Updated September 5, 2023:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on the Career Passport program, please visit our Career Passport FAQ page.
1. What is Birthright Israel Onward?
Birthright Israel Onward is a framework for immersive and resume building experiences in Israel for students and recent graduates from all over the world. Many Onward programs are specifically constructed through a partnership between Onward and a Jewish community or organization. For those that are not eligible through a partner program, Onward Israel offers Theme Based programs based on applicants’ desired field of internship, and programs specifically geared towards a post-college Young Adult audience, such as our Career Passport initiative. Our programs are intended as a meaningful and immersive follow-up to an initial, short-term experience in Israel, such as a Birthright Israel 10-day trip. Check your eligibility with our program finder here on the homepage.
2. How is the cost of an Onward Israel program so inexpensive?
The full cost of the Birthright Israel Onward program is subsidized for participants with up to 80% being covered by Birthright Israel Onward, private donors, and local Jewish communities and institutions. The price of Onward has been set in order to make our programs a reasonable and attractive option for students and young adults.
3. What does the price include?
The price of the Onward program includes housing accommodations, partial laundry provisions, transportation to and from internship sites, activities and programs, educational programming, basic medical insurance, and program staff and supervision. It does not include flight costs (in most programs), spending money for meals, recreation and free time, additional travel on weekends, or an Israeli SIM card or cell phone.
4. How long are Onward Israel programs? Do I need to participate in the whole program?
The length of time Onward programs can vary from four to ten weeks, depending on program type and content, with most programs being 8 weeks in length. Participation in the entire program is mandatory. Permission to miss a minimal number of days of the program for an approved reason will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the program organizer if requested in writing in advance of the program. There is a daily fee for missed days of the program.
5. What is Birthright Israel Onward’s agenda?
Birthright Israel Onward aims to provide personal and professional development to young adults through an immersive, internship-based Israel experience, as well as to strengthen Jewish identity and identification. Onwards agenda is broad based and its program and participant population is diverse. Onward’s enrichment and education offerings encourage a deeper encounter with Israeli life in a well contextualized, balanced, and interactive fashion. For more details about Onward’s educational approach and programming, please refer to our Educational webpage here.
6. Is this a religious program?
Onward welcomes participants from all Jewish backgrounds. Although Onward is not a religious program, there are opportunities to explore your Jewish identity and your relationship to your heritage. You will need to determine your own degree of observance regarding kashrut and Shabbat along with your roommates. In general, trip organizers provide additional dishes, cookware and cutlery to those who keep Kosher. However, it might not always be possible to assign housing according to Kashrut or Shabbat observance and roommates are asked to work together to find solutions that can work for everyone living together. During the Birthright Israel Onward Shabbaton, which brings together participants from different Onward programs over a weekend, Shabbat will be observed, and the food will be kosher. In certain specific cases, an event site may not have an official rabbinic kashrut license. In these cases: all food will be vegetarian, participants will be notified beforehand, and participants will be able to request a kosher meal through Onward. Finally, there are certain programs within the Onward network that include Jewish learning and/or are focused on more observant participants.
7. Who can I turn to with any questions while I am on the program?
Each Onward program is run by a licensed Israel-based program organizer, who supplies a full-time coordinator/counselor for approximately every twenty-five participants. This coordinator/counselor is the first contact for all questions and concerns during the Onward program in Israel. We encourage you to address all challenges with your program staff on the ground. Should you have any challenges reaching out to your program staff in Israel, the Onward Israel central staff is available. Please review the contact page details carefully to understand our response time and hours.
8. What is my commitment after the program to Onward?
Onward programs offer an immersive, impactful experience in Israel. Our hope is that the experience will provide motivation and inspiration for greater involvement in Israel related activities and in Jewish life after the program, but there is no commitment required from you after the program, with the exception of filling out the post-program impact study.
