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  • The program has always had a lot of support from influential people within the Jewish community. David Sherman, Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s chairman of the board, is a strong supporter of Birthright. “It's life changing, huge, and motivating," he said. "It increases the likelihood of a connection to Israel, the Jewish people, and Jewish continuity.”
  • “My understanding is that one of the major funders is still a major funder,” Sherman said, “but not at the level that he was last year.” With the number of applicants being so high, losing funding from such a major source is really hurting Birthright. “Our demand right now is incredible…way more than it’s ever been,” Gross said.So will Birthright be able to continue at this rate? Gross is saying yes. “We have some very devoted donors, and I think that the Foundation [the fundraising branch of Birthright] has a lot of very strategic fundraising developments happening right now.”
  • Around four days into the trip Israeli soldiers, who are similar in age to those eligible for the trip, are added to the bus and travel around with the group. They get to know Jews from America, and American Jews get to know Israelis. “One of my favorite parts of Birthright was getting to know the soldiers,” Hecht said. “It was amazing to see people our age fighting for not only themselves, but for Jews around the world to have a place they can call home. It made me care a lot more about what is going on in the war in Israel.”

Clara Casey Clara Casey Presentation Transcript

  • By Clara Casey
    Birthright Israel: lack of funding keeping many eligible applicants from a “life-changing” trip
    J2001 - 03
  • Birthright Israel
    Began in 2000
    Purpose: to send Jewish young adults, ages 18-26, to Israel for a 10-day experience of a lifetime free of charge.
  • Alumni call birthright “life-changing.”
    11%
    45%
    28%
    16%
    45%
    16%
    11%
    28%
    Generation Birthright Israel,Saxe
  • “Meeting the soldiers that fight for our homeland day in and day out made me appreciate everything I have, including my religion, on a deeper level. The trip changed my life in unexplainable ways.”
    - Ariella Hecht, Birthright Alumni, Summer 2010
    72%
    18%
    7%
    3%
    Generation Birthright Israel,Saxe
  • Influential supporters of birthright
    “Birthright is life changing, huge, and motivating," he said. "It increases the likelihood of a connection to Israel, the Jewish people, and Jewish continuity.”
    -David Sherman, chairman of the board for the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Application numbers are at a high.
    Summer 2010
    • 73% of applicants were waitlisted because of a “lack of funding.”
    – Irit Gross, Birthright Israel Foundation
    Generation Birthright Israel, Saxe
  • Lack of funding
    “My understanding is that one of the major funders is still a major funder, but not at the level that he was last year.”
    - Sherman
    Many devoted to birthright seem optimistic.
    How will birthright sustain funding?
    With devoted donors and The Foundation, the fundraising branch ofbirthright.
  • The Foundation
    The fundraising branch of birthright
    Currently working on a 5 year planto get more funds.
    Adelson/New Founders Challenge Grant
    Every dollar a person donates to the foundation will be matched.
  • Sample itinerary includes:
    Tel Aviv
    Jaffa
    Jerusalem
    Haifa
    Tzfat
    Caesarea
    Nahal Oren
    • Golan Heights
    • RabinSquare
    • Independence Hall
    • Western Wall
    • Old city of Jerusalem
    • Tel Dan Reserve
    • Jordan River
    • Bedouin village
    • Masada
    • The Dead Sea
    • Yad Vashem
    • Mt. Hertzl
  • Dancing after the arrival, summer 2010
    On the bus going to Jaffa, summer 2010
  • Participants on a beach in Tel Aviv, summer 2010
    At the top of Mt. Sinai, summer 2010
  • Meeting Israeli soldiers
    Americans and Israelis get a different perspective of each other.
    “One of my favorite parts of Birthright was getting to know the soldiers. It made me care a lot more about what is going on in the war in Israel.”
    - Hecht
  • The soldiers are affected too.
    “Birthright changed me because now I appreciate serving in the army even more than I did before. I know that I am doing the right thing. I also got to see what another culture is like.”
    - AdiStolero, Israeli soldier
  • Breaksstereotypes of Americans
    “I was expecting to meet young people that were shallow. I quickly found myself proven wrong and was pleasantly surprised to find that almost everyone was interested in how life is here, and how they can help the cause in Israel.”
    - Orr Shilon, Israeli soldier
  • More Knowledge of Current Events
    50% of alumni were “more likely to feel ‘very confident’ of their ability to explain the current situation in Israel.”
    Those who go on birthright are likely to:
    • Become more knowledgeable of current events
    • Form connections with people involved
    • Form a connection with Israel
    Generation Birthright Israel,Saxe
  • Connection to Israel is stronger
    Generation Birthright Israel,Saxe
  • How can people help?
    • Alumni fundraising councils
    • Donate the $250 deposit that is required to go on birthright
    • Donate online
    • Volunteer
    $250 is enough to host one person for one day in Israel.
  • People are hoping for birthright to continue to prosper
    “I want my kids to be able to experience what I did, and be able to say, ‘I went on Birthright, and it changed my life,’ just like it changed mine.”
    - Hecht
  • "Birthright Israel merits our support for the next ten decades."
    - Benjamin Netanyahu , Israeli Prime Minister, 2010
  • Birthright Participants with the soldiers on their last day, Summer 2010
  • Sources
    Saxe, Leonard, Benjamin Phillips, Theodore Sasson, Shahar Hecht, Michelle Shain, Graham Wright, and Charles Kadushin. Generation Birthright Israel: The Impact of an Israel Experience on Jewish Identity and Choices. Brandeis University: Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Oct. 2009. Web. Sept. 2010.
    Ariella Hecht (State University at Albany Junior, Birthright Alum) – 914-316-6906
    David Sherman (Jewish United Fund (JUF) Chairman of the Board) – 312-735-4470
    Irit Gross (Senior Development Associate, Alumni & Young Leadership Campaign
Birthright Israel Foundation) – 212-419-2870
    Orr Shilon – 21-year-old Israeli soldier
    AdiStolero – Israeli soldier