lives. We wish we could take them all, and we’re working towards that.” 

Since its first flight in 1999, Taglit-Birthright Israel has taken over 230,000 Jewish young adults from all over the world to Israel on a free, educational, peer-group trip. Independent research published last year by Brandeis University shows that, five to ten years later, the majority of participants describe the experience as “life-changing.”  

“The time to support Birthright Israel is now,” said Bob Aronson, President of the Birthright Israel Foundation. “We’ve announced a brand-new matching grant that adds one dollar to every dollar given to the program, hugely increasing the power of all gifts.”  

The Brandeis study published last fall concluded that Birthright Israel alumni have a stronger relationship with Israel than non-participants, have a stronger sense of Jewish identity and a stronger desire to raise Jewish children.



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