9. Is additional financial aid available?
Beyond the heavily subsidized price of Birthright Israel Onward, additional local scholarship sources may be available through synagogues, local Hillels, sources at your Federation, and elsewhere. Feel free to consult with Jewish campus life professionals or other entities in your community to find out about these financial possibilities. Participants on specific programs might be able to inquire about additional scholarships. This information would appear on each individual program webpage.
10. How Does Onward Israel Address safety and security?
In January 2022, Onward became part of Birthright Israel. As a result, all of our
safety and security protocols are fully coordinated with Birthright Israel, and we are
under the overall safety and security responsibility of Birthright Israel.
The safety and security of participants is a foremost priority of Onward. All of our programs are conducted under security supervision and involve real time
adjustments to logistics and itineraries based on developments and changes in the
situation in the region. These adjustments, if necessary, include changes in housing
arrangements, transportation, the ability of participants to travel freely on their
own and the educational program, among other elements. Onward participants are
not allowed to travel into areas in the West bank (Judaea and Samaria)- Areas A and
B- that, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories,
Israelis are not permitted to enter. Travel is possible to area C of the West Bank
(Judaea and Samaria) under certain limitations).
For more information on our safety and security guidelines click here.
BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL ONWARD PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION PROCESS
11. How do I determine my eligibility?
While each Onward program has their own eligibility requirements, the same general principals hold true. Applicants:
- Must be between 18-30 years old (participants who are 18 must be one-year post-high school graduation, and participants cannot be older than 30 by the first day of the Onward program)
- Must identify as Jewish. Please review Birthright Israel’s policy in regards to this eligibility criteria here
- Have NOT spent 3 or more months in Israel after high school (this includes semester abroad, gap year or any other MASA program).* Must generally meet Masa Israel Journey eligibility criteria, including not having received Masa funding towards participation on a previous program. Click here to learn more.
*Alumni of Birthright Israel Onward are not eligible to participate on a second Onward program. Alumni of Birthright Israel Excel are also not eligible to participate. Alumni of long- term long- term Masa Israel Journey programs are typically not eligible to participate on an Onward program. In a small number of cases it might be possible for long-term MASA alumni and those who do not meet Masa Israel Journey criteria to participate (individuals can check with Birthright Israel Onward staff or local partner staff on a case by case basis), but program subsidies could be significantly lower and therefore the program fee will be higher.
- Must be fluent in English
- Must have a valid Passport (Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the program end date)
- Previous participation in a 10 day Birthright Israel Taglit trip or other short-term programs in Israel is encouraged but not required. Individuals who participated in a previous 10-day Birthright Israel trip are eligible to participate in an Onward program, however, Onward alumni are no longer eligible for a 10 day Birthright Israel trip.
Please utilize the program finder on our homepage to determine which Birthright Israel Onward program you are eligible for and CAREFULLY review acceptance criteria on each specific program page on the website. Applicants deemed ineligible will not be considered for the program they applied to and possibly directed to another option if relevant.
12. How does Onward Israel define ‘Jewish?’
You must have at least one Jewish birth parent or have completed Jewish conversion through a recognized Jewish denomination (Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox, Sephardic). If you’ve converted, we may ask you to provide conversion documentation during the application process.
If you practice another religion and have questions about your Jewish eligibility, we prefer to talk to you 1 on 1. Please contact us at email@example.com.
Please note that final eligibility for Onward Israel is only determined after you complete the full registration process and is subject to change.
13. What determines which Birthright Israel Onward program I am eligible for?
Birthright Israel Onward partners with local Jewish communities and organizations. In some cases, your geographical location will be a critical factor in the program you are eligible for (either your permanent or current address); in other cases, your affiliation with a particular university, organization, or framework will determine your eligibility. On the web page for each program, you will find a clear definition of eligibility for that particular program. Those who are not eligible for a community or campus based program may be eligible for an Onward Israel Theme-Based program.
