- time Recent High School Graduates: 17-19 Years Old
- location Tel Aviv-Yafo and Jerusalem
- duration Nine Months
Important Dates to Remember 2018-2019
- July 1, 2018 – All forms located in the back of the Information Guide must be signed and uploaded directly into your online application.
- July 16, 2018 – Deadline for ordering your IsraelPhones cell phone (mandatory)
- August 1, 2018 – Final Balance of Year Course tuition must be settled and/or a payment plan must be arranged, in writing, with Young Judaea Israel.
- September 2, 2018 – Depart for Israel
- September 3, 2018 – Arrival and commencement of Year Course!
You are responsible for applying for a passport or renewing your current passport. If you have not already done so, check your passport to make certain it is valid and does not expire prior to December 2018. If your passport does expire before this time, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior may not grant you an extended tourist visa and you will need to apply for a new passport within three months of your arrival in Israel in order to remain in the country legally. If you do not have a passport or need to renew your current one, please do so immediately! Passport issuance and delivery takes approximately six weeks. Be sure to make two photocopies of your passport, one to keep at home and one to bring with you.
Passport applications can be obtained from your local post office or courthouse or on the Internet. Further passport information, including information on requirements for obtaining a passport, is available from the toll-free Federal Information Number, 1-800-FED-INFO, or on the Department of State’s website.
You’ll need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time, if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under 16 years of age or if your valid U.S. passport has been lost or stolen. Those younger than 18 years of age must apply for a passport in person accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Canadian citizens can obtain passport information, forms and locations of passport offices by visiting www.pptc.gc.ca or calling 1-800-567-6868.
If you are not an Israeli citizen, then you are required to apply and receive a Visa prior to your entry into Israel. To do this, you will need to go to your closest consulate and apply for an A-2 multi-entrance student visa. The visa will be valid throughout the entirety of the Year Course program. In order to apply for the visa you must bring with you:
- Your Year Course acceptance letter
- Your Masa Israel Scholarship Letter
- Your passport, valid through at least December 2018
- 2 passport photos
- A completed Visa application form which you can find at
- Pay a $46.00 processing fee
*Some consulates require extra forms such as flight information, proof of program payment, proof of financial ability to pay for program or other. Additionally, some consulates will not issue visas more than 30 days prior to departure. If you are under 18 years old you may need to be accompanied by one or both of your parents/legal guardians. It is highly suggested to contact your consulate before you go in order to clarify what you need.
Please contact the Enrollment Department if you are too far from your closest consulate
Israeli Citizens and Children of Israeli Citizens
Israeli law states that a child born to an Israeli citizen is automatically an Israeli citizen, even if the child was born outside of Israel. Furthermore, Israelis are required by law to enter and leave Israel using their Israeli passport. Therefore, those citizens who enter Israel as tourists on non-Israeli passports are in violation of Israeli law. If you have Israeli citizenship, either because you were born in Israel or because your parent(s) have Israeli citizenship, you should obtain the following two documents before departure:
- A valid Israeli passport
- A year-long deferment from military service
The law is complicated and only the Israeli Embassy or Consulates can give you accurate advice on your citizenship status and the necessary documents you will need. Chanichim who have or potentially have Israeli citizenship, and chanichim who have or whose parent(s) have an Israeli Mispar Zehut (Identity Number), are advised to contact the nearest Israeli consulate. Please be aware that the staff in Israel will not be responsible for extending illegal tourist visas.
