FAQ’s

FAQ’s

General

Q. What is Taglit-Birthright Israel?

A. Taglit-Birthright Israel is a unique, historical partnership between the people of Israel through their government, local Jewish communities (North American Jewish Federations; Keren Hayesod; and The Jewish Agency for Israel), and leading Jewish philanthropists.Taglit-Birthright Israel provides a gift of first time, peer group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26.

Taglit-Birthright Israel’s founders created this program to send tens of 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 between Israeli youth and Jewish communities throughout the world; and to promote the idea of a trip to Israel for all Diaspora Jews as a critical part of Jewish life outside of Israel.

Q. What does the gift cover?

A. The Taglit-Birthright Israel gift covers round trip airfare (from designated cities), hotel, transportation, two meals and other associated land costs for the approved 10-day trips to Israel offered by approved Trip Organizers. Gratuities, personal purchases, and travel medical insurance are not included.

Q. Who has gone on Taglit-Birthright Israel trips?

A. Over 300,000 young adults from all over the world have been to Israel on Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Our participants are from 52 countries, including the United States, Canada, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, France, Switzerland, Germany, England, the Former Soviet Union, India, New Zealand, Australia, and more. They come from all Jewish religious backgrounds and degrees of travel experience. All return from Israel with a new understanding and appreciation for the people of Israel and the country.

Q. How can I contact some alumni to ask about their experience?

A. You can email a member of our alumni association by sending a message to chavaya@optusnet.com.au They are happy to answer any of your questions to the best of their knowledge.

Q. Is this the same as other free 10-day trips to Israel?

A. Taglit-Birthright Israel is indeed responsible for the vast majority of the free 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish adults. The trips you may see advertised in this fashion are most likely Taglit-Birthright Israel sponsored trips. We allow a wide variety of organizations to be approved Trip Organizers so that each participant can find the trip that fits their individual needs and interests.

Q. How will I get local currency?

A. You may not need that much money with you but for incidentals and shopping, many establishments accept credit cards like Visa and Mastercard®. ATM machines are in the urban areas only so you are encouraged to use them at the airport or when you see them, which may not be daily. Most hotels offer currency exchange. In addition, many establishments and individuals will accept major foreign currencies like the Euro and US dollars.

 

Eligibility

Q. Who is eligible?

A. The Taglit-Birthright Israel gift is open to all Jewish young adults, ages 18 to 26, post high-school, who have neither traveled to Israel before on a peer educational trip or study program nor have lived in Israel past the age of twelve. Eligible individuals are those recognized as Jewish by the Jewish community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism.  Applicants must also have at least one Jewish birth parent, or have completed Jewish Conversion through a recognized Jewish denomination, and identify as Jewish while not actively practicing another religion.

Q. I have been to Israel before, am I still eligible?

A. It depends. Taglit-Birthright Israel strongly believes in the value of the peer trip experience. Therefore, if you have been to Israel before but only with your family or on other personal business, you are still eligible. However, if you have been to Israel as part of a touring group, educational program, study program or an organized extended residential program since you were 12 years old, you are not eligible. If you participated on the March of the Living when you were in high school you are eligible to participate on one of our programs once you turn 22 years of age.  If you were born in Israel or are an Israeli citizen you are only eligible if you left Israel before the age of 12. If you have served in the Israeli Army or volunteered on an Israeli Army base, you are not eligible.

Q. What if I’m 18 years of age, and still in High School, can I apply?

A. Taglit-Birthright Israel requires that applicants must be 18 years of age and out of High School to be eligible for a program.

Q. What if I am turning 27 this year?

A. If you are turning 27 prior to trip departure, you will not be eligible to participate in the upcoming trips.

Q. What if I’m 17 years of age, and finished High School, can I apply?

A. Taglit-Birthright Israel requires that eligible applicants must be 18 years of age and out of High School by the date of your trip departure.

Q. If I was born in Israel or was ever an Israeli citizen or ever held an Israeli passport – am I eligible?

A. If you were born in Israel or have ever held Israeli Citizenship or have held an Israeli passport you are not eligible unless you prove by official documentation that you left Israel before the age of 12. If you are accepted to the program you will need to obtain Army Exemption papers from your local Israeli Consulate.

Q. Am I eligible if I am a full time Jewish Studies student?

A. Students in exclusively Jewish Studies programs in any institution of higher learning, including Jewish Teacher Training Programs, Jewish Studies Programs (not including Jewish Studies major or minor candidates at secular institutions), Rabbinical Programs, Yeshivot/Seminaries, Jewish Communal Service Programs and the like are not eligible for the Taglit-Birthright Israel gift while they are still in the study program.

 

Trip Options

Q. What is the role of Taglit-Birthright Israel?

A. Taglit-Birthright Israel works with Trip Organizers to provide the gift of a free 10-day trip to Israel. Taglit-Birthright Israel coordinates all air travel, sets high educational and quality standards, procedural guidelines, security policies for all programs and performs extensive quality control reviews of every trip. The 10-day trip is developed and implemented by individual Trip Organizers that Taglit-Birthright Israel puts through a rigorous approval process.