14. Who else will be a participant on this program?
Onward is designed for students and young adults who have had only one previous short-term experience in Israel (Birthright Israel, 10 day trip, teen tours, etc). Participants on our community/campus based programs share either a geographical commonality, university, or a similar affiliation to a local Jewish organization or framework. Theme Based Program cohorts are grouped together by the focus of their internship or by city in Israel and are intended for those who are not eligible for a community or campus based partner program.
15. Can I participate in Onward if I have never been to Israel on an organized program before?
Onward is designed for students and young adults who have already had one short-term organized peer experience in Israel. If you have never been to Israel before, we strongly recommend participating on a 10 day Birthright Israel trip first, however it is not a prerequisite to participate in an Onward program. Applicants participating in 10 day Birthright Israel trips ahead of an Onward program must join their group on the first day of their Onward Israel program. Applicants will be responsible for their own accommodations if there is a gap between their 10 day Birthright Israel trip and Onward program.
16. Can I participate in Birthright Israel Onward if I have already done a MASA program?
Alumni of long-term MASA Israel Journey programs are typically not eligible to participate on Onward programs. However, in a small number of cases, it might be possible for long-term MASA alumni and those who do not meet MASA Israel Journey criteria to participate on an Onward program (individuals can check with Birthright Israel Onward staff or local partner staff on a case by case basis), but program subsidies could be significantly lower and therefore the program fee will be higher.
17. Can I participate on a 10-day Birthright Israel trip program if I have already done a Birthright Israel Onward program?
Onward encourages participants to participate on a Birthright Israel 10-day trip before participating in an Onward program. Once a participant has completed an Onward program, they are no longer eligible for a 10-day Birthright trip.
*Applicants participating in 10 Day Birthright Israel Taglit trips ahead of a Birthright Israel Onward program must join their group on the first day of their Onward program. Applicants participating in 10 Day Birthright Israel Taglit trips ahead of a Birthright Israel Onward program must join their group on the first day of their Onward program without overlap between the two programs. Applicants will be responsible for their own accommodations if there is a gap between their Taglit trip and Onward programs.
18. Can I participate in Onward more than once?
Eligibility for Onward Israel is limited to participating on the program one time.
We strongly encourage our alumni to explore Masa program opportunities as the best option to return to Israel after a Birthright Israel Onward program. It is important to note that Onward alumni who participated on Birthright Israel Onward-Masa programs may return to Israel on long-term Masa programs after their Onward program. They are also eligible for additional scholarships from Masa to help fund their participation, although the size of that scholarship may be influenced by prior to participation on Onward. For details, please contact Masa Israel Journey directly.
19. If I am not able to participate in the entire length of the program, can I participate for part of it?
No, participation is required for the entire duration of the program. The expectations of the placement sites, the educational program, and the subsidy rate, are all based on the requirement that each participant participates in the full length and scope of the program.
20. Is there a registration deadline for Onward?
Since the start and end dates of each Onward program may vary, there is no one set registration deadline, though most summer program applications open in November of the previous year. Each program sets its own registration deadline, which will be clearly indicated on the program website. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and will close once the program fills up. In general, internship placements in Israel are typically confirmed three weeks before arrival, and approximately two months are required to arrange for placements. Given this, registration deadlines will likely be approximately three months in advance to the program start date.
21. Where will I live?
Each Onward program provides housing for the participants based on the city or area of the country where the program takes place. Housing will be in proximity to the internship placements or places of program activities. In most cases, Onward participants live in apartments, dormitory-style housing, or hotels/hostels.
Onward programs are carried out by a variety of organizers who are chosen through a rigorous selection process. All organizers are required to meet Onward and partner standards. While meeting those standards, housing solutions are procured on the open market, and as such, vary in terms of location, amenities, proximity to one another, and type. Onward participants should expect to encounter such divergence as they meet participants from other programs over the summer and from participants within their same cohort.
