NEW YORK, NY -- May 3, 2011 -- This spring, NEXT inspired Birthright Israel alumni all across the United States and Canada to take ownership of their Passover experience and host their peers in their own home. Over 500 alumni took the challenge and applied for the 400 available grants, ultimately sharing Passover with a total of over 4,500 young Jewish adults over two days across North America.
With this project, NEXT has successfully tapped a new pool of potential Jewish leaders. Over 50% of the hosts had never previously participated in other NEXT grant opportunities. Over half of the hosts also indicated that they had never hosted a Passover Seder prior to this experience.
“So many of the attendees were so thankful that I was hosting a Passover Seder because if it was not for me they would have had no where to celebrate Passover.” offered Faryn S., one of the 250 hosts whose seders took place across 35 states and 4 Canadian provinces.
In fact, the grant offering was so popular that within 24 hours of opening the application, over 250 eligible hosts had already applied. Moving into the next Jewish calendar year, NEXT plans to expand on this model to bring Jewish celebrations to nearly twice as many Birthright alumni.
In addition to helping Birthright Israel trip alumni host Seders, the NEXT Passover initiative was also designed to provide content and resources to help hosts create meaningful events with relevant Jewish conversation. To help promote the program and inspire conversation, NEXT launched “Fifth Question” initiative, which asked a variety of Jewish organizations, including AJWS, Davi, Foundation for Jewish Camp, Hazon, the Jewish Outreach Institute, Machon Hadar, Mazon, Moishe House, Punk Torah, Repair the World, along with a few well-known Jewish educators to pose a “Fifth question” to add to the traditional four questions to enrich the discussion about Passover’s meaning.
NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation connects Birthright trip alumni and their peers with meaningful Jewish living and learning opportunities nationally, locally and in Israel. We also work to create a Jewish community that is ready to receive alumni, who possess diverse needs, interests and inclinations. By investing in and convening those who work with young Jewish adults, as well as offering resources and thought-leadership, we catalyze growth and stimulate opportunities for engagement. www.birthrightisraelnext.org