Gesher Israel Cost & FAQ

Answers to all of your important questions about Gesher,
including our partnership with RootOne and how we're handling
the Covid-19 pandemic

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Enrollment

Why Should I Register Early for Gesher Israel?

This summer, we are thrilled to be offering our teen Israel trip at an amazing cost thanks to the assistance of RootOne, which is seeded through the generosity of The Marcus Foundation, and powered by The Jewish Education Project.

With limited number of "vouchers" for our Israel trip, we are encouraging all applicants to apply early and secure their spots.

I Don't Go to Young Judaea Camp. Can I apply?

DEFINITELY! Gesher Israel is an amazing 3.5 week Israel experience for applicants from any camp or denomination who are interested in experiencing Israel in a pluralist Jewish environment.

How Do I Apply?

Applying is easy - just visit the Gesher Israel application, put down your $500 deposit (fully refundable until March 1, 2021) and get ready for the summer of your life in Israel!

Does Young Judaea Offer Payment Plans?

Young Judaea works with each and every family to figure out how to make their Israel experience possible. We establish payment plans for families on a case by case basis and urge you to be in touch early in the application process.

Should I get Traveler's Insurance?

We recommend that participants purchase whatever flight or traveler insurance will be the most beneficial in the unfortunate event they need to postpone their participation.

Why Is There a Program Fee Deposit?

In order to prepare for the logistics and programming of our trip to Israel, we need to know how many participants will be joining with ample time to get ready and make Gesher Israel the best possible experience! We ask for the $500 deposit to ensure that we can make the appropriate arrangements with the right number of participants in mind.

the fine print

Finances

How Much does Gesher Israel Cost?

This summer, Gesher Israel is only $3,000 including roundtrip airfare between New York and Israel!

Does Young Judaea Offer Scholarships?

Yes! We have a number of scholarship opportunities and would be happy to discuss them further when you apply.

What are the Payment Refund Deadlines?

Registering for Gesher Israel and putting down your $500 program deposit is completely risk-free until March 1, 2021. Between March 1, 2021 and May 1, 2021, withdrawing from Gesher includes a $250 administrative fee on your deposit.  

Does Young Judaea Offer Payment Plans?

Yes, we do! We are happy to work with any family requesting a payment plan on a case by case basis.

Why Is There a Program Fee Deposit?

The $500 program deposit secures your spot on Gesher Israel and allows us to move forward with planning and logistics with enough time before the trip starts.

yalla!

Packing

How Should I Pack for Gesher Israel?

We know that everyone is different when it comes to packing. We recommend each participant brings only one suitcase or rolling duffel bag, in addition to a backpack for day trips and hikes. The following items are mandatory to pack:

Hiking Boots (“high-top” boots that are light, comfortable and already worn in!) Do not feel the need to break the bank. A basic hiking shoe providing more support than a sneaker is necessary for the hiking and physical activity. Crocs are NOT acceptable for any sort of hiking.

Canteen/water bottle holder (plastic only — metal gets too hot). It should hold at least three liters of water. CamelBak-types are highly recommended by past participants for their ease of use on hikes.

Hats (2) You will be required to wear a hat on every hike. Therefore, hats should be comfortable and should provide sun protection. While baseball hats are acceptable, hats which cover the entire head and ears are most protective from the powerful sun. Visors are not acceptable.

Bath Towel

Sleeping bag (small enough to fit inside your luggage). All you need is a standard sleeping bag, not one for any severe weather condition. Don’t forget to write your name on the outside of the bag.

Pair of shoes that can be worn in water (Tevas have been highly recommended) that have straps or laces, and that won’t fall off easily. You will wear these on river walks, rocky beaches, etc. Flip-flops and Crocs are NOT acceptable. Old sneakers are also OK.

Some form of identification with name, address, and photo. Since you won’t be carrying your passport with you, it is important to have some form of ID. While this can be a school ID or a driver’s license, a school picture with your name, home address, and telephone number written on the back is also acceptable.

Double supply of any medication you will need

Extra pair of prescription glasses (and an extra prescription)

Insect repellent

Will There Be Laundry Services?

Laundry will be picked up by a laundry service and returned within 24 hours – washed, dried, and folded. The amount of times laundry will be done is determined by each group and their counselors. On average, it is about 2-4 times over the course of 3.5 weeks. It is mandatory to label clothing, and we discourage bringing clothing that requires delicate care.

The cost of laundry is not included in the program tuition cost and is the responsibility of each participant. Participants should bring approximately $40 for laundry in addition to their spending money.

As a reminder, Young Judaea is not responsible for losses and/or damages to any personal property under any circumstance.

sababa

The Gesher Program

What is Included in the Gesher Israel Cost?

Your Gesher tuition includes round-trip airfare, all accomodations, programmatic experiences, food, basic local health insurance, transportation, and entry to all parks and sites.

What is the Level of Religious Practice on Gesher Israel?

All Young Judaea Israel experiences provide a pluralistic Jewish environment for Jewish teens of all backgrounds.

What is Staff Supervision Like on Gesher Israel?

Our participants enjoy ample staff supervision, with roughly 1 adult counselor per 10 participants. The Gesher Israel flight is also fully staffed by counselors.

Is the Food Kosher on Gesher Israel?

All of the food provided by the program - whether catered or in a hotel, hostel, or restaurant as part of the official program itinerary - is certified Kosher.

How Do Participants Observe Shabbat?

Experiencing Shabbat in Israel is one of the most special opportunities on Gesher Israel. On Friday nights and Saturday mornings, pluralistic prayer is included and offered to all participants, and if possible, groups may join services at local synagogues.