Though Onward Israel housing can vary from program to program, all housing meets basic Onward Israel standards and has been approved for use. Participants are not allowed to secure their own housing, at their own expense, outside of what the program provides, unless given explicit permission in advance by Birthright Israel Onward and the program organizer.
22. What is provided by the Birthright Israel Onward trip organizer? What do I need to bring?
All housing provided by Onward trip organizers are required to include basic furniture including beds, mattresses, pillows, blankets, linens, and towels. All housing must also include a lavatory, bathroom, equipped kitchen ((refrigerator, toaster oven, stove OR hotplate (Israeli kitchens often do not have both)), cutlery, crockery, and air conditioning. You will be responsible for your own cleaning supplies (including purchasing cleaning supplies while on the program), though the housing accommodations might include some basic cleaning supplies to start (enough to get you through the first few days). Equipment in group-style housing arrangements (including hostels, hotels or dormitories) might not include the above depending on if the organizer is providing regular meals to the participant, (note, in group-style housing scenarios, there are often common kitchens). Participants should bring spending money, personal belongings and other items as detailed by the packing list they will receive from the program organizer. Participants are expected to supply or replenish cleaning supplies, etc. in their own apartments.
23. Will I share a room, and how are my roommates chosen?
The housing arrangements for Onward participants are generally based on two-to-three residents per room and eight per apartment (subject to more or less depending on room and apartment size and housing style). Roommate assignments are most often handled by the program organizer upon arrival in Israel and subject to partner approval. Participants cannot live with participants from different Onward Israel programs.
24. Can I participate in an Onward Israel program without living with the group?
No, living together with your Onward Israel cohort is a central and required component of the overall experience.
25. How are food arrangements handled?
For most Onward programs, Onward Israel participants buy and prepare their own food. Food during seminars and overnight trips sometimes is provided directly by the program. Food that is directly provided by Onward during seminars and other educational programming will be typically be kosher (and if not, will be indicated and an alternative meal solution will be provided to those who wish to keep kosher). Most of the food that is bought individually in Israel is kosher, but each apartment will make its own decisions about the degree of kashrut it wishes to maintain. Kosher dishes can be provided on request. If you have any food allergies, these must be please communicated with your program organizer prior to the start of the program.
Participants should plan to bring spending money to cover food and recreational activities outside of what the program offers. The amount of additional spending money depends on each person’s individual habits. Those who wish to eat out in restaurants more often for example, should plan accordingly.
Participants are encouraged to pool their money with their roommates and use the opportunity to get to know their local neighborhoods and cities by shopping in the shuk and supermarkets. We are recommend participants plan to bring additional spending money, especially for those who might not want to cook as often.
26. Are there host families in Onward?
There are no host families, although some programs might include a weekend in their Partnership regions that will include a component of lodging with a host family. The emphasis of Onward is on creating connections with Israeli peers, rather than with host families.
27. I’m having a problem with my housing, who should I contact?
For any housing related issue, participants are advised to be directly in touch with their group counselor/madrich(a). Like any housing on the open market (even in participants’ own homes), different housing related issues can take varying amounts of time to address depending on a variety of factors including the specific nature of the issue and when staff is made aware of the problem. Trip organizers will work as quickly as possible to address problems. If for some reason, a participant is not getting a response or update from their direct counselor/madrich(a), they should be in direct contact with the program director or their organizer.
It is important to note that participants are expected to take an active role in problem-solving and resolving housing-related issues. This includes taking responsibility for the cleanliness of apartments, taking out the garbage, and general care of the facilities provided, etc., to avoid unwanted damage. If it is found that participants damaged anything in their apartment, it is possible that the cost of fixing or replacing such items could be charged against their participation and security deposits.
