Passport to Israel

A cooperative savings plan funded by the Sholom Comay Family Endowment Fund.


What is the Passport to Israel Program?

Pittsburgh's Passport to Israel program is funded by the Sholom Comay Family Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The Passport to Israel program ("Passport") helps families provide their teen or young adult with a meaningful and educational Israel experience with their peers. It is a cooperative savings plan in which families and the Sholom Comay Family Endowment Fund partner to contribute funds over time towards the cost of an educational program in Israel for participating students.

Who Administers the Program?

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh administers the program in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation.

Who is Eligible to Enroll in the Program and What is the Process for Enrolling?

Students enrolled in 1st through 9th grades in the Greater Pittsburgh area are eligible to enroll in the program.  In addition, one parent must be Jewish.

How do I Enroll in the Passport to Israel Program?

  1. Contact Debbie Swartz at
  2. Once we receive your first deposit, the account will be established. You will receive an email from with your user name and a link to access your account online. You will be able to make subsequent deposits via credit card online; or if you prefer, send us a check and we will deposit the money into your account. Note that the program's fiscal year is June 1 – May 31st. Enrollment closes at May 31st of each year. Funds must be deposited by May 31 each year in order to receive matching funds for that year.

What is the Length of Participation in the Program?

Families may maintain accounts for as long as they would like until their child goes to Israel or ages out of the program (college graduation). However, in order to qualify for matching funds, families must deposit a minimum of $200.00 per year into the account for at least four years. The Jewish Community Foundation will match $100.00 per year in matching funds every year the family contributes, for a maximum of 8 years, for a total potential match of $800.00. Please note that the fiscal year of the program is June 1 – May 31. In order to have your annual minimum deposit count for any given year, you must make that deposit within that fiscal year. We will send you an email each year to remind you to make your minimum deposit. You are free to deposit more than $200.00 each year into the account, but to receive your matching funds a minimum of $200.00 must be deposited each year.

How do I Qualify for the Matching Funds?

Participants must be in the program for a minimum of four years in order to qualify for matching funds. Accounts will be monitored annually to ensure that the family deposits are made.

Will I get to keep any interest earned on the account?

These accounts are standard money market accounts. Each account earns interest according to the prevailing bank rates. The amount of Passport funds that will be available for an approved Israel program includes the interest earned.

When can I access my matching dollars for my teen or young adult's trip to Israel?

Passport funds may be applied towards an Israel program at any time after a student has reached the 9th grade, but no later than the end of college. The 8th grade class of the local Community Day School is the only exception to this requirement. These students may use their funds if they have participated in Passport for a minimum of four years. Families should contact the Passport Administrator at least two months prior to the date on which payment is due to the approved Israel program, keeping in mind that it can take at least two weeks to process the check. To request your matching dollars and close your account, please use this online form. Passport to Israel matching dollars are sent directly to the Israel program, not to an individual or a family.

What programs are eligible for Passport to Israel matching dollars?

Passport funds can be used towards any trip that provides a significant and meaningful Jewish educational experience. Approved programs must be:

  1. educational in nature
  2. organized by an educational institution or religious institution
  3. staffed by qualified personnel, and
  4. a minimum of three weeks, with the exception of approved trips from a day school.

Birthright and family trips are not applicable. Many different types of programs meet the criteria. The Passport Administrator is available to assist families in choosing a program.

Is there a deadline by which we must use Passport funds?

Yes. Funds must be used prior to college graduation.

What happens if my family relocates?

A participant who relocates to another city is only eligible to receive the funds from Passport for the years s/he resided in the Pittsburgh area. The family can close out the account when they leave or have it remain open but inactive. To close your account, use this form.

What if I my child does not go to Israel, or we decide to withdraw from the program?

If your child ends up not going to Israel and/or ages out of the program, you can request to close your account. All family contributions will be retained by the family with applicable interest. Removal of the funds from the family account other than for use towards an approved program will constitute withdrawal from the program. Upon withdrawal, the student forfeits all rights to the matching funds from the Jewish Community Foundation.


Neither the Jewish Community Foundation nor any agency associated with the program, nor any employee of the forgoing, shall be liable for any action taken with respect to Passport to Israel.

The Israel Scholarship Program is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Annual Campaign, with additional funding for need-based scholarships funded by The Stanley (z"l) and Flo Mae (z"l) Moravitz Israel Scholarship Endowment Fund of The Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The Passport to Israel Program is funded by the Sholom Comay Family Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.


Debbie Swartz
Debbie Swartz
Associate, Overseas Planning & Impact
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