About 14,000 student Birthright Israel participants from nearly 900 universities and colleges in North America are expected to land in Israel in the coming months, as part of Birthright’s 2022 summer season.
With non-student participants as well, Birthright expects to bring about 19,000 young adults from North America during this summer. The upcoming flights continue Birthright Israel’s long-awaited return after a series of suspensions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Birthright Campus Trips provide a unique opportunity for North American students to go on a life-changing trip to Israel with their college friends and meet new people from their campus. The trips are usually timed to coincide with the school’s winter or summer breaks.
Colleges with the largest number of Birthright Campus Trip participants include the University of Michigan (585 students), the University of Florida (506 students) and the University of Wisconsin (424 students).
“After a long hiatus, we are excited to bring back so many students from North America to these important and exciting tours to Israel. Many of these students are coming from college and university campuses where incidences of anti-Semitism are increasing, leaving them feeling beleaguered and isolated,” said Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark. “We know that after going on a Birthright trip, these students feel more confident.”
Zachary Lech, 20, a Harvard student studying government, is one of these students. Having grown up in a small town, Lech said that he had not experienced being part of “a vibrant Jewish community” before arriving at Harvard. He hopes to further his Jewish involvement through Birthright.
“I went on a short trip to Israel when I was 10, but this is my first time really seeing the country. I'm beyond excited to join the amazing people I've met here at Harvard on a trip to Israel to see for myself what Jewish life can really look like, and to explore my culture,” he said.
Birthright Israel offers a free trip to Israel for young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 32. Its mission is to give Jewish young adults around the world, especially those less connected, the opportunity to visit Israel on an educational trip. It is considered the largest educational tourism program in the world, with more than 750,000 having journeyed to the State of Israel.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.