faq

Birthright Israel provides the gift of first time, peer group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. Birthright Israel operates on a belief that it is every Jewish person’s birthright to visit Israel. To date, over 500,000 young adults from 52 countries have traveled to Israel for the first time on Birthright Israel trips.

The safety and security of each and every one of our participants on a Birthright Israel Mayanot Trip is our top priority. We are in constant contact with all of the appropriate security authorities. Additionally, a GPS (Global Positioning System) device is carried by each group and is monitored 24/7 by the “situation room” so that authorities are aware of each group’s location at all times. The groups, which travel by private bus at all times, are joined by an armed guard for the duration of the trip. At no time are groups permitted to travel into any unsafe or questionable territory. (See more about safety here.) 

Yes, but within the guidelines set forth by the Birthright Israel official alcohol policy. Participants may be removed from the program for illegal use or possession of alcohol, for failure to abide by the terms of this policy, and also for drinking in excess, i.e. so much that it impedes full participation in an activity, or if the participant is heavily intoxicated. There will be no tolerance for drunkenness and/or drunk or disorderly conduct. (See the full alcohol policy here.)

Birthright Israel: MAYANOT trips include round-trip airfare (from designated cities), accommodations at quality hotels, coach transportation, tour educators, all site entries, two meals a day, and ten days of adventurous and educational programming. You will only need to bring spending money for lunches, snacks, drinks, tips, gifts and souvenirs. (Please note: domestic airfare within the USA is not included.)

A typical group has 40 participants (around half guys and half girls), 2 US staff, 2 Israeli educational staff, and an armed guard/ medic. Each group is also joined by 8 Israeli participants for half of the trip.

There is no catch, no strings attached. Participants are only responsible for a deposit, fully refundable upon their return home after successfully completing the program. Participants are under no obligation to Birthright Israel, which finances the trip, or Mayanot, who implements the trip, for any future activities or financial obligations. Of course, should participants decide to become more involved in the Jewish community, go back to Israel or explore other aspects of Jewish life, both #Birthright and #Mayanot would encourage them to get involved!

 

For full details about expectations from our participants, please see the Participant Waiver

The Birthright Israel: Mayanot journey begins at the airport in the United States, therefore, sorry but all participants must depart with the group from the gateway airport. Trust us, it’s worth it to make the experience better!

Accommodations will be triple-occupancy in quality hotels and guest houses. We will try to accommodate roommate requests upon acceptance to the program. 

Although some of the hotels may offer laundry services it is very inconvenient and likely quite expensive. We suggest bringing enough clothing for the entirety of the trip. For a winter packing list, click here. For summer, click here

The Birthright Israel program covers two meals a day, which normally includes buffet Israeli breakfasts and dinners in the hotel or restaurants. For lunch, participants should budget about $12-$15 per day.

Yup, it sure is. All food provided by the program will be certified kosher. 

For safety and security reasons Birthright Israel requires that all free time is spent within the confines of the group. Your staff will help you find a time for your friends/family to visit you either in the hotel after program times, or on one of the two “leisure nights” when the group will have time out together normally in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Tiberius. If you would like to have extended visits with your family or friends we suggest you extend your trip.

Mayanot recommends CTAS as they have years of experience, are affordable and are familiar with the ins and outs of the Birthright Israel system and medical care all over Israel. They are located in Israel and know the language, the hospitals, medical centers, pharmacies etc. Also, in the unfortunate instance that you’ll need their assistance, they will pay for everything directly rather that you having to pay now and claim later as you would with an insurance company based in the United States.

Please see the following links for packing lists for your Birthright Israel trip with Mayanot.

 

Please see our airlines page for information about checked baggage and carry on for each airline that we use. We also suggest contacting the airline directly if you have any specific questions. You should also review our suggested packing list.

Participants will receive their tickets at the airport near the airline check-in counter from Mayanot staff.

We suggest bringing approximately $300 to $400 USD in cash. If you do not have a credit card, you may want to bring a little more. Almost all stores in Israel accept credit cards. Do not rely on ATM machines as they can be difficult to find. Travelers Checks are also difficult to cash so we do not recommend bringing them. Please bring $70 USD, in addition to your spending money, which will be used as gratuity for your amazing Israeli staff. (Please note: If you are travelling on a 7-day trip, tip is only $55.)

