Birthright Israel FAQ - Is it Safe to Travel to Israel

FAQs

Shorashim has the perfect Birthright Israel adventure for you! Whether you want to travel with other students or young professionals from around the country, your community, or thosewith a similar shared interest or background to you, it is easy to find the best program for you with Shorashim.

Our adventures focus on culture, exploration, meeting new people, and expanding your perspectives. With Shorashim, you are guaranteed to travel with Israelis for the entire 10 days,making your experience awesome and authentic. You'll adventure around Israel, stay in Tel Aviv, eat delicious food, experience vibrant culture, and be a part of an incredible journey. Check out our trip options page to find the perfect trip for you! Still unsure? Chat us and we'll help you find the best option for you!

Once registration opens, you'll be able to apply! 

The Birthright Israel application should take about 15 minutes to complete. Make sure to choose Shorashim - Israel With Israelis as your trip organizer.

Once you complete this application, you will submit your Shorashim application, which will be sent to you via email.

This application includes the following steps:

  • Date and friendship request form
  • Emergency contact form
  • Medical history form
  • Submitting a copy of the first page of your passport
  • Calling the office for a brief, five-minute phone interview at (312) 267-0677

More questions about how to register? See our step-by-step guide here! 

Yes, this once-in-a-lifetime experience is a gift from Birthright Israel! It includes round-trip airfare to Israel from the departing gateway city, accommodations in hotels and guest houses, two meals a day, transportation, entrance fees to all sites on your incredible Shorashim itinerary.

You'll need to submit a $250 deposit that will be fully refunded upon your return from Israel. Your deposit will also be returned if you withdraw your application before the cancellation deadline set forth in the waiver agreement, 65 days prior to departure.

You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from the departure and return airport - either from New York(JFK), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Boston(BOS), Washington DC (DCA) Miami(MIA), or Los Angeles(LAX).

Please be sure to double check your departure city, and note that it may differ from the community where you live.

Sign up is open when registration is closed. Signing up allows you to claim priority status for registration and makes it easier than ever for you to plan your Birthright Israel experience with Shorashim! 

Why sign up? It is SO easy, takes literally one minute at the most, and you'll get a head start on your application. Why wait? Plus, it ensures you get the latest updates on trip dates and any other important information.

Registration for winter 2016/2017 is now closed, so get ahead of the game and take 30 seconds to sign up for this summer or next winter now! 

The safety and security of participants is the top priority for Shorashim and Birthright Israel. We are in constant contact with security authorities who approve each stop on your journey. Each group has a GPS (Global Positioning System) device that is monitored 24/7 by the "situation room", which is administered by the the Israel Ministry of Education, working with the Israel Defense Forces (I.D.F), Israeli police, and other security forces in Israel. Itineraries are reviewed daily by the "situation room" and changed, if necessary, to ensure maximum safety. All groups travel by private bus and are not permitted to use any sort of public transporation. Each group is accompanied by an armed security guard/medic for the entire experience. To learn more, please see our safety and security policy or contact us with any questions.

 

 

Yes! You must have a valid passport in order to travel. You may proceed with your application without a passport, but if you do not currently have a valid passport, we recommend applying for one ASAP. We will need your passport information two months prior to your departure. Israeli law requires that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the return date from Israel. If you are a U.S. citizen and you have a valid passport as defined above, you will not need a visa to enter Israel. If you live in the U.S. but are not a U.S. citizen (for instance a citizen of a former Soviet Republic), you will probably need a visa for travel. Contact the closest Israeli consulate and find out what the requirements are. Our office can help you with any documentation that you may need.

Please see our important travel information, which includes cancellation deadlines, flight extensions, cell phone rentals, packing lists, insurance, flights, orientations, and other vital information for your upcoming adventure.

Israeli participants are the highlight of this incredible adventure! On Shorashim, you get the chance to travel with Israelis your own age for the entire 10 day experience. In Israel, almost everyone serves in the Israeli army starting at the age of 18, so on most of the college-aged trips, many Israeli participants will be currently serving, but given the special privilege of leaving military duty for 10 days to be part of your group. Israelis joining the grad/professional groups will range from officers in the army, to full-time students, to working professionals, or anything in between. Traveling with Israelis for the entire adventure truly makes the experience - ask any of our alumni why Israel with Israelis is the way to go!

Groups are generally generally by age and geographic location, so that you return home with an expanded social group.

We also offer amazing national trips that allow you to meet other students or young professionals from all around the country. 

