Redeeming Your Israel Experience Funds
Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s Israel Experience Savings Programs funds (including SKIP, Gift of Israel, B'nai Mitzvah Certificates, and Walk With Israel Vouchers) and scholarships are intended to help cover tuition/fees for approved* Israel experience programs. However, we understand that sometimes it makes more sense to use your funds for your airfare if it isn’t included in the cost of the program already. Therefore, we have created the following guidelines for use of Israel experience funds and scholarships:
- In order to use your funds towards your tuition/fees for your approved* Israel experience program, you must submit a completed Israel Experience Savings Request Form (fillable PDF). PLEASE NOTE: Checks will be made payble to the Israel program of your choice (except in cases of airfare reimbursement) and mailed to your home address. It is then YOUR responsibility to pass the check along to the appropriate person from your Israel program.
- Israel experience funds and scholarships may not be used toward any expenses associated with Birthright Israel trips, including but not limited to travel to/from NY or any other departure city, hotels the night before the flight to Israel, or spending money.
- With regard to low- or no-cost programs and programs that provide airfare stipends: Israel experience funds can only be used to cover the difference between the cost of airfare/program and the stipend provided.
- 8th grade Israel programs: Families may use a portion of their Israel experience funds (SKIP, Gift of Israel, B'nai Mitzvah Certificates, Walk With Israel Vouchers) for 8th grade Israel programs, such as IsraelNow, Solomon Schechter’s trip, or Akiba Schechter’s trip. Please contact our office at email@example.com to make sure that your trip is eligible and then use the 8th grade Israel Experience Savings Request Form (for day school trips--NOT for IsraelNow) to redeem your funds. Please note: If you plan to contribute to your child’s SKIP account in 9th grade, you must leave a minimum balance of $1 in his/her account to keep the account open and active (this is due to the technical restrictions of our database).
- Please note that funds used towards airfare cannot be issued prior to the start of your Israel program. Furthermore, funds for airfare may only be used towards basic airfare expenses (an economy seat plus taxes and fees), not towards any cabin upgrades, extra legroom, bulkhead premium seats, extended layovers, etc.
- In order to use your funds for airfare reimbursement, you must submit the following after you’ve started your program:
- a completed Israel Experience Savings Request Form
- a copy of the flight itinerary
- proof of purchase of the airfare (either a receipt from the airlines or a copy of your credit card statement with your credit card number covered)
- a letter (print or email are acceptable) from your approved* Israel program confirming that you have in fact started your program
- Israel experience funds (including SKIP, Gift of Israel, B'nai Mitzvah Certificates, and Walk With Israel Vouchers) and scholarships may not be used toward travel insurance, spending money, cell phone, or other expenses associated with your approved* Israel experience program.
- If you've made aliyah, you are no longer eligible to use your Israel experience Funds. You must close and withdraw your SKIP and/or Gift of Israel accounts using the Savings Withdrawal Form.
*What is an approved Israel experience program? Approved 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. Since not every program is approved, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have a question about a specific Israel program.