• About the Program

    Every year tens of thousands of Jewish teens and young adults encounter Israel for the first time through short term venues, including Taglit Birthright Israel (Birthright) and organized teen programs. The expected rapid expansion of Birthright means that growing thousands of young people will have such an experience every year. Rigorous academic studies consistently demonstrate that these experiences are an essential means to launch young people on a path of Jewish engagement. Yet to sustain high levels of Jewish engagement it is critical to build upon Birthright with a significant “next rung” as a follow-up/next step.

    To address this need, the Jewish Agency, in collaboration with a wide array of partners from around the Jewish world, has launched Onward Israel: a framework for six to ten week meaningful experiences for students and young adults in Israel.

    The goal of Onward Israel is to provide participants with an immersive and transformative resume building experience in Israel, featuring opportunities such as internships, service learning, academic courses and fellowships.

    Onward Israel offers a competitive and attractive venue for young people seeking such experiences at affordable prices, and for time periods ranging from six to ten weeks. While meeting the individual needs of the participants and allowing them to advance their resumes, Onward Israel programs will also feature inspiring educational modules, with special attention dedicated to activism opportunities within local communities and institutions after program completion and to the development of a deeper understanding of Israel and enhanced Jewish identity and commitment.

  • The Vision

    The ultimate purpose of this new signature initiative is to increase exponentially the number of Birthright and teen programs alumni who return to Israel for a transformative identity-building second visit, eventually reaching a stage where half of all first time visitors partake in a longer more immersive second experience. The intended long-term outcome is a long-lasting connection with Israel and a strong commitment to Jewish life and community at the heart of
    the next generations.
    Onward Israel will offer students and young adults mid-length Israel experiences (6-10 weeks), primarily during the summer, speaking directly to the interests and concerns of the young adult population entering the labor force in a global world. Programs will be structured around resume-building opportunities such as internships, service learning,and academic course. Further, Onward Israel will maximize opportunities for cross-cultural immersion, a feature that is highly prized by employers and academic institutions. Onward Israel will leverage investments in first-time Israel experiences by generating a solid cohort of motivated and engaged alumni, who will return home more likely to make Jewish choices, with greater readiness to be involved in invigorating Jewish communities and organizations.
  • Goals
    • To create a compelling, accessible and affordable program framework that will greatly increase the percentage of young adults having a second and more meaningful experience in Israel.
    • To capitalize on Israel's competitive advantages (start-up nation, technology, global interactions, cultural immersion, Jewish social capital) to provide high-quality experiences that will increase Israel's market share for young people searching to advance themselves personally and professionally.
    • To provide a significant immersive experience in Israel for Jewish young adults allowing for the
      deepening of Jewish identity and the connection to Israel along with personal growth development.
    • To foster the awareness and interest of program participants regarding post-trip communal opportunities for activism, involvement and leadership.

    We believe that this initiative has the potential to significantly increase the percentage of previous Israel travel programs returning  to Israel for an impactful and transformative experience to develop them individually and professionally and increase their involvement in Jewish life after their return home.