A money changer will meet every group on the first day to make changing your dollars to shekels (Israeli currency) quick and easy. After that, there will be other opportunities at ATM’s or local money changers later on in the trip.

For a nominal fee most Birthright Israel plane tickets can be extended either in advance of the trip or while in Israel. Please see our flight extensions page for more details.

Yes, and why wouldn’t you!? We’ve prepared an amazing and packed itinerary for you to enjoy. Further, Birthright Israel requires as part of accepting this free gift, that participants take part in all activities.

Mayanot strongly encourages all participants to rent a cell phone for your Birthright Israel: MAYANOT trip. Besides for emergencies this will be the only way family and friends will be able to reach you while you are on the trip.

Also, family members can ‘follow’ your trip in a few differents ways. They can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and of course, Facebook.

Please see our Packing List for the different converter and adapters that you may need.

No – all participants must stay with the group until they depart to the airport for the return flight home. Birthright Israel requires that as part of accepting this free gift, all participants partake in all activities for the entire duration of the trip. One of the most important of these activities is the final session. If you are planning to travel on to Europe or another destination, you must make sure that your planned departure is after the departure time of your group.

Sorry, but you must return to the same airport that is on your return ticket.

Sure! Just remember, as with any valuables you choose to bring with you on the trip, Birthright Israel and Mayanot hold no responsibility for any loss or damage, and we highly encourage all participants to take out travel insurance.

No, but you are invited to participate in the many exciting post-Birthright opportunities and programs that Mayanot offers!

Please see our post trip options page for a list of exciting options including a trip to Eilat.

You can contact the Mayanot office at 1-888-MAYANOT or via email at info@mayanotisrael.com.

Our staff members have extensive Jewish and Israel experience. They are there to facilitate a fun, safe, inspiring, and educational experience. The educational staff consists of an Israeli certified tour educator, an Israeli social guide, an American Judaic educator, an American peer representative. Each group also has a private Israeli security guard/medic, and of course an Israeli bus driver. The combination of American and Israeli staff members allows the team to provide the most unforgettable experience for each applicant!

Firstly, Birthright Israel requires that all participants show proof of extended medical insurance for overseas. This must cover you for pre-existing medical conditions overseas, and medical emergencies overseas. Without this, you won’t be allowed to travel! But more than that, you’ll want to be covered for lost luggage, delayed domestic flights or stolen property – it could happen to you.

We highly recommend that you purchase a full travel insurance policy that covers you for all of the above, and one that won’t make you have to pay yourself and then go and claim later.

Probably not. Benefits of different US medical insurance plans can vary depending on the supplier and the plan. Some plans do include services outside the United States, however the majority of plans are limited to emergencies and urgent care of members while outside the United States. Most do NOT cover for lost luggage, flight delays, or stolen property. Further, members will typically need to cover all costs themselves, then are able to make a claim for re-imbursement when they return home.

CTAS charges $40 for the duration of the Birthright Israel program, and provides full medical and travel insurance. For the full policy details please see CTAS’s site at http://www.ctas.co.il/israel-trip.asp

We’d highly recommend you extend your insurance too, or you won’t be covered. The charge will be an extra $3.50 a day in order to extend the policy. You can mark your return date on the CTAS form as you fill out your travel insurance.

Yes, you can be covered in Europe but you must be in touch with CTAS to let them know your plans so that they can cover you while you are in Europe.

Please visit on www.mayanotisrael.com/applicants to read up a bit more about the travel insurance, or your can give us a call at 212.980.3414 .

Once you’ve been offered a trip and accepted, you can go ahead and click on http://www.ctas.co.il/israel-trip.asp to get started. When you’re done, you’ll need to go back into your Mayanot application, and update your medical form with your insurer and policy number. And don’t forget to tick “yes”.

Registration for the summer seasons usually opens in mid-February. Registration for the winter typically begins mid-September. Keep your eyes on our homepage for specific registration dates for the upcoming season!

