After many years of inclusion work with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, we are ecstatic to announce that JQ International is partnering with their “LA Way” Taglit-Birthright Israel program to launch the first-ever LGBTQ and Ally Birthright trip to Israel departing this summer from Los Angeles!
It’s Free to All Participants.
That’s right! If you apply to the program and are accepted, you will receive a free 10 day trip to Israel! Your only financial obligation will be personal spending money (1 personal meal per day + any gifts/souvenirs).
Taglit-Birthright Israel registration opens Feb. 13, at 10:00am EST. If you have applied for any Taglit-Birthright Israel trip in the past, you can register early on Feb. 11, at noon EST. There is a step-by-step registration guide available for download HERE.
We’re Sure You Have More Questions.
Here are a couple of brief answers. Also, check out the Frequently Asked Questions section of Israel Experts’ website.
• Will my sexuality or gender identity be a problem?
Absolutely not! This trip is being created specifically with YOU in mind! The programmers and staff are experts in diversity and inclusion and have devoted many hours to making sure that sensitivity and care is taken to ensure that you feel SAFE and LOVED during the entire experience. If you have particular concerns we should know about, CONTACT US.
• I don’t know any Hebrew and I’m not particularly religiously observant. Will I feel left out?
As the tour is open only to individuals who have never been to Israel on an organized trip, you will likely be with many others who don’t speak a word of Hebrew, are not religious, and who may feel quite distant from their Jewish background. Our itineraries are specifically geared toward first-timers to Israel like you, and our programs and approach have typically appealed mainly to non-affiliated participants.
As for the language issue, many Israelis speak English fluently, and all programs, including the activities during which you’ll meet Israeli peers, will be conducted in English.
• Who staffs the trips?
This particular trip is going to be staffed by JQ International Executive Director, Asher Gellis and JQ Board Member, Janelle Eagle. Asher identifies as a gay man and Janelle identifies as a queer woman.
• Is it really free?
Yes. Apart from lunch, snacks & spending money, there is no cost involved for the 10-day program. This gift is 100% subsidized through the generosity of major philanthropists, local Jewish Federations and the Government of Israel. You will be asked to send a refundable $250 deposit after you are accepted to the program. This deposit is only intended to secure your space on the program and will be fully refunded once you’ve completed it, no questions asked and no strings attached. It will also be refunded if you voluntarily withdraw your application before a specified cancellation deadline set by Taglit-Birthright Israel. There are no other administration or registration fees whatsoever.
• Who is eligible?
You are eligible for the Taglit-Birthright Israel gift if you meet all three of the following criteria:
- 18 through 26 (see below)
- Have never been to Israel before on an organized peer trip which lasted more than 7 days.
Regarding age, for Summer 2013 Taglit-Birthright Israel has set a cutoff date of May 1st, 2013. If you turn 27 before May 1st, you are NOT eligible for any Summer 2013 departure. If you turn 27 ON or AFTER May 1st, you ARE eligible and this will be your LAST CHANCE!!
On the other end of the age range, you must have turned 18 AND completed high school before your trip departure date.
Family visits to Israel or private visits on your own do not disqualify you. If you are unsure whether a previous visit to Israel affects your eligibility, contact us to find out.
For Taglit-Birthright Israel eligibility requirements, you are Jewish if you have at least one Jewish parent (mother or father) and consider yourself to be Jewish, or if you have completed a conversion course (certification will be required).
• Israel has been in the news a lot lately. Will I be safe?
The majority of disturbances we’ve seen in the news occur in specific areas, namely the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. IsraelExperts programs do not visit these areas and we make sure to coordinate our itineraries with various security agencies throughout Israel. Also, the program is run in a very structured way and participants are forbidden to use public transportation or to walk about freely without any supervision. Taglit-Birthright Israel programs have run successfully and incident-free since 1999, with over 250,000 participants in spite of the situation.
• What are the departure dates?
Our particular will depart in late May 2013. We will conclude our trip before the world-acclaimed Tel Aviv Pride festival taking place in early June.
• Can I extend my ticket?
Yes! And we highly encourage you to! Many participants will extend their trip in order to participate in Tel Aviv Pride which will take place directly after the conclusion of our 10 day trip. More