This summer, Birthright Israel will welcome to its programs 12,658 Jewish youths from the US and Canada, running between mid-May and September, each program is a gift of 10 days of touring Israel for free.
However, last year, Birthright Israel announced that due to inflation and higher travel costs, it was forced to cut the number of participants, resulting in almost 40% fewer participants than in the summer of 2022 – down from 18,358 to 12,658.
Birthright Israel will also welcome 3,058 participants of Onward Israel, the leading mid-term internship program, and the prestigious fellowship in business and technology, from 24 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Australia, France, Russia, England, Italy, Hungary, Germany, and Ukraine.
Birthright Israel’s American participants this summer come from New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Connecticut, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Utah, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Kansas, Vermont, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alaska, Arkansas, Maine, Wyoming, Iowa, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
“The inflation that has hit much of the global economy, and the rising costs of travel post-Covid, have driven up Birthright Israel’s expenses,” said Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark, who noted sadly that the program has a waiting list of 20,000 young Jewish adults who will be disappointed this summer. “Without offsetting donations, thousands of applicants in the future will be denied the chance, as were thousands this summer, to experience a Birthright Israel trip. We feel terrible about that, but we had no choice. Extensive research has revealed that young Jews have a significantly stronger connection to Israel and a far deeper Jewish identity following their participation than non-participants.”
Mark called Birthright “a winning formula for a vibrant Jewish future,” with participants “returning to their communities more educated about Israel, more involved in Jewish life, prouder of who they are as Jews.”
He cited a recent Brandeis University analysis of Pew’s 2021 study that found Birthright participants to be substantially more likely to marry Jews and raise their children Jewish.
“Nearly 60 percent of Jewish-communal professionals in the United States are Birthright alumni,” Mark said. “They feel part of their communities and tend to make up to 40 new Jewish and Israeli friends from their trip. Birthright is the key to ensuring a stronger Jewish community.”
Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world and has transformed the lives of more than 800,000 young Jewish adults ages 18–26. Its mission is to ensure a vibrant future for the Jewish people by strengthening Jewish identity, Jewish communities, and connection with Israel. The organization also brings thousands of participants to Israel through its Onward Israel and Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship Programs.
The gift of a Birthright Israel trip is made possible thanks to the support of tens of thousands of donors to the Birthright Israel Foundation and Birthright Israel Foundation of Canada as well as an innovative partnership between Jewish communities around the world and the Government of Israel.