For further questions and more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
28. Do I need to fly to Israel with my group?
Most Onward programs leave flight arrangements up to the participant, unless explicitly told otherwise. Your responsibility is to arrive at the pre-arranged location for the official beginning of the program. Required arrival times will vary by program and each specific program organizer will inform participants as to their required arrival times in Israel. Participants should check with their program staff to confirm these required arrival times. Participants can choose to arrive later on the day of their program start date if they are informed by their organizer that they may do so (this information should be distributed to participants approximately a month before the program in their pre-program packet, should you wish to book your flight earlier, you may ask your program organizer before the pre-program packet is distributed). Participants are expected to book return flights home for no earlier than 4:00 pm (16:00) Israel time the day that their program finishes. Participants who arrive prior to their program start date and/or who wish to stay in Israel after their program finishes are responsible for arranging their own accommodations and insurance. Those who do so are not considered program participants and therefore Onward, it’s program partners and organizers are not responsible for providing any of the program benefits, including but not limited to housing and health insurance during that time period. In some cases, the local partner might organize a group flight; in these instances, the price of the program includes air travel to and from Israel.
29. What is covered in the health insurance?
The organizer must insure each participant with appropriate medical insurance according to the acceptable standards of tourist insurance in Israel for the entire duration of the program (the program start date until the program end date). The organizer, based on the full disclosure of medical information by the participant (as required by Birthright Israel Onward) must inform participants of any limitations to health insurance prior to the program start.
The health insurance must cover the following aspects:
- Transportation to hospital when required
- Hospitalization costs including payments for doctors, operations, emergency care, ambulatory care, tests, x-rays and medicine during hospitalization.
- Non-hospitalization medical costs stipulated as necessary by authorized doctors: doctor payments, tests, x-rays, prescription medications
- Emergency dental coverage
- Non-emergency medical needs in the same city that the participant is living in
- Covid-related health issues
Please note that this insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions or any injuries/illnesses that result from drug or alcohol usage. If pre-existing conditions do exist you are required to show proof of or purchase additional health insurance and show that to the organizer before coming to Israel, or alternatively, sign a waiver form releasing Birthright Israel Onward from any liability regarding such conditions. It is also important to note that the insurance provided by the program organizer only covers the participant while in Israel.
30. How is laundry handled?
All Onward housing will either include laundry services or have access to laundry services within a short walking distance. Laundry costs are covered in the overall program cost, however, solutions for laundry can vary by program (either through a laundry service, laundry machines in apartments, or a modest stipend provided for participants to do laundry in a local laundromat). If a stipend or laundry service is provided, it may only cover laundry to be done a certain number of times throughout the summer. Participants should consider this as they pack and prepare for their programs.
31. Are transportation costs covered by Birthright Israel Onward?
Transportation costs that are directly covered in the Onward program include travel to and from internship placements through the use of a RavKav (Israel’s public transportation passes), or apps such as HopOn and all transportation connected to mandatory educational content. Additional transportation (optional weekend travel, travel for social purposes) is not covered by the program. In most cases, transportation to and from the airport at the beginning and end of the program is not included and is the participant’s responsibility.
32. Is there a program deposit? Is it refundable?
In addition to the program fee*, participants are required to submit a refundable participation & security deposit (amounts vary based on the program). This participation & security deposit will be refunded upon full participation and completion of the Onward program, given that the participant is in good standing (has participated fully in all required program components) and the participant’s housing has incurred no damage.
*In most Onward programs (please check individual program pages for greater detail) there is a program fee that accepted applicants must submit in order to reserve their spot on the program. This is a non-refundable fee to cover the participants contribution to the program. In most cases, participants must also pay for their own travel to and from Israel.
33. Am I required to have an Israel cell phone or SIM card?
Yes. Participants are required to have an Israeli cell phone number. Most program organizers can provide recommendations on where to rent or purchase and Israeli SIM card. Cell phone costs are not included in the cost of the Onward program.
