General Questions

Birthright Israel LA Way is a free 10-day trip to Israel offered to Jewish young adults who live in Los Angeles. The trips are made possible by a partnership between The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Birthright Israel (the global organization working to give every Jewish young adult the chance to discover Israel).

Birthright Israel LA Way trips have all the things traditional Birthright Israel trips offer: A chance to explore your roots, to see historical sites like the old city of Jerusalem, to experience natural wonders like the Dead Sea, and to get to know Israeli culture, cuisine, and people. Birthright Israel LA Way is all of that and more, with trips created specifically for people who live in LA.

Benefits include:

  • Fly from LAX to Tel Aviv and back.
    • Guaranteed!
  • Travel with people who live in your community.
    • Keep the new friends you’ve made once you come home, and experience what it means to be more connected to your Jewish community in Los Angeles.
  • Outstanding staff leading the way.
    • Your madrichim (bus staff) are a vital part of your Birthright Israel LA Way experience! We carefully select exceptional LA-based staff members who are on the job before, during, and after your trip.
  • A deeper connection with Israelis your own age.
    • Most Birthright Israel trips spend five days traveling with Israeli students and soldiers. When you go on Birthright Israel LA Way, you’ll travel with Israelis for all ten days, so you can really get to know each other – you have a lot more in common than you think!
  • Unique Shabbat experiences.
    • Spend your Friday night in Israel in the comfort of the home of an Israeli family who will share their Shabbat experience and explain everything!
  • A more in-depth look at Israeli society via visits to partner organizations, including but not limited to:
    • New Spirit, an organization working to cultivate new, young communities in Jerusalem to revitalize the city and create more opportunities for diverse groups of young professionals and families.
    • Bina, a secular and pluralistic place of Jewish study for Israelis and international students, based in South Tel Aviv and working on social justice issues in the local community.
    • Moishe House, a pluralistic international organization, providing meaningful Jewish experiences to young adults in their 20s.
  • A balanced perspective.
    • Feel comfortable exploring your interests and asking questions in an accepting, pluralistic environment, with the best Israeli tour guides around!

Birthright Israel is the global organization that sets the basic policies, educational curriculum, and trip requirements for all Birthright Israel trips. Birthright Israel then distributes funds to approved Trip Organizers.

Trip Organizers, most of which are for-profit travel companies (Amazing Israel, Israel Outdoors, etc.), handle all the trip logistics, from conducting participant interviews to booking hotels and activities.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (that’s us!) raises additional funds from local philanthropists to offer and organize Birthright Israel LA Way trips. We partner with Trip Organizers to build itineraries, craft unique experiences and content, and ensure you have the best journey possible.

To apply, register at Registration for Summer trips usually opens in February, and Winter trip registration usually opens in September. The application has eight parts and takes some time, some thought, and a $250 refundable deposit.

Once you’ve completed a primary and secondary application, you’ll get an email requesting an interview. Within a month after that, you’ll receive an email notifying you of your status. The closer to registration opening you apply, the sooner you’re notified of your status and the more likely you are to get your top choice!

You are eligible even if you have been to Israel before, have only one Jewish parent, or are 26 going on 27 years old. Visit the Birthright Israel eligibility page for more details.

Since it launched in 1999, no Birthright Israel trip has been cancelled due to safety concerns. If certain areas are deemed unsafe, they won’t be on your itinerary or your trip will be re-routed. Birthright Israel takes all the necessary precautions to ensure your safety while in Israel. For additional info on safety and security, visit the official Birthright Israel site.

As for money, most places accept credit and debit cards, and there are many ATMs (do check with your bank before you leave). We encourage you to bring credit and debit cards, and leave the traveler’s checks behind.

For phones, check with your service provider, but we’ll also tell you how to rent and use cell phones in Israel.

When it comes to Wi-Fi, Israel is a leader in the field of technology! Much of Tel Aviv is Wi-Fi equipped, as are parts of Jerusalem. Your bus may even have Wi-Fi!

