Israel Within Reach

If you were enrolled in the Gift of Israel program, and believe you may still have an open savings account, we request that you liquidate your account and either request a refund or donate your savings to our Israel Experience Scholarship fund by completing the account disbursement request form. More 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'd like to explore Israel for the first time or return, Israel Within Reach makes it easier for you to have an immersive experience by reducing some of the financial burden. Go to study, do advocacy work, intern, or just to have an adventure. Our goal is to help you create the connection to Israel that YOU want!

This need-blind grant program (meaning applicants are judged solely on their merits, irrespective of their ability to pay) underwrites the cost of an Israel experience for 8th graders (12-13 years old) to 26-year-olds. Although we're in the process of expanding our services, currently only applicants from the following regions are being considered: San Francisco, the Peninsula (through Mountain View), Marin and Sonoma Counties. Trip participants apply for the Israel Within Reach grant online* and get a response within weeks. If the applicant meets our criteria and the selected program is approved, they will be awarded a grant ranging between $500-$1,200.

*If the trip participant is 18 or younger, a parent must complete the application on their behalf.


How do I participate?

  1. Make sure you fulfill our eligibility criteria 
    - Between 12-26 years old 
    - Has a permanent address in one of the following regions: San Francisco, the Peninsula (through Mountain View), Marin and Sonoma Counties; the address of a trip through a Jewish day or high school in one of these regions overrides the applicant's home address
  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
  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 of you or your child's trip expenses

 

Apply Here

 


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 Gift of Israel savings account for you or your child, please liquidate that account by completing the account disbursement request form and either emailing, mailing, or faxing the form back to our office. Your disbursement may be a refund or donation to our Israel Experience Scholarship fund.

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 Sadie Simon at 415.512.6252.


Second-time Israel Within Reach applicants

  1. Trip start date must be at least one year after the start date of the previously funded trip
  2. Applicant must still meet Israel Within Reach applicant eligibility criteria
    - Between 12-26 years old 
    - Has a permanent address in one of the following regions: San Francisco, the Peninsula (through Mountain View), Marin and Sonoma Counties, unless the trip is through a Jewish day or high school in one of these regions
  3. Choose your trip (View Trip Options above for pre-approved programs)
  4. If approved for a second grant, the applicant will be eligible for no more than $500 (this does not apply if the first funded experience was an 8th grade class trip)
  5. Applicant may be asked to write a blog about their two Israel experiences supported by Israel Within Reach


Other Israel travel funding sources

  • The Federation also offers a need-based Israel Experience Scholarship for Israel travel. Read more about eligibility.
  • The Mickey Naggar Bourne Israel Scholarship, an initiative of Jewish LearningWorks, provides up to $2,000 to teens who wish to travel to Israel through teen leadership programs.
  • 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 change the Gift of Israel savings model to the Israel Within Reach incentive grant model, 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:

Sadie Simon 
Project Manager, Community Impact
IsraelWithinReach@sfjcf.org
415.512.6252