34. Do I need a valid passport in order to apply to Onward?
Participants on Onward programs must be in procession of a valid passport that does not expire for at least six months after the END DATE of their particular Onward program. If an applicant’s passport expires within 6 months of the program end date, they should submit a copy of their current passport and begin the passport renewal process immediately. Should an applicant be accepted, proof of passport renewal is due along with program fee payment should an applicant be accepted in order to reserve their spot on the program. At a certain point in the application and registration process season, it is Onward Israel’s recommendation that accepted applicants utilize an expedited passport renewal process.
Our goal at Birthright Israel Onward is that participants should be matched with a high quality internship as close to their field of interest as possible (this is what we refer to as a “tailor-found” internship program). It is important to remember that Israeli work culture can vary from that of a North American one (and other parts of the world). Participants at times might feel this cultural difference right from the start of their internship placement process or at any point throughout their experience.
Our participants have consistently rated the internship experience through Onward as one of the best components of their programs and feel that their internship placement has given them opportunities that they might not have otherwise received at home. Below are a few helpful hints in the form of an FAQ that will answer your questions:
35. How long are the Birthright Israel Onward internship programs?
The length of Onward internship programs is generally a minimum of eight weeks (though specific programs can be less). Internships take place four-to-five days a week, with an average of thirty hours of internship per week. The beginning and end of the internship programs consist of introductory and concluding programs. *Please note, there are also other required elements to participation in Onward programs in addition to the internship, while also allowing for ample free time for participants to explore the city they live in and other parts of the country. Please read through our general program FAQ for more details.
36. What field/industry can my internship placement be in?
In Summer 2023, Onward Israel participants worked for over 1,000 unique employers in Israel in a wide variety of fields and sectors. It is important to note that we can never guarantee a specific internship placement or field, but we make every effort to find the best match placement for each individual given a variety of factors including but not limited to:
- What field they are interested in (some fields are more challenging to find placements than others and thus require pre-requisites).
- Their past coursework and relevant work experience.
- The availability of placements in the city their program is taking place in Israel.
The goal of the interview with the internship coordinator during the program application process is for the internship coordinator to assess these factors before a decision is made about acceptance into the program to ensure to the best of our ability that we feel it is possible to place the applicant in an internship in their desired field of interest. We always encourage our participants to be flexible and open-minded as they might be able to get relevant work experience for their professional goals with companies or organizations that they might not have previously imagined.
37. Do certain fields of interest require pre-requisites?
Onward applicants interested in interning in one of the following internship fields – Engineering, STEM, Computer Science, Finance, Law, Green Energy and Medicine – must meet the following criteria:
- The applicant must be in their sophomore year of studies or beyond while applying for the Onward program
- The applicant must have prior exposure to the field outside of academic studies
- Prior professional experience/internship experience in the specific field of interest is desirable but not required. Applicants interested in an internship in the legal field must demonstrate internship and/or work experience related to the field
- The applicant must have completed at least 4 courses relevant to the internship field of interest or be enrolled in said courses that will be completed by the time the Onward program begins
- If the applicant is applying for a computer science or computer engineering internship, they must meet the criteria above AND must be proficient in at least one computer programming language.
- Applicants meeting all criteria have the strongest chance of securing an internship in the desired field
- Applicants meeting two or fewer criteria:
~Theme Based Programs: Applicants can be waitlisted or can be transitioned to a different Theme Based Program depending on availability.
~Hillel/Community Programs: Applicants will need to take under consideration that it is unlikely that an internship match will be made in their desired field or a related field based on available internships and the applicants skills and experience and should therefore seek internships in other fields.
38. How does the internship placement process work?
The process begins by selecting an Onward Israel program that you are eligible for and applying through the application form (available on the webpage for the Onward program in which you are eligible for). Applicants can use the program finder on the home page to determine which specific Israel program they are eligible for based on which community or campus they are from. Applicants should read the general criteria listed on each program webpage as well.