North American Israeli Consular Offices/Embassies
|Office Location||Area of Jurisdiction||Phone Number|
|Washington, DC*||DC, MD, VA, WV||202-364-5500|
|New York, NY||CT, NY, NJ, Virgin Islands||212-499-5400|
|Atlanta, GA||AL, GA, SC, NC, MS, TN||404-487-6500|
|Boston, MA||ME, MA, NH, VT, RI||617-535-0200|
|Chicago, IL||IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN,MO, NE, WI, ND, SD||312-297-4800|
|Houston, TX||AR, OK, TX, LA, NM||832-301-3500|
|Los Angeles, CA||AZ, CO, NV, UT, Southern CA, HI, WY||323-852-5500|
|Miami, FL||FL, PR||305-925-9400|
|San Francisco, CA||AK, ID, OR, MT, WA, Northern CA||415-844-7500|
Participants Who Do Not Carry an American or Canadian Passport
Participants traveling without an American or Canadian passport must contact the nearest Israeli consulate or embassy to determine what travel documents you will need. It is your responsibility to obtain the requisite travel documents or visas. If you need documentation to prove your participation on Year Course, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-599-2534.
On El Al flights to/from North America, you are allowed ONE piece of checked luggage, weighing up to 50 lbs. The fee for a second bag is $85-$100 and a third bag is $185-$200, and may be higher if the piece is overweight. If you are not flying El Al, please check the website of your airline to understand their luggage policy.
Domestic airlines are quite strict about additional luggage and as of May 1, 2008 some may charge at least $25 per checked-bag over their 1-bag restriction. You should be prepared to pay the fee. Additional charges may be incurred for overweight bags.
You should keep in mind that throughout the year you will have roommates and friends with whom you may be sharing clothes. You will probably be purchasing items in Israel as well. Pack wisely!
When packing, keep in mind several things:
- Israel is very informal (meaning less dressy).
- You will have to carry your luggage, yourself, a number of times.
- Think twice before bringing anything you are afraid of losing or breaking.
- Remember, Israel has four seasons; a real winter coat is necessary.
You will explore and visit religious sites throughout the year. You will be expected to dress in a way which respects their customs and traditions. Men should pack long pants and a “nice” button down shirt. Women should pack long skirts (at least calf-length, no slits) and a long-sleeved top.
Toiletry items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) are readily available in both American and Israeli brands so don’t overload your suitcases! We suggest that you bring a small supply of these items for the first week or so and then plan to buy whatever else you need. The consensus from past participants is that feminine hygiene products, though expensive, should be bought in Israel in order to conserve space when packing.
Pillows and blankets are supplied throughout the year. However, you should bring your own twin-sized sheets (200 cm x 160 cm) and a sleeping bag for use on tiyulim, army experiences, and as an extra blanket.
Keep in mind that Israel does have four seasons (including winter!). During the winter months (December through March), it will be very cold, both inside and out. Israel’s heating systems are not comparable to those of the U.S. and not all apartments have heat/air conditioning in every room. Layered clothing is the best way to manage the weather in Israel.
Contact lens wearers are strongly advised to bring a pair of glasses for emergencies. If nothing else, the dust of the Israeli desert can be a problem with contacts. We strongly suggest that you clean your contact lenses with a chemical system and not by a heating system.
“Bring some of your nice/favorite clothes, but also a lot of things that you don’t care about ruining.”
“Pack as little as possible – you won’t need as much as you think (but bring lots of underwear and socks).”
“Make sure to bring a portable music player, good hiking boots, and a flashlight.”
“Label all of your stuff.”
“Bring duct tape!”
Attn: Tikkun Olam Rwanda Participants
Below you will find the list of immunizations that are required for travel. You must consult with your physician about these immunizations and then provide Young Judaea Year Course with documentation by August 1, 2018 that the appropriate immunizations were obtained BEFORE departing for Olami or Rwanda (Note: Malaria pills can be bought in Israel but must be administered in accordance with the days of exposure). Please e-mail copies of your immunization booklet to the Year Course office in Jerusalem. You should keep the original booklet in your passport.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
- Typhoid Fever
Some countries (particularly in Africa) require visitors to present their official vaccination records upon passing through passport control in order to be allowed entry. Copies will not be accepted. If you have already received any of the above immunizations, be sure this is indicated on the Physical Exam Form C that your physician must sign.
