The Jewish Education Project has announced a $20 million grant from the Marcus Foundation in support of an initiative focused on boosting the number of Jewish teenagers in the U.S. who participate in summer travel programs to Israel.
The funds will enable the RootOne initiative to provide subsidies of $3,000 to participants in five youth travel programs, invest in enhanced trip curricula and experiences, and create deeper pre- and post-trip engagement opportunities designed to help strengthen participants’ Jewish identity and connections to Israel. RootOne will work with five organizations that organize summer trips to Israel — BBYO, USY, Ramah, Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and NCSY — to boost participation in the programs, with the goal of increasing the number of youth who travel to Israel each summer to more than ten thousand by 2025 and twenty thousand by 2030.
“We want young people stepping onto their college campuses with deep connections to Israel and strong Jewish identities,” said Marcus Foundation board chair Bernie Marcus.
“Teen travel to Israel is a deeply impactful experience that can set a teen on a path for ongoing, meaningful Jewish engagement filled with lifelong friendships,” said Jewish Education Project CEO David Bryfman. “We are thrilled to partner with these youth-serving organizations that have the track record and experience of running great Israel travel programs. Now, together, we can transform the field and elevate the experience to make it more accessible for more teens.”