In order to be considered for a trip the following simple steps must be taken as soon as possible after registration begins for a respective session:

Step 1: Register online here and complete the 8 part application.
Step 2: Submit a fully refundable $250 USD deposit.
Step 3: After receiving your login information, follow the link to Mayanot’s secondary application and submit the required forms.

This gift is available to those who are Jewish, ages 18 through 26, who have not been on a peer educational Israel trip since graduating high school. For complete eligibility guidelines please visit our eligibility page.

No. The gift is available to Jewish young adults ages 18 through 26.

See our specialty trips page for a list of all trips

Be sure to complete both the Birthright Israel and Mayanot applications, including uploading an image of your passport and paying your fully refundable $250 security deposit, to better your chances of being accepted. The sooner you are complete, the sooner we can consider you for a Mayanot trip. Additionally, the more dates you are available to travel, the higher your chances are of being selected for a trip.

If you are placed on a trip, Mayanot will contact you via email with an official trip offer. This email will clearly outline all the details of your trip, and all other pertinent information. You will normally be given 24 hours to accept your trip, and will have to log in to your application, and accept the trip waiver to officially accept your trip. Do not make any plans until you get written confirmation from Mayanot that you have been accepted on a trip.

Please visit our dates page to see our dozens of date options!

Although it varies by session, in the past we have had trips depart from New York, New Jersey, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto.

The exact departures cities will be posted on the dates page during the applicable session.

Participants are responsible for getting to the gateway city on their own. Birthright Israel: MAYANOT does not pay for any expenses related to this.

Perhaps borrow it? We are, sadly, unable to accept any applications that are not accompanied by a deposit. Remember, deposits are fully refundable and will be returned very shortly after the trip is over.

The $250 deposit is to ensure that your seat is filled on the airplane and that you participate fully in the program. If these conditions are satisfied, your deposit will be returned shortly after your return home. If you should need to cancel your trip please be sure to do so before the cancellation deadline to avoid forfeiture of your deposit.

Your deposit can be submitted in section 7 of the Birthright Israel online application (only after sections 1 through 6 have been completed). Birthright Israel requires that all participants pay their deposit through Payoneer.

If you are accepted to a trip and cancel prior to the Birthright Israel deadline dates or are not accepted to participate in a program this round, your deposit will be refunded via your original method of payment. In order to receive this refund, you must submit a written request to Mayanot directly. Should you not make this request your deposit will remain with Birthright throughout the season and then will be refunded automatically at the conclusion of the season’s trips. After you successfully participate in your trip, you may voluntarily donate all or part of your deposit in order to sponsor future Birthright Israel trips. Approximately five days after you successfully complete your trip, you will be notified by Birthright via email that your deposit is available to be refunded. That email may also contain information about how you can voluntarily donate all or part of your deposit in support of future Birthright Israel trips. Note that your deposit will be used to benefit future Birthright Israel participants if it is not retrieved within 30 days of your return.

Should you be accepted on a trip and choose to cancel, you will need to to so formally, and in writing, by the given deadlines to avoid forfeiting your deposit. The exact deadlines can be found here.

Get one fast! All participants must have valid travel documents (passport, Green Card, visa, etc.) in order to participate on a Birthright Israel: MAYANOT program. Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the last day of your trip. We need to have a copy of your VALID passport at least 45 days before your scheduled departure date or you may be removed from the trip and forfeit your deposit. For more information please visit our passport and travel documents page.

Sure! Refer your friends to sign up and submit a deposit as soon as possible and we will try and keep you in the same group. You can refer your friends here.

Yes. Please visit our testimonial page for alumni comments and contact information.

Please notify our office at 1-888-MAYANOT or 212-980-3414 or info@mayanotisrael.com immediately. Refunds of your $250 deposit can not be guaranteed.

MAYANOT makes every effort to place participants with friends and/or family that they wish to travel with. You will be asked who you wish to travel with on the Date Request Form, and we will do our best to accommodate.

