Important Travel Information - Birthright Israel: Shorashim

FAQs

Due to TSA regulations, it is mandatory that you submit your passport information in your Birthright Israel application and upload a copy of your passport.

Make sure that your passport is valid through August 2017 for all winter 2016/2017 experiences. If you do not have a passport or it will soon expire, you should apply for one now. Information can be found at here

If you are a US citizen, you do not need a visa to travel. If you are not a US citizen, you will need to apply for a visa at the Israeli consulate that serves your area. You can find a list of consulates on the Israeli Embassy website.

Please note: if your passport is not submitted in both your Birthright Israel and Shorashim applications, your acceptance is still tentative. We will be unable to issue you a ticket to Israel without the necessary passport information. If you do not have your passport within two months before your scheduled departure, you may be removed from the program at your own expense.

Once you have a valid passport, submit the details following the instructions below:

Birthright Israel Application: Go to the Birthright Israel website and login. Go to step 3 of your application to enter your passport information. Please note that your passport number is located on the upper right hand corner of the page with your picture on it. It is a nine digit number.  click "save section." 

Shorashim Application:  Login to your application and upload a copy of your passport in the section entitled "Passport Copy." You can either scan your passport or take a picture of it on your cell phone.

If you are having trouble uploading your passport, please email registration@shorashim.org

 

You must confirm in your application status page that your medical insurance covers you for emergencies abroad. 

If you do not have medical insurance that covers you in Israel, please purchase insurance here.

We strongly recommend purchasing seconday insurance through CTAS, an Israeli insurer that has designed a policy specific for our Birthright Israel groups.  

To order and/or get more information, visit their website.

The Necessities
In Israel, constant hydration and protection from the sun is a top priority. Because of this, a canteen/water bottle, hat, and sunscreen are ABSOLUTELY necessary! 

You want to be comfortable: make sure to bring close-toed shoes for hikes and shoes that are comfortable to walk in, as you will be on your feet!

Baggage
Because you will be loading your luggage on and off of the bus and responsible for maneuvering your baggage at the airports, it is essential to pack in something you are comfortable carrying, meaning trying your best to not overpack. 

Baggage limits are usually 50 pounds or under, so we recommend bringing a suitcase or duffel on wheels. 

Additionally, it is a good idea to pack a backpack to carry around your belongings. We also recommend bringing a small cross-body or fanny pack for activities where you do not want to carry your backpack.

Other Important Information
We require everyone to drink three liters of water a day, as the sun is much hotter in Israel than North America. Camelbak packs come highly recommended by alumni and staff.

Although Israel is a generally a very casual country when it comes to dress-code, it is important to have the appropriate attire for religious sites. On days when we are visiting to Old City in Jerusalem or the holy city of Tzfat, your shoulders and knees will need to be covered. We recommend pants, cropped pants, maxi skirts, or dresses.

On Shabbat, please dress a little fancier than usual. We recommend casual skirts, dresses, maxis, and polos or button down shirts with khakis or jeans as a fitting option.

For more packing tips, check out Pinterest Board.

Winter Adventures
Israel is temperate in the winter with averages ranging from the low 40s to high 70s, depending on location. We recommend packing layers to accommodate these temperature changes. Check out our recommended winter packing list.

Summer Adventures
Israel is hot during the summer! Temperatures range from the low 60s to more than 100 degrees, depending on your location. We recommend clothing for a warm climate, with some layers for cooler nights in the desert. Check out our recommended summer packing list.

Spending Money
Participants generally bring between $300 - $400 spending money. You should not change money in advance, as it is more expensive to do so in the US. The conversion rate right now is about 3.8 Shekels to the Dollar.

You can expect to spend money on the following:

  1. Gifts and souvenirs
  2. Daily purchases of drinks and snacks
  3. Money for one meal per day
  4. Recommended group tip/gift for bus driver and tour educator ($70 per participant)
  5. $10-$15 for a group t-shirt if you choose

Shorashim works with TalknSave to make it as easy as possible for you to stay in touch with your friends/family while in Israel and access internet at your convenience.

We highly recommend activating a SIM card for data service and/or local cell phone service in Israel through TalknSave.

To make it happen, please visit Shorashim's TalknSave page.

Preparation/Arrival

You need to meet your group at the ticket counter at least four hours before your flight.

Please note that in your Shorashim Application, your flight table will outline the airport that you are departing from and the airport that you are returning to following your experience.

