Registration for Birthright’s winter trip opened Tuesday, September 14th and welcomed a flood of applicants hoping to get a spot on the adventure of a lifetime.
Birthright offers an all expenses paid for trip to Israel for young Jewish adults ages 18-22. The Birthright program itself accredits around twenty separate trip organizers who individually provide a variety of Israel excursions. Common to all trip organizers is the guarantee of a ten day trip to Israel with visits to Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Masada and the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tsfat and Eilat. In addition, each trip organizer promises to provide an Israeli tour guide and the opportunity to spend time with Israeli peers.
As part of the all expenses paid for experience, plane tickets, delicious Israeli meals and accommodations in three to four star hotels are provided regardless of which trip you choose. Finally the opportunity to extend after the organized ten day trip is offered to anyone who wishes. Students can extend their trip for up to six additional months to spend however they want in Israel on their own or with friends.
The registration process is extremely quick and easy, requiring only a small amount of personal information and a fully refundable deposit. Applicants are accepted on a first come first serve basis, with students who are aging out of Birthright earning priority over those who can apply for years to come. In addition, if an applicant doesn’t get on the first trip they register for, they will be able to register a day early for the next trip, and are therefore essentially guaranteed a spot. Each trip organizer offers a wide variety of trip departure dates in both the winter and summer seasons.
Anyone registering for Birthright is able to sign up with any trip organizer they feel will best suit the experience they are looking for, however UCF’s Chabad is partnered with Mayanot as the trip of choice. Chabad UCF’s Rabbi, Chaim Lipskier says, “the mission of Mayanot is to involve as many Jewish people in Judaism as possible, and only as much as they are willing to be involved.” In other words, Mayanot wishes to provide an opportunity for Jewish people regardless of how devout they are.
Birthright is not necessarily for people who are religious, but rather many people become religious through the experiences they have on the trip. Chabad is offering Mayanot as the trip organizer for UCF students because its mission statement best reflects the mission statement of Chabad itself.
Rabbi Lipskier will be co-leading both the winter and summer Mayanot Birthright trips. He says, “it is a very unique and fun way to explore your heritage in a country we all call our own.” Personal anecdotes from Birthright alumni can be read on the website www.birthrightisrael.com revealing life changing and inspirational stories from people who experienced the trip for themselves.
The Birthright program provides the opportunity for any Jewish person to have the time of their lives while learning more about their history and performing the important mitzvah of visiting Israel.