Q. How can my friends and I all get on the same program?

A. The only way for friends (or groups of people) to be on the same program, is to apply to the same Trip Organizer. Taglit-Birthright Israel doesn’t guarantee that any one person or group of individuals will be selected, however, applying to the same trip organizer can lead to being in a group with your friends if any or all of you are selected.  Your Trip Organizer can give you information on how to make this request.

Q. Can I apply for more than one trip?

A. Due to the overwhelming response to our trips, each applicant is limited to applying one time during each registration period. However, you will be able to go back to your application and change your trip choice until the end of registration.

Q. Will this be a “religious” trip?

A. You may apply for the Taglit-Birthright Israel gift regardless of your Jewish background or affiliation. All Taglit-Birthright Israel programs will provide opportunities for participants to celebrate Jewish life together. Some Trip Organizers represent different religious movements, or Zionist ideologies. To learn how to choose among all the Taglit-Birthright Israel-approved trip organizers, please go to ‘How to Choose a Trip Organizer‘. By asking some key questions like, “How will Shabbat be observed?” will help ensure that the program you are choosing is right for you.

Q. Is this a vacation? Will there be free time? Do I have to depart for Israel with the Group? Or can I meet the group in Israel?  Do I have to remain with the group throughout its entirety?
 Will there be time to visit my friends and family in Israel?
 Do I have to participate in all scheduled activities?

A. The trip you participate in will be a lot of fun and one of the most special experiences you have ever had. Your days will be packed with touring and cool activities. You will be required to travel with the group on the appropriate departure date. When you agree to go on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip you are making a commitment to participate in a peer group experience for the duration of the program beginning with your flight to Israel. Although there will be no free days on this program, there will be certain time blocks that are designated as unprogrammed time in which your group may make various arrangements as a group.

Q. If I meet my spouse on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, do we get a free honeymoon?

A. No. Taglit-Birthright Israel does not give and has not given free honeymoons to couples that meet on our trips.

Registration Logisitics

Q. Is there a waiver I need to sign? What does it say?

A. Yes, there is an online waiver that all participants must sign by pressing “I ACCEPT” on the registration form. You may also view the Summer 2013 Participant Waiver online. In short, it relates to the validity of the information you submitted on your registration form (that you stated that you were indeed 18-26, Jewish, and have never been on a peer educational trip to Israel) and other issues such as: you understand that the trips are offered through independent organizations called “Trip Organizers,” that you are healthy enough to travel, and you understand policies related to liability and the well-being of participants.

Q. Do I have to sign up right away when registration opens to have a better chance of getting on a trip?

A. No. Applications received in the first 24 hours after registration opens are given equal priority regardless of when they are received; we do not operate on a “first come, first serve” basis.

Q. This gift sounds too good to be true, what’s the catch?

A. There is no catch, no strings attached. Participants are only responsible for a $500 AUD deposit, fully refundable upon their return home after successfully completing the program. Participants are under no obligation to Taglit-Birthright Israel, which finances the trip, or their Trip Organizer, who implements the trip, for any future activities or financial obligations. Of course, should participants decide to become more involved in the Jewish community, go back to Israel or explore other aspects of Jewish life, we encourage them to regularly check out the rest of the website for resources that may fit their needs.

Q. What is the US$250  deposit for, how is it paid, and how do I get it back?

A. The deposit serves a few purposes. During the application process it acts as one of a few measures designed to reflect the fact that an applicant is serious about the prospect of participating in the program. Once an applicant is accepted to the program it acts as a guarantee that he/she will not withdraw from the program, thereby forfeiting their spot and preventing another person from benefiting from the opportunity to go to Israel for free. Moreover, should a participant withdraw less than approximately 60 days prior to departure (you will be notified by your Trip Organizer as to the exact dates), it provides us with revenue to pay the penalties that are incurred from the airlines for last minute cancellations. In Israel, it also serves as a guarantee that each individual will participate in all aspects of the program.Deposits are paid, handled and refunded online via Taglit Birthright Israel system.  Approximately 2 weeks after you successfully participate on a trip, you will be notified by email that your deposit is available.  That email may also contain information about how you can voluntarily donate all or part if your deposit in support of future Taglit-Birthright Israel trips.  Note that you must retrieve your deposit within 90 days after your trip or it will be deemed forfeited and donated to Taglit-Birthright Israel.

