About 2,000 Birthright Israel participants from 45 states and provinces in North America will land in Israel in February and March for the first trips of 2022. The flights, which begin this weekend, mark Birthright Israel’s “joyful return” after a series of suspensions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After a long hiatus, we are excited and honored to bring back so many participants from North America on these important and exciting tours to Israel,” said Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark.
“I am so excited to go on my Birthright Israel trip next month,” said Kayla Dinsfriend, a chef and culinary educator from Sitka, Alaska. “I have been looking forward to this for so long, it almost doesn’t seem real! I can’t wait to step into the life and culture of Israel and eat all I can along the way.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 led to a break that ended in May 2021, before the Delta variant grounded the trips again. This was followed by a suspension due to Omicron in December, when the program was forced to cancel some 3,000 registrations.
Birthright Israel organizers are now optimistic about the future as they greet the February and March participants and look forward to the summer, when they will welcome an additional 15,000 North American young people along with others from around the world.
The summer season, which launches in May, will be the last opportunity for young adults aged 27-32 to participate in a Birthright Israel trip. Starting in Winter 2023, the trips will be restricted to those aged 18-26.
“We expect to bring about 3,000 young adults from around the world in the next two months, and during the summer we expect about 15,000 from North America and nearly 20,000 worldwide,” said Mark. “Our summer trips are filling up quickly and we are excited and optimistic that we will now be able to accommodate the 100,000 North American young adults that signed up for a trip over the last two years and couldn’t travel due to Covid.”
Participants must be fully vaccinated, and Birthright Israel continues to work closely with Israel’s Ministry of Health to ensure a comprehensive and dynamic Covid protocol, taking care of all participants’ needs while in Israel.
Taglit-Birthright Israel offers a free, “life-changing” trip to Israel for young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 32 and, in doing so, “transforms the Jewish future.” Its mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the “less connected,” the opportunity to visit Israel on an educational trip.
Today, Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world that has given over 750,000 journeys to the state of Israel.