OU Creates New Media, Biking Trips for Israel Free Spirit Birthright Program this Winter

24 Dec 2012


Israel Free Spirit, the Orthodox Union’s popular 10-day free trip to Israel in conjunction with the Taglit-Birthright Israel Foundation, has added two unprecedented niche programs to its popular repertoire, Tour de Israel and Israel’s Untold Story:Yours. The Tour de Israel trip was made possible by a generous grant from philanthropist Charles Bronfman of the Taglit-Birthright Israel Foundation.

Setting off today, Israel’s Untold Story:Yours will allow students and professionals involved in the media field to explore Israel’s story and gain valuable experience in their specialty. Led by journalist Adam Socolof of JTA, participants will meet with Israeli media professionals; experience workshops in writing, blogging and photography; and visit media-based locations such as the Israeli Army Radio station. Upon return home, participants will be encouraged to use their talents to showcase their amazing experience in Israel.

Beginning Monday, January 7, the Tour de Israel program has been specially designed for those who share a love for biking, traveling, and having up-close encounters with nature. In addition to the highlights of the IFS trip, 30 students and young professionals with a limited background in Jewish education from 12 states across the United States and British Columbia will take special tours around Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Kinneret, and desert trails of the Negev and around the Dead Sea.

Tour de Israel will be led by Rabbi Yehoshua Marchuck, Director of OU Alumni Connections and an avid bicycling enthusiast. He stated, “The best way to see the land of Israel is to get a on a bike and start peddling. Tour de Israel will travel through the very best locations relating to bike-riding and field exploration with participants benefiting from direct interaction with people of the land they meet en route — such as farmers, artisans, shopkeepers, and townsfolk, all of whom aren’t usually encountered by other Taglit-Birthright Israel trips.”

He also noted, “We have a combination of individuals who are eager to not simply watch Israel by riding a bus around the country, but who want to experience the land by interacting with the people who live there; to be able to stop along the road to reflect on what we see — to better understand the significance of Israel, Judaism and its history with this land; and to appreciate the awesomeness of the outdoors, as Israel continues to be on the forefront of environmental studies.”

For more information on Israel Free Spirit programs, visit www.israelfreespirit.com.

OU | Enhancing Jewish Life