Q. When will I get the deposit back?

A.If you are accepted to a program and cancel prior to the Taglit-Birthright Israel deadline dates (below) or are not accepted to participate on a program this round, your deposit will be refunded. In order to receive this refund, you must submit a written request to your Trip Organizer directly. Should you not make this request – your deposit will remain with us throughout the season and then will be refunded automatically at the conclusion of the seasons trips. If you are accepted to the program, approximately 14 days after you successfully participate on your trip, you will be notified by email that your deposit is available to be refunded. That email may also contain information about how you can voluntarily donate all or part of your deposit in support of future Taglit-Birthright Israel trips.  Note that you must retrieve your deposit within 90 days after your trip or it will be deemed forfeited and donated to Taglit-Birthright Israel. Should you be offered a spot on a trip after the above listed Deposit Refund Deadlines, your Trip Organizer will notify you of your specific cancellation deadline.  If you cancel after that date, you will forfeit your deposit.

Q. I was not offered a Trip. I want to cancel my application and get my deposit back. How do I do this?

A. If you were not offered a trip this round, you are automatically placed on a waitlist until the end of the session. If you would like to be taken off the waitlist and get your deposit back, please send a refund request IN WRITING via email directly to your Trip Organizer. The refund will take between 7-10 days for the refund to appear on your original method of payment.

Q. What if I am unable to go at the last minute?

A. If you cancel your participation on the trip after the published deadlines for cancellation, then you will forfeit the security deposit.

Q. Can I extend my stay in Israel?

A. Yes, you can extend your stay in Israel for a fee determined by the airline you are flying with. You cannot, however, leave prior to the departure date and meet up with the group in Israel.  You may request an extension once your Trip Organizer has confirmed your acceptance to a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip and assigned you a flight.  You may have to be very flexible with your dates as the airlines are very busy this time of year.  Certain terms and conditions apply; please contact your Trip Organizer to inquire about specific details regarding extensions.

PLEASE NOTE: There are absolutely no guarantees that your extension requests can be accommodated and you should not assume that you will receive one. Please do not make any additional travel plans that you are paying for without having your extension confirmed in writing.

Q. What if I get sick in Israel? Do I need to have Health Insurance? What about Travel Insurance?

A. It is essential that you travel with your own Travelers and Health Insurance in addition to the Health Insurance that is provided by your Trip Organizer. During your 10-day Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, you are required to have your own health insurance policy. Your Trip Organizer provides you with a basic travelers health insurance policy that does NOT cover pre-existing conditions. If you are not insured on your own or if your local insurance policy does not cover you in Israel, then you need to arrange for your own insurance policy. In addition, you may want to purchase travel insurance that covers the following:
– Insurance in case your connecting flight is delayed or cancelled
– Insurance in case you need to cancel the trip due to a family medical emergency
– Insurance in case your baggage is lost, damaged, or stolen

Q. Do I need a passport?

A. YES! If you are not an Australian citizen, you may need a visa and have other restrictions, please contact your closest Israeli consulate for more information. If you do not already have a passport, you should begin obtaining a passport as soon as possible. You will be required to provide your passport number and a photocopy of your passport to your Trip Organizer prior to Taglit-Birthright Israel issuing your flight ticket. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from your last day in Israel. If you realize, after the cancellation deadline and after being assigned to a flight that this is not the case, your trip organizer may cancel your trip, without refunding your deposit, if you cannot obtain a new passport in a designated amount of time before the trip. No one can travel to Israel without a valid passport.

Q. If I’m not selected for this session, can I apply again for the next trips?

A. Yes, you can continue to apply for each new round of Taglit-Birthright Israel trips as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.

Registration Form

Q. I went to register but it only asked me a few basic questions (name, email, etc.), is this all I need to do?

A. No, you have only taken the first step toward your free trip to Israel. There are a few more steps. In order to complete your application, you will need to complete the entire registration process.  You have two ways to complete the registration form.
– You may continue filling out online the various sections of the registration form, which should only take a few mins.
– You may come back later to fill out the rest of the form. You will need to log back in using the email address and password you created when you began your registration.
IMPORTANT: Your application will not be processed unless you complete all sections of the registration form and accept the Terms and Conditions of the Waiver.

Q. I have completed the registration form, I think…what happens next?

A. Once you have filled out all the sections of the form, if there is any information that you wish to update or change, you may access your application until the registration deadline for that program. Please be aware that the last change you make will be what Taglit-Birthright Israel considers your final application.If you have gone through all of the sections and provided information in all the required fields you can expect the following:
1) The Trip Organizer that you selected should be contacting you directly. They will probably conduct a personal or over-the-phone interview with you. They may require some additional information from you. Many Trip Organizers have a full secondary application, which they may refer to as “PART II” of your application. Please make sure you know what your Trip Organizer needs from you in order for them to accept you on to their trip.
2) Sit back, relax, be patient! The Trip Organizers and Taglit-Birthright Israel are going over thousands of applications. Your Trip Organizer will notify you as to your status. If you have not been contacted at all six weeks after you registered, please contact your Trip Organizer directly HERE.

Q. Taglit-Birthright Israel, trip organizers, programs, trips, eligibility? I’m so confused!!!!

A. If you still have questions that we haven’t answered, or any of the above isn’t clear all you need to do is ask. Learn more here or just email us at chavaya@optusnet.com.au and we will be glad to help.