Israel Experience

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Bring Jewish identity and history to life with a trip to Israel! High school students, college students, and young adults are eligible for dozens of Israel Experience Programs arranged by age group, personal interest and duration of travel. Each trip offers the opportunity to make new friends, connect to the Jewish homeland and visit historical and holy sites. Choose from 10-day trips, summer adventures, and semester or year-long study programs.

Israel Experience Programs 

Jewish Federation 2013 Chicago Community Israel Program Merit Scholarship Award winners announced

Congratulations to the eight winners of the 2013 Jewish Federation Chicago Community Israel Program Naftali Steinfeld Merit Scholarship! Read more.

Israel Savings and Scholarship Programs

There are a multitude of ways to save money, receive assistance and apply for scholarships in order to make your dream trip to Israel a reality.

  • Participate in Send-a-Kid-to-Israel Partnership (SKIP) and JUF will donate $85 annually towards your child's travel funds.
  • Through the Gift of Israel, JUF will provide a one-time $180 matching gift when a minimum of $1,000 is deposited into a special interest-bearing account in your child's name.
  • At participating congregations, JUF gives a $120 Bar/Bat Mitzvah Israel Experience Certificate for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrant.
  • Walk with Israel participants who raise $100 or more will receive a $100 Israel Experience Walk with Israel Voucher.
  • If you are between the ages of 18-26, visit birthright Israel and learn how you can travel to Israel for a free 10 day trip.
  • Students and young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to receive a grant through MASA for programs lasting 5 months to a full year. Visit www.masaisrael.org for more information.

The Jewish Federation funds a wide range of scholarships including financial need-based scholarships for high school students, financial need based for college students and young adults, and merit-based scholarships for high school, college and graduate students to age 23. Scholarships deadlines are in November and March of each year.

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Israel Experience Funds (including SKIP, Gift of Israel, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Certificates, Walk With Israel Vouchers, Naftali Steinfeld Israel Experience Certificates and scholarships) may be used toward any approved Israel Experience program.

What is an Israel Experience program? Israel Experiences are identity-building, peer group programs run by non-profit organizations that allow participants to learn in-depth about the land, culture and people of Israel. The list of approved Israel Experience programs is constantly changing as new programs are developed. If you would like suggestions, look through our website which has links to many of the most established programs for teens and college students/young adults. Since not every program is approved, please contact us (israelexperience@juf.org) if you have a question about a specific Israel Experience program.