June 24, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 24, 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: Debbie Shemony
202.857.6691 | [email protected]
WASHINGTON, DC—Last week marked the rekindling of the magic of a summer experience in Israel, with the first group of BBYO teens arriving in Ben Gurion Airport on June 14 to embark on Israel Journey, BBYO’s flagship travel experience in the Jewish Homeland. Like the rest of the world, BBYO’s travel programs were put on hold in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this summer, nearly 700 teens will travel to Israel with on a BBYO summer experience, a 52% increase over 2019.
“It’s my first time visiting Israel and I decided to go to learn more about Judaism. I just feel a sense of freedom, finally being able to do something like this, after the past year and a half during COVID,” shared Zach T., a teen participant from Florida. “I’m most excited to experience new things, gain new knowledge, explore the landscape, and see everything Israel has to offer on this program.”
For teens who were eager to journey to Israel this summer, BBYO was thrilled to offer a select number of $3,000 RootOne travel vouchers powered by The Jewish Education Project. These vouchers provided an incredible opportunity to minimize cost as a factor in helping Jewish teens and their families access the many opportunities available for teen travel each summer. Additionally, BBYO expanded its Israel program offerings this year, with new experiences, enhanced flexibility, and variable dates to fit multiple interests and schedules. Whether participants want to hike through desert canyons, swim in the Mediterranean, explore Israeli society and culture, or build their own electives-based experience, BBYO is offering “something for everyone” with a rich and varied Israel summer 2021 program lineup. This approach has attracted a significant number of public school attendees, an audience that is sometimes challenging to reach.
“I’m so excited to reconnect with my Jewish faith on this trip, because during COVID I struggled finding what I believe in, “said Allie A., a teen participant from Michigan. “Going to Israel has given me a new sense of gratitude and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to come here with Jewish teens from across America. It’s a unique experience I would not get anywhere else.”
The investment made by the RootOne Initiative was essential in enabling BBYO to ramp up its capabilities during an uncertain time. Gaining clarity from the Israeli government on their travel policies was a key milestone that came only days before the violence that broke out in early May. The urgency of securing staff, finalizing itineraries, and communicating with families offered the kind of excitement the team was waiting for after a year of planning and hoping for the best. As of now, nearly 20 buses have been secured, 60+ staff members have been trained, and more than 700 plane tickets have been booked to Israel.
"For the past seven decades, we have delivered on the promise to provide fun and innovative summer experiences in Israel at the highest standards of health and safety, and we are confident that we developed an ideal plan to safely resume our trips that best meets the needs of our teen travelers,” said Robyn Judelsohn, Senior Vice President of Immersive Experiences at BBYO. “We know that this summer, more than ever, teens are craving programs that allow them to unwind, explore, get outdoors, travel, and have fun, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that nearly 700 of them are choosing to experience Israel with BBYO.”
The RootOne Initiative is seeded through the generosity of The Marcus Foundation, and is powered by The Jewish Education Project. Vouchers may be combined with need-based scholarships and community funds to help defray the cost of travel even further for families.
BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 95 years, BBYO‘s leadership programs the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 400,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts, and Jewish communal life. Now, BBYO’s network of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers, and philanthropists serves as the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah audience fun, meaningful, and affordable experiences. With year-round activities in hundreds of local communities and inspiring world-wide travel experiences, BBYO’s broad program menu enables teens to explore areas of leadership, service, civic engagement, Israel education, and Jewish values.
BBYO Immersives LLC represents BBYO’s groundbreaking initiative for Jewish travel and service-learning experiences.
Please note that BBYO should not be referred to as the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, but rather as “BBYO.”
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