For participants who are on the Rwanda trip requiring malaria pills, we recommend that you purchase them before you depart for your trip. Malaria pills may be bought in the US or Israel provided they are still valid for the dates of the trip. Participants who wish to visit a physician or “traveler’s clinic” in Israel to obtain malaria pills may do so. All costs associated with obtaining malaria prophylaxis and medications are the responsibility of the participant. Participants are also responsible for consulting and obtaining medical advice from a physician regarding the proper dosage and administration of malaria pills for their trip. Please read this information, provided by the CDC.
At this time, we recommend that participants consult with their physicians and consider receiving the Rabies vaccine, but we will not require vaccination for participation in Olami and Kuma. Additional information about the Rabies vaccination is available from the Center of Disease Control.
The risks and benefits of the Rabies vaccine should be considered by you, in consultation with your physician, with the understanding that immediate medical treatment and care may not always be available and may not be of the same quality as would be available in the United States. We want to be clear that contact with animals while on Olami is absolutely prohibited, however you should be aware that participants may, as in any other country, have occasion to be exposed to animals.
YC Payment and Cancellation Policy
Tuition Payment schedule and Cancelation Policy: *payment due does NOT include scholarships earned*
- $100 due upon registration January 1, 2018: $4000 is due; canceling between January 1, 2018 and April 1, 2018 $300 is non-refundable + the $100 deposit
- March 1, 2018: $4,000 is due (a total of $8,000 must be paid); canceling between January 1, 2018 and April 1, 2018 $300 is non-refundable + the $100 deposit
- June 1, 2018: $8,000 is due (a total of $16,000 must be paid); canceling between April 1 and August 1, 2017 $1,500 is non-refundable + the $100 deposit
- August 1, 2018: Balance is due; canceling between August 1 and September 4, 2018 $2,500 is non-refundable + the $100 deposit
- December 31, 2018: Balance of Payment Plans Due (Includes all scholarships, discounts and promotions; excludes additional tracks and trips)
If you will be working out a payment plan with us, the plans must be established by June 1, 2018 and will take place starting in August. A total of $16,000 must be paid before the start of the program.
Specialty Tracks, Olami and International Trips Payment Deadlines
- All Specialty Tracks – August 1, 2018
- Tikkun Olam in Rwanda – August 1, 2018
- Olami: Morocco – September 1, 2018
- Kuma (Poland) – December 1, 2018
- Olami: Greece – February 1, 2019
Young Judaea has the right to cancel the Program or any Program option, or change any itinerary due to low enrollment, security, or other reasons as determined in its sole and absolute discretion
Receipt of application materials and deposit does not guarantee acceptance to the Program. Participation is limited to those chanichim who have been accepted and are paid in full. Young Judaea reserves the right to not accept any applicant and/or revoke acceptance at any time, in its sole and absolute discretion.
If applicant is not accepted to the Program or acceptance is revoked before the program begins, all payments, aside from the $100 will be refunded in full. Young Judaea reserves the right to cancel the Program or any Program option, or change any itinerary due to low enrollment, security or other reasons as determined in its sole and absolute discretion.
Payment Plan Policies
- Each family receiving a payment plan will be required to pay a minimum of $16,000, including all scholarships, grants and discounts towards all tuition costs by August 1, 2018. If a portion of these funds are comprised of monies from non-family individuals or organizations, a written guarantee of payment by September 1, 2018 will be required
- Payment plans will not exceed $9,000. Families requesting payment plans agree to a payment structure as determined solely by Young Judaea.
- All payment plans will end by December 31, 2018
- Participants who choose to travel via the Young Judaea group flight are required to pay all travel fees by July 13, 2018
- Two current credit cards in good standing must be provided to Young Judaea by August 1, 2018
Payments towards Year Course tuition may be made by personal check, e-check or via Visa and Mastercard through your online application. Please note that a 3% online convenience fee will be charged to those paying through the online application with a credit card. If you will need to arrange a Payment Plan, please be in touch with Dani Snyder, Director of the Enrollment Office. You will need to sign off on your payment plan arrangement by June 1, 2018 in order to partake in the Program.
