Nov. 27, 2017
The Reform movement is no longer certified as a trip provider for Birthright, according to a Judy Maltz report in Haaretz Sunday (How Orthodox Groups Are Taking Over Birthright, and Using It to Target Young U.S. Jews). Not on religious or political grounds, God forbid, but because they have been unable to deliver the goods – in this case, fresh eyed Jewish American kids eager for their free summer trips to Israel.
Mind you, we are not talking about a few hundred college kids staying on a kibbutz. Birthright may be the most successful Diaspora Jewish youths project since the Hashomer HaTzair educational farms in pre-war Poland. According to Birthright CEO Gidi Mark, his program brought 48,000 Jewish kids ages 18 to 26 to Israel in 2017, making the group’s overall total since its inception to more than half a million Diaspora Jews who have experienced Israel at the age when such direct and powerful adventures leave the deepest marks.