Israel Free Spirit, OU-Taglit Birthright Program, Increases 80% Since Last Winter

20 Dec 2011


The Orthodox Union’s Israel Free Spirit, in partnership with Taglit Birthright-Israel, will experience its largest enrollment for its winter trips to Israel, sending 18 buses as part of an 80 percent growth in participation since last year. Each bus will be reserved for a special group traveling together for ten invigorating days to be whisked around Israel with hands-on opportunities to learn their Jewish heritage, eat cultural foods, hike nature’s beauty and carve out their own bonds within their Jewish homeland. And the trip is completely free.

Among these niche groups that will be traveling will be students from the OU’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and Rutgers University; members of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPI) fraternity from the Washington University in St. Louis; and a bus and a half of students from Rutgers Hillel, where the JLIC program has a large presence.

Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, Director of OU Collegiate Experience and Director of IFS, noted that the 80 percent growth this winter “was a combination of increased online marketing; increased social media presence; and mostly referrals from past participants in our ‘Blue Sky’ referral program. Groups were also recruited based on campus affiliation and interest in niche trips. It’s never too early to start planning for the summer trips, which will begin filling up soon.”

To go to Israel this summer, or refer your friends and family, visit the IFS website,

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