Can you trip like I do

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years, you probably know all about birthright israel – you know the deal: If you’re Jewish and between the ages of 18-26 and have never been to Israel on a peer trip before, birthright israel offers you the opportunity to visit Israel for 10 days, for free. Pretty sweet deal huh? Well it gets better.

This summer, IsraelExperts in conjunction with Jewlicious offers eligible candidates the opportunity to visit Israel on IsraelExpert’s Discover Israel – Jewlicious Trip. As a participant on this trip, you will benefit from the opportunity to see Israel with Jewlicious bloggers ck and laya who are also experienced birthright israel trip madrichim. The trip’s itinerary will be drawn up by IsraelExperts, who has somehow agreed to then let Jewlicious color outside the lines.

On Discover Israel – Jewlicious you’ll see places and meet with people that are a bit off the beaten path. Enjoy Israel Experts signature pluralistic approach to Israel in tandem with the opinionated and irreverent tone of Jewlicious. In trip form. Live.

This will be a unique opportunity for you to join the first ever birthright israel trip based on a blog. In fact, we’ve never heard of any trip based on a blog. What’s the relevance of this? We don’t really know, but however it ends up, we’re sure it won’t be boring. And of course, just to rub it in a little for those of you who can’t make it, we’ll blog about the trip every day and post photos showing how much fun we’re having without you.

If you want to trip with us, registration starts 9 am March 3. Contact us at [email protected]. Make sure to include your date of birth, where you’re from (trip only available to those with a US address) and what the hey – tell us a little about yourself. We’ll put you on the mailing list for updates, and give you a reminder about the start of registration. Why not? It’s a free trip to Israel!

birthright israel
this trip is a gift from birthright israel

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Do these trips ever make exceptions to take someone who is about…30? My stepbrother would LOVE it, and would probably fit right in with a Jewlicious tour, but he is over 26.

    Am willing to bribe with chocolate chip cookies. And my cookies are pretty damn good, if I may say so myself.

  • Daphna: You know I totally dig you and if it was up to me I’d gladly get your step bro on the trip. However, several aspects of this trip have to meet stringent and unbending birthright israel rules and regulations – one of those rules is the age thing. Besides, I know that if I invite myself over for shabbat lunch I can get your cookies for free!

    T_M: I’m pleased that you think this is cool – I’ll let you know more about it too via email …

  • Does Birthright have dates set for the trip? Since the big 2-7 is hitting this summer, I wonder about my own eligibility.

  • lynn: i think you should be fine – this particular trip will leave late May or early June.

    Michael: you may extend your ticket for up to 3 months after your arrival. does this mean we’ll see ya??

  • daphna —

    can i get some of these cookies? i can’t help with the birthright registration, but, uh… i like cookies a bunch.

    :- D

  • Muffti would say he’s surprised, but he’s known ck fa too long for that. So he’s not.

  • 🙁 Are there any programs out there for those of us who are *ehem* a little over 26?

  • I did, I’m sending you the pictures I took. Incidentally, though, do you have the ones of all the crazy missionaries and the one with me and Johnathon in front of the big Jesus sign? Because those ones were cool.

  • same here… I am 30 and despite begging Birthright and other such organizations, I have been unable to find someone willing to make an exception. I find it upsetting since I have been considering aliyah for some time now..

  • Whoa. This is gonna be, like, the awesomest trip in tarnation. I guess at the age of 30something and with 7 prior trips to Israel on my passport, I’m not eligible, right? Not even as a member of the press???

    I know. I know. Enough of my fantasizing. Back to my deadline.

  • Muffti is curious how the age restriction came about in the first place. While any age would seem rather arbitrary, he supposes, is there any particular justification for 26 or was it just chosen because some age had to be chosen?

  • Muffti: I guess what they did was simply look at the population of Jews and compared it to how much cash they had available and came up with the figure of 26. In that respect I believe they proceeded in a manner that would meet even your demanding logical standards. Got the pics btw. Some were really funny., but I noticed nary a booby in sight – is that due to a newly found reverence for tznius? And uh… about NC – WTF?????

