NewsBits: The Momo Factor

A seismic crack opens in Birthright’s world.

Sharon Udasin writing in The New York Jewish Week:

Momo Returns

After splitting from Birthright Israel two months ago, he’s back…

Now, as the winter trip season approaches, Momo is launching his own remake of the famously free trips, going after the same population that Birthright targets – and even courting some of the same funders. This is the first time in Birthright’s 10-year history that a provider has broken away and launched its own free trip.

He’ll formally introduce Oranim’s revamped agenda during a live Webcast on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Lifshitz said he is talking to several major Jewish federations about receiving funding for the trips. And he added that an Oranim alumni group is raising money for both future Oranim endeavors and other Israel opportunities.

“I’m also going to go to the Israeli government and just like they’re giving money to Birthright, I’m going to ask them to give money to me,” Lifshitz said.

And he is confident that the numbers already have proven to work in his favor.

During this summer’s Birthright registration period, Lifshitz explained, Birthright was considering shutting down Oranim’s registration portal within 20 hours, due to an overflow of registrants. At the time, Lifshitz said he had 70 percent of Birthright registrants under Oranim’s umbrella, but he eventually had to close the doors on 8,500 of his 10,000 initial registrants.

Birthright officials declined to comment on Lifshitz’s plans.