Birthright Launches First U.S. Based Fellowship Program for American Trip Leaders

Taglit tour educatorsA new training program for an elite cadre of American Taglit-Birthright Israel trip leaders has been launched through a partnership with the iCenter, a North American based organization dedicated to Israel education. Taglit-Birthright Israel will dub the participants “Taglit Fellows” and expects to provide up to 200 trip leaders each year with intensive theoretical and practical training skills.

A three-pronged approach to trip leaders’ education will include a four-day seminar with Jewish and Israel studies and skill-building workshops, the implementation of online learning and the establishment of a networking framework for these leaders. It is expected the Taglit Fellows will enhance both Taglit-Birthright Israel experiences, as well as the broader field of Israel and Jewish education by cultivating emerging Jewish professionals as role models and educators.

The Fellows program complements the Israel based Tour Educators program which was established to develop a new kind of tour guide – the tour educator – where the tour educator is not only a source for information, but also a community builder, a staff leader, and a counselor and facilitator for Jewish identity exploration. This new Fellows program is designed to similarly train American based staff.

Applications for the first round are open. Applicants should be at least 21 years old, have professional experience in Jewish education or in communal settings, knowledge of Israeli history and culture, and must be able to commit to staffing three Taglit-Birthright Israel trips over the three years following the completion of training. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2014. Interested parties should visit

The Taglit Fellows program is funded by the Maimonides Fund through a $4 million grant over the next 6 years. According to Maimonides Fund President Mark Charendoff, “This initiative provides us with a terrific opportunity to simultaneously improve the educational quality of the trips as well as dramatically increasing our capacity for effective follow up. It is strong evidence that Birthright is committed not just to increasing numbers but to constantly rethinking how to best engage the young people who participate, on both sides of the ocean.”