Once an applicant submits their application form, and based on a preliminary eligibility check, the local partner to Onward (the local community or organization that is a co-sponsor of the program) or an Onward staff member or alumnus, will arrange a preliminary interview with the applicant.
After an applicant completes this stage, the Israel-based program organizer will contact them to conduct a secondary interview, typically with the internship coordinator for the specific program they have applied for. The goal of this second– round interview is for the coordinator to assess whether or not they feel they will be able to find the participant a placement in your first, second or third choice field of interest within reason.
After the second– round interview, a final decision is made regarding the applicant’s acceptance to the program. If the applicant is accepted, they will receive an acceptance letter detailing out how to register, most often, beginning with submitting their program fee and a copy of their passport or proof of having started the passport renewal process. Only after the program fee is paid, can the participant internship placement process begin. *NOTE: While we understand it can be nerve-wrecking to pay for the program without knowing where the internship will be, it is Onward’s policy to see the seriousness of our participants by accepting payment prior to sending resumes out to potential employers. As a reminder, while Onward can never make guarantees about specific internship placements, our coordinators interview applicants to assess how likely it is they feel they will be able to place the applicant. The ability of the internship coordinator to place an applicant also depends on the participant’s willingness to be open and flexible.
The placement process varies slightly with each program, but the goal is always that participants work with their internship coordinators to receive internship options based on the participant’s specific interests and the coordinator will help facilitate a match with an employer. Once a mutually desired placement is arranged, an additional interview is conducted between the employer and the participant to ensure it will be a good fit for both. After this interview a final decision about your placement will be made.
39. What contact will I have with my employer before beginning the program?
Onward encourages the Israel program organizer to arrange for a phone or Zoom interview with the employer as part of the placement process.
40. Will I get a reference letter from my employer in Israel after the completion of my internship?
There are some employers who will supply such a letter if requested. This can be asked for through your program organizer’s internship coordinator or directly from the employer. It is not an obligatory part of the process.
41. If I do not like my internship, can I change it?
After beginning your placement, your internship coordinator will be in touch to see how your experience is going. If you are not satisfied with the placement, the first response will be to try to address the issues within the context of your current placement. If the lack of satisfaction continues, it is possible to work with your placement coordinator to find a new placement, within the limits of your areas of interest, geographical location in Israel, placement opportunities and amount of time left of the program.
42. Is Hebrew required to get an internship placement?
No, Hebrew is not a requirement to secure an internship placement. The internship will take place in English, and most Israelis that you will interact with at your placement will communicate in English. If you do know some Hebrew that will of course add to the placement opportunities and enrich your interaction with Israelis.
43. Do participants get paid for their internship placements?
No. Birthright Israel Onward is a highly subsidized program which includes in the program fee housing, local transportation, medical insurance and more. Please review program webpages regarding specifics about what is included in each program and what the participant is expected to cover directly.
44. Can I arrange my own internship placement?
Participants are permitted to utilize their networks to arrange for their own internships, however, such placements must be approved by your internship coordinator. This is to ensure that the internship will meet Onward standards and be a productive experience for you as the participant.
45. When will I know what my internship placement is?
There is no set date by which Onward can guarantee when a participant will know where they will intern. Given the nature of a tailor-found process in which the coordinator attempts to find the best match for everyone, and the more laid-back Israeli workplace culture, often participants may not know what their placement is until shortly before their arrival in Israel. We understand that this can create some anxieties for participants in the weeks before their program begins. Rest assured, while we ideally aim to place participants as early as possible, this is completely normal and barring very specific circumstances, participants arrive in Israel knowing where they will intern.
ONWARD PROGRAM CONTENT
46. How many trips within Israel are included in the Birthright Israel Onward program?
Each Onward program includes between 2 and 3 days of interactive daytrips throughout Israel during the duration of the program. In weeks without a day trip, informal educational programming will be provided at least one evening per week. In addition, the Onward weekend seminar will likely take place outside of where you will live during the duration of the program. Most weekends will be free, and you can travel freely in the country at that point.
