OU Israel Free Spirit Welcomes Birthright Israel Expanded Eligibility

January 23, 2014

The Orthodox Union’s Israel Free Spirit (IFS) program is the natural choice for young men and women who were not eligible to go on Birthright Israel previously to do so now, given the expansion of requirements announced today by Taglit-Birthright Israel,” according to Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, Director of the OU’s Israel Free Spirit: Taglit-Birthright Israel trips.

The new eligibility requirements for free trips to Israel will now permit 18-26 year old young men and women who went on an educational trip to Israel while in high school before turning 18 to go on the free 10-day trip. Previously, according to Birthright Israel guidelines, those who had 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” were not eligible.

Israel Free Spirit has risen to be one of the largest organizers of the Birthright Israel trips, ranking number one by participant evaluations and recently receiving an award as one of the top overall trips in Taglit-Birthright Israel, according to Rabbi Felsenthal. Israel Free Spirit has been among the fastest growing and is currently the fourth largest trip organizer in North America. In 2013, Israel Free Spirit sent 55 trips to Israel and with this new announcement, they expect to break 100, Rabbi Felsenthal declared. Many of these are “niche” trips, to accommodate special interests, such as arts and entertainment with Broadway performers; sports with a Super Bowl champion player; “Congress to Knesset” with a six-time U.S. Congressman; and “Bizrael,” which visits executives of top Israel companies such as Google and other high tech companies in Israel.

“For years, our most involved students had to give up on Birthright Israel to go on a high school trip. Now our best students can also get the awesome Birthright Israel experience as their second trip to Israel,” Rabbi Felsenthal declared. “We welcome this expansion and all Jewish students ages 18 to 26 should sign up right away on our early update list, as we expect many more applicants than ever before.”

To sign up for more information go to www.israelfreespirit.com or call 212-613-8299.

OU | Enhancing Jewish Life