Eligibility for Birthright Israel
At Shorashim, we know that figuring out if you are eligible for Birthright Israel may seem overwhelming, but we’re happy to tell you that with us, it’s not! We’re here to make the process as easy, straightforward, & clear as possible for you.
What does it take to determine your eligibility with us? It’s simple; basic eligibility rules for Birthright Israel trips come down to three main categories:
A. AGE: you must be between 18-32 years old & have graduated high school by the time of the trip
B. JEWISH HERITAGE/IDENTITY: you identify as Jewish & either have at least one parent who also identifies as Jewish or you converted to Judaism.
C.PREVIOUS ISRAEL EXPERIENCE: If you have only gone to Israel with your family, you should be eligible to travel. If you have gone on any sort of organized peer program for longer than seven days since turning 18 (there are some exceptions), you are most likely not eligible.
Ready to go? Apply now for your trip with Shorashim.
Still have questions? We’ve got you covered with the detailed information below.
Once you review, if you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 267-0677 to connect with our eligibility specialist to help you through the process. People always wonder if they are "Jewish enough" for the trip, so we are happy to clarify & talk anything out with you to help you get your application underway!
You must be between the ages of 18-32 to be a Birthright Israel participant; we’ll break it down a bit more for you:
- Aging In
- Must be at least 18 years old by date the trip departs
- Must have graduated high school
- Aging Out
- For summer trips (April - October), you need to still be 32 as of May 1st to be able to travel
- For winter trips (November - March), you need to still be 32 as of December 1st to be able to travel
- This means that you can be 33 by the time of the trip & still eligible to travel
- It is rare, but there are exceptions made for people who have recently aged out on a case-by-case basis, so if you’re looking to explore that option, reach out to us for more details.
- If you are aging out, we know your eligibility window is closing. We give you automatic priority status if it is your last season to be eligible to travel, but you do still need to complete your application in full & in a timely manner!
You identify as Jewish & either have at least one parent who also identifies as Jewish or you converted to Judiasm. That's it!
I’ve never been religious. Am I eligible?
Don’t worry about if you’re religious, “Jewish enough”, or come from the “right” background to fit in with your group:
- Shorashim is a pluralistic organization, making us an ideal fit for Jews of all walks of life; many of our participants only have a cultural connection to Judaism
- Our programs are still a great fit for those who feel more observant
- Our participants come from diverse backgrounds & we are proud to be inclusive, open, & welcoming
I converted/am converted to Judiasm. Am I eligible?
You must have completed your conversion through a recognized denomination by the time of the trip. You also may be asked to provide conversion documentation while applying
PREVIOUS ISRAEL EXPERIENCE
I’ve been to Israel before. Am I eligible?
Eligibility rules based on prior Israel experience have been updated in recent years; more people than ever before are eligible to travel on Birthright Israel with Shorashim!
You’re likely eligible if…
- You have only gone to Israel with your family or friends, but not on an organized program
- You have been to Israel, but just for business
- You went on an organized program that was a multi-generational trip or an interfaith/secular program
- You have participated in programs during high school that are a semester (four months) or shorter, are eligible to participate in the experience, including our Shorashim High School Adventure, Alexander Muss High School in Israel, NFTY-EIE/Heller High & Ramah Seminar
- You went on a teen trip to Israel through your youth group, camp, etc.
- You volunteered for Magen David Adom or participated in the Maccabiah games, but meet all other eligibility requirements
- If you traveled to Israel on a trip for high school students or your high school class & you turned 18 on your trip, you are likely still eligible!
You’re likely not eligible if…
- You have gone on any sort of organized peer program for longer than seven days since turning 18 or a program designed as a gap year, for college students or for young adults
- You went to Israel for university, yeshiva/seminary, interning, any experience through Onward Israel or Masa Israel, or study abroad makes you ineligible
- If you are planning to do any of these, make sure to go with us before. We’re here to help you figure out what your best options are for this!
- You have served in the Israeli army, volunteered at an army base, &/or lived in Israel since age 12
- You are enrolled in a Jewish Studies programs in any institute of higher learning, including Jewish teacher training programs, Jewish Studies Programs (not including Jewish Studies major or minor candidates at secular institutions. Rabbinical programs, Yeshiva/seminary, or Jewish Communal service programs
- You do not have a current US address; you need to be a resident, student, or full-time student to participate in our classic, community, or campus programs. Good news is if you live in Canada, you can join one of our niche programs that depart from the United States!
If you are an Israeli citizen/have an Israeli passport, you are only eligible if you have not lived in Israel or left before the age of 12.
If you do get placed on a trip, you will need to obtain army exemption papers from your local/the closest Israeli consulate.
ACCEPTANCE, DISMISSAL, & FALSIFICATION
This gift is designed to offer an educational peer experience.
As such, while the trip is available to young Jews all over the world & from various backgrounds, there are eligibility rules that are taken very seriously:
- Answering all eligibility questions honestly & with integrity is expected
- Any misrepresentation of your background, identity, or affiliation in order to participate in this trip is morally & legally comparable to stealing more than $3,500.
- If determined that this is the case, it will be handled in accordance to the unjust action committed
- If Birthright Israel &/or Shorashim determines that, for any reason, an applicant is not fit to participate in the Birthright Israel program, it is at our total discretion to deny the application.
- If a participant is accepted & it is later determined to be necessary for that participant to be removed from the program, the participant will be required to return to North America & will be responsible for all costs involved.
These decisions is at Birthright Israel &/or Shorashim's complete & ultimate discretion.
Have more questions? Check out our FAQs.
Eligible & ready to apply? Check out our step-by-step guide for registration.