Trips for Teens

Teens Israel on CamelOne of the most important aspects of Jewish identity is the connection to the people and the State of Israel. An Israel Experience program is an encounter of the realities and dreams that shape the Jewish experience. Participants have the opportunity to experience the land, people, history and a rich culture.

Nothing makes Jewish identity and history come alive for young people like an Israel Experience Program. Start exploring opportunities with the sites below and you'll be on your way to the experience of a lifetime!

Please note that Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Israel Experience Savings Programs funds (including SKIP, Gift of Israel, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Israel Experience Certificates, Walk With Israel Vouchers and Naftali Steinfeld Israel Experience Certificates) and scholarships are intended to help cover tuition/fees for approved Israel Experience programs. Approved Israel Experience programs are identity-building, peer group programs run by non-profit organizations that allow participants to learn in-depth about the land, culture and people of Israel. The list of approved Israel Experience programs is constantly changing as new programs are developed. Since not every program is approved, please contact us ( israelexperience@juf.org) if you have a question about a specific Israel Experience program.

Looking for a trip affiliated with a specific movement?

Check out the organizations below to find the perfect match.

  • BBYO
    information about the BBYO Passport programs
  • Bnei Akiva
    the religious Zionist youth movement
  • Habonim Dror
    the Labor Zionist youth movement
  • NCSY
    the Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth movement
  • NFTY
    the Reform movement's North American Federation of Temple Youth
  • Noar Hadash
    the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation's youth movement
  • Camp Ramah
    experience Israel with Camp Ramah
  • USY
    the Conservative movement's United Synagogue Youth
  • Young Judaea
    An independent pluralistic Zionist youth movement

Need more ideas? Searching for different opportunities?

Camp Chi Israel Trip
Experience Israel with your Camp Chi friends on this four-week trip for entering high school seniors.

Shorashim
Join Shorashim for the experience of a lifetime! Travel with Israeli peers and learn about Israel through their eyes. Take this dynamic journey through Israel and leave the tour bus behind. Hike in some of the most spectacular settings in Israel; be a part of the vibrant culture of Modern Israel. Learn about how your Israeli friends feel about politics, the army, music, movies, and more. Create friendships that will last a lifetime! 

Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) is the only 6-week, 8-week, or full semester non-denominational, English language academic program in Israel with sessions offered throughout the year.

URJ Heller High (Formerly NFTY-EIE)
URJ Heller High: Isaac and Helaine Heller EIE High School in Israel (formerly NFTY-EIE) is a semester long (four months) program for high school students in grades 10-12 New Linkin Israel that is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.  

Yad B'Yad
The Yad B’Yad Israel Experience brings high school students together with Yachad members (adults and teens with special needs) on a fabulous Israel adventure.

Chetz V'Keshet (Friends of Israel Scouts)
Chetz V’Keshet (CVK) is a summer in Israel program for teens ages 15-18 that offers a unique opportunity to experience Israel - Israeli style. For one month, participants explore all that Israel has to offer side by side with Israeli peers and staff: climb Masada, float in the dead sea, participate in Gadna (army week), hike, snorkel, and so much more!.

Ta'am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel
Ta'am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel, the Community Foundation for Jewish Education's 8th grade Israel Experience, aims to give participants a meaningful, intense, emotional and focused taste of their heritage through a weeklong, "hands-on" experience in Israel.

Technion- Israel Institute of Technology
The Technion is Israel's premier technology university. It is ranked among the world's most innovative universities. Technion programs have special appeal to top international students and researchers as a result of a successful combination of high-level academic standards and its relevance to the needs of modern society, and proven record for educating leaders in science and technology.

Free Spirit Experience in Israel
A unique program in Israel for teens who are experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties, including high-school academic credit sessions, summer sessions and a gap-year and college prep session. Come to Israel for 8-10 weeks and return home stronger and more confident!

Camp Kimama Israel
Kimama is the largest and leading international Jewish summer camp in Israel, offering an unforgettable experience for children and youth (ages 7-17).  Since 2004, Kimama has hosted a unique encounter for Jewish children, with over 1,800 campers from 42 countries around the world.  Both English and Hebrew are the official languages at Kimama.

For Students with Special Needs

Yad B'Yad
The Yad B’Yad Israel Experience brings high school students together with Yachad members (adults and teens with special needs) on a fabulous Israel adventure.

Gap Year Programs

More and more colleges and universities are encouraging teens to take a year between high school and college. Known as the Gap Year, this special year enables high school graduates to volunteer, learn, travel, and expand their horizons. A directory of Gap Year programs in Israel, plus information about a universal $1,000 grant and additional financial need funding, is available at  Masa Israel Journey.

Affording Your Program

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago supports Israel Experiences with a wide variety of savings, incentive, and scholarship programs. Visit the  Israel Experience page to learn more.

Scholarship Applications Available

2017 Israel Experience scholarship applications for winter and spring programs are now being accepted. High school, college students and young adults are welcome to apply. Applications are due November 1.

Apply Now