“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” — Psalms 133

Teen Israel Experiences:
The Opportunity of a Lifetime

For teens to truly understand the historical connection of Jews to the land of Israel, appreciate the notion of Jewish peoplehood, and proudly own their place in the chain of Jewish history requires context. An immersive Israel experience is one of the most effective tools for strengthening Jewish identity and cultivating a lasting relationship with the State of Israel. Studies indicate that Israel trips are transformational Jewish experiences, pushing teens to navigate the world with greater independence and ensuring our youth remain engaged in the Jewish community as young adults and beyond.

The Samis Foundation is a proud sponsor of summer and academic-term teen Israel experience programs, offering $2,500 to $7,500 grants through Israel experience program providers. A limited number of grants is available per year. Interested participants can apply for the grant on program provider websites.

GRANT REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Resident of Washington state
  2. A teen in 9th-12th grade
  3. Participate in an Israel education pre-trip program

Explore Academic Year Israel Programs:

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Alexander Muss High School in Israel Impact Fellowship | Fall Semester

Teens who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills, academic achievement, and a deep connection to their Judaism, are encouraged to apply to the Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) Impact Fellowship semester-long study abroad program in Israel. During the program, teens maintain their general studies courses in addition to taking courses on 4,000 years of Israeli and Jewish history, leadership training, social media, marketing, critical thinking, public speaking, and weekly writing and creative assignments. Teens work with local professionals to speak publicly when they return home. Through the Fellowship, they become ambassadors for Israel and get ready for the exciting college experience ahead. The Samis Foundation provides a grant of $7,500 per participant.

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Tichon Ramah Yerushalim | Winter Quarter & Semester

Tichon Ramah Yerushalim (TRY) provides 10th, 11th and 12th graders the chance to study at the Ramah Jerusalem High School, where they learn about the land of Israel firsthand. They take exciting trips to Masada and the Ramon Crater, experience simulated army basic training, attend different synagogues every Shabbat, study the Hebrew language, and visit Poland to understand Jewish life prior to the Shoah and its ramifications. The program runs for either two or four month time periods, and students keep a regular school schedule the entire time. The Samis Foundation provides a grant of $5,000-$7,000 per participant, depending on the length of the program selected.

Explore Summer Israel Programs:

Camp Kalsman NFTY in Israel

URJ Camp Kalsman NFTY in Israel hosts a four-week summer trip to Israel, where teens explore Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Negev Desert, and the Galilee with their peers from all across North America. They can participate in classic Israeli experiences like floating in the Dead Sea, eating delicious falafel, drinking tea in a Bedouin tent, learning about the ancient ruins in Jerusalem, and riding camels along the sand dunes in the Negev desert. Teens can choose from one of four tracks for four-day, in-depth experiences that include working with a kibbutz, traveling from the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) to the Mediterranean, going on an archaeological dig, and undergoing simulated Israeli Defense Forces basic training. The Samis Foundation provides a grant of $3,750 per participant.

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NCSY Jewish Student Union

NCSY offers an array of Israel experience programs including three different Jewish Student Union (JSU) public school Israel programs for teens who want to explore the land of Israel. Teens can participate in programs with an internship and gain critical work skills, learn about leadership, engage in Jewish learning, take trips around the country, partaking in activities like praying at the Western Wall and hiking up Masada or even participate on a trip combining an experience in Poland and Israel. The Samis Foundation provides a grant of $2,500 per participant.

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Sephardic Education Center Hamsa Program

The Sephardic Education Center (SEC) Hamsa bi-annual program provides an incredible experience of Israel through the lens of Sephardic culture and tradition. The itinerary includes visits to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Northern & Southern Israel, beaches, IDF training facilities, air force bases and museums. Participants explore Israel on foot, hiking Israel’s nature reserves, canyons, Masada… and more! Prayer at the hotel, holy sites, and ancient synagogues is provided with accommodations at the Sephardic Educational Center headquarters located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Participants leave with a deeper understanding of ancient history, Zionism and the modern state of Israel. The next program will run in summer 2021. The Samis Foundation provides a grant of $2,500 per participant.

Explore Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Teen Israel Programs:

Center for Israel Education Teen Israel Leadership Institute

The Center for Israel Education (CIE) Teen Israel Leadership Institute (TILI) falls under the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle’s Israel Education & Engagement Initiative. Teens in grades 9 through 12 in public school, private schools, and Jewish day schools come together to deepen their knowledge about the state of Israel and build upon their leadership skills. While in the program, teens participate in a pluralistic weekend Shabbaton at the University of Washington Hillel, create a project during the retreat to share with a local organization, congregation, or Jewish community school, and attend two post-program webinars. Staff members mentor the students on their projects, which could be a one-time course or an educational series. Participants are eligible to receive a $2,500 Samis grant, which they can put towards an approved Israel experience program of their choice.

Teen Israel Experience Scholarship Program

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, in partnership with the Samis Foundation, provides needs-based scholarships to teens seeking to participate in an approved Israel Experience program. 81 percent of applicants receive their full requested support with an average scholarship award of $3,800. For families in financial need, a Samis grant can be combined with a Federation needs-based scholarship.

“Israel trip alumni report higher levels of Jewish commitment, Jewish belonging and ritual observance years later than do others with similar Jewish upbringings.”
— David Bryfman, CEO Jewish Education Project