To read the previous entries in Gadling’s Heathen in the Holy Land series, go here.
Free trip to Israel, huh? What’s the catch?
Well, first off, you must be Jewish or have a parent who is Jewish. [I'll pause while all the Gentiles find another post to read.] Still with me? Okay, you also must be in the 18-26 age range. If you meet both of these requirements, the Birthright Israel program wants to give you a free ten-day tour of Israel.
Is airfare included, you wonder? Yes. Everything is included. That’s what free means.
The purpose of Birthright Israel, according to the group’s website, is to “send thousands of young Jewish adults from all over the world to Israel as a gift in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.”
Your trip will visit major Israeli cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and take in famous religious sites such as the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Mount of Olives.
For any young person– well, any Jewish young person– looking to travel on the cheap, you can’t get any cheaper than this free trip with Birthright Israel. But be forewarned: the trips fill up early (in fact, summer 2009 trips are already full). The next trips will take place in the winter of 2009; check this site in August in order to apply.
For a full list of FAQs about the trip– including “If I meet my spouse on a Birthright Israel trip, do I get a free honeymoon?” go here.
To contact someone who has already gone on this trip, e-mail them at alumni (at) birthrightisrael (dot) com.