Jewish Federation Urges Early Planning for Israel Teen Travel

Don’t put off teen travel plans just because of the pandemic. Despite the risks of COVID-19 affecting 2021 trips to Israel, now is the time to plan because you can apply for funding — up to $8,400 — from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Aviva Rosenberg, chair of the Jewish Federation’s Israel Scholarship program, says:

“Remote education will probably prevail for the foreseeable future, so teens and young adults are yearning for meaningful alternative learning. Well-planned Israel travel can be the character-building life experience they’re seeking. Research shows that Israel travel can nurture Jewish identity, be the foundation for lifelong friendships and benefit careers.”

The Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC) will present a session about gap- year Israel programs on Monday, Nov. 30, as part of a JCC series about college preparation. To register for the session or series, visit jccpgh.org/event/the-second-floor-presents-college-prep.

Locally, three Jewish Federation resources subsidize Israel experiences: non-need–based scholarships of $2,200 for programs three weeks or longer with additional need-based funding available; a savings program called Passport to Israel that offers matching funds; and higher education funding from the Jewish Scholarship Service of Greater Pittsburgh (administered by Jewish Family and Community Services). RootOne, a new national organization, now offers additional Israel-experience subsidies for Jewish teens entering 10th–12th grades or graduating from high school in summer 2021; learn more at rootone.org.

Jewish Federation Israel & Overseas Planning Associate Debbie Swartz (412-992-5208 or dswartz@jfedpgh.org) can help prospective travelers evaluate Israel-travel opportunities and consider funding options.

A link to the scholarship application portal and information about established and new travel opportunities is on the Jewish Federation’s website at jewishpgh.org/scholarships.

Funds are allocated to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for applications is April 23, 2021.

The Israel Scholarship Program is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Campaign, with additional funding for need-based scholarships funded by the Stanley & Flo Mae Moravitz (z”l) Israel Scholarship Endowment Fund of the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation. Passport to Israel is funded by the Sholom Comay Family Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation. Jewish Federation Israel Scholarships and Passport to Israel are part of JFunds, a network of Jewish financial support services, whose aim is to ensure that every Jewish person knows about the financial resources available to them in the Jewish community.

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