More than 17,000 Taglit-Birthright Israel participants will visit Israel this winter season, the largest number of young Jewish adults, ages 18 to 26, traveling with the winter program since Taglitt was founded in 2000. Trips will begin rolling out in mid-November 2013 and will continue through April 2014.
With more than 350,000 participants during the past 13 years, the program is expected to reach 50 percent of young Jewish adults around the world within the next five years.
“Each year, Taglit-Birthright Israel strives to reach new heights and surpass our own goals and expectations and this year, we’ve gone way above and beyond those expectations,” said Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel. “We remain dedicated to the ideology that bringing the next generation of Diaspora Jews to Israel is a must, not a choice. It is crucial for the survival of the Jewish people as well as for the bond between Israel and the Diaspora.”
Mark added that the program itself has undergone a variety of changes over the years in order to attract and connect young participants to each other and to Israel including the establishment of niche trips. This past year, 25 niche travel groups were targeted to culinary lovers, artists, athletes, physicians, among others.
Since its inception, Jewish young adults have taken part in Taglit-Birthright Israel from 64 countries, all 50 U.S. states, and from nearly 1,000 North American college campuses. Additionally, 65,000 young Israeli soldiers from prestigious units of the IDF and students have joined various groups on their tours.