MAYANOT makes every effort to get applicants on to trips. There are a number of variables that determine how and when applicants get assigned including flight availability, groups and the number of applicants. You can increase your chances of getting on a trip significantly by completing the entire application process (including submitting the fully-refundable deposit and all forms) as soon as possible after registration opens. In addition, the more flexibility you have in terms of departure dates, the easier it makes it for us to get you on a trip.

MAYANOT makes every effort to confirm applicants as soon as possible. Most applicants will receive confirmation a few weeks after registration begins.

NO. But by the end of your trip you may be able to carry short conversations in Hebrew!

As one of Birthright Israel’s largest providers, Mayanot provides an unforgettable, adventurous Israel experience to thousands of students and young adults. Participants of Birthright Israel: MAYANOT love our trips because our groups include young Israelis as well as participants from diverse backgrounds, experiences and all walks of Jewish life. We believe that makes for a much richer experience, and our alumni agree.

Mayanot is built upon a love for Israel, the Jewish people, our common history and the Jewish tradition. Mayanot draws inspiration from Chabad spirituality.

For our campus-based Birthright Israel trips, we partner with the Chabad on Campus International Foundation through their 100 + centers across the United States.

Mayanot offers multiple departure dates and cities, diverse trip mates, great Israeli staff, the chance to hang out with other Mayanot groups from all over the country, excellent customer service in North America and Israel and a vast network of exciting alumni programming.

The Birthright Israel: MAYANOT trip is an adventurous and educational ten day tour of Israel. It includes extensive touring of Israel, interactive discussions, recreational activities and much more! To see some of the trip highlights click here.

The trip is free because Birthright Israel: MAYANOT believes that a visit to your homeland is your birthright. Birthright Israel’s founders created this program to send thousands of young Jewish adults from all over the world to Israel as a gift in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.

Birthright Israel is an innovative partnership between the people of Israel through the Government of Israel, private philanthropists through the Birthright Israel Foundation and Jewish communities around the world (North American Jewish Federations through the United Jewish Communities (UJC); the Jewish Agency for Israel; and Keren Hayesod).

If you are coming with a group then you may travel with students from your campus or city. Otherwise, you will travel with other young Jewish people from across the USA. All Birthright Israel trips are also divided into age groups: 18-22, and 22-26. In addition, every Birthright Israel: MAYANOT group includes a group of young Israelis, often soldiers in the Israeli army. You will have a chance to make many new friends with other Jewish young adults from all over! Most Mayanot participants are not religious and come from all different Jewish backgrounds.

At Birthright Israel: MAYANOT, all Jews, regardless of Jewish background, affiliation, knowledge or practice are welcome! Because Birthright Israel is only open to Jews who have never been to Israel on a peer-group experience, naturally many participants have very limited connection to their Jewish identity. Our experienced staff create an atmosphere to ensure that all participants, from all walks of Jewish life, feel comfortable on a Mayanot trip. And our experience has shown that this wide mix of backgrounds provides for a richer and more interesting experience for all.

Keeping in line with Birthright Israel’s goal to be as inclusive as possible, all food provided on the trip is kosher, and there is no organized group travel or touring by bus on Shabbat. No one is forced to observe Shabbat however in public places participants are asked to be respectful to others around them. Mayanot provides opportunities to experience spirituality, Jewish life, culture and heritage, and encourages questioning! While participants are offered the opportunity to experience religious elements, they are completely optional for those who wish to participate.

Staff will be comprised of Jewish community professionals and student leaders from North America and Israel, all of whom will have been specially trained to ensure the highest quality experience in Israel. A unique and popular component of many MAYANOT trips is the presence of a Rabbi or Jewish Educator who brings an educational and spiritual dimension to the experience.

Let us assure you that the safety and security of our participants is our number one priority. Birthright Israel: MAYANOT would never take on this endeavor if we felt we were unable to adequately provide an absolutely safe and secure trip. We take whatever precautions are necessary, no matter the cost, to ensure the safety of our participants at all times. For more details of our safety precautions please visit our safety page.

HERE is some feedback we’ve gotten post winter and summer trips. They will be helpful to view in preparation practically and mentally, for your trip to Israel!