Nearly 20,000 young adults participated in the Taglit-Birthright Israel trip program this summer, among them 10,526 registered students from over 712 colleges and universities across North America.
Students came from large universities with substantial Jewish populations to small colleges – representing approximately 20 percent of all colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
The University of Michigan had the highest trip representation with 326 students, followed by the University of Florida with 226 students, Indiana University with 200 participants, and University of Maryland and University of Pennsylvania both with 165 participants each. (See here for list of all North American universities and colleges represented.)
Among student participants, 3,500 traveled together with students from their schools, on 89 campus-based buses. Some buses were affiliated with or sponsored by local Jewish Federations, donors and foundations, in an effort to increase the number of participants from their respective communities. Their efforts produced a record number of community trips, with 65 buses representing more than 30 communities.
This summer more than 40,000 Jewish young adults in North American had applied for nearly 15,000 summer trip spots, a record number of North American applicants, filling available openings in the shortest registration period ever.
While the majority of this summer’s participants came from the US and Canada, there was a significant number from other countries, such as Russia with 1,006 participants, Argentina with 449, and Germany with 439. In all, participants this summer came from 45 countries, including 35 participants from India, three from Finland and five from Cuba.
By the year 2013, Taglit-Birthright Israel would like to send 51,000 young Jewish adults annually on the free, 10-day educational trip. This would mean that, at this participation rate, within a decade one in every two Jewish young adults worldwide would participate in a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip. In January, the Government of Israel announced it would contribute $100 million in funding over the next three years to achieve the 51,000 goal, contingent on funds raised in North America and worldwide.
Registration for the Taglit-Birthright Israel winter trips will begin today (September 13th) for young adults who have applied in the past and tomorrow for new applicants.