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April 10, 2018

Answered: Can I go on Birthright Israel if I already graduated from college?

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Yes, Birthright Israel trips are open to participants ages 18-32. In fact, there are some definitely advantages to traveling on a Birthright trip after you have graduated. In fact, if you’re close to graduating or at the top of your age range, we recommend considering a young professionals trip rather than a college trip — there’s a huge difference between participants who are 18 and 22. If you’re 22 and about to start a job, we recommend waiting or booking a trip with other recent grads, rather than a campus trip. Whether you’re 22 or 32, there are some really unique specialized trips for young professionals. In addition to the classic and adventure itineraries, there are some specialized trips for professionals in specific industries, such as Wall Street, politics, and entertainment. This is a great way to make sure your Birthright Israel trip is fun and meaningful.

If you’re younger and thinking about waiting, do consider that college is definitely a typical time to go on Birthright, and we recommend strongly considering it if it’s an option for you at the right age. There are many trips for those ages 18-22, including campus-specific trips [LINK TO COLLEGE TRIPS], classic itineraries, and multiple specialized trips — including the unique extended study abroad options [LINK TO GUIDE]. In addition, college is a prime time to take your first trip to Israel on Birthright because of the built-in breaks. If you can take the 10 days to travel to Israel, it’s really great to do. Even better: Go during a longer break and extend your trip to take advantage of the free travel provided by the program and to see more of the wonderful elements in Israel!

At any age, there are a few other eligibility requirements to consider:

  1. You must have not participated on an educational trip since you turned 18. If you were younger than 18 or 18 and the trip was for high school students, you are still eligible (students who participated in a “High School in Israel” program, up to a semester, are eligible)
  2. You must not have lived in Israel past the age of 12 (living means longer than 3 months). You are still eligible if you traveled to Israel after the age of 12 for trips, including Magen David Adom and participating in the Maccabiah games.
  3. You must identify as Jewish, be recognized as Jewish by your local Jewish community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism (typically being part of a family that is a member at a synagogue, going to Sunday school, or having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is sufficient here), and have at least one Jewish birth parent (or converted through a recognized Jewish denomination).
  4. You must have finished high school by the time your trip departs.
  5. You must not have served in the Israeli Army or volunteered on an Israel Army base after the age of 18.
  6. You must not be enrolled as a student in an 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, or Jewish communal service programs. You are eligible after you finish the program.
  7. You must not have traveled to Israel after turning 18 on programs designed for college students or young professionals including university, study abroad, gap years, yeshiva/seminary, internships, or any other experience as part of Onward Israel or Masa Israel.
  8. If you are an Israeli citizen, you must not have lived in Israel past 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.

There are no eligibility guidelines around political views.

Be sure to check the latest information directly from Birthright (and drop us a note if we missed an important change!). You can also email Birthright Israel directly to discuss eligibility at underreview@birthrightisrael.com.

Photo by Rob Bye.

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