47. Are all the content pieces and trips mandatory?
While participating in Onward, you will have both the benefit of a formal program and the flexibility to explore Israel in your own way. The formal program requires participation in the following:
Participation in the entirety of the program from the first official day until the final day. Please note, the program does not begin and end with the internship, there are opening orientation days and closing sessions which are required elements. Please refer to your specific program page on our website to review the program dates which are inclusive of these elements.
Your placement opportunity (internship, volunteer or otherwise).
Educational programs, including but not limited to educational content days, group activities defined as mandatory by the organizer and/or by Onward, including seminars, workshops (Sadna activities), evening activities and day outings (Israel Now days).
A weekend Shabbaton in your community’s partnership region, when applicable.
Preprogram initiatives in your home community, when applicable.
Pre, mid, end of program, and post program surveys (we need your feedback to assess the program and strengthen it for the future).
Participants who fail to take part in mandatory program aspects will face disciplinary action – from warnings, to probation, to removal from the program.
48. How much free time will I have on the program?
The amount of free time varies between the various Onward programs. For the most part, placements in volunteer or internship opportunities are for four to five days per week, and educational programming is for an additional day every two weeks and other activities as outlined above. Optional educational and cultural programming will be offered in the evenings. Most programs include three Israel Now Days tours – education and enrichment days focusing on contemporary Israeli life. Some programs will also include additional Shabbat programs, which will be clearly indicated in the program schedule you will receive in advance of coming to Israel. Most Fridays and Saturdays are free, and participants are encouraged to travel on their own throughout Israel.
49. Can I leave the country during the Birthright Israel Onward program?
Given the short duration of the program (two months or less), and the requirements of the internship placements, participants are not allowed to travel outside of Israel during the program. Of course, you are welcome to travel outside of Israel before or after the program. These costs are not covered by Onward. Participants who leave the country without explicit permission for specified reasons will face disciplinary action – from warnings, to probation, to removal from the program.
50. Can I learn Hebrew on Onward Israel?
Hebrew language instruction is not a required part of the Onward program, Some Onward programs also offer optional Hebrew lessons if a large enough percentage of your Onward group so requests. Onward will supply information regarding opportunities for learning Hebrew in the cities where participants reside, and Hebrew learning applications. It is up to each participant to invest in their own Hebrew learning independently.
51. How much interaction is there with participants from other Onward programs?
Onward programs are offered to students and young adults from around the world, with each group sharing a particular geographical, organizational, interest, or affinity connection. Several programs are likely to be taking place at any given time. Onward offers a variety of educational and cultural programming for participants from various programs. Several types of enrichment and educational activities are mandatory and others are optional. Many of the activities include a wide range of choices, and much of the programming includes interaction between different Onward groups. Onward participants can also interact with participants from other groups during their ample free time.
52. Are There Other Travel Restrictions?
Onward participants are explicitly not allowed to travel to areas under control of the Palestinian Authority; travel to Jewish towns/villages/settlements in the West Bank (Judaea and Samaria) is allowed, but only with explicit and advance approval from the program organizers, and only during daylight hours and by public bullet proof bus.
Responding to Covid-19
53. Do I need to have had a COVID-19 vaccine to participate?
For programs starting on or after November 1, 2022: No, participants will no longer be required to be vaccinated in order to participate in a Birthright Israel Onward Program.
54. What if I test positive for COVID-19 during the program?
If you do not feel well during the program, you may be asked to take a home antigen test. If your result comes out positive for COVID-19, you will have to go into immediate quarantine and conduct an official antigen test. Your program organizer will help arrange this for you. Your quarantine period starts on the day you conduct the official antigen test. For more information, please read our COVID guidelines.
55. How is Onward Israel making its health and safety decisions?
We are working closely with Israel’s Ministry of Health and will maintain the highest level of precautions on our trips and adjust whenever necessary.
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