Come work, study and explore Israel while living in Jerusalem. The Birthright Israel Onward 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.


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

    Who: Students ages 18-22, both men and women who are either current college students or post senior year of high school
    When: Dates For Summer 2024 TBD
    Participants MUST be available to participate for the entire length of the program.
    Cost: TBD*

    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 Birthright Israel Onward program is operated through the philanthropic support of leading North American Foundations through the Birthright Israel Foundation, the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency, along with Orthodox Union – JLIC. It is organized by Orthodox Union – JLIC. For more information about participating in a long-term Masa program after Birthright Israel Onward and the potential impact on future Masa grants, view our FAQ here.

    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

    Program Cost: TBD*

    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.

    *Scholarships to help offset the program cost may be available to for those who need additional assistance and meet Birthright Israel Onward’s eligibility criteria. For more information, contact Birthright Israel Onward or your local partner professional. 

    Participants are responsible for the cost of flights, food, and phone coverage. To learn about this and other Birthright Israel Onward program details, please visit our FAQ.

    *Participants are encouraged to purchase flights with a good refund policy or flight insurance. Birthright Israel Onward is not responsible for the cost of flights should the program be cancelled. Note, participants will be given their expected address approximately two weeks before the program begins, if not earlier.

    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 Birthright Israel Onward housing can vary from program to program, all housing units meet Birthright Israel Onward standards. To learn more about this and other Birthright Israel Onward housing details, please visit our housing FAQ.

    Acceptance Criteria

    • Applicants must be high school graduates
    • Must be Jewish (please refer to our FAQ for more information)
    • Applicants must NOT have spent 3 or more consecutive months in Israel after high school, or participated in a Birthright Israel Onward program or any other mid-term or long-term educational program in Israel.
    • Fluent in English
    • Have a valid Passport for at least 6 months after the program end date
    • Please note: If you wish to participate in a 10-day Birthright Israel trip, consider doing so prior to an Onward program. You will not be able to participate on Birthright Israel trip after participating on Onward.

    Please click here to review the application process

    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 STEM, Finance, 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