Birthright Israel Staff Application for Winter 2017-18

Birthright 2017

So you want to staff a Birthright trip?

We are looking for energetic, passionate, dedicated individuals who are up for a rewarding, demanding, and fun experience! Staffing a bus is a wonderful opportunity to have a real impact by: connecting Bay Area Jews with their common heritage, building community, showing off the best that Israel has to offer, and paving the way for participants’ continued engagement in Jewish life. Over the course of 10 incredible days, and months after, you will be a Jewish educator, mentor, travel guide, and bus-loading logistical genius.

But your Birthright experience isn’t only about the participants. It’s also about you. Our staff program includes a seminar to help you become an amazing and confident bus staffer – with practical leadership skills you can use in your daily work and social life. Our Birthright program isn’t just a 10-day experience, but an opportunity for you to be a leader in our Jewish community in a meaningful way.

Bay Area community trip dates

Taglit-Birthright Israel is the umbrella organization overseeing all aspects of the Birthright trip. The actual trips – the dates, itineraries, guides, etc – are coordinated by various trip providers. The Federation uses Israel Outdoors, the most popular Birthright trip provider. Specifically, we offer what is called a Community Trip. It's the standard Birthright trip, but exclusively for residents of the Bay Area. This way, our participants have their Birthright trip friends here when they return.

The Federation runs eight Bay Area Community Trips a year. We offer four trip dates this winter: December 11-21, December 27-January 7, January 7-18, and February 4-15.

ELIGIBILITY

Wow, sounds amazing. Who is eligible to staff the trips?

In addition to the requirements and training mandated by Israel Outdoors, the Federation has our own basic requirements:

•    You are 27 years old or older and live full-time in the Bay Area
•    You are able to attend all mandatory staff training sessions (see below for specific dates)
•    You are active in the Bay Area's young adult Jewish community
•    You are committed to continuing to engage in a meaningful way with your bus participants after the trip
•    You have a strong Jewish background, and knowledge of Jewish religion, history, culture, and major contemporary issues, including experience traveling or living in Israel
•    You have Jewish volunteer or leadership experience, particularly with your peer groups, in developing and facilitating programs, group management, and informal education

In addition to a great opportunity, what else do staff receive?

•    Free trip to Israel, of course! Includes airfare, hotels, transportation, phone, most meals, etc.
•    $400 stipend, received after the season ends in August, 2017, and contingent upon staff completing our Staff Development Program
•    On-trip money from Israel Outdoors to help cover food and other basic staff expenses
•    The ability to enter into a leadership role in the Bay Area Jewish community, including occasional opportunities to participate in exclusive events

Things not to worry about

Q. Do I need to speak fluent Hebrew?
No, but knowing at least a little bit of Hebrew to teach the bus would be a huge plus.

Q: What if I never went on a Birthright trip as a participant?
No problem! You are required to have traveled or lived in Israel in some capacity, but a wide range of experiences will fit the bill.

Q. Do I have to be an expert on everything?
We’re looking for well-rounded staff with a broad base of knowledge. Maybe your passion is the history of Jerusalem. Maybe it’s Shabbat. Maybe it’s Israeli feminist movements. You’ll teach your passion and someone else will teach theirs.

Q. Do I have to be currently working in the Jewish community? 
No. Staff come from all walks of life: the Jewish professional world, academia, politics, the tech community, you name it. But, you need to demonstrate your own commitment to Jewish life for your participants, and to connect your participants, post-trip, with the Jewish community.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Yep, I’m still in. What are the major responsibilities?

To be a trip leader is more than just the 10 days you spend in Israel. Our Bay Area trips mean that you have the opportunity to really get involved with your participants in a meaningful and lasting way. Before the trip, you need to attend our mandatory Staff Leadership Seminar and one Participant Pre-Trip Orientation session. During the trip, you are responsible for facilitating Jewish educational programs, developing relationships with your participants, and working closely with the Israeli tour guide on all aspects of daily programming, group management, and logistics. After the trip, you should stay in touch with your participants, and work with the Birthright Program Manager to further engage your participants in Jewish life. We know we’re asking for a lot of time, but it’s worth it.

Staff Leadership Seminar

All of our bus leaders will attend the Staff Leadership Seminar this Fall to ensure that our bus staff have the proper training, confidence, and practical skills to successfully lead our SF Birthright trips. Though specific to the SF Birthright experience, we hope that some of what you learn (in an enjoyable way) will also be helpful in a career development, and personal life, capacity.
Attendance at the four seminar sessions is mandatory for all staff, with the dates below. All sessions run from 6:30 – 9:00 pm, and include dinner. Locations TBD.

  • Monday, October 30; Session #1: Your Role as the Birthright Trip Leader
  • Thursday, November 9; Session #2: Who Are Our Participants?
  • Monday, November 20; Session #3: On The Trip
  • Thursday, March 1; Session #4: Now What?

Got it! Any major caveats?

Once selected to staff, you will be asked to sign a form with the Federation’s Birthright office committing yourself to staff that trip. Staff who drop out before the trip for non-emergency reasons will not be able to reapply to staff future trips with the Federation.
Birthright requires that one staffer must return with the group on return flights with an international layover (including Canada) and one staff member must return all the way to San Francisco with the group, and thus cannot extend their own trip. For those trips, only one staff leader will be able to extend. You can find additional information here.
Please note that this trip is physically demanding: extensive walking, hiking, water activities, and long days with potentially little sleep (sounds awesome). The itinerary is designed to be adventurous!

Wow, this is totally up my alley! So how do I apply?

Please fill out the form below. Once we’ve reviewed your application, we may be in touch about scheduling an in-person interview. If selected, we will begin the scheduling process. Keep in mind that, because trip dates can be adjusted in the months leading up to the trips, we may not be able to place you immediately on a trip even if you fully meet the eligibility requirements. Due to very limited trip availability, we also cannot guarantee anyone a staffing position even if they meet all of the requirements. Once you have been formally selected to lead a trip, there will be additional required paperwork and training.

Questions?

Contact Jason Harris, Birthright Experience Program Manager, at 415.512.6284 or JasonH@sfjcf.org

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Birthright requires that one staffer must return with the group on return flights with an international layover (including Canada)
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