    Esther: Sorry. Like I said, if it was up to me …

    Celestial: Weren’t you in Israel just last year? I believe thats what Lisa told me …

  • The age restriction is (by necessity) somewhat arbitrary, but it does make some sense. First of all, after a certain point one expects that the average person is done with school, has finished the initial years of grunt work, is earning more, and can save his/her pennies to pay for their own trip. Second, if the goal is to impress upon Jews the importance of being Jewish…well…you want an age range that is still impressionable! Granted, there will be exceptions (I only started college at 22 and finished at 27), but you cannot build a mass program around the exceptions.

  • Actually the “age” thing is not about economics but more about “lost generations” . Before the arafada and when things were “good” Israel was seeing over 10,000 young Jews come to Israel for short tem programs lasting 4-8 weeks. After the arafada began, the number dropped off to 850. Folks were feeling that we were going to lose a whole generation of young Jews to one of the key ingredients to solidifying a Jewish identity ( summer camp, youth movement or Jewish education, and..tada a trip to israel) . Therefore comma the age that birthright uses is related to the age and the generation of Jews that had been coming to Israel and were in danger of missing that opportunity. Seemingly most folks as they move past the mid 20’s don’t make time to do much in the way of traveling, much less to the holy land.

  • Are you guys affiliated with these folks:

    Come to Palestine, come stay with friends

    Probably won’t get the same coverage cuz it’s not free The students are hosted by Palestinian families, which lowers the price for participants; the hosts also receive some payment.

  • Are we affiliated with the Palestine Summer Experience?? Uh… no. But it sounds like an interesting program. Sort of. It would be nice if they didn’t limit participants exposure to Israelis to just peace activists and soldiers. But whatever. On out trip we will have lots of access to Arabs – Bedouins, Druze and Palestinians. There will be a Bedouin Tent experience where we will be hosted in a Bedouin camp, we’ll visit a Druze village and hopefully get Darbuka (bongo) lessons from a master Palestinian Darbuka player and his posse. Fun times!

  • I was in Israel last fall, yes. But we both know that a Birthright trip shows you so much more than you could get from just a visit with a friend. I want the full experience, I want to see the Masada and things that I never got to see but I know would make me fall in love with the land that much more. Each trip moves me a step closer to aliyah and I think a Birthright trip would give me a more enriched trip, not to mention a bonding experience with peers.
    But apparently I am just too old, which is unfortunate.

  • Hey maybe you old folks could get together and have a Jewlicious oldsters trip. btw the Darbuka guy is Israeli Arab and he plays with the Israeli philharmonic, is a artist in residence in the states at a Jewish summr camp among other things. He is from Nazareth.

  • Experience Israel Jewlicious Style
    Jewlicious have announced the first ever Birthright trip to Israel based on a blog. 

    This summer, IsraelExperts in conjunction with Jewlicious offers eligible candidates the opportunity to visit Israel on IsraelExpert’s Discover Israel – …

  • Yes, c’mon Jewlicious—can you discover someone who would sponsor the 27+ ages to have a trip for those returning to religion or who would like to make aliyah but have never been? I mean, my cookies are only so-so, but if anyone wants to crash in
    Central IL, the land of few Jews, you’ve got a spot.

  • ck – Muffti thought he had sent some of the less tznius-compatible pics. Will try again. Sorry about that. As for NC, what’s the WTF for? Free place to stay and broke up the drive nicely.

  • Yes, c’mon Jewlicious—can you discover someone who would sponsor the 27+ ages

    Sounds like you might have a business plan on your hands, ck. ‘Cept the sponsorship part…

  • What would be the rationale behind sending folks who have been to Israel in the last 5 years or who are at the age when they should be fending for themselves financially.

    That’s a serious question and I’ll take all answers.

  • I agree that the reasoning for Birthright Israel is sound, and I have no qualms with that. I just would think that more programs like that might increase tourism and benefit those who were not able to visit Israel in their youth. For example, my synagogue contains many members in their thirties who have never been to Israel and are so busy fighting school loans, they may not get to go for another ten years. However, I do believe that if it is important enough, they will find a way to do it eventually.

  • TM,

    1. I know a number of people who’ve been to Israel through birthright even though they’ve been to Israel many times, just not on an organized trip.

    2. Personally, paying my mortgage, etc doesn’t leave enough money to pay for a trip to Israel as much as I’d LOVE to visit again (it’s been over 10 yrs since I last made it there).

  • Ziva, I think the demographic group you mention would benefit from visiting Israel and otherwise probably won’t get there for a while – if ever.

