Back in January 2014, comedian and educator Benji Lovitt authored one of our most widely-read pieces ever: “Israel Programs: The Case for Tel Aviv.” Lovitt, in the words of Dr. Zohar Raviv, Taglit’s International VP of Education, “voiced concern that Taglit-Birthright Israel, among other tour groups, did not allow participants enough time in Tel Aviv and “modern Israel, the ‘start-up nation’” in order for them to develop an appreciation for the State in its contemporary form.” At the time numerous op-eds appeared in eJP and on Facebook, most expressing agreement with Lovitt.
Now a year later comes word from Birthright of the Tel Aviv Urban Experience:
“The Tel Aviv Urban Experience is a first time 3 day event (June 7, 9 & 10) that aims to enable Taglit-Birthright Israel participants to experience contemporary Tel Aviv up-close and personal by exploring the fields of high-tech, fashion, culinary, art, dance, music, theater, photography and the energy that the city has to offer.
3,000 participants will tour Rothschild, Sharona, Suzan Dalal, HaBima, Cinematheque and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and experience for themselves the central role Tel Aviv plays in shaping modern Israeli society and the impact it has had on the larger global community.
On June 7th & 9th participants will be taken to the Tel Aviv Port for a musical performance by the popular Israeli band Hadag Nahash.
On the concluding day of June 10th all will gather at the Wohl Amphitheater to celebrate Taglit-Birthright Israel’s 500,000th participant with Co-Founders, Mr. Charles Bronfman and Mr. Michael Steinhardt.”
At the time, Lovitt wrote, “Israel has changed over 66 years. Our programs should reflect those changes.” Apparently Taglit was listening.