General Questions

Mostly 16-17 year olds. 55% are usually entering 11th grade. 30% are entering 12th grade. The remaining 15% are divided between entering 10th grade and graduated high school seniors. Participants must turn at least 15 during the calendar year of their participation and participants must be entering 10th grade or above.

Do I need to be a member of NFTY?
While we encourage all of our participants to be active in the Temple Youth Group and join NFTY, it is not required. For more information about joining NFTY visit the NFTY website.

For North American trip dates visit the North American Trips page.
For Camp trip dates visit the Camp Trips page.

Logistics Questions

Most of our trips leave from and return to John F. Kennedy Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark-Liberty International Airport in the New York metropolitan area. Some groups may have special departures from other airports in the United States.

  • Domestic Flights – USA/Canada – Participants are usually responsible for their own domestic arrangements to and from the program’s departure city.
  • Arrival in Program Departure City – Transfer to International Departure Terminal – Participants who fly to the departure city on their own are given explicit instructions how to transfer from their domestic arriving airport or terminal to the departure terminal for their international flight. NFTY staff is on hand on the days of departure and arrival to ensure that all participants make their connections safely.
  • International Flights – NFTY in Israel arranges your international flights at the beginning, during (if applicable), and commencement of the program. All participants fly on major airlines that comply with the standard safety and security measures in Europe, Israel and the United States.
  • Ground Transportation – All programs use air-conditioned privately chartered buses. NFTY does not use public buses. Some trains may be used in Europe.


Do I need a passport?

A passport is a picture identification that is required for international travel. All participants on one of the NFTY international travel programs will need a passport that is valid for 6 months after the conclusion of the program, per Israeli requirements.

We have four different models:
A. North American groups of teens from numerous communities and congregations. Each group may include 10th, 11th & 12th graders
B. Regional or Community Groups – teens from particular geographic areas are placed together when possible.
C. Synagogue Groups – teens from 1 – 5 synagogues are put together to create a traveling group.
D. URJ Camp Groups – camp alumni traveling together in the same group.

What is the typical group size? What about Boys and Girls?
The typical group ranges from 35 – 42 participants. While some groups are close to 50:50 male:female ratio, it is not unusual for there to be more girls than boys.

Will I be placed with my friends?
NFTY will also guarantee you being placed with friends as long as you have:
A. Applied on time
B. Are participating on the same program
C. You have the same departure date

  • Our groups stay at a higher level of accommodations than most other youth programs.
  • In Israel our groups stay in kibbutz guesthouses, youth centers, hotels and camping sites throughout Israel. Usually 3 – 4 per room with a private bath – most places are air-conditioned.
  • In Europe our groups stay exclusively in hotels.
  • Our accommodations are safe and appropriate for teens.
  • Participants are provided with three complete meals a day.
  • A vegetarian option is always available.
  • Virtually every accommodation during the summer in Israel is Kosher and meals will be Kosher style.
  • Meals in Europe will be Kosher style, but it is very difficult to procure Kosher certified food in Eastern Europe.
  • Special dietary needs can nearly always be accommodated if we are given sufficiently advance notice before the trip.
After registering for a NFTY in Israel program, you will have access to an online account that will contain the summer packing list, along with other important materials.
Passports are held for safekeeping in our safe at the NFTY in Israel Jerusalem office (or by group leaders while in Europe). Airline tickets are issued as eTickets, so there is no need for a teen to travel with a physical ticket during the summer (if a teen does have a traditional ticket, we will keep it in the safe with his/her passport). For spending money, we recommend using a debit card in order to minimize the chance of loss or theft of large amounts of spending money.

Health and Safety Questions

NFTY strives for the highest standard of staff supervision. Our group leaders and tour guide educators are generally older and have more Jewish and life experience than in most other programs. Staff to participant ratio is approximately 1:10. There are always at least 3 staff members with each bus.

  1. Tour Educator (Age 25+)
  2. Group Leader (Age 25+)
  3. One or more Counselors (Age 21+)

Each person selected to serve as a NFTY in Israel staff member has extensive experience working with teens, knowledge of Israel, and often is a graduate of NFTY and our URJ camping system. Each staff team is comprised of men and women, North Americans and Israelis.

All staff members participate in a thorough staff training orientation covering issues of education, health, safety, security, community building and adolescent issues. NFTY Tour Educators are required to participate in a 6-month training course in Israel designed exclusively by NFTY in Israel for our staff.

Senior Unit Supervisor – Each bus group travels in a Unit with up to 3 other groups. A senior supervisor (age 30+) travels with the Unit to supervise the educational program, staff and participants. The Senior Unit Supervisor is an accomplished Jewish educator and administrator.

Unit Nurse – A licensed nurse travels with each unit of 3 or 4 buses providing personalized care for each participant.

All NFTY groups are supervised by NFTY Senior Directors in Israel and North America.

Participants on our Israel programs are provided with medical insurance that covers most illness and injury during the trip. The insurance does not cover care for pre-existing conditions. NFTY strives to provide the highest standard of medical care available.

  • Unit nurse with each unit of buses
  • Access to English-speaking doctors
  • Participants always accompanied (24 hours a day if necessary) while visiting a physician or in the hospital

Who holds and dispenses medications?
Participants are responsible for holding onto and dispensing their own medications. If participants are ready to travel 6000 – 9000 miles away from home, we believe they are also ready to be responsible for their medications. Our staff are able to assist participants who have medications that require special handling, such as refrigeration.

(See NFTY Safety and Security Protocols)
NFTY is exceedingly cautious and conservative. Itineraries are reviewed on a daily basis to ensure that all groups are traveling on the safest and most appropriate routes. Each bus group has a cell phone and is in daily contact with the NFTY office. Changes can be made on a moment’s notice. NFTY is in touch with security authorities in Israel on a daily basis and their representatives in Europe who are responsible for the safety of youth trips.
  • NFTY Directors in Israel and New York are available 24 hours a day.
  • NFTY office in New York, NY is open 8 hours a day and voicemail is checked every weekday.
  • Each group leader and unit supervisor has a cell phone for immediate contact.
Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.

Other

As of 2014, NFTY in Israel alumni are eligible to travel on Taglit-Birthright Israel. Taglit-Birthright Israel is a free 10-day trip exclusively for 18-26 year olds. Taglit-Birthright Israel does not provide scholarships for summer programs. The URJ sponsors Birthright trips for 18-26 year olds supervised by the same experienced full-time staff who supervise NFTY in Israel. For more information visit the URJ Kesher website at www.gokesher.org. We encourage anyone interested in both NFTY in Israel and Taglit-Birthright Israel to participate in NFTY in Israel while still in high school due to the increased depth of the program when combined with a later trip to Israel on the Taglit-Birthright Israel experience.
Please refer to the “Why NFTY?” section on our website.
If you’ve already registered, please refer to the Bulletin #1 summer handbook, which has everything you need to know about the summer trip. Questions may be directed to our North American staff at (212) 452-6517 or by email at nftyisrael@urj.org.