After only seven days of registration – which closed Wednesday, September 20th – 22,479 eligible Jewish young adults in North America applied to participate in Taglit-Birthright Israel winter trips which begin in November 2011 and run through March 2012.

Taglit-Birthright Israel estimates it currently has funding to send only 11,300 North American participants this winter, or roughly half of those who registered. Participants will also come from over 50 countries around the world, with a total global participation of 15,000 this winter. The number of applicants continues to significantly outpace the funding capacity.

To cater to participants’ interests, special niche trips are being offered, including a Fashion Israel trip, for college students studying fashion design and merchandising; a Culinary Israel trip, for post-college participants interested in food, culture and history; and a Start Up Nation trip, for post-college young adults who want to learn more about Israel’s technology sector.

There are also trips for North American participants with special needs, including one for participants with Asperger’s Syndrome and another joint trip for young adults with developmental disabilities together with those studying or working in the field of social work or special needs.

By the year 2013, Taglit-Birthright Israel aims to send 51,000 young Jewish adults annually. 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.

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