JOI has been discussing trips to Israel for the last several years. We recognize that while Israel may not be on the top of the travel or interest list for many interfaith families, we believe it is a crucial dimension in the development of a contemporary Jewish identity. Israel also has a role to play in the raising of Jewish children among interfaith families. There are few better ways to truly connect with one’s Jewish identity than visiting our religious and cultural homeland. So what does the ideal Israel trip look like and who should be the target population among the wide range of interfaith families?
We have discussed the possibility of such a trip with a wide range of trip operators and sponsors (including Israel 360, the Jewish National Fund, Ohr Stone, Keshet: The Center for Educational Tourism in Israel, just to name some). We have surveyed a few of our program groups to ascertain their interest (and how much they would be willing to pay for such a trip, especially given the benchmark that birthright Israel has established for its free trips). But we have not yet found the correct formula—although I know that a few communities have implemented successful trips for small groups over the past couple of years, including Atlanta and Seattle.
There are many factors to consider with such a trip, including the time of year (school vacations, for example). That is why we would like to hear from you. Help us plan a trip by letting us know your thoughts on how to create an impactful Israel experience. Which sites do you visit once in Israel? What would be your suggested itinerary?