Please note: Year Course tuition includes classroom work, certain medical coverage in Israel, accommodations, food subsidy and all internal travel expenses that are a part of the Year Course program. Year Course Olami tuition also includes the cost of travel and insurance related to each of the scheduled trips. Year Course Specialty Track tuition also includes enrichment activities throughout the year, including workshops, excursions, courses, in addition to specialty staff. Program fees cover only part of the cost of the Program which is subsidized by additional funds from individuals and agencies within the Jewish community committed to providing participants with a deep understanding of Judaism and Israel.
Due to past experience, we require a $1,000 deposit from each participant who participates in the Marva program. This deposit will be refunded in full upon graduation from the Marva program, providing students return all equipment to the army. Those students who do not graduate from the Marva program may be entitled to a partial refund of the deposit.
Every effort will be made to keep the price for the program as quoted. Since the price is based on current land costs, it is subject to change.
Young Judaea Year Course participants may be eligible to earn college credit through the American Jewish University (AJU) in Los Angeles, CA, but they are not formally matriculated at AJU. This system is in place so as to allow participants to accept admission offers at other colleges/universities prior to attending Year Course. As a result of the non-matriculated status, neither Year Course nor American Jewish University can provide 1098-T, 529 or similar tuition statements to be used for tax purposes.
A maximum potential refund will be issued pursuant to the schedule listed below minus any balances due, for those participants who voluntarily leave the Program during the course of the year. Any participant who is dismissed from the program will be responsible for paying any and all open balances immediately.
Date Participant Leaves Maximum Potential Refund
- On or before October 30, 2018 $4,500.00 + track/trip costs not completed
- November 1, 2018 – December 30, 2018 $2,500.00 + track/trip costs not completed
- After December 31, 2018 $0.00
No refunds will be given for chanichim who are involuntarily dismissed or removed from the Program for any reason once the Program has commenced. Young Judaea reserves the right to determine in its sole and absolute discretion whether a participant’s departure from Year Course was voluntary or involuntary.
Young Judaea reserves the right to amend the payment terms, the cancellation policy and the refund policy for the Program. In the event that changes are made to the terms or policies, you will be notified under separate cover and will be responsible for adhering to the new policy and/or payment schedule.
Scholarship funds and/or discounts may be pro-rated in accordance with the applicable scholarship terms for participants who voluntarily withdraw. Scholarship funds and/or credits may be revoked, in their entirety, for participants who are dismissed from the Year Course Program. Participant will be responsible for paying any resulting tuition balance from such withdrawal or dismissal. Participant will also be responsible for any remaining tuition balances under a payment plan as a result of such withdrawal or dismissal.
If you move during the year, please notify the Israel of your new address and telephone number. Please also notify the staff in Israel if you change your email address. If you have currently not been receiving periodic emails from us, please notify us immediately by sending an email to email@example.com.
Parents/Guardians who will be away from the address and phone number listed on the application forms for any period of time must notify us of vacation plans by phone or e-mail. Remember to include the phone numbers where you can be reached.
Although birthdays will be celebrated by the group, for those who wish to send something special to their birthday boy or girl, we can recommend the following services that provide Kosher gourmet gift packages for delivery world-wide:
- Gili’s Goodies, www.gilisgoodies.com – specialize in birthday cakes, various “goodie” baskets or customize your own! Call toll free from the US: 866-721-7292.
- Zer4U – specializes in deliveries of flowers and chocolates – 011-972-3-948-6173
Please be advised that a birthday package will not necessarily be delivered on the day of the participant’s birthday. Such packages will be delivered as mail, or by a staff member who visits with the groups regularly.
