Orthodox Jews Influence Birthright Tours


Recently, the Union for Reform Judaism, America’s largest Jewish movement, was notified by Birthright, a group that has brought half a million youngsters to visit Eretz Yisroel since 1999, that it was being dropped as a certified provider of youth for the tour, Haaretz reported.

It had failed to supply enough youngsters for the trip.

Although Orthodox Jews account for less than five percent of the tour’s participants, Orthodox-affiliated trip providers are providing close to 25% recruitment. Of ten providers, three are Orthodox: Mayanot of Chabad; Israel Free Spirit, which is affiliated with OU, Aish Hatorah and Meor; and the Ezra youth movement.

The reason for Orthodox success is their intense involvement with youth on American campuses. Also, some Orthodox providers are benefitting from a $66 million fund set up by the Diaspora Affairs Ministry run by Bayit Yehudi to strengthen religious identity among U.S. Jewish college students.

Although direct religious and political indoctrination is prohibited on Birthright trips, Orthodox rabbonim accompany many groups and participants of Orthodox-sponsored trips are offered the option of attending Orthodox tefillos.

Birthright participants can extend their stay in Israel with cheap extension programs offered by Orthodox organizations and kiruv can continue after students return to campus.

{Matzav.com Israel News}


  1. Also, probably a significant number of youth the Reform was trying to recruit weren’t Jewish anyway, but may have had a Jewish last name. So they’re generally not as interested in coming because Eretz Yisrael and Torah just don’t speak to their soul-root.

    • THe Reform movement is at war with Isreal since Isreal refuses to give them a platform. Reform doesn’t believe in much (no God-given Torah) except the state of Israel. the pushback is killing them hence the women of the wall movement.
      The US is pushing back on the reform too. They were not invited to the Chanukah party @ the white house (maybe Israel had some influence or Trump didn’t want the biggest Liberal supporters (the reform) at his party for personal reasons.)
      This is the story no one is talking about.

  2. I had the pleasure with my wife to lead a Birthright trip to EY 2 years ago . The participants were through Campus Chabad Houses . There were 40 in all . What a great 10 days to be Mekarav Yidden being with them 24/7 ,eating and sleeping together in the same lodging facilities . On Shabbos there is a 2hr session called “Ask the Rabbi and in my case ,the Rebbitzen as well ” . One of the students , a 3rd year Harvard attendee , stood up and told the entire group , that he was dating a non-Jewish girl for several years and upon his return he would be breaking up his relationship as this trip inspired him what it means to be a Jew . The entire trip was worth if only for this one individual , If you can go and be a team leader DO IT .
    Chaplain (Col) Jacob Goldstein-Ret

  3. Birthright is suave. The kid gets a trip, the bank gets the money and Israel has yet often another kid never to hold Torah right.

    Still, pretty neat. I did not get to go because it was not in my days that they had Birthright. I am learning Torah. If I want to consider this good, I do, but if they did have such a prestige for me, who knows what else.

    Still, pretty neat. Get the kids more excited, let them daven with tefillin. More important than freebies by the good of the love of the pension in the future.



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