Our trips are split between college-age students, 18-22, and graduate students or young professionals, 22-26.

Some of our niche experiences have a wider target age range, such as 19-25. 

If you are interested in traveling with someone from a different age group, please reach out to us at registration@shorashim.org and we can work to accommodate your needs.

Yes! At Shorashim, we work dillegently to accommodate your friendship requests, so that if you want to travel to Israel with those that you already know, we can make it happen! You can enter in the names of your friends or relatives in the friendship request section of the Shorashim Application. Make sure your friends and family also list your name in their application, and that you both apply for the same trip on the same dates.

With that being said, many participants also travel solo, so if you're thinking about going without a friend or relative, that works for us as well! You'll meet tons of new people and have new friends that feel like family in no time!

Shorashim staff members and tour educators are some of the most knowledgeable, passionate, and fun-loving people you will ever meet. We have an extremely thorough staff selection process that allows us to connect with the best of the best, bringing staff with years of experience in leadership and in traveling to or living in Israel. Many of our staff are also Shorashim alumni who have experienced the magic of Shorashim and are ready to use their experiences to help you make the most of yours!

Shorashim is all about culture, exploration, and the people of Israel. As a pluralistic organization, we are the perfect fit for participants from all Jewish backgrounds. We pride ourselves in offering incredible, authentic, immersive adventures, where you connect to Israel by experiencing its culture, scenery, landscapes, history, cities, people, and hearing their stories. Many of our participants do not consider themselves to be particularly religious and our Israeli participants come from a variety of backgrounds as well. The diversity of each group makes the experience interesting, dynamic, and awesome, so no matter what type of Jewish background you come from, Shorashim will be an adventure that will make you feel welcome as you embark on an incredible adventure!

Trips depart in two different seasons. Our summer Birthright Israel trips travel during May, June, July, and August and our winter groups travel during December, January, February, and sometimes March. We have a variety of trip dates for each season that are coordinated in order to best fit your schedule. Applicants should not make travel plans or book any domestic travel until they have a confirmed space on the program and have been given their exact flight details including notification of their departure gateway. Check out the dates for winter 2016/2017 season here.

Israel is great to visit year-round! Israel gets HOT in the summer, so if you prefer a more temperate time to travel, consider the winter. Traveling in the summer means hiking, water activities (like going to the beach in Tel Aviv or rafting in the Jordan River), and drinking a lot of water! Our winter adventures follow a very similar itinerary - you'll be hiking and exploring just like our summer trips, but it won't be quite as hot. Whenever you choose to travel, you will have a great experience as a part of the ultimate adventure with Israelis!

Please see our important travel information, which includes cancellation deadlines, flight extensions, cell phone rentals, packing lists, insurance, flights, orientations, and other vital information for your upcoming adventure.

You are eligible as long as you are Jewish, between the ages of 18-26, and have not been to Israel on a peer-group program since the age of 18 with the exeption of college programs that are one week or less. If you have questions about your eligibility, click here to read more, or contact the Shorashim office at (312) 267-0677. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have. If you are unsure if you are eligible, we always encourage you to apply and we can be in touch to discuss further discuss your eligibility status once you have filled out your application.

Most likely, yes! Shorashim programs are a great fit for second-timers and those who have been to Israel on multiple occasions because we make sure that you travel with Israelis for the entire 10 days, which not only makes the experience unique, but allows the opportunity to travel with people who have also explored Israel before this experience.

With that being said, if you have never been to Israel, our adventures are also an amazing fit for you.

In terms of eligibility, disqualifications for the Birthright Israel gift include any peer-group program since graduating high school with the exception of certain programs that are run through your high school. If you attended college or university in Israel, served in the Israeli Army, or volunteered on some programs in Israel since the age of 18, you are not eligible. Applicants born in Israel, citizens of Israel, or Israeli passport holders are ineligible unless you can provide official documentation that you left Israel before the age of 12. If you are accepted to the program, you will need to obtain army exemption papers from your local Israeli Consulate.

If you have been to Israel only with your family or for work, you are still eligible. If you have any questions about eligibility, it is best to contact us before you begin the application process or once you apply if you are flagged for eligibility.

You can reach us via email at registration@shorashim.org or by phone at (312) 267-0677. 

The trip is intended for post-high school participants. If you are a second semester senior, you can register for a summer program. If you are not old enough to travel, but interested in going in the future, please reach out to us at registration@shorashim.org.

Please see the Birthright Israel alcohol policy , which is consistent amongst all trip organizers.