Why Israel, Why Now
Since 1956, BBYO has been shared the power of a summer in Israel with Jewish teens from around the world. Today, Israel trips remain at the heart of BBYO Passport programming. Why Israel?
Studies have consistently shown that a high school-age trip to Israel may serve as the single most powerful experience in the development of a teen’s Jewish identity. There is a good reason why this is true. The miracle of modern Israel’s re-emergence in the 19th and 20th centuries has resulted in a new and dynamic Jewish society. The richness of Jewish life in Israel today – in all of its many colorful forms – presents Jewish teens with a unique perspective on their own connection to Judaism and the larger Jewish world around them. This type of experience can only be found in Israel, and when these identity-building connections are made during the teenage years, the meaning is especially lasting.
Connecting with Jewish History
An experience in Israel is about 3000 years of Jewish history coming alive in a way that a classroom can never achieve. The BBYO Passport program is based on the notion that informal education through active touring is the best way to convey the richness and modern implications of Jewish history in Israel. Passport participants cover the spectrum of the Jewish people’s development in Israel – from the days of the Bible, to the Talmudic ages, and through the emergence of modern Zionism in our own times. Israel presents a unique opportunity for today’s Jewish teens to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, and make their own connections to the story of the Jewish people.
Commitment to Israel
We at BBYO believe that the thriving of modern Israel is essential to the continuity of the Jewish People. As a non-denominational and non-political program, we take pride that the Passport to Israel experience is designed to expose teens to the complexities of political life in today’s Israel. Participants will be challenged to consider different points of view and different ways to interpreting the contemporary meaning of Zionism. However, tying all of this debate and discussion together is our common unity in support of Israel and the Israeli people.
For generations, BBYO has provided deeply meaningful summer experiences in Israel for high school-age teens. We understand the unique transformational power of Israel on teen development. We also understand that many parents and teens are considering waiting until college for the 10-day Taglit-Birthright Israel program. While Birthright is right for some, we believe strongly that an educationally-oriented high school-age summer program remains the single best time and the single best way to experience Israel. Here’s why…
Fuller & Richer Experience
Passport to Israel programs range from three to four weeks of travel in Israel. During the course of this experience, Passport participants cover every region of Israel, and they gain a richer connection to Jewish history, spirituality, and modern culture.
Importance of High School Age Travel
Passport to Israel trips are open to high school age teens – current 9th through 12th graders. While experiencing Israel at any age can be a meaningful journey, we believe that a high school-age program is a uniquely powerful moment to visit Israel from a developmental perspective. By the time today’s teens reach college age years, frequently their priorities have started to shift, and they can be less receptive to the positive educational message of a program like Passport to Israel.
Investment in the Future
There are enormous scholarship opportunities for high school age Israel travel. These scholarship funds are offered by local federations, synagogues, and even by BBYO regions. Often times these scholarships can significantly reduce the financial cost of an Israel trip. We encourage you to explore these scholarship opportunities aggressively and take advantage of our no-risk registration policy. However, no matter what the cost of a Passport to Israel trip is to your family, we hope you will agree with us, that a high school-age Israel trip is not like any other summer travel program. It is an investment in the future!