It’s not unusual to get waitlisted the first time you sign up (it’s a popular program!) or if you sign up late in the registration period. The more you apply and the earlier you apply, the higher priority you have. So, keep trying! It also helps to be flexible with dates.

You have options! If you’re set on spending time in Israel after the trip, talk to your Trip Organizer about how to request an extension as soon as you accept the trip offer. If you can, make your request at least a month before your departure, otherwise you’ll have to wait to request the extension until you arrive in Israel.

Depending on the time of year and the airline, fees to extend your ticket can range between $50 to several hundred dollars. The fees are determined by the airlines, and unfortunately there’s no way around them. The more flexible you are with dates, the easier an extension will be, but it’s entirely up to the airline. It could be cheaper to request and pay for the extension once you’re in Israel, but flights fill up fast.

Please note: Failing to properly extend your ticket will result in forfeiting your return ticket, and then you will be solely responsible for your return flight to LAX. We advise you to receive written confirmation of your flight extension. Birthright Israel, the Federation, and the Trip Organizers are not responsible for flight extensions.

A lot! The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has several programs for you to stay connected to your Birthright Israel LA Way and local LA Jewish communities once you get home:

The Kahn Fellowship is a year-long program that provides you with the resources you need to create your own unique Jewish experiences around LA. The events you create as a Fellow can be open to everyone, whether they went on your trip, a different trip with the Federation, or haven’t been on Birthright Israel at all.

The BRIdge Fellowship is for your madrichim (bus staff), so they can continue supporting you as active participants in Jewish life in LA.

Explore this website to learn of everything else available to you through the Federation!

Los Angeles is home to one of the largest Jewish populations in the country, and there are tons of programs and innovative organizations dedicated to serving young adults like you. We’d love to hear from you and help you find what you’re looking for! E-mail us at and we’ll take you to coffee.

  1. Apply for the trip as soon as you can, right when registration opens (trips fill up fast). You’ll complete the application and submit your deposit (refunded after you return, or if Birthright Israel cannot accommodate you).
  2. A couple days after you complete the first application, you’ll get an e-mail with a secondary application from your preferred Trip Organizer that you selected on the initial application. This secondary application is where you’ll complete additional information and make selections on trips and dates.
  3. Within a month of applying, your Trip Organizer will reach out to schedule a quick phone interview. If you don’t hear from them within a month, feel free to reach out.
  4. Within a month of your interview and at most a month after registration closes, you’ll get an e-mail notifying you of your status: If you’ve been offered a trip or if you were waitlisted.
  5. If you were offered a spot, log into the secondary application website and confirm it!
  6. Then you’ll go to orientation, which will take place at The Jewish Federation 2-5 weeks before your trip. Participants from many different trips will be there for a meet-and-greet and to learn important info about the trip. Also: Pizza!
  7. You’ll receive e-mails and Facebook invites from your madrichim (bus staff) with info about your trip. Feel free to get in touch with them for any questions or concerns.
  8. Grab your passport, meet at LAX on the designated date and time, and you’re off to ISRAEL!

Questions After You've Registered

These requests are handled by the Trip Organizers, so if you’ve already accepted a trip and want to switch to another Trip Organizer or another bus, please contact your Trip Organizer ASAP. Changing these preferences can get tricky once you’ve already accepted.

If you switch, you could end up on a waiting list for another trip, or if there isn’t enough space, you might not be able to go at all that season.

So, do your best to make certain you know which trips you are requesting — what age range, which Trip Organizer, and which region— before you even apply!

If you need to cancel for whatever reason, please contact your Trip Organizer immediately.

It varies depending on the Trip Organizer. Most participants receive an itinerary (always subject to change) 1-2 weeks before to their trip. If you don’t receive your itinerary, please contact your Trip Organizer.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles only distributes trip information to participants. If your parents have questions, please refer them this website, and feel free to share the information you’ve received. To respect all participants’ privacy, The Jewish Federation will not distribute trip information directly to parents if the participants are aged 18 and up.

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