Making a Deeper Connection in Israel
The word Kesher is Hebrew for “connection.” Joining a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip with URJ Kesher is about connecting with Israel on a more meaningful level -- the people, the history and the land itself.
Inclusive Group Dynamics
URJ Kesher is under the umbrella of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). As a part of the Reform Movement, the URJ Kesher trip embodies a spirit of inclusiveness, tolerance, and progressive thinking. The program welcomes eligible participants from all Jewish backgrounds as part of a trip community experience that is relaxed and always enjoyable.
A Progressive Approach
The URJ Kesher program offers a unique opportunity to experience Israel through a progressive lens. Learn about the challenges of pluralism in Israel, connect with the leaders who embody the spirit of contemporary Zionism, and give something back on a meaningful service project.
A Not-For-Profit Organization with a Focus on You
URJ Kesher is a non-profit organization with a proud tradition of serving the Jewish world for over 100 years. As such, our guiding focus is to provide you with a meaningful and quality Taglit-Birthright Israel experience.
The Reform Movement believes that a fundamental aspect of a healthy Jewish identity is a relationship to Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) and optimally a love for Eretz Yisrael. Based on this belief, the Taglit-Birthright Israel: KESHER Israel Connection program provides participants with an opportunity to travel the land of Israel and connect with the people of Israel, all within a uniquely Reform/Progressive ideological context. Examining issues such as social justice, a commitment to pluralism in Israel and the Diaspora, and our personal connection with historical and modern Israel through hands-on activity and discussion, participants will find a variety of ways to explore their own Jewish identity. Visits to historical sites, a mifgash with Israeli young adults, liberal worship experiences, social outings, and educational programming provide a transformative experience and open a dialogue for participants to discuss their relationship with Israel.
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) provides vision, direction and leadership to Reform Jews and congregations on spiritual, ethical, social justice and management issues, offering programming support to Reform Jewish congregations and strengthening individual Jewish identity and growth.
As a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the Union connects Reform Jews in North America with Liberal/Progressive/Reform congregations around the globe. The Union also represents Reform congregations in regional, North American and international organizations that includes the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The URJ KESHER Trip is the Taglit-Birthright Israel program run by the Israel Education Department of the Union for Reform Judaism in cooperation with the KESHER department. KESHER, which is also the Hebrew word for “connection”, connects Jewish young adults to each other and to the Reform Movement in order to promote continuous engagement in Jewish life.
The Trip Staff Team
Staff on URJ KESHER trips are qualified and experienced, with strong backgrounds in informal Jewish and Israel Education. Our staff embodies a spirit of inclusiveness, tolerance, and progressive thinking. They are often Youth Workers from congregations across North America, members of the senior staff at URJ Camps, or other Jewish communal professionals. We tend to hire staff that are in their mid-20s to 30s, as we want our participants to connect with their trip staff on a personal level. Working together with our North American staff, our Israeli Tour Guide-Educators are one of the hallmarks of our trips. Highly qualified and engaging, each season they continue to share their love and knowledge of Israel with our groups, bringing a uniquely Israeli perspective to all aspects of the trip. As one of the original Taglit-Birthright Israel providers, many of our Israeli Guides have been working with us since 1999, and have a deep appreciation and understanding for our shared goals and mission. Participants can look forward to making lasting friendships with their guide and trip staff for years to come.