Come work, study and explore Israel while living in Jerusalem. The Onward Israel ASCEND program is designed for students who want to combine an internship with Torah learning and religious growth. The vibrant evening programs offer a full array of teachers, social events, and learning opportunities. This program will also give participants an opportunity to explore Israel through different trips and cultural experiences. At the end of the summer participants will not only have a better love and appreciation for both their Judaism and the land of Israel, but they will be able to build their resume and benefit from the many professional development opportunities.


    Who: Students ages 18-22, both men and women who are either current college students or post senior year of high school
    When: In Israel: Wed, June 21st – Monday, August 7th, 2o23
    Remote workshop: August 13-15, 2023

    Participants MUST be available to participate for the entire length of the program.
    Cost: $750

    Here’s what you’ll do on ASCEND
    ~Spend the summer in Jerusalem

    ~Professional internship placement* for college students and resume-enhancing opportunities** for pre-college students. Our professional team will find an internship or volunteer opportunity that fits your skill set.
    ~Incredible excursions across Israel designed to explore the land and heritage of Israel in a fun way!
    ~Fun social programming to explore Jerusalem and make friends.
    ~Vibrant Torah study on a variety of topics with amazing teachers from across Israel and America. The learning program is accessible for people of all learning backgrounds and skill levels.
    ~The remote portion of the program allows participants to reconnect with each other after the in-person Israel portion has finished. The remote program will consist of social events, professional development opportunities and Torah classes.

    The program includes:
    ~Housing (including WiFi, AC, laundry facility, and kitchen)
    ~Health insurance
    ~Professional and personalized internship placement 4-5 days per week in the field of your choice
    ~Educational staff and programming
    ~Trips exploring Israel
    ~Shabbat Meals and Programming
    ~ Occasional weeknight dinners
    ~Rav Kav – Bus pass to get around Jerusalem

    This Onward Israel program is operated through a partnership between the Beacon and Shapira Foundations, the Birthright Israel Foundation, and other leading philanthropists. 

    ASCEND Program Tracks- Ascend offers 2 different learning tracks to cater towards our 2 different populations. Program tracks under the ASCEND program are geared towards creating a space for students to connect with their peers in a more intimate environment. While much of the program is together, the tracks allow for students to participate in Torah learning and programming that is created specifically for their program track.

    General ASCEND College track- The General ASCEND learning track will consist of college students from around the world who did not spend a gap year in Israel. The learning will be very hands-on, allowing for students to ask questions and explore their Judaism in a spiritual and experiential way. You will meet students from many different campuses, allowing you to expand your network and form connections with like-minded students. The various trips and programming will have you walking away with lasting friendships. If you are looking for a memorable, impactful and life changing experience in Jerusalem this summer, this track is a good fit.

    Post High School Track- If you are currently a high school senior and are not planning to spend a gap-year in Israel, this track is for YOU! The post-high-school track was created to give rising college first-years the opportunity to connect with Israel and Judaism on a deeper level, expand their professional networks, and build lasting friendships. Through trips, internships, Shabbatons, Torah study, and group activities, you will explore the land of Israel and your personal Jewish identity, and will walk away feeling empowered to take those connections and relationships with you to your college campus.

    Important Information

    Admission is rolling. Applications will close in the beginning of March or earlier if the program fills. Apply now!

    Participants will be required to submit a $400 security deposit via credit card hold. Charges will not be made if participants complete the program in good standing.

    The actual cost of the Onward Israel program is much higher, and is subsidized up to 70% by Birthright Israel, private donors, and local Jewish communities and institutions.

    All participants are responsible for the cost and arrangement of their own flights and spending money upon arrival in Israel (including for food). Participants should not purchase flights until approximately one month before the program begins and are encouraged to purchase flights with a good refund policy or flight insurance. Onward Israel is not responsible for the cost of flights should the program be canceled or shifted to be remote. Note, participants will be told approximately a month or two before the program begins their expected arrival and departure times.

    Applicants participating in Birthright Israel trips ahead of an Onward Israel 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 Birthright Israel and Onward Israel programs. 

    Apartment, hostel, or dorm-style housing in Jerusalem

    The number of participants to an apartment or room is dependent on the size of the accommodations and number of participants on the program. Though Onward Israel housing can vary from program to program, it generally meets basic Onward Israel standards. To learn more about this and other Onward Israel housing details, please visit our housing FAQ.

    If for public health or security related reasons the program cannot take place in Israel, Onward Israel will make efforts to conduct the program remotely. Click here to review our FAQ, including information on remote programs regarding internships, programming and more.

    *Please visit our COVID-19 Response for the most up to date information regarding vaccination requirements and entry into Israel.*

    Acceptance Criteria

    ~ Applicants must be high school graduates
    ~ Be Jewish (If you have questions about your Jewish eligibility please contact Yonina Rosenthal at yonina@oujlicsummer.org)
    ~Have NOT spent 3 or more consecutive months in Israel as part of an educational or peer-program (this includes semester abroad, gap year, or any other MASA or Onward Israel program).
    Note, Alumni of Onward Israel programs (even if they are Masa eligible) are typically not eligible to participate on a second Onward Israel program. In a small number of cases it might be possible for alumni of both initiatives and those who do not meet Masa Israel Journey criteria to participate, however individuals can check with OU-JLIC staff on a case by case basis.
    ~ Fluent in English
    ~ Have a valid Passport (passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the program finishes)
    ~ Previous participation in Taglit-Birthright Israel is encouraged but not required
    *Onward Israel alumni are not eligible for Birthright Israel trips. If you wish to participate in a 7- or 10-day Birthright Israel trip, consider participating in a Birthright Israel trip prior to an Onward Israel program.

    Internship opportunities include the following fields*:
    Business development
    Law related internship
    Medicinal related internship
    Working with vulnerable populations
    *internship opportunities will depend highly on past experience and resume of each individual participant.

    Not sure what type of internship you are looking for or unsure if you can find it in Israel? Our internship coordinators work one-on-one with each participant!

    Applicants interested in internships in the fields of Engineering, STEM, Green Energy, Computer Science, Finance, Sustainability, Law and Medicine please click here for some important information regarding placements:

    For More Information Contact:
    Emily Zimmer Tibbetts
    Director, OU-JLIC ASCEND
    Emilyzt@oujlicsummer.org or visit oujlicsummer.org

    Organizations That Make This Program Possible