Israel within Reach

If you were enrolled in the original Gift of Israel program, you will still be eligible for at least a $1,000 Israel within Reach grant as a previous Gift of Israel participant. As part of your Israel within Reach application process, we request that you liquidate your savings account and either request a refund or donate your savings to our Israel scholarship fund by completing the account disbursement request form. Details on how to submit the form may be found below under "Families who are enrolled in Gift of Israel."

What is Israel within Reach?

Whether you have been to Israel and want to return, or you want to discover more about your Jewish identity, Israel within Reach makes it easier for you to have that Israel experience by reducing some of the financial stress. Feel what it's like to live in Israel while either studying, doing advocacy work, interning, or just exploring the land for the first time – all while learning more about what is important to you. Our goal is to help you create the connection to Israel that YOU want!

This need-blind (meaning applicants are judged solely on their merits, irrespective of their ability to pay) grant program underwrites the cost of your Israel experience for a broadened age range of 8th graders (12-13 years old) to 26 year olds who live in our Federation service area. Trip participants apply for the Israel within Reach grant online* and get a response within weeks. If the program you have chosen is approved, you will receive some financial support (the grant amounts are between $800-$1,200).

Israel within Reach can help you better access a two-week trip, an entire summer, or a full year in Israel. It's up to you!

*If the trip participant is 18 or younger, a parent must complete the application on their behalf. Applications will be accepted up until 2 months prior to the trip departure date.


How do I participate?

  1. Make sure you fulfill our eligibility criteria 
    - Between 12-26 years old 
    - Has a permanent address in the Federation service area 
  2. Choose your trip (View Trip Options below for pre-approved programs)
  3. Register with the trip provider
  4. Apply for Israel within Reach online no later than 2 months prior to the trip departure date
  5. You will hear back from our office whether you qualify for a grant
  6. If approved, we will send the grant directly to your trip provider to offset the cost


Trip Options 

This list of approved trips is not comprehensive. Participants may apply for funding from Israel within Reach for a program they have found that fulfills the following criteria:

  • Educational in nature
  • Has a trained staff
  • At least 10 days long
  • A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that accepts payment in the U.S.

If you are unsure about whether or not your program qualifies for funding, you may apply for the grant to find out or call us at 415.369.2873.


Jewish Day School 8th Grade Trips


Teens


Post High School


Families who are enrolled in Gift of Israel

If you have an open account with Gift of Israel for you or your child, we promise to honor the grant you or your child would have received through that program. If you plan to attend a paid trip to Israel, please make sure to complete two steps: 1) apply online for your Israel within Reach grant (by clicking the orange 'Apply Here' button above) - you will receive at least $1,000 as a previous Gift of Israel participant, and 2) liquidate your savings account by either requesting a refund or donating your savings to our Israel scholarship fund. 

In order to refund or donate your savings, please complete the account disbursement request form and either email, mail, or fax the form back to our office.

Mail:    Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
            Attn: Gift of Israel
            121 Steuart Street
            San Francisco, CA 94105

Email:  israelwithinreach@sfjcf.org

Fax:     415.495.2753

If you have any questions, please call Danit Trau at 415.369.2873.


Other Israel travel funding sources

  • The Federation also offers need-based scholarships for Israel travel. Read more about eligibility.
  • If you are participating in a MASA program, they offer grant and scholarship support as well as other funding opportunities.
  • If you are a member of a synagogue, we highly encourage you to approach your rabbi and learn if they can offer any additional support. Many congregations have funds saved for congregants' travel to Israel.
  • If you live outside of our service area, you may want to check with your local Federation for other funding opportunities.


FAQs

Why did the Federation decide to make this change and how does it affect me if I was enrolled in Gift of Israel? During 2014-2016, the Federation worked to assess the impact of Gift of Israel on the community and the functionality of the program. After speaking with a number of community partners such as parents, synagogues and trip providers, we realized that it was time to adapt. Here are the main reasons for the program update:

  1. The current landscape of Israel travel is drastically different from what it was when Gift of Israel was founded in the early 1990s. Synagogue confirmation trips are no longer a certainty and many young Jews are waiting to participate in Birthright for their first experience in Israel. This has shifted the age at which most young Jews decide to attend a paid program in Israel (i.e. MASA) to well past high school. It also means that trip participants are not sure when they will go to Israel on a paid trip until a year – or sometimes a few months – beforehand. We found many accounts to be abandoned over the years as well. This is why we no longer require parents to open savings accounts so many years in advance and have extended the eligibility through age 26.
  2. The Federation strives to support as many Jewish teen and young adult experiences in Israel as possible! Simplifying the program to fit the wants and needs of that population was clearly the next best step. Israel within Reach grants will not be any less than they were from Gift of Israel.
  3. We wanted a simpler and more efficient process that was paper-free and easy to use for our applicants, so we moved from paper applications and forms to an online form!

Does my synagogue participate in this program like they did with Gift of Israel? Israel within Reach will not require synagogues to make a contribution like they did in Gift of Israel. This does not mean that some congregations would not like to support you or your child's trip to Israel! We encourage families to contact their synagogue and inquire about additional Israel travel support.

Who has to complete the application? If the trip participant is 18 or younger, we ask that a parent please complete the application on their behalf. Anyone 18 or older may complete the form on their own.

When’s the latest I can apply for this grant? We accept applications on a rolling basis, but recommend that you apply no later than 2 months before the trip payment deadline.

 

Israel within Reach is generously funded by the Janet A. Schultz Teens to Israel Endowment Fund, with additional support from the Gift of Israel Fund, the Carl and Virginia Pearlstein Scholarship Fund, the Youth/Young Adult Trips to Israel Fund, and the Kenneth and Thelma Colvin - Israel Scholarship Fund.

Questions:

Danit Trau 
Program Officer
IsraelwithinReach@sfjcf.org
415.369.2873