Former Young Judaea Head Launches Rival Year Program

from the front page of today’s The Jerusalem Post:

Former Young Judaea head launches rival year program

Former Young Judaea Year Course director Keith Berman, who announced his resignation from the organization last month, has launched a new “year in Israel program” for teens Monday aimed at stirring up competition for long-term programs here and making such experiences more affordable to young Diaspora Jews.

“Many charities have very large overheads and bureaucracy that does not need to exist,” Berman, who ran Young Judaea’s wildly successful year program for the past decade, told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview. “We will run our new program with much less overhead.”

… More importantly, Aardvark Israel will offer a very competitive price likely to lower the cost of year programs in general. Berman has already started advertising the program to potential participants in North America and Britain for just under $15,000, significantly less than Young Judaea Year Course and Nativ, which currently ask for more than $22,000 per participant, and Kivunim, which costs more than $30,000 a person.

“Our goal is to offer the best program at the best price,” said Berman, who hopes to start the year with at least 100 participants. “We want to get as many kids as possible to come to Israel because there is nothing better to fight assimilation and to positively increase one’s Jewish identity.”

As for the course itself, the decision to base it exclusively in the center of the country – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – stems from Berman’s own experiences working with teens from the US and Britain.

“They either want to be in the cultural heart of Israel, which is Tel Aviv, or in the spiritual heart, which is Jerusalem,” he said. “It is clear that today’s youth are not the same as in previous generations; peripheral places no longer speak to them, and if the goal is to get them to identify with the country in a positive way, then this is the way to do it.”

Here’s more from What War Zone???

Aardvark Israel is Launched: What Does It Mean?

Is competition, choice, and change a good thing or are consumers now choosing between two of the same product?