The Birthright Alternative Trip

Sharon Udasin writing in The New York Jewish Week:

Funding In-Marriage Out Of His Own Pocket

Despite the seeming success of Lifshitz’s first post-Birthright trip, it remains unclear whether the Oranim free trips will continue this spring. Lifshitz is struggling to attract private donors to his new initiative. Thus far, he said, he has not secured funds, but he said he has a potential $2 million offer from an organization that would like to see trips broken down by careers and special interest groups. He would not name the organization.

“I don’t know anything about the future. People are very interested in what I’m doing. People appreciate what I’m doing,” Lifshitz told The Jewish Week on Sunday evening. “Am I going to be able to sponsor trips like this in this summer? I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it.”

A new nonprofit organization called Israel360, hopes to raise money for new Israel initiatives like Oranim in the near future, particularly for the older age group like those in Oranim, for interfaith newlyweds and for high school students.

“We hope to leverage the extremely successful model of Birthright Israel with parts of the Jewish community that are outside the reach of Birthright Israel,” Israel360 Director Robert Socolof said, noting that Lifshitz and Oranim were influential in launching this new nonprofit.

Neither Lifshitz nor Socolof have made any concrete progress to date, but their supporters are hopeful that alumni efforts will bring the financial support required to continue these initiatives.

“Why wouldn’t it be financially feasible for an organization that’s offering this experience that no other organization is open to, at the fraction of the cost of past programs, to find funding?” added trip staff member Robert Rand. “Because the organizations are unique, I would think it’s very likely that there would be donors in common to both.”