Birthright Israel FAQ - Is it Safe to Travel to Israel
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FAQ - General

Think about what you are looking for in your Birthright Israel trip. Do you want to travel with other students or young professionals from around the country? Do you want to explore Israel with others from your city? Would it be a great choice for you to discover Israel alongside people with similar, shared interests, such as the outdoors or food, or background to you? Do you prefer to go solo, with a few friends, or on a trip with a bigger group? Shorashim offers many options to choose from, so it’s easy to find the best Birthright Israel adventure for you!

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

 

Please note that your itinerary may be subject to change

Registration for winter trips opens in early September & registration for summer trips open in late January. When registration is not open, there is something called pre-registration, which is designed to help you get important travel benefits, such as expediting your application process, making it more likely that you can travel with friends, & getting you priority status for the dates that you want to go on Birthright Israel.

Pre-registering is easy; all you have to do is complete each step of your Birthright Israel application besides submitting your refundable $250 deposit* before registration opens! On the day that registration opens, you should login to your Birthright Israel application to submit your refundable $250 deposit*. We strongly recommend doing this on the day that registration opens to ensure your priority status from pre-registration.

If registration is open & you have not pre-registered, make sure to complete the following steps (our pro tip is to do this the day registration opens):

  • Create your Birthright Israel application & fill the application out in its entirety, which includes submitting your refundable $250 deposit*.
    • Make sure to choose Shorashim - Israel With Israelis as your trip organizer. 
    • This should take 15 minutes or less to complete.
  • Once you complete this application, you will submit your Shorashim application, which will be sent to you via email from info@shorashim.org.
    • This application includes the following steps:
      • Date & friendship request form
      • Emergency contact form
      • Medical history form
      • Signing the "Birthright Israel: Shorashim Participant Waiver & Permission Agreement"
      • Calling the office for a phone interview at (312) 267-0677

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

*A $10 non-refundable processing fee will apply 

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 & guest houses, two meals a day, transportation, & entrance fees to all sites on your incredible Birthright Israel: Shorashim itinerary. Check out our reviews from past participants who took advantage of their Birthright Israel trip & explored Israel with Shorashim.

As a part of the Birthright Israel Primary Application, there is a $250 refundable deposit needed to be considered for a trip. You must submit the deposit online through Paypal using a credit card (a $10 non-refundable processing fee will apply). 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 & from the departure & return airport - either from New York (JFK or LGA), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Boston (BOS), Washington DC (DCA or IAD) Miami (MIA), or Atlanta (ATL).

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

The majority of participants traveling on Birthright Israel travel to their departure city by plane, bus, or train.

Please note that Shorashim will not be responsible for any cost or changes regarding domestic travel, to and/or from departure cities. This is including, but not limited to, weather, mechanical, or other potential delays/changes, etc.

Registration is when Birthright Israel applications are fully open, meaning that applicants can fill out their entire application during this time.

When registration is closed, you are able to pre-register for priority status for your upcoming trip. 

The ability to pre-register makes it easier than ever for you to plan your Birthright Israel experience with Shorashim. By pre-registering, you are able to fill out your Birthright Israel application, Shorashim application, & call in for your phone interview, so that once registration opens, all you will need to do is submit your refundable deposit. 

This allows you to get ahead of the game & increases your chances of getting placed faster, with friends, & on the dates you want to travel. 

Right now, pre-registration is open & now is your time. Complete your pre-registration before registration opens in full on Wednesday, September 4th at 10 AM ET.

See it. Feel it. LIVE IT: Pre-register for this winter or next summer today!

The safety & security of participants is the top priority for Birthright Israel. We are in contact with the "situation room" which approves each stop on your journey. Each group has a GPS (Global Positioning System) app that is monitored by the "situation room", which is administered by the Israel Ministry of Education, working with the Israel Defense Forces (I.D.F), Israeli police, & other security forces in Israel. Itineraries are reviewed daily by the "situation room" & changed, if necessary. All groups travel by private bus & are not permitted to use any sort of public transportation. Each group is accompanied by a licensed security escort/first aid. To learn more, please see our safety & security policy or contact us with any questions.

 

Yes! You must have a valid passport in order to travel. You may fill out 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. It is required 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 but you need to bring your American Passport. 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 most likely need a visa for travel. Contact the closest Israeli Consulate to find out what the requirements are & what specific documentation you may need.

Once you have a valid passport, upload your passport image to your Birthright Israel application. Please note that you do not need to scan this; you can take a clear picture of your passport & upload this image. Another option is to use the Birthright Israel App to scan your passport.

