LA Way – LGBTQ & Allies Birthright Israel Trip

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After a successful inaugural trip, we are ecstatic to announce that the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is partnering again with JQ International to offer an LA Way – LGBTQ & Allies Birthright Israel trip 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) and a refundable deposit.

Pre-registration & Registration

Taglit-Birthright Israel registration opens early February 2015.  If you have applied for a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip in the past, you have the option to apply a day before general registration. No matter which day you apply, use referral code LAWAY30 for priority. To pre-register to ensure updates are sent to you about registration, click here. For a detailed “how to apply,” visit these helpful tips from the LA Way website page.

We’re Sure You Have More Questions.

Here are a couple of brief answers. Also, check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of Israel Experts’ website and some more specific questions on the LA Way FAQ.

• 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 adult trip, you will likely be with many others who speak little or no Hebrew, may or may not be religious, and who also may or may not feel quite distant from their Jewish background. Our itineraries are specifically geared toward being as inclusive as possible of diverse backgrounds, education and levels of experience with the Jewish community’s religious and cultural institutions and as a result a very diverse community has the opportunity to learn from one another and celebrate their differences.

As a benefit of being an LA Way trip, the group will have Israelis as participants for the full ten days. This is something special that most other Birthright Israel trips do not have.  The Israelis that will join the group and the Israelis the group will meet while touring will speak English fluently, and all programs will be conducted in English.

Birthright Israel trips are designed for individuals coming from various backgrounds and knowledge about Israel and Jewish tradition. Not only will most Israelis you meet speak English, but they will love to practice with you. Additionally, these trips are designed for those who have never participated on an organized Israel trip before, and they tend to attract a diverse group who are typically not religiously affiliated with a synagogue or other institution. Our programs and itinerary will be geared toward first-timers to Israel like you.

• Who staffs the trips?
This particular trip will be staffed by local JQ International leaders and an Israel Experts’ tour educator with years of LGBT & Ally Israel experience. The full staff team will include two Los Angeles based madrichim (staff), one tour educator, and one Israeli guard/medic.

• 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 generally eligible for the Taglit-Birthright Israel gift if you meet all three of the following criteria:

  • Identify as Jewish
  • Have at least one Jewish parent or have a certificate of conversion
  • 22 through 26*
  • Have never been to Israel before on an organized adult peer trip.

*Regarding age, for Winter 2014-15 Taglit-Birthright Israel has set a cutoff date of December 1st, 2014. If you turn 27 before December ​1st, you are NOT eligible for any Winter 2014-15​ departure. If you turn 27 ON or AFTER December ​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.  Itineraries are coordinated with various security agencies throughout Israel and are planned with safety as a top priority. The Birthright Israel group travels as a group by chartered coach bus, and participants may not leave the group during the program. Trips do not use public transportation during the length of the program.

For a more detailed explanation of the security measures taken on the trips, click here or contact us.

• What are the departure dates?
This particular trip is scheduled to depart early June 2014. The trip is scheduled to conclude before the world-acclaimed Tel Aviv Pride festival. Trip dates are subject to airline ticket availability.

• 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. Requested extensions are not guaranteed and require some flexibility on return dates. We suggest requesting an extension earlier rather than later to increase the likelihood, while at the same time possibly reducing the fees associated with extending your trip. [More]

• How do I sign up or get more information? 
Register to participate at http://www.absolutelyisrael.com/trips/lgbtq-and-allies. If you have questions, please contact us.

• How do I learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and LA Way?
To learn more about LA Way visit http://www.jewishla.org/pages/birthright-israel-la-way/
To learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles visit http://www.jewishla.org

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