For almost a decade, Taglit-Birthright Israel has enabled college students to share their very first experiences in Israel with a peer group in an educational setting. The program was founded with the intent of narrowing the gap between Israel and the Jewish communities of the Diaspora.
As a result of the intricate relationship between the Israeli government, international Jewish communities, and private philanthropists, thousands of young adults ages 18 to 26 have been able to experience the gift of a ten-day trip to Israel.
A new report out of Brandeis University not only reaffirms the inspirational effects of a Birthright Israel experience; it shows them to be long lasting.
According to the report, alumni who participated as far back as eight years ago continue to credit the experience with heightening their sense of connection to Israel and the Jewish people.
Compared to age-equivalent non-participants, they are more likely to have become strong advocates for Israel, joined a synagogue or congregation, and married a Jew.
This winter, 20 UW students got a chance to explore Israel as part of Taglit-Birthright, strengthening their Jewish identity as well as their connection to the local and international community.
Nilli Glick, UW Hillel’s Israel Fellow, led the trip and several Israeli soldiers accompanied the group, creating an opportunity for participants to get to know Israeli culture up-close.
Here are scenes from the journey.