 

Please see our important travel information, which includes cancellation deadlines, flight extensions, cell phone rentals, packing lists, insurance, flights, orientations, & other vital information for your upcoming adventure in Israel. You can also download the Birthright Israel app to keep up-to-date on your packing list & itinerary.

Israeli participants are part of this incredible experience adventure! On Shorashim, you get the chance to travel with Israelis around your age for the entire trip, which allows you to see Israel through their eyes. 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 7-10 days to be part of your group. Israelis joining the grad/professional groups & 27-32 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 divided by age. We offer amazing, national trips that allow you to meet other students or young professionals from all around the country. These trips are either classic trips, ranging from 7-10 days, or niche trips, themed around a certain interested, such as the outdoors, food, multiculturalism, the LGBTQ+ community, & more.

We also offer trips focused on specific communities, geographical locations, &/or campuses, so that you return home with an expanded social group.

Our trips are split between college-aged students (18-22), upper-classmen & recent graduates (21-23), graduate students or young professionals (22-26), & newly added customized trip for 27-32 year olds 

Some of our niche experiences have a wider age range, such as 19-25 or 20-26. Our Aspergers Trip also has an expanded age eligibility (18-29).

Please note that our 7 day trips for 27-32 are limited to this age group. There are not exceptions to anyone within a different age group traveling with this trip.

If you are 26 or younger & interested in traveling with someone from a different age group, please reach out to us at registration@shorashim.org, so that we can discuss if there are any possible options.

Yes! At Shorashim, we try our best to accommodate your friend requests. In order to help us be able to help you, you should pre-register & complete all steps of your application prior to registration day & submit your refundable deposit on the day registration opens. If you forget to pre-register, we advise you & those you want to travel with apply as soon as possible to help increase the chances of traveling together. 

When you are applying, you can enter the name(s) of your friends or relatives in the friendship request section of the Shorashim Application. Make sure your friends & family also list your name in their application, & that you both apply for the same trip on the same dates, listed in the same order.

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 & have new friends that feel like family in no time!

 

Shorashim staff members & tour educators are knowledgeable & passionate. Many of our staff are also Shorashim alumni who have experienced the magic of Shorashim & are ready to use their experiences to help you make the most of yours!

Shorashim is all about culture, exploration, & 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, outdoors, people, & hearing their stories. Many of our participants do not consider themselves to be particularly religious & our Israeli participants come from a variety of backgrounds as well. The diversity of each group makes the experience interesting, dynamic, & awesome, so no matter what type of Jewish background you come from, Shorashim will be an experience that will make you feel welcome as you embark on an incredible journey!

Trips depart in two different seasons. Our summer Birthright Israel trips travel during May, June, July, & August, &, at times, September & October. Our winter groups travel during December, January, & sometimes February & 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 an unconditional confirmed spot on the program & have been given their exact flight details, including notification of their departure gateway. If you have received Check out the dates for winter 2019/2020 & pre-register now to get one step closer to your trip placement!

Israel is great to visit year-round! Whenever you choose to travel, you will have a great experience as a part of the ultimate Birthright Israel experience with Israelis!

Please see our important travel information, which includes cancellation deadlines, flight extensions, cell phone rentals, packing lists, insurance, flights, orientations, & other vital information for your upcoming adventure in Israel. You can also download the Birthright Israel app to keep up-to-date on your packing list & itinerary.

You are eligible as long as you are Jewish, between the ages of 18-32, have graduated high school. & have not been to Israel on a peer-group program since the age of 18 with the exception of college programs that are one week or less. If you have questions about your eligibility, do not hesitate to contact the Shorashim office at (312) 267-0677 or visit our page to read more about eligibility. 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 & we can be in touch to further discuss your eligibility status once you have filled out your application.

Most likely, yes! Shorashim programs are a great fit for those who have been to Israel more than once because we make sure that you travel with Israelis for the entire trip. This not only makes the experience unique, but allows the opportunity to travel with people who have also explored Israel in the past, not just on their Birthright Israel trip.

With that being said, if you have never been to Israel, our adventures are also an amazing fit for you. Plus, you get the bonus of being able to travel with some experts with great, local perspective!

In terms of eligibility, disqualifications for the Birthright Israel gift include any peer-group program since graduating high school that is more than 7 days, with the exception of certain programs that are run through your high school. If you attended a college or university in Israel, served in the Israeli Army, or volunteered on 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 most likely still eligible. If you have any questions about 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 planning to travel in the summer, you can pre-register/register for a summer program, as long as the trip departs after you have graduated from high school & turned 18. If you are not old enough to travel, but interested in going in the future, please reach out to us at registration@shorashim.org.

Birthright Israel enforces an alcohol policy, which is consistent amongst all trip organizers. Each participant must sign & obey this policy.

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