We do think NFTY is a great way to experience year-round teen-powered youth programming, grounded in the principles of leadership, ethical mitzvot, Torah, and Tikkun Olam. For more information about NFTY visit NFTY.org.
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 and Canada Participants and their families are responsible for their own domestic arrangements to and from the program’s departure city.
- International Flights – USA to Israel or Europe NFTY in Israel arranges your international flights from our group departure airport at the beginning, during (if applicable), and commencement of the program. We only book our groups on American, European, and Israeli airlines that comply with the all safety and security measures required to fly in the United States, Europe, and Israel.
- Meeting the Group in the Program Departure City Participants who fly to the departure city on their own are given explicit instructions for navigating the easy transfer from their domestic arriving airport or terminal to the departure terminal for their group international flight. NFTY in Israel staff is on hand on the days of departure and return to ensure that all participants make their connections safely.
- Teens coming from across North America will be placed in groups with other teens who have chosen to join the program independently. If you are not coming as part of a community group, there will always be others in your group coming on their own as well.
- Some of our partners in regional, synagogue, or community groups may organize a cohort of teens to attend together. We’ll make sure all the teens in a community cohort are placed in the same group.
- If you are attending with your URJ Camp community, you’ll travel in the same group with your friends from camp.
What is the typical group size? What are the gender dynamics? The typical group ranges from 35 – 42 participants. We welcome participants of all gender identities, most of whom identify as either girls or boys. The number of participants of each gender on any given bus can vary depending on the individual teens who choose to register.
Will I be placed with my friends? We will guarantee you are placed in a group with friends as long as you have:
- Registered on time
- Are participating in the same program
- You have the chosen the same trip dates
- 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 participants stay per room with a private bathroom and most accommodations 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 each day.
- A vegetarian option is always available.
- Nearly 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 certified Kosher food in Eastern Europe.
- Dietary restrictions can nearly always be accommodated if we are given sufficiently advance notice before the trip.
We recommend against bringing non-essential valuables that may be misplaced or damaged while traveling.
Health and Safety Questions
- Tour Educator (Age 25+)
- Group Leader (Age 25+)
- 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 or our URJ camping system. Each staff team is comprised of women and men, North Americans and Israelis.
All staff members participate in a thorough staff training orientation covering issues of education, health, safety, security, community building and contemporary adolescent issues. Our 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 group travels on their own bus in a Unit with up to 3 other groups. A senior supervisor travels with the Unit to supervise the educational program, staff and participants. The Senior Unit Supervisor is an accomplished Jewish educator and administrator.
Medical Coordinator – An individual with appropriate medical training travels with each unit of buses to manage care for each participant.
Senior Leadership – NFTY in Israel is supervised by senior URJ Youth professional staff in Israel and North America.
We enroll all participants on our programs in a travel medical insurance plan that covers most illness and injury during the trip. The insurance does not cover care for pre-existing conditions. We strive to provide the highest standard of medical care available, including:
- A medical coordinator attached to each unit of buses
- Access to English-speaking doctors
- Participants are always accompanied (24 hours a day if necessary) while visiting a physician or in the hospital
We believe that the health, safety and security of the teens entrusted to our care is always our highest priority. As such, we are exceedingly cautious and conservative. We review our itineraries on a daily basis to ensure that all groups are traveling on the safest and most appropriate routes. Each group has cell phones and a GPS tracker, and is in daily contact with the NFTY in Israel office in Jerusalem. We can make changes to the itinerary and programming at a moment’s notice. We are 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 in Israel’s Director in Israel and senior staff in New York are available 24 hours a day.
- NFTY in Israel’s office in New York is open 8 hours a day and we check voicemail every weekday.
- Each unit supervisor has a cell phone for immediate contact.
Are any special vaccinations needed for travel to Israel or Europe? For most travelers, the vaccines required by our vaccine policy are sufficient for safe travel to Israel and Europe. You may wish to consult the Centers for Disease Control website and your family doctor to determine if additional vaccines are advisable.
Taglit-Birthright Israel is a free 10-day trip exclusively for 18-26 year olds. While Birthright is a wonderful benefit for Jewish young adults, we believe the 3