Greater demand and budget constraints lead to fewer acceptances and forced early deadline
Birthright Israel announced that registration for summer’s 10-day educational experience in the Jewish state will close today, January 30th, due to elevated demand following the organization’s recent announcement of a reduction in the number of participants due to a 30% rise in cost per participant as a result of inflation.
The organization reached its summer 2023 limit of 12,000 trip spots for young Jews from the United States and Canada just two days after trip dates were posted on the website, showing a 68% growth in deposits compared to the same period pre-covid. The high demand prompt the decision to close registration just 20 days after it officially opened. Of the 32,000 eligible applicants, at this point Birthright will only be able to offer spots to 12,000 young Jews from NA. An additional 3,000 spots will go to participants from throughout the world. Birthright Israel is also seeing higher demand for its Onward and Birthright Israel Excel programs.
The number of deposits paid to date has far exceeded (86%) those received by this point in typical years. Birthright Israel officials attributed the increase to the organization’s November 2022 announcement that it would take 30 percent fewer participants for summer 2023 than in past years. Application periods typically lasted for three months.
Birthright will bring a total of 23,500 young Jews from around the world in 2023, compared to 35,000 in 2022 and 48,000 pre-covid. As current 26-year-olds (the age limit for Birthright participation) will not be eligible beyond 2023, Birthright Israel will do its best to prioritize them if more spots become available, pending additional funding. Trip organizers are still in the process of trip placements and applicants who will not have spots will be notified when new trips open up for a future season and that their deposits can be refunded in the meantime. For those applicants who were unable to be selected for this summer, we encourage them to apply again.
“There has never been a more critical need for Birthright Israel than now. Expanding Birthright Israel’s reach, rather than reducing it, is vital now, when young Jews are being bombarded with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments on social media and on college campuses,” said Gidi Mark, CEO of Birthright Israel. “In recent years, we worked tirelessly to bring every young Jew to Israel, and it is unfortunate that we need to reject so many people now. Without offsetting donations, thousands of applicants will continue to be denied the chance to experience a Birthright Israel trip. It’s time for the entire Jewish community to step up.”
“At this time, Birthright Israel Foundation calls upon the entire Jewish community to help us maximize the number of future participants who can begin their Jewish journey on this critical program. This includes donors who can give at every level,” said Birthright Israel Foundation’s president & CEO, Izzy Tapoohi. “Only with the broadest support of the community will the organization be able to continue achieving the goal of providing a trip to Israel for all young Jewish adults. There is no gift too small to make a difference. The future of the Jewish people is a shared responsibility, and every dollar counts and contributes to a stronger future for us all.”