All approved Trip Organizers meet the logistical and educational standards set out by Birthright Israel and have passed an extensive accredation process. However, each Trip Organizer is unique and it is important that you choose the trip that is best suited to you.
The following is a checklist of questions that you may want to ask the Trip Organizers and yourself prior to choosing a trip:
1. SPONSOR AND PROGRAM PHILOSOPHY
• What organization sponsors this program? What is the sponsor’s primary mission, ideology and
• What are the sponsor’s “teaching objectives” for the program? What components of the itinerary and
other aspects of the program are designed to accomplish these objectives?
• How comfortable am I with this sponsor?
2. THE GROUP
• Are the groups divided by age? What is the age range?
• How many participants (and groups of participants) will there likely be in the program? In each group?
Where do most of the participants come from? One city? One state/province? Nationwide? International?
• Is everyone from similar religious and ideological backgrounds?
• What is the staff/participant ratio? (Birthright Israel requires 2 North American and 1 Israeli
staff per group of 40)
• Who are the staff? From North America? From Israel?
• How have the staff been trained?
• Can you get an itinerary prior to departure? Now?
• What makes this trip special?
• What are some of the unique modules/ program components on your trip?
• Are there formal classes? Scholars-in-residence? Special speakers?
• What amount of time will you spend with Israeli peers? What age are they? What is the ratio of North
Americans to Israelis? Where do the Israelis come from? What are some of the programs you will be
• How are evening programs planned?
5. HEALTH AND SAFETY
• What provisions are made to accommodate individuals with disabilities or chronic conditions?
• Is any special insurance coverage needed or advisable?
• How are emergencies handled?
• What happens if I get sick?
6. RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE
• Is kosher food always available? Required? Are all food arrangements handled by the program?
• What is the level of religious observance? How is Shabbat observed?
• What arrangements and expectations are there for prayer?
• Are there opportunities to attend services in settings compatible with participants’ background and
• Are participants exposed to diverse cultures and approaches to Judaism?
• Does the program have offices in North America for easy communication?
• How do parents/family contact participants if there is an emergency at home?
• How often and in what way does the Trip Organizer communicate participants before the trip?
• If participants have friends or relatives in Israel, can arrangements be made for getting together?
8. OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
• Who will meet us at the airport?
• What is the recommended amount of spending money I need to bring?
• Is there a screening process / interview process for applicants?
• Is the program sensitive to the needs (cultural and other) of all participants regardless of their
• Can I get names and phone numbers, e-mails of any trip alumni in my area, so I can call and ask about
• What kind of pre- and or post-trip programming does the program sponsor offer?