Israel for Everyone

Israel for Everyone

By Isabella Gross Senior, Whitfield Academy

“When are you going to go to Israel?” This is a question many young Jews are asked by their family and friends. Because the trip to Israel can be very costly, many young Jews choose to take advantage of Taglit-Birthright Israel, which provides free 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish adults ages 18-26.

Taglit-Birthright Israel’s website ( says its mission is “to make an educational trip to Israel an integral

part of the life of every young Jew, in an effort to generate a profound transformation in contemporary Jewish culture and a connection between Israelis and their peers in the Diaspora.” 

Rebekah Sheinbien, a senior at Ladue High School, has been to Israel through a United Synagogue Youth (USY) trip and says the prospect of another trip is exciting.

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“I think it’s awesome for people to go back and see it from a different perspective now that they are older,” she said. “I would definitely want to go on Birthright.”

 Andrew Schwebel, director of experiential education at B’nai Amoona, said the chance to take part in Birthright is “a wonderful opportunity for people to experience the beauty of Israel.”

USY employee Ben Varon said he has been to Israel multiple times and believes that the more Jewish young adults travel to Israel, the better. 

“I think everyone should go to Israel as many times as possible,” he said. “So I think it is wonderful that those who went on trips in high school are now allowed to go again.”  

Varon said he would support broadening the travel options available so that students who wanted to participate in a longer Israel program could receive a subsidy equal to the cost of a Birthright trip, which is about $3,500. If he or she wanted to participate in a four-to-six week trip, they could use that money toward the longer trip’s cost of, say, $6,000 to $7,000.

“There is no question that a four-to-six week experience in Israel is more impactful than a 10-day experience,” Varon said. “The community that is formed during a longer trip creates stronger friendships and a stronger connection to the State of Israel.”