Source: eJewish Philanthropy
On a recent weekend, the Bring Israel Home program brought together representatives of a dozen high impact Jewish organizations with 11 Birthright groups, including 65 Israeli participants, to prove that effective Birthright follow-up is possible. Located in Camp Lavi in eastern Pennsylvania, the alumni and Israelis came to experience the reunion of a lifetime with their Birthright groups that included paintball, swimming, canoeing, a bungee trampoline and assorted sports, as well as lavish Shabbat meals, under the stars singing, a pre-Shabbat and havdallah concert featuring the Pey Dalid band, and a midnight barbeque complete with fireworks over the lake. Most importantly however, were the round-robin informational sessions with 10 follow-up organizations in the U.S. and Israel including Masa Israel Journey, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), Our Soldiers Speak, OneTable, Hasbara Fellowships and The Alumni Community. Each organization presented their core opportunities and gave participants a chance to sign up for more information. Ninety six percent of participants signed up for upcoming programs such as Masa Israel’s semester abroad or JNF community service internships in Israel. No previous efforts have come anywhere near these results.
The reunion was all a part of the innovative Bring Israel Home program, developed by Aish NY through a breakthrough partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Orthodox Union (OU) and others. Over the past three years, Bring Israel Home has successfully engaged over 3,500 participants in meaningful Jewish experiences after Birthright. Bring Israel Home’s 100 Point Challenge engages returning Birthrighters to partake in a certain amount of Jewish activities in the three months following their trip. Participants can choose from a list of activities covering Jewish education, Israel activism and Shabbat and holiday observance. Buses with 75% successful completion win a mega-reunion with the Israeli participants from their trip flown in for the occasion. To date, over 24,000 Jewish activities have been completed including 4,328 Shabbat celebrations and 7,398 pro-Israel activities.
Read more at eJewish Philanthropy.