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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Taglit Birthright Israel’

Unprecedented Participation Expected in Birthright Winter Program

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

More than 17,000 Jewish young adults will participate in the Taglit-Birthright Israel free 10-day tours this season, the largest number of winter participants for Birthright since the program was founded in 2000.

Over the past 13 years, more than 350,000 participants have attended Birthright trips to Israel. The program is expected to reach 50 percent of Jewish young adults worldwide over the next five years.

“Each year, Taglit-Birthright Israel strives to reach new heights and surpass our own goals and expectations and this year, we’ve gone way above and beyond those expectations,” said Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel.

Israel Honors Adelson with Tourism Award

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Tourist Minister Uzi Landau and  Taglit-Birthright presented American Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson with an honorary award on innovation and excellence in global tourism at the Second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit.

Adelson has “changed the face of tourism on three continents,” said the speakers who awarded the gambling casino tycoon.

Last week, Birthright Israel said Adelson is contributing another $40 million for the 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish adults who never have visited the country.

Sharansky Opens Agency in Munich, Fears Assimilation

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky opened a new Jewish campus in Munich this week and declared, “The Jewish community in Germany is indeed unique” but faces the challenge of assimilation.

The campus will house the Jewish Agency’s Munich office and the European Janusz Korczak Academy, a Jewish Agency-supported school that integrates traditional Jewish learning with a humanistic philosophy.

The Jewish community in Germany has flourished in the last two decades following a wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union and has grown to more than 200,000.

“In the last two decades the community has increased in size exponentially but assimilation could cause it to disappear just as quickly,” Sharansky said. “The Jewish Agency for Israel is therefore making a special effort to help young Jews in Germany strengthen their Jewish identity and their connection to Israel.”

These efforts include trips to Israel through Taglit-BirthrightIsrael and Masa Israel Journey.

Jewish Press Radio with Yishai Fleisher: In the Eyes of the Rebbe

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by popular guest Baruch Widen (commentator on Arab society and Arab Jewish relations) to discuss a book by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe) on settling the Land of Israel. Yishai and Widen dig into the phenomenon of young American Jews moving to the Land of Israel and how programs such as Birthright (Taglit) are actually decreasing the intermarriage rate among young Jews.

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Olympic Medalist Gets A Dose Of Israeli Reality

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The war in Gaza overshadowed what should have been the recent headline-making arrival of Jewish-American Olympic gold medalist Ben Wildman-Tobriner to the Jewish state, as Taglit-Birthright Israel’s 200,000th participant.

The 24-year-old San Francisco native, who swam to glory at the Beijing Olympics, was tabbed to be the ultimate role model for the Birthright Israel program, which has successfully provided a face-to-face experience with Israel’s history and culture for young American Jews. However, coming face-to-face with Israeli society while dealing with the daily trials and tribulations of Operation Cast Lead provided the amiable athlete with an experience he’s unlikely to ever forget.

“You could say that this is an unexpected action-packed experience for me,” quipped Wildman-Tobriner in an exclusive interview with The Jewish Press. “Yes, there is an unavoidable fear factor of being in a country that’s in the midst of a war. The Israelis I’ve spoken with are more upset with the fact that they have to live through this situation every few years.”

Wildman-Tobriner admitted that having grown up in what he termed a religious Reform Jewish household in California, he was disconnected from the reality that exists in Israel.             

His family has long established roots in Northern California, with Ben’s paternal grandfather, Matthew Tobriner, having served as a California Supreme Court justice for 20 years. “You have preconceived notions about Israel based on what we see on the news at home. We don’t see or understand anything else about Israel beyond those images,” he stated. “The Birthright Israel experience gives you the opportunity to sleep in the desert, climb Masada, float in the Dead Sea, and see parts of Israel that are unaffected by the conflict.”

Many non-religious and unaffiliated Taglit-Birthright Israel participants discover their religious Jewish roots during the course of the 10-day program. Wildman-Tobriner claimed that he feels “a lot more connected to the Jewish people” as a result of his trip to Israel. “I’ll admit that there was this huge disconnect between me and the State of Israel. Up until this trip, Israel was just a place on a map. And while Taglit-Birthright Israel stays away from creating a ‘religious experience,’ I definitely experienced a new- found appreciation for Judaism, the land of Israel and its people. I take back with me the names, faces and memories of my encounters with Israelis from all walks of life.”

The program also arranges encounters between young IDF soldiers and Birthright Israel participants. Wildman-Tobriner had the unique opportunity to provide therapeutic swimming tips to a group of injured IDF soldiers at a Tel Aviv swimming hall. “Bonding with the soldiers and exchanging stories has been an amazing experience for me,” he added.

While he doesn’t foresee making aliyah in the near future, Wildman-Tobriner wants to return to Israel with his family, which has yet to visit the Jewish state. Wildman-Tobriner was also non-committal about representing the U.S. in next summer’s Maccabiah Games in Israel or the 2012 Olympic Games in London. “Honestly, I don’t know what my plans are. I just started medical school at the University of California-San Francisco, which is a priority for me right now,” he said. “As for competitive swimming, I’m laying low and not competing for the moment. As we get closer to 2012 I will see how I feel, and if I can provide enough balance in my life to consider competing once more.”

Photo credit: Tal Rogovski

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles//2009/01/14/

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