It is your responsibility as a Birthright Israel participant with Shorashimto get to the departure airport on the date and time of your flight. You will meet your staff members who will be flying with you to Israel and they will assist you in checking in under the group ticket and going through airport security.

• All airlines allow one checked back and a carry-on and a small bag at no additional charge. You should not bring more than this, as this is what your bus will be able to accommodate. For specific dimensions questions pertaining to a specific airline, please visit their website.

Many flights are nonstop, but some flights do require a layover. If you are departing from JFK and want to consider flying into Laguardia as a more cost-effective option, there are various options to assist you in traveling between airports

The Flight

All meals on the flight and in Israel will be kosher. If you require special meals on the flight and in Israel, please review your medical information on your application status page, and adjust your dietary restrictions as necessary at least one month before departure.

Any seating requests must be made at the airport on the date of departure as Shorashim and Birthright Israel do not have any control over seating arrangements on your group ticket.

Other Important Information

You must fly with your group from the departing US airport. Under no circumstances can you meet the group in Israel.

Passports must be valid six months from your date of departure and you must have your passport with you to travel.

If you wish to forfeit your return flight, you must notify Shorashim via email at info@shorashim.org. If you fail to cancel your return ticket, this will result in the loss of your deposit.

Your adventure doesn't have to last only 10 days! Whether you are interested in staying in Israel longer or exploring other countries, extending your Birthright Israel experience is easy with Shorashim.

We recommend beginning the process as soon as you have confirmed your travel dates and your acceptance is no longer conidtional.

Here is how you extend:

  • Login to your Shorashim Application
  • Click on the link that says "Gil Travel" under "Order Trip Extension"
  • Choose your top three date choices for extension.

Gil Travel will then be in touch with the proposed cost and next steps.

We recommend you apply for a trip extension at least a month before your departure, as changing your ticket while in Israel may prove difficult and more costly. 

Each airline charges different fees to extend flights, and although fees are subject to change, we will do our best to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

Please note that you must fly home to the gateway airport from which you departed. It is not an option to pay for a layover in another city or change your return flight destination. 

If you decide to stay in Israel for longer than the airline allows, you will be responsible for purchasing your return flight.

For additional information and specific airline policies, please visit Gil Travel.

Conditional Acceptances: Please note that your acceptance will be conditional until you complete your interview and receive an email confirming that your offer is no longer condtional.

Booking Your Domestic Travel: Please check your specific flight information in your Shorashim Application under the trip information header. Once your acceptance is fully confirmed, you will need to book a domestic flight unless you are not able to drive or take the train to your departure airport. Remember, you must arrive at the ticket counter at least four hours before your flight departs, so we recommend booking flights that arrive at your departing airport well before that time to accommodate for the time it will take for you to obtain your baggage, transfer terminals, and connect with your group at the ticket counter of the airline that you are traveling with for your Birthright Israel experience. Please note to account for time changes and pay attention to if your departure and return airports are the same or different when making your travel plans

Check Your Mail: You will be receiving important travel information, resources, and small gift to get you started on your journey!

Joining Your Facebook Group: You will receive an email from us to join your Facebook group. Once you receive this, please make sure to join, as your staff and Shorashim will be sharing important information through this platform. 

Acccessing Your Itinerary: Your itinerary will be available three weeks prior to departure in your Shorashim Application page. You will receive an email, so make sure to add info@shorashim.org and it will be posted in your Facebook group.

Notify Debit/Credit Card Company: Make sure your bank knows of your travel plans. Be sure to check with them about any international fees. With this in mind, we recommend taking out at least $300 in cash to bring with you. Please note that some stops along your journey will be "cash-only", so it is important to have cash.

Social Media: Remember, it's okay to humble brag! If you're posting on social media before, during, or after your experience, make sure to tag us: 

  • Facebook@Shorashim
  • Instagram: @ShorashimIsrael
  • Twitter@Shorashim
  • Snapchat: @Shorashim

Our Pinterest boards offer helpful pre-trip resources. Make sure to also connect with our Shorashim LinkedIn company page and join our Shorashim LinkedIn group to expand your network, and see how your Shorashim experience can enrich your resume and professional development, and for other helpful professional resources.

If you wish to cancel from your trip assignment in time to receive your deposit refund, you need to notify us before the deposit refund deadline, which is 60 days prior to departure starting in the winter 2016/2017 season. Cancellations made after the deposit deadline will result in a forfeited deposit.