    Dvorah, I hear what you’re saying. The premise of Birthright is to encourage some form of connection to and subsequent affiliation with Israel, but you raise the question of how does one determine who is worth the investment and who isn’t? Is a 35 year old more important, if you have limited resources, than a 45 year old?

  • Sounds like a great deal, have some questions though. I’m a Karaite Jew, Does birthright recognize ALL Jews or just rabbinic. I guess if I look back at the ol’ family tree there are some there.

  • i am 19 and i want to go wih ym girlfriend who is 23. can i go on an older trip? or are they strict about age

  • people Help! I turn 27 on April 13th !!
    this what I just got in the mail

    Taglit-birthright israel has reviewed your application and determined
    that you are not eligible. You would be considered ineligible for any
    of the following reasons:

    * Your birthday is before April 30, 1979

    I called them.. and nothing came out of it. It’s a difference of two weeks!!!
    Anybody.. knows anything ?!!! Pleeeeease help :)))

  • tamara – that’s rough. I know they are strict about age. The only way to make it hapen is you would have to get an exception from Taglit-bri directly. If it was your trip provider that you spoke to, I would try sending a letter direct to the source as well. You never know.

  • thanks Laya, I talked to them on the phone and they said no.. I’ll try sending a letter as well. Who knows.. maybe it will work. It’s just SO dissapointing that All of my friends are going and my sister 🙁

  • Please, If anyone knows how I can participate in Birthright or similar program please let me know by e-mail. I turned 27 in March!!!! Please,any help is greatly appreciated!

  • I would also like a trip for those over 26. I am 28, and never really knew of such trips before. I grew up in a pretty christian area. I am a grad student now, so still very poor. Why can’t there be trips for people who have never had a chance to go, and are a few years older?

  • In the past several days, and for an unknown reason, I’ve been searching the web for anything Jewish; coincidentally, stumbled upon this blog. Until this point in my life I haven’t been able to participate in the birthright. Now at 27 (will be 28, March of 08) I hope this program offers me that chance. For those of you asking questions about when and how, looks like March 3rd is the sign-up date, and you’ll need to email [email protected]. Hope to see you 27+ers this summer.

  • I am also 28 and really bummed that I haven’t gone yet. I also grew up in the midwest and didn’t hear about birthright until I moved out to LA when I was almost 27. Can anyone find out about something for people our age?? Even if we have to contribute some money and it’s not totally free. Anyone???

  • I’m 31, and I was rejected as well. I was quite disappointed because I acquired some debt in college since my parents didn’t help me. I didn’t have the luxury of taking 10 days off from work 🙁

    I actually think its about recruiting people of breeding age to live there. 18-26 is the healthiest age for women to reproduce, so this is the age category they chose. As for the men, they want healthy able bodied people. The health of men sharply declines over the age of 30; high cholesterol, weight, diabetes, etc. Not a good fit for a growing community– health care is expensive!

  • what if i’m 26 at the time of registration but will turn 27 by the time of the trip:( am i still a candidate?

    Well 45yrs old male from nj.What ,I want to find is a trip that has woman my age an younger.10DAYS or so.Cost is not a factor.Anyone have any input? Thank you oh by the way its has to be a fun trip.

  • Yes, I also was in a very demanding college that extended an extra year and then had to work to pay off debt right away. By the time I had free time and was able to do the birthright trip, I too was deemed too old. I felt very disappointed that I wasn’t given the trip I’ve been promised all my life, and maybe I should have chosen Birthright over college, hahaha!!! I’d basically have to join the Hassidim to get my free pass now that I’m 30, I’ve been told by some elite Hassidim Jews I met on a mountain top in the Catskills once…

  • It is discouraging to me as a convert and my partner, who was born a Jew, but was was sick most of her 20s, that their is no help for us to go to Israel because of our ages. There is an assumption that being financially independent equals well off. There is definitely a class issue here being ignored…

    I feel that it is important for all of us to have a connection, but those I have met that were able to go on birthright are overwhelmingly coming from upper income homes (often calling themselves middle class when it is clear that they come from at least upper middle).

    When you have student loan obligations and life commitments, you are *LESS* likely to be able to afford plane tickest over 1,000 and a place to stay, not more. A trip to Israel would cost about half of our anual rent bill.

    Going to Israel is so important to us, but so is paying our rent, eating, and paying daily bills. We live solidly Jewish lives, but it is unlikely we will get to Israel any time soon, if ever.