As the year progresses, parents/guardians will probably note the increased usage of Hebrew words that their sons and daughters slip into their communication. For those less familiar with Hebrew, we have compiled a brief glossary to help you feel more a part of the Israel experience. ENJOY!
|Good morning||Boker tov||בוקר טוב|
|Welcome||Baruch haba||הבה ברוך|
|Blessing after meals||Birkat hamazon||ברכת המזון|
|Dining room||Chadar ochel||חדר אוכל|
|See you later||L'hitraot||להתראות|
|Good night||Lilah tov||לילה טוב|
|Lounge or club||Moadon||מועדון|
|Guide||Moreh derech||מורה דרך|
|Bon voyage||Nesiyah tova||נסיעה טובה|
|Good evening||Erev tov||ערב טוב|
|Thanks very much||Todah raba||תודה רבה|
|Central bus station||Tachana merkazit||תחנה מרכזית|
Year Course Partnerships
Young Judaea: Founded in 1909, Young Judaea was the first Zionist youth movement in the United States. It is a peer-led Jewish youth movement. Through educational, cultural and social programs, conventions, camps and Israel programs, Young Judaea seeks to impart a strong Jewish identity on American youth of all affiliations while helping them to create a personal relationship with the State of Israel. From all over the United States, more than 50,000 Young Judaea graduates – from third graders to college participants – have participated in and benefited from its programs. Young Judaea and Young Judaea’s Israel programs including Year Course are part of Young Judaea Global, led by a group of Young Judaea alumni and other supporters of Young Judaea.
Young Judaea is a religiously pluralistic movement that welcomes and includes individuals from all streams of Judaism. Jewish tradition is an important and highly valued element of the movement, and we strive towards true religious pluralism so that every participant can feel comfortable and welcome regardless of his/her background.
Please note that at times throughout this Guide, the terms “Young Judaea” and “Year Course” may be used interchangeably.
Young Judaea has been affiliated with Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (“Hadassah”) in the past. Hadassah continues to be a supporter of Young Judaea and Year Course and continues to be a source of scholarships and other support.
In June 2003, The Coordinating Committee of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel met to explore new ways to reach Jewish youth around the world, reinforce their Jewish identity and strengthen their ties to Israel and their community. It was here that the idea for MASA – The Project for Long Term Programs in Israel was born. MASA’s ultimate goal is to significantly increase the number of participants in semester to one-year educational programs in Israel, the center of world Jewish culture and creativity.
Chanichim from FZY, the sister movement of Young Judaea in Great Britain, also participate on Year Course. This interaction with FZY provides chanichim with a look into another component of Diaspora Jewry, an opportunity to foster the connection between the two movements, and a chance to make friends from another part of the world.
Chanichim from Canadian Young Judaea, our sister movement in Canada, also participate in Year Course. Canadian Young Judaea, Canada’s largest Zionist youth movement is also pluralistic and non-partisan.
Chanichim from our Israeli sister movement, the Tsofim, participate in Year Course as well. The Tsofim offer a unique insight into the lives of Israeli youth today and a chance to exchange ideas with Israeli counterparts.
Young Judaea, FZY and the Tsofim together form the umbrella organization Atid, an international partnership of pluralist Zionist youth movements.
Components and Enrichment Activities
Year Course participants are each placed in one of two sections. Each section rotates through three different components (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo/Israel Experience and Special Interest Month) and the chanichim move through the components in a different order.
The best way to understand Israel’s diverse history, culture and geography is to live as a member of Israeli society. On Year Course, participants come to appreciate Israel as residents, rather than as tourists and their experiences are fostered by the time they spend volunteering, learning/speaking Hebrew, traveling all over the country, and living with fellow participants. Rather than seeing Israel through the windows of a tour bus, Year Course participants can become intimately involved with Israeli communities and develop deep understandings of what it means to live in Israel. Living in their own apartment suites, often for the first time, and learning life skills in both independent and group situations allows participants to develop into responsible young adults. All apartments are single-sex and the number of chanichim in each apartment varies depending on the size of the apartment. In Jerusalem, each apartment receives a stipend and is responsible for shopping and cooking together. In Tel Aviv-Yafo, shopping, cooking and cleaning will be divided co-op style amongst the chanichim. At the beginning of their time in each city, chanichim are oriented to the community, local shopping establishments, bus routes and other relevant information about the neighborhood. Furniture and kosher cooking utensils are provided. In addition to volunteer placements and academic classes discussed below, each Year Course semester is enhanced with a variety of cultural events, seminars, and activities with Israeli peers. In addition, there are weekly kvutzah (group) meetings run by madrichim (counselors), weekly siyurim (excursions), and free evenings and weekends during which chanichim are encouraged to explore on their own.