While Gesher Israel is a "Shabbat-friendly" program (no program-provided transportation or activities which would cause participants to break Shabbat), participants are allowed to observe Shabbat in their own way during free time, provided it is mindful of other's preferred observance.

Are Jewish Teens Welcome From Any Denomination?

Absolutely! One of our core pillars as a movement is the concept and practice of "pluralism," which

the main event

Travel

How Will The Gesher Israel Group Travel to Israel?

The entire Gesher Israel group will travel together on one group flight from the New York area to Israel. The flight will be staffed by Young Judaea representatives and counselors to help ensure a smooth check-in and flight experience.

Can You Accomodate My Dietary Restriction?

Nearly all of the food provided by Gesher Israel is through catering companies, hostels and accomodations, and restaurants, and as such, Young Judaea cannot commit to verifying the ingredients and preparation of all meals. We have extensive experience in working to help participants navigate a food allergy or dietary restriction,  but we cannot take responsibility for individual food allergies or ensure that food requests will be fulfilled. Participants and their families are requested to do the following prior to the trip:

Inform enrollment staff about any allergies or dietary restrictions

Make a plan with the participant regarding how to respond to situations where it may not be possible to confirm ingredients

Have the appropriate medication or treatment on hand while traveling with Young Judaea

Are Vaccines Required for Travel to israel?

Young Judaea requires its participants to have the most up-to-date vaccines for their age group. Israel does not require any additional travel-related vaccines for those entering the country.

How Is Prescription Medication Handled?

While traveling with Young Judaea, participants are responsible for their own prescribed medication, which must be brought in its original packaging with the participant's name on the original label.

yalla!

Logistics

How Much Money Should I Bring

The international flight from New York, all meals, accommodations, and park entrance fees are all covered as a part of tuition. However, spending money for laundry, gifts, snacks, and miscellaneous items is not included in the tuition cost. The experiences of former participants suggest that each person should bring between $400-600 and a money belt to help prevent theft.

In deciding how much you should bring, please consider your child’s spending habits, how many and what type of gifts will be purchased, and whether you will be arriving prior to the program start date or staying in Israel after it’s conclusion. Young Judaea provides three meals a day plus snacks, but chanichim often buy extra snacks with their own money as well.

When determining how much money to bring, factor in these considerations:

Laundry – approximately $40.00
Security Deposit – $20.00 (will be returned if your guest room or any other youth hostel is left in satisfactory condition as determined by the staff in Israel)
Bus Driver Tip – $15.00
Gifts – amount varies from person to person
Extra snacks – amount varies from person to person
Kupah – $15.00 Chanichim contribute this amount to a kupah, or a pool of money. At the beginning of the summer, money is collected in order to purchase snacks for certain group events such as birthday parties and gifts for certain employees such as the bus driver and medic. At the end of the summer, the chanichim will decide jointly what to do with any remaining money in the kupah, either redistributing it or giving it to the tzedakah (charity) of their choice.

What is the Best Way to Bring Spending Money?

A VISA/Debit card is the most efficient and convenient method for spending money while on the trip. While ATM machines are not always as accessible to participants, VISA/Debit cards can be charged just like a regular credit card. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Israel (Visa much more readily).

To prevent theft or the loss of money, we recommend that each teen bring a minimal amount of cash with them. We also recommend that students wear a money belt when traveling to and from Israel.

What Identification Do I Need to Travel to Israel?

All American citizens are required to exit and enter the United States on a valid American passport. American citizens must have at least six months' validity left on their American passports in order to enter Israel. Participants who are also Israeli citizens must enter and exit Israel on a valid Israeli passport.

Can I use My Cell Phone in Israel?

Many American cell phone companies offer the option to use your cell phone abroad for an additional daily or weekly fee. You can also choose to purchase a SIM card from an Israeli cell phone provider to be used while in Israel, which requires that a participant's phone is unlocked. Our enrollment staff will be in touch with participants prior to departure with more information about cell phone plan options in Israel.

staying healthy

Covid-19

How Will Young Judaea Keep Participants Safe?

Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been in constant communication with the Ministry of Health, Home Front Command, and other health and education entities responsible for providing oversight and directives. Whatever rules or guidelines any Israeli institution is required to do, Young Judaea follows them. Each new instruction is explained clearly to participants and the staff entrusted with their care.

Can You Guarantee that Gesher Israel Will Run?

There are no trip providers who can give you a 100% guarantee that their program will run as planned this fall – it would be irresponsible to do so, particularly given the fluidity of the ongoing situation.

With that being said, we believe and are confident that Gesher Israel 2021 will run as planned, perhaps with a few modifications if necessary.

Have Other Young Judaea Programs Been Impacted?

Young Judaea is currently running our Israel gap year program, Year Course, as well as our internship program, IsraelPro. This summer, we anticipate bringing more than 1,000 participants to Israel on a variety of summer programs, including Gesher.

Have Any Participants Contracted Covid-19?

Thankfully, no Young Judaea participants on any program have contracted COVID-19. Our early adoption and rigorous adherence to all directives, as well as continual oversight, have been critical in this matter – but so has the cooperation of our participants, who have adapted amazingly to all the new instructions.

What Happens if a Participant Gets Covid-19?

Any sick participants would be provided the appropriate accommodations, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health’s guidelines and separated from the rest of the group, but would still be helped and monitored by Gesher staff and the proper medical authorities.

our partners

RootOne

What is RootOne?

RootOne is an ambitious new initiative, Seeded by a generous gift from The Marcus Foundation and powered by The Jewish Education Project, that aims to help bring tens of thousands of Jewish teens from the US to Israel on immersive summer teen trips.

Your Summer Israel Trip
is On Gesher

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