Our Homeland, Our Future

Israel Free Spirit Birthright, the OU’s Birthright Israel program, aims to keep the Jewish community vibrant by connecting our young adults, sharing the magic of Israel, and strengthening engagement in Jewish life.

In addition to the Birthright Israel trip, Israel Free Spirit offers participants the option to extend their stay for learning opportunities that strengthen their Jewish commitment and identity.

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Photos: A wide array of educational and entertaining online events built community and excitementaround traveling to Israel.

Keeping Dreams Of Visiting Israel Alive

Nearly 1,800 young adults were scheduled to travel with Israel Free Spirit programs in summer 2020. But even as COVID-19 grounded those trips, Israel Free Spirit has kept its mission alive: sharing the magic of Israel with young adults across North America.

Video Series: "Bringing Israel to You"

This online series connected tour educators with past and future participants by sharing little known facts about some of the most celebrated locations in Israel. The six episodes featured Jaffa, the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Negev, and Tiberias.

Miracles During COVID-19: Fall 2020

In September, after six months of postponed Birthright Israel trips, students found themselves on a Birthright Israel adventure before starting their one-year gap program in Israel. Israel Free Spirit partnered with yeshivas and seminaries, as well as Bar Ilan University.

Virtual Madrichim Training on Inclusion

Israel Free Spirit is a leader in providing trips for those with cognitive and developmental disabilities and special medical needs, as well as for those impacted by addiction. Over 65 staff members from North America and Israel participated in a virtual training focusing on inclusion and accessibility on Birthright Israel trips.

LIVE with Israel Free Spirit

Nearly every week following the lockdown, Israel Free Spirit went live on its social media channels to showcase an Israeli or Jewish theme. Generating over 4,700 views, these events included cooking classes, at-home concerts, a Yom HaShoah ceremony with testimony from a Holocaust survivor, and Hebrew classes.

Israel Free Spirit gap year students on one of the first Birthright Israel tours after trips were suspended at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Experiencing Israel Before The Pandemic

Specialty Trips

In early 2020, Israel Free Spirit ran seven trips geared toward specific communities and demographics: arts, music, and entertainment; Modern Orthodoxy; 27-to-32-year-olds; people impacted by addiction; and individuals with cognitive and developmental disabilities. Israel Free Spirit is the only organizer providing trips for people impacted by addiction, and one of a few offering trips for individuals with disabilities.

Beyond the Trip

In winter 2019–20, 870 young people worldwide participated in 26 Birthright Israel trips, staffed by nearly 100 Americans and Israelis. In ten Birthright Plus extended trips, participants added an extra week to their adventure to focus on Israel’s natural beauty in Eilat and Jewish spirituality with Tsfat as the backdrop.

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