Who is eligible for JUF Ta’am Yisrael?

All Chicago area eighth-grade students are eligible to apply to attend JUF Ta’am Yisrael.

  • Participants are encouraged to be enrolled in a continuing Israel educational program through the end of their 8th grade school year, and he/she is expected to enroll in a continuing Jewish educational program or other Jewish communal activity for the 9th grade year. Families whose child was enrolled in Jewish educational programs at a congregation for their 7th grade year are encouraged to fulfill their 8th grade requirement at that same congregation. Families with no congregational membership in recent years should contact the Ta’am Yisrael staff to discuss options for fulfilling this 8th grade and 9th grade requirement. 
  • Participants are required to submit all registration materials by the designated dates outlined in the Ta'am Yisrael 2020 Registration Timeline. Items not submitted on time may place acceptance at risk.
  • All information provided in all components of the JUF Ta’am Yisrael registration must be truthful, complete, and accurate. Submitting inaccurate or incomplete information, or omitting health or medication information which could affect a participant’s experience on Ta'am Yisrael, may place acceptance at risk, or be grounds for early dismissal from the program.
  • Each participant and a parent must have a personal interview with a JUF Ta’am Yisrael representative. Parent and child must attend together.
  • Participant is required to abide by the Ta’am Yisrael code of conduct.
  • Participant and parent are required to participate in all scheduled participant and participant/parent orientations, respectively, per the schedule established by Ta'am Yisrael. The full list of orientation meetings can be found at www.TaamYisrael.org.
  • Participant is required to participate in ongoing evaluative surveys following their participation in the program.

What does JUF Ta’am Yisrael cost?

The program fees that families pay for Ta'am Yisrael is all-inclusive, and includes airfare. Through generous support from the Jewish United Fund and other local foundations and funders, we are able to offer JUF Ta’am Yisrael experience at a significantly reduced program fee of $2,500, well below the actual cost of approximately $5,000 per participant. We ask that those who are able to assist participants who cannot afford the reduced program fees by paying as much of the full $5,000 per person program costs as possible (Contributions above the required program fees are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law).

Opportunities to reduce your program fees include:

  • BAT MITZVAH $120 CERTIFICATE: Apply your JUF $120 Bar/Bat Mitzvah Israel Experience Certificate, which may be used for any Israel Experience program.
  • JUF SKIP PROGRAM: Families enrolled in the JUF’s SKIP (Send a Kid to Israel Program) may use up to $500 of their SKIP funds . To learn if you are enrolled in SKIP please contact israelexperience@juf.org.
  • NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIP: Families with greater financial need can apply for additional scholarship. The scholarship form will be available in the registration portal in the fall of 2019. (You must first register for JUF Ta'am Yisrael.)

Is there trip insurance?

Two levels of of trip insurance coverage are available for purchase only at the time of completing the application. The insurance is available through Program Protector, which is a third party insurance provider. Customer service can be reached directly at 212-683-4394 ext. 221.

Will my child still be eligible for Birthright?

Yes. Birthright Israel has recently changed their policies to accept alumni of longer-duration Israel experience programs. And even prior to that, Ta'am Yisrael alumni were accepted, since our program is not long enough to disqualify participants. More importantly—8th grade is the perfect time for your child to go to Israel, and the impact Ta'am Yisrael makes on your child's Jewish identity will inform the decisions made throughout high school and college, from studying Hebrew to engaging in Jewish activities, from social circles to college choice, and beyond.

Who staffs Ta’am Yisrael?

Ta'am Yisrael staff is comprised of educational staff from JUF; synagogue clergy and other educators, community program youth professionals, and healthcare staff. All Ta'am Yisrael staff participates in extensive staff training, which includes Israel education, adolescent development, CPR training, and more. JUF contracts with a highly regarded Israeli security company which provides security throughout the experience.

We went on a family trip to Israel—why should my child go on Ta’am Yisrael?

While family trips to Israel are a wonderful experience to share with your children, the peer experience provides a different type of immersive educational experience, much like camps and retreats. Experiencing Israel with peers and friends opens teenagers' hearts and minds to absorb the experience in an entirely new way, which leads to a long-term impact on their Jewish identity.