Birthright Israel began with a bold idea—offering a free, life-changing trip to Israel for young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26 and, in doing so, transforming the Jewish future.
Our mission is to provide all young Jewish adults with opportunities for transformative and immersive shared experiences in Israel and a foundation for ongoing Jewish connection.
Today, Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world that has given over 800,000 journeys to the magical state of Israel.
800,000 unique moments of self-discovery and life-long friendships.
life-changing Shabbats, Dead Sea swims, mountain hikes and culinary adventures.
The trip is impactful, leaving you different than before.
It is given freely, with no expectation of anything in return.
Most importantly, it is personal, like the best gifts always are.
Birthright Israel also offers other opportunities in Israel such as:
Exciting resume building opportunities – internships, academic studies, and fellowships through https://onwardisrael.org.
A Highly selective business leadership fellowship through https://birthrightisraelexcel.com.
A free opportunity to fast track a career in the hi-tech industry with guaranteed job placement in the world’s leading startup nation https://birthrightisraellabs.com/brightcode.
Birthright Israel seeks to ensure a vibrant future for the Jewish people by strengthening Jewish identity, Jewish communities, and connection with Israel.
Our hope is that our programs motivate young people to continue to explore their Jewish identity and support for Israel and maintain long-lasting connections with the Israelis they meet. We encourage our alumni to take active roles in Jewish organizations and to participate in follow-up activities worldwide.
Why do we do it?
Founded in 1999 by a remarkable group of committed Jewish philanthropists led by Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt, Birthright Israel aims to give every young Jewish person equal opportunity to explore life’s most important questions. About identity, community, connection to a homeland.
The gift of a Birthright Israel trip is made possible thanks to an innovative partnership between Jewish philanthropists, Jewish communities through Jewish Federations, the people of Israel through the Government of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel, parents of trip participants, alumni of the program, and thousands of individuals donors from around the world who believe in our mission.
In North America, Birthright Israel Foundation raises the necessary funds thanks to 30,000+ donors each year, to ensure that Birthright Israel remains a gift to young Jewish adults for years to come. Learn more at BirthrightIsrael.Foundation >
Twenty years ago, when Birthright Israel was launched, there was a crisis in the Jewish world – Jews in the diaspora were steadily drifting away from their heritage, their traditions and their community.
The program that began as an experiment has been extraordinarily successful; it is enhancing the vibrancy of Jewish life in countries around the globe.
Since its inception in December 1999, over 800,000 participants took part in Birthright Israel, more than 115,000 of which are Israelis. They come from 68 countries including all 50 U.S states, Canadian provinces, and nearly 1,000 North American colleges and universities.
80% Of participants consider Birthright Israel a life-changing experience – an approval rate any brand would envy.
Birthright Israel programs have contributed $1.5 billion to the Israeli economy.
Since Birthright Israel’s inception, the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) at Brandeis University has conducted rigorous research to evaluate the program and learn about its impact on the current generation of Jewish young adults. The evidence from the Brandeis studies indicates that participation in Birthright Israel positively alters participants’ trajectory of Jewish engagement and connection to Israel.
Our Educational Core
The Birthright Israel trip is a journey through both Jewish history and the contemporary Jewish state, accompanied by Israeli peers (“the Mifgash”) who join the trips as colleagues and friends. The Birthright Israel journey is committed to a culture of open discussion and dialogue about all issues, such as: identity, geopolitics, religion, and Jewish life.
While trips are operated by different Trip Organizers such that each trip differs slightly, all trips focus on three core educational areas:
Narratives of the Jewish People – Participants visit a Jewish heritage site, a Zionist heritage site, a contemporary national heritage site, a “natural” heritage site, and a Shoah (Holocaust) heritage and learning site.
Contemporary Israel – Through visits to different organizations, institutions, and businesses, participants explore Israeli geopolitics, society, and statehood; arts and culture; and innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.
Ideas and Values of the Jewish People – Group members celebrate Shabbat together, form a Kehilah (community) with mutual responsibility, and engage with Talmud-Torah and Beit Midrash and Hebrew as a living language.