We’re here to answer your questions
Find answers to the top questions we hear from interested or participating families.
Any eighth-grade student who identifies as Jewish is eligible to apply for IsraelNow.
- Participants are required to submit all application documents by the designated dates outlined in the IsraelNow 2021 Registration Timeline. Acceptance may be at risk if materials are not submitted on time.
- The information provided in all the registration components of IsraelNow must be truthful, complete, and accurate. Submitting inaccurate or incomplete information or omitting health or medication information which could affect a participant’s experience on IsraelNow, may place acceptance at risk, or be grounds for early dismissal from the program.
- Each participant and a parent/guardian must have a personal interview with an IsraelNow representative. A parent/guardian and the participant must attend together.
- Participants are required to abide by the IsraelNow code of conduct.
- Participant and parent/guardian are required to participate in all scheduled participant and parent/guardian orientations, respectively, per the schedule established by IsraelNow. The full list of mandatory orientation meetings can be found on your local trip page.
The IsraelNow program fees are all-inclusive, including airfare. Through generous contributions from our partners and supporters, we are able to offer IsraelNow trips at a significantly reduced program fee of $2,750. This is well below the actual cost of approximately $5,000 per participant. We ask that those who are able to assist participants who cannot afford the reduced program fees do so by paying as much of the full $5,000 per-person cost as possible. Contributions above the required program fees are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
While there are ways to further reduce IsraelNow program fees, these options differ by location. Please reach out to your city’s IsraelNow representative to learn more.
Chicago’s IsraelNow program in partnership with Jewish United Fund offers a few options for reduced program fees:
- B’NAI MITZVAH $120 CERTIFICATE: Apply a JUF $120 B’nai Mitzvah Israel Experience Certificate, which may be used for any Israel Experience program.
- JUF SKIP PROGRAM: Families enrolled in the JUF’s SKIP (Send a Kid to Israel Program) may use up to $500 of their SKIP funds. To learn if you are enrolled in SKIP please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIP: Families with greater financial need can apply for additional scholarship once they have officially completed the online application form. The scholarship form will be available in the registration portal or you can click on the following link: FACTS Financial Aid Application. Applicants will be notified of awards at the end of November, following the meeting of the JUF Scholarship Committee. If you have any issues with the application, please call the FACTS help line at 866-315-9262, 7AM-9PM Monday-Friday and Saturday 8AM-2PM.
There are two levels of trip insurance coverage available for purchase only at the time of completing the application. The insurance is available through Program Protector, which is a third-party insurance provider unaffiliated with IsraelNow. Customer service can be reached directly at 212-683-4394 ext. 221
Cancellations must be made prior to the date specified in the trip cancellation contract. Refunds at the discretion of IsraelNow in accordance with contract rules or claims submitted.
Overview of Cancelation Policy timeline:
20 weeks before departure date = Full refund
16 weeks before departure date =Full refund less deposit
12 weeks before departure date =Full refund less 20% of total trip tuition
No refunds will be granted after the date of final payment for the registered trip
You’re in luck! We’ve created this handy Packing List to help ensure participants have everything they may need on their upcoming journey!
Yes! More importantly, eighth grade is the perfect time for your child to go to Israel. The impact IsraelNow has on your child’s Jewish identity will inform the decisions made throughout high school and college—from studying Hebrew to engaging in Jewish activities and social circles to college choices and everything in between.
While family trips to Israel are a wonderful experience to share with your children, the peer experience provides a different type of immersive educational experience, much like camps and retreats. Experiencing Israel with peers and friends opens teenagers’ hearts and minds to absorb the experience in an entirely new way, which leads to a long-term impact on their Jewish identity.
Track Days are a “Choose your Own Adventure” day where participants can select one from among up to six unique ways to explore Israel as exemplified here:
- Arts and Culture
- Active Israel
- Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)
- Connecting with People
Please be sure to include these documents when applying for IsraelNow:
- Personal Profile (to be completed by the participant)
- Passport Copy (must be valid for at least six months from trip return date)
- Health Insurance Card (front and back)
- Health History (to be completed by participant’s parent or guardian)
- Physician’s Exam & Immunization Records (to be completed by participant’s physician)
- A recommendation letter from any of the following:
– Synagogue Rabbi
– Synagogue Education Director
– A Middle School Principal
– A Middle School Teacher
Everything you need can be easily found in the CampInTouch Portal. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!
Yes! Since all participants are minors, they require the permission of a parent or guardian to attend IsraelNow. You can find these in the CampInTouch Portal.
We’ve created a brief letter for each of our upcoming trips to help explain the IsraelNow program and educational experience a student will be embarking on. It is specifically written for Public School Principals and Teachers who may not be familiar with the impact of this wonderful decision you’ve made!
The security and wellbeing of participants is our top priority. IsraelNow contracts with a highly regarded Israeli security company which provides security throughout the experience, and we never hesitate to change our itineraries if needed.
IsraelNow trip educators are comprised of local synagogue clergy, educators, community program youth professionals and healthcare staff. All IsraelNow staff participate in extensive training on Israel education, adolescent development, safety protocols and more.
We recognize that you are entrusting your child with us as we travel halfway around the world. The health and safety of your child is our highest priority. Every participant will have:
- A mishpacha (family) of students with a staff member responsible for their health, safety and educational experience
- A doctor on each bus available at all times
- Access to a behavioral healthcare specialist should they need extra support
- An armed guard on their bus and wherever they go
- A trip staff of local educators and communal professionals especially trained to take your child through Israel and help them engage in the Jewish community during their high school years at home
- A tour educator licensed by the Israeli government to guide each bus throughout the country
Our primary concern is the health and safety of our participants, which is why we have rules and schedules in place. For that reason, we ask that everyone conduct themselves in responsible, safe and respectful ways as outlined in the Participant Code of Conduct. You can read and sign the Participant Code of Conduct/Participation Contract here!
We know that sending a teen to Israel can be stressful so while participants are not allowed to bring a cellphone on the trip, parents will be provided with an emergency phone number to reach trip staff should any issues arise. If there is an immediate emergency in Israel with a participant, an IsraelNow staff member will contact parents directly. Parents will receive several updates during the trip sharing progress and experience.
We will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments as they emerge in the State of Illinois, from the CDC and from authorities in Israel. The physical and emotional health and safety of our participants and staff remains our top priority. All participants must have a full COVID-19 vaccination in order to participate.
From continued Jewish education to community involvement, there are tons of ways to stay involved! If you’re in Chicago, here are some amazing opportunities to connect with other Jewish teens: