Who is eligible for the Birthright Israel gift?
The Birthright Israel gift is open to all Jewish* young adults, ages 18 to 26 (with VERY limited travel opportunities for people ages 27-32) who have not participated on a peer educational trip since they turned 18 nor lived in Israel past the age of 12.
*Eligible individuals are those who identify as Jewish and are recognized as such by their local community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism. Applicants must also have at least one Jewish birth parent, or have completed Jewish conversion through a recognized Jewish denomination.
All participants must be between 18 and 26 and have finished high school by the time their trip departs. If you are turning 27 prior to May 1 for summer trips, or December 1 for winter trips, you are not eligible to participate in that upcoming season of trips.
Previous Israel Experience
If you have been to Israel before, but only with your family or on other personal business, you are still eligible. You are not eligible if you have been to Israel for more than one semester since the age of 12.
There are a few programs, such as volunteering for Magen David Adom, participating in the Maccabiah games and Federation missions that do not affect your eligibility.
Jewish Studies Students
Students in exclusively Jewish Studies programs in any institute of higher learning, including Jewish teacher training programs, Jewish Studies Programs (not including Jewish Studies major or minor candidates at secular institutions), rabbinical programs, yeshivot/seminaries, Jewish communal service programs and the like are not eligible for the Birthright Israel gift while they are still in the study program.
If you are an Israeli citizen, you are only eligible if you never lived in Israel or left before the age of 12 (official documentation will be required). If you are accepted to the program, you will need to obtain army exemption papers from your local Israeli consulate.
Israeli Army (& Army Base) Experience
If you have served in the Israeli Army or volunteered on an Israel Army base after the age of 18, you are not eligible.