Chanichim choose from a broad variety of volunteer options, each providing an opportunity to delve into a different aspect of Israeli life. Options vary according to availability and include, but are not limited to: Magen David Adom (Israel’s ambulance service), Marva (an Israeli army program), living and volunteering at a Youth Village, working with disadvantaged children, volunteering in soup kitchens, assisting in senior citizen homes and helping with environmental efforts. A tremendous amount of initiative and maturity is needed to make the most of volunteer placements. Volunteer placements give participants the chance to create relationships with those they are helping and these relationships often remain strong even after Year Course ends. The effort made by the individual chanich dictates the impact s/he has on the community and the relationships s/he develops. Please note that the Year Course staff reserves the right to place you in the experience for which they feel you are best suited, based on availability and your performance during the Program.
Almost every year there are more requests for Marva and Magen David Adom than we are granted spots so it is important to sign up earlier rather than later. Chanichim are encouraged to fill out the Marva application even if they are only keeping the option open.
Marva is an additional cost that Year Course is happy to absorb, and there is no additional charge to the participants. Due to past experience, however, we require a $1000 deposit from each participant who participates in the Marva program. This deposit will be refunded in full upon graduation from the Marva program, providing students return all equipment to the army. Those students who do not graduate from the Marva program may be entitled to a partial refund of the deposit.
Marva in the second semester usually conflicts with the Tikkun Olam Rwanda trip.
Year Course participants take college-level classes through the American Jewish University’s College in Israel (AJUCI) program. AJU is located in Los Angeles, CA and is a fully accredited university through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The Jerusalem semester is the primary academic semester and includes Hebrew language ulpan designed to facilitate access to traditional Jewish texts and contemporary Israeli society alike. Additionally, participants have both required and optional electives available to them during the Jerusalem semester. Students beginning the year in Tel Aviv-Yafo will have Ulpan at the beginning of the year. Chanichim may choose to take their classes either for credit (assuming they meet the academic requirements established by AJU) or to audit their classes. Year Course faculty members are experienced and successful teachers in their fields and are selected for their teaching excellence. Year Course classes strike a delicate balance between the warm, personal approach of a small program and the stringent standards of university-level courses. Teachers are easily approachable and eager to make learning meaningful for all participants. Full attendance, participation, homework, essays and exams are requirements for the study period. Upon completion of the Program, all participants who have been accepted to American Jewish University’s College in Israel (see “The American Jewish University” section below) and who have officially registered to take their courses for credit are eligible to receive an official transcript from American Jewish University reflecting up to a year’s worth of college credit. Participants who participate in Academic Seminars during Special Interest Month, or in Olami, Kuma, Tikkun Olam Rwanda or certain Specialty Tracks may be able to earn more than the 25-27 credits that are available during the year.
Some of the true highlights of Year Course are the weekly siyurim (field trips) which take chanichim all over the country. Siyurim are offered for optional academic credit in Jerusalem. Both optional and mandatory Siyurim are provided throughout the year. In addition, participants are encouraged to explore the beauty and variety of Israel’s natural resources in their free time.
Seminars will take place throughout the year in conjunction with the educational Program. Throughout the year, there will also be special events such as Orientation, Tiyulim, the Tsofim (Israeli Scouts) Weekend, Kuma (optional journey to Poland), various MASA-organized events, and Sikkum (the closing seminar of the Program). Events organized by our partner organizations (MASA, Tzofim) often include a small fee to the participant.