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 funds from JUF's Israel Experience Savings Programs (SKIP, Gift of Israel, B'nai Mitzvah Certificates, Walk With Israel Vouchers) and scholarships are intended to help cover tuition/fees for approved Israel programs. Approved Israel 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 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 program.
Check out the organizations below to find the perfect match.
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.
Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund (JNF) programs educate the next generation of Jewish leaders about Israel through service-learning trips and leadership development.
URJ Heller High (formerly NFTY-EIE)
URJ Heller High: Isaac and Helaine Heller EIE High School in Israel (formerly NFTY-EIE) is a semester long (four months) program for high school students in grades 10-12 in Israel that is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
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.
Maccabi USA is a Jewish organization that uses sports as an engagement tool to build Jewish pride, identity, community, and connection to Israel for people of all ages. The Maccabiah features 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries, making it one of the largest global gatherings of Diaspora Jewry. The competition is two weeks, though athletes are brought to Israel a week early for the Israel Connect program. The curriculum was created with partners at The iCenter and JNF, and professional educators will lead the young athletes around Israel and facilitate meaningful activities and discussions. Some of the educators will stay on as a resource during the competition since athletes will have free time in between their games to explore Israel.
The Bronfman Fellowship
The Bronfman Fellowship nurtures intellectually curious young Jews from Israel and North America to build a more dynamic and pluralistic future. Founded in 1987 by Edgar M. Bronfman, The Bronfman Fellowship reflects Mr. Bronfman’s early and impassioned belief that for the Jewish people to thrive, Israeli and American Jews must be engaged in open and creative discourse with one another. The alumni embody Mr. Bronfman’s vision that young people who are enriched and energized by their Judaism are poised to contribute not only to Jewish life, but to improving the world.
Chetz V'Keshet (Friends of Israel Scouts)
Chetz V’Keshet (CVK) is a summer in Israel program for teens ages 15-18 that offers a unique opportunity to experience Israel - Israeli style. For one month, participants explore all that Israel has to offer side by side with Israeli peers and staff: climb Masada, float in the dead sea, participate in Gadna (army week), hike, snorkel, and so much more!
Technion- Israel Institute of Technology
The Technion is Israel's premier technology university. It is ranked among the world's most innovative universities. Technion programs have special appeal to top international students and researchers as a result of a successful combination of high-level academic standards and its relevance to the needs of modern society, and proven record for educating leaders in science and technology.
Free Spirit Experience in Israel
A unique program in Israel for teens who are experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties, including high school academic credit sessions, summer sessions, and a gap-year and college prep session. Come to Israel for 8-10 weeks and return home stronger and more confident!
Camp Kimama Israel
Kimama is the largest and leading international Jewish summer camp in Israel, offering an unforgettable experience for children and youth (ages 7-17). Since 2004, Kimama has hosted a unique encounter for Jewish children, with over 1,800 campers from 42 countries around the world. Both English and Hebrew are the official languages at Kimama.
Naale Elite Academy
Naale was founded in a joint effort with the Jewish Agency for Israel, with a goal of providing Jewish high school students worldwide the opportunity to study in Israel. Teen will have a chance to expand their high school experience with a superb education infused with cultural, personal, and interpersonal growth at one of Naale's free Jewish high school programs in Israel.
Hand in Hand - Project Harmony
Started in 2009 by two American college students, Project Harmony has grown into a well-established camp setting serving over 150 Arab and Jewish youth in Jerusalem each summer. The camp serves youth in grades 4 through 8 in an English immersion environment, and is staffed by English-speaking international volunteers and local high school students. Project Harmony brings Jewish and Arab youngsters together for four weeks (including a one-week staff training) of day camp during the month of July at Hand in Hand’s campus in Jerusalem.
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. Masa Israel enables thousands of Jewish young adults to spend a year in Israel by providing information, contacts, grants, and more. A directory of Gap Year programs in Israel, plus information about a universal grant and additional financial need funding, is available at
Masa Israel Journey. For more information, contact Romi Rochwerger at RomiRochwerger@juf.org.
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago supports Israel experience programs with a wide variety of savings, incentive, and scholarship programs. Visit the Israel Experience page to learn more.