Popular Free Trips to Israel Inundated With Applicants: Thousands Sign Up for Taglit-birthright israel Winter Trips in First Few Days

NEW YORK, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ — An unprecedented 9,800 North American, Jewish young adults have registered online for the free, ten-day, educational trips offered by Taglit-birthright israel since registration for Winter trips opened on September 8. Launched in 2000, the program has brought nearly 90,000 young adults from 45 countries to Israel on a first-time trip. The surge in popularity of the program in the last year is attributed to the reduction of violence in Israel and the positive word of mouth spread by the program’s alumni.

“We are thrilled with the overwhelming response,” said Dr. Shimshon Shoshani, CEO of birthright israel International. “The popularity of the program is a response of the quality and safety of the trips, which have been carefully planned for high educational, logistical and security standards. We would like nothing more than to send all eligible young adults on their first trip to Israel. Our only limitation is money.”

A new entity, the birthright israel Foundation, has been established to help secure the financial future of the organization and to provide a variety of post-trip programming. Jay Golan, President of the Foundation, said, “We have a strong commitment from our founding partners to continue their funding and we are actively seeking new sources of funding to support the expanding demand. We currently have a young, enthusiastic Board of Directors who will work closely with existing and potential supporters to guarantee the future of the program.”

Taglit (Hebrew for ‘discovery’)-birthright israel is an innovative partnership of three funding partners: the Government of Israel, leading Jewish philanthropists and Jewish communities around the world (North American Jewish Federations through the United Jewish Communities; Keren Hayesod; and the Jewish Agency for Israel). Taglit-birthright israel’s founders created this program to send thousands of young Jewish adults from all over the world to Israel as a gift in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people. Taglit-birthright israel operates on a belief that it is every Jewish person’s birthright to visit Israel.

More information about the organization can be found at http://www.birthrightisrael.com/.

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