What makes Shorashim so unique?
You live and experience Israel through the eyes of Israeli peers. Shorashim is the Taglit-Birthright Israel program where groups travel for 10-days with Israeli friends. With Shorashim, learning and understanding is a two-way process, and you are a part of the educational experience as much as they are. By the end of the program, you have experienced Israel not as a tourist, but as a part of the Shorashim family.
Who are the Israeli participants?
Israeli participants are the brightest and most engaged people your age, who are interested both in introducing you to their country and learning more about you.
How are the groups divided?
Groups are divided generally by age and region so that you return home with an expanded social group.
Who are Shorashim staff?
Shorashim staff members are some of the most knowledgeable, passionate and fun-loving people you will ever meet. They have many years of experience. Because the staff are program alumni, they have lived the mifgash or "encounter" experience and are well-equipped to guide your journey.
Is the Shorashim program religious?
Shorashim is committed to a pluralistic Jewish experience. Shorashim reaches out to all Jews - from secular to observant. Participants teach each other about Jewish life and culture in Israel and America.
How can I apply to see Israel with Israelis on Shorashim?
First register with Tagilt-Birthright Israel online; choose Shorashim as your trip provider. After completing the application you will receive a welcome email from Shorashim directing you to your application status. Additional requirements include:
- Completing a date and friendship request form
- Filling out an emergency contact form
- Submitting a medical history form
- Submitting a copy of the first page of your passport
- Calling the office for a brief interview
It sounds too good to be true - is the trip really free?
Yes, the trip is free. It includes round-trip airfare to Israel from the departing gateway, accommodations in hotels and guest houses, two meals a day, ground transportation, entrance fees to all sites on the itinerary and the services of qualified staff and educators. The only costs to the participant are:
- A $250 deposit that will be fully refunded upon your return. Your deposit will also be returned if you withdraw your application before the date set forth in the waiver agreement (generally about five to eight weeks before departure).
- Participants are responsible for travel to and from the departure gateway - either JFK, Newark, Philadelphia or Chicago-O'Hare airport.
- Participants are responsible for one meal daily during the course of the program.
When are the departure dates?
Departures for the Winter 2012/13 Taglit-Birthright Israel trips will be between December and February. Tentative dates will be posted under each program description and will be updated as information is made available. No trip provider has firm departure dates until several weeks after registration. Registrants should not make travel plans until they have a confirmed space on the program and have been given their exact flight details including notification of their departure gateway.
Do I have to be a student to be eligible?
No. You are eligible as long as you are Jewish, between the ages of 18-26 and have never been to Israel on a peer-group program.
If I am a senior in high school and age 18, should I register now?
The trip is intended for post high school participants.
I have been to Israel before but not with a peer group program, can I go?
Probably yes. Disqualifications for the Taglit-Birthright Israel gift include any peer-group program since the age of 13. If you traveled on a teen tour, attended college or university, served in the Israeli Army, or volunteered on some programs, 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.
Is it safe to travel in Israel?
Safety and security of participants is the top priority for Shorashim and Taglit-Birthright Israel. While participants are in Israel, bus itineraries are reviewed daily with Israeli authorities to ensure maximum safety and changes are made if necessary. You can read about our safety & security policy on the website or contact us with any questions.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, you must have a valid passport. 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.