One of the most important aspects of Jewish identity is the connection to the people and the State of Israel. An Israel Experience program is an encounter of the realities and dreams that shape the Jewish experience. Participants have the opportunity to experience the land, people, history and a rich culture.
Nothing makes Jewish identity and history come alive for young people like an Israel Experience Program. Start exploring opportunities with the sites below and you'll be on your way to the experience of a lifetime!
Please note that Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Israel Experience Savings Programs funds (including SKIP, Gift of Israel, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Israel Experience Certificates, Walk With Israel Vouchers and Naftali Steinfeld Israel Experience Certificates) and scholarships are intended to help cover tuition/fees for approved Israel Experience programs. Approved Israel Experience programs 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. Since not every program is approved, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have a question about a specific Israel Experience program.
Looking for a trip affiliated with a specific movement?
Check out the organizations below to find the perfect match.
information about the BBYO Passport programs
- Bnei Akiva
the religious Zionist youth movement
- Habonim Dror
the Labor Zionist youth movement
the Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth movement
the Reform movement's North American Federation of Temple Youth
- Noar Hadash
the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation's youth movement
the Conservative movement's United Synagogue Youth
- Young Judaea
the Zionist youth movement sponsored by Hadassah
Need more ideas? Searching for different opportunities?
Camp Chi Israel Trip
Experience Israel with your Camp Chi friends on this four-week trip for entering high school seniors.
Join Shorashim for the experience of a lifetime! Travel with Israeli peers and learn about Israel through their eyes. Take this dynamic journey through Israel and leave the tour bus behind. Hike in some of the most spectacular settings in Israel; be a part of the vibrant culture of Modern Israel. Learn about how your Israeli friends feel about politics, the army, music, movies, and more. Create friendships that will last a lifetime!
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) is the only 6-week, 8-week, or full semester non-denominational, English language academic program in Israel with sessions offered throughout the year.
The Yad B’Yad Israel Experience brings high school students together with Yachad members (adults and teens with special needs) on a fabulous Israel adventure.
Israel Scouts/Tzofim Chetz V'Keshet
Israel Scouts summer program, Tzofim Chetz V’Keshet (CVK) is a month long Israel Summer Program for teens ages 14-18, from North America and all over the world. Bringing teens to Israel since 1981, CVK has almost 3,000 alumni who have been positively impacted by their experience on the program.
Community Foundation for Jewish Education in Chicago sponsors an annual intensive eighth grade Israel trip, Ta'am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel.
Los Angeles Girls' Israel Torah Tour (LAGITT)
This four-week program was established in 1994 and is led by Rabbi Pesach and Mrs. Debbie Wachsman, former Principal and teacher at Emek Hebrew Academy.
Ta'am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel
Ta'am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel, the Community Foundation for Jewish Education's 8th grade Israel Experience, aims to give participants a meaningful, intense, emotional and focused taste of their heritage through a weeklong, "hands-on" experience in Israel.
For Students with Special Needs
NFTY's Bridge to Israel
The Reform Movement's newest summer program in Israel is a 19-day full Israel travel program for teens ages 15+ with diagnosed issues of attention that may include ADD/ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, awkward social skills, verbal or non-verbal learning disabilities and mild social or emotional concerns.
Gap Year Programs
More and more colleges and universities are encouraging teens to take a year between high school and college. Known as the Gap Year, this special year enables high school graduates to volunteer, learn, travel, and expand their horizons. A directory of Gap Year programs in Israel, plus information about a universal $1,000 grant and additional financial need funding, is available at Masa Israel Journey.
Affording Your Program
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago supports Israel Experiences with a wide variety of savings, incentive, and scholarship programs. Visit the Israel Experience page to learn more.