Taglit Birthright Israel
“Taglit-Birthright Israel offers the gift of a free, 10-day educational trip to Israel for Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26.”
Beyond the free trip, what Birthright gives to participants is an opportunity to explore the questions of identity and a personal connection and relationship with Judaism and Israel. The peer-led trip – fully funded by leading Jewish philanthropists, Jewish Federations, and Israeli government dollars – introduces young, Jewish adults to Israel in a concentrated, highly programmed and very social way.
Birthright is an intense and extremely meaningful group and individual experience. Since the first Birthright trip 13 years ago, young adults who have participated in the program constitute the first generation in Jewish history that have been given a gift – the gift of their Jewish birthright – of this magnitudea gift that has faced criticism at times for “perpetuating the idea that this generation of young adults is over-privileged.”
However, philanthropists, organizations, and professionals that support Taglit-Birthright – not to mention the multitude of participants – would say this free trip is the starting point for getting young adults actively engaged in the community locally and in Israel, and working towards creating a generation that will become leaders and give back as they grow.
Dana Troster, Manager of Young Adult Initiatives at the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, has participated in and led Birthright trips for Canada. For her and for many other Jewish community professionals, Birthright is the “most successful program that has come out of the Jewish community”. The trip offers “wow moments” of personal and cultural exploration, the effects of which last long after the 10 days have ended.
Of keen interest today is “what happens on the 11th day” and increasing focus on post-trip programming here in BC, and across the world. Harnessing the energy and passion inspired by the trip to build the Jewish community we want and need here in BC will be important goals moving forward, as well as helping participants to continue to explore and strengthen the bond between themselves and Israel, Jewish peoplehood, and their own Jewish identity.