February 16, 2012 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #6020912beornot2beParticipant
Has anyone ever gone on the separate gender birthright trip? what type of crowd goes? Does it pay for me to go?February 16, 2012 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #1112697popa_bar_abbaParticipant
Does it pay? Well, you don’t have to pay, but I don’t think they pay you either.
My friend went on one. He had a good time, but the kashrus was a major issue. He basically ate chocolate puddings.February 16, 2012 4:21 pm at 4:21 pm #1112698ToiParticipant
i dont think they do frum ones anymore. agav, someone i know went on birthright. they didnt allow him to go visit his chareidi relatives on saturday night, for fear that they would influence him. instead they forced him to go to bars in town for a more cultured experience. when he threatened to go to his relatives anyway, they threatened him with billing him for the entire cost of the trip they had payed for. doesnt sound like a group you wanna hang with.February 16, 2012 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #1112699yichusdikParticipant
Toi, c’mon. I am very, very familiar with Birthright, the good and the bad. No one is ever forced to go to a bar. That being said, the rules they operate under, the insurance coverage they have, and the security guidelines they must follow make it impossible for people to take side trips during the 10 days of the experience. People visiting their non chareidi relatives would be prohibited as well. Also – the conditions or circumstances whereby a participant might be billed for the entire cost are laid out explicitly in the paperwork and application process before the trip, so there should be no surprises for anyone who bothered to read them.
Clearly, the majority of the participants on the regular trips are not only not frum, but are mostly far from any Jewish experience at all, especially those from the US, or places like CUba or Brazil. Such a group is not the environment for a frum young adult. The good news, such as it is, is that the statistics demonstrate that Birthright alumni are more likely to participate in Jewish experiences, date Jewish, and marry Jewish after their experience. That in and of itself is a pretty good justification of the investment when intermarriage is over 50%.
There are a few offerings for frum kids. I know, from having worked with the logistics provider for Birthright while leading my own, non-birthright seminar in Israel for student leaders, that they only do mehadrin kashrus on a “best efforts” basis, and all else is rabanut hechsher. It was somewhat of a headache for us, but we worked it out and found solutions. That wouldn’t be the case on a birthright trip, and it wouldn’t satisfy the needs of many. I don’t know what arrangements they may have made for the frum trips. But, again, they are upfront with it, and will tell anyone who asks what the kashrus standard is ahead of the trip, I think it might even be on the FAQ on their website.February 16, 2012 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm #1112700☕️coffee addictParticipant
I was going to go on one 8 years ago but missed out, and then a kol korei went out against birthrightFebruary 16, 2012 5:04 pm at 5:04 pm #1112701Feif UnParticipant
Toi: Birthright has a policy that you must stay with the group. It had nothing to do with the influence they might have had. They wouldn’t let him visit non-observant relatives either. When I went on Birthright, my family (chareidim) were able to come to the hotel in the evening to visit me.
On Motzei Shabbos, yes, they did take some of the group to a bar. For those who didn’t want to go to a bar, they had other options.February 16, 2012 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #1112702bozoParticipant
I went on the all girls birthright trip 2 years ago. I had a very mixed crowd, a lot of lubavitch girls, some bais yaakov girls from brooklyn, and some YU kind of girls. I just met someone a few days ago who went this past winter and she had a basically all bais yaakov type of group and the madrichas were also bais yaakov. She had a fantastic time! It depends on your group and what kind of personality you have if you’ll enjoy it. We did have an option to a go to a bar one night, and whoever was interested went. Trips were really good and extending your ticket is really cheap so I stayed an extra week. The hechsher was good, we ate very nicely. They serve 2 meals a day so the third one they drop you off on teh steet to find a good restaurant.
It was totally worth it, we went on great trips and everything was free and i extended my trip for a 100 bux or something like that. Great experience! Go with friends though if your quiet type. And no you can’t leave the group EVER but there was time for people to visit you on Motzai shabbos. Go with friends and you’ll love it!February 17, 2012 4:19 am at 4:19 am #11127032beornot2beParticipant
thanks for your help!February 17, 2012 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #1112704oomisParticipant
My daughter went on the trip (it was gender-mixed) with a group of her friends. Though it was Orthodox in nature,realistically only she and her friends plus a few other members of the group actually were frum. They were the ones who got up to daven every morning, and paused for mincha and maariv later in the day. Their group did not go to any bars, but the absolute rule was that no one could deviate from the planned itinerary (for safety’s sake).
It was the best time of her life, to that point and instilled a great awe of E”Y in her as she stood on mekomos kedoshim and realized our Avos and Emahos walked there, too. Nowadays, I don’t knwo what the program is like, if it still exists. I had heard the funding was withdrawn.June 15, 2015 1:58 pm at 1:58 pm #1112706sueanneMember
Could you please tell me what trip organizer you and the girl you mentioned used for birthright? thanksJuly 28, 2015 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #1112707SciLearner357Participant
I just came back from a Birthright trip this summer. It was all girls, most of whom were young college age. Our trip started as an OU Free Spirit trip, but the organizer was switched to Israel Experience before the participants were selected.
All the food we had was kosher Mehadrin. Because it was a Shmitta year, we had special vegetables in some places. At the night in the Bedouin tent, a special mashgiach was sent earlier in the day to make sure we had food that was mehadrin kosher. For lunches we were told which places were good to eat.
I’ve heard that all the OU Free Spirit trips are run as orthodox trips, even if the participants aren’t.
If you are looking for a religious trip, try to find one run by JLIC.
We went to a few religious places, and few kevarim, and historical and nature hikes.July 29, 2015 2:08 am at 2:08 am #1112708writersoulParticipant
My friend did the OU coed tour. Frum, kosher (not necessarily mehadrim- I’m not sure, but she doesn’t only eat mehadrin anyway so she didn’t mention it), apparently amazing. I wouldn’t do it in a million years (I wasn’t old enough when she asked me and this year I no longer qualify) but for the right person it’s apparently unbelievable.
One thing that did seem amazing about that kind of a trip is that they specifically invite Israelis to go along with the trip and give participants a taste of Israel. One of the Israelis on my friend’s trip was actually a married guy with kids living on a hilltop in the shtachim and I actually went to his house with my friend for a Shabbos- a really good opportunity to experience a lifestyle I might not have otherwise.
Another friend’s brother and sister-in-law are actually going to be participating as the resident Israelis in a chareidi couples Birthright trip (yes, this is a thing).November 19, 2015 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #1112709sueanneMember
Could you please explain what you mean that the organizer was switched before the participants were selected?
I’ve seen sample itineraries online for Birthright in general. Does the single gender trip offered by OU Free Spirit or Israel Experience (by the way, I don’t see them listed as one of the trip providers on the Birthright website) follow the same itinerary? Did you ride camels and do rafting trips and go in the Dead Sea? How is this be done in a tzniusdik manner?
Also, you mention that if you are looking for a religious trip, to try to find one run by JLIC. How does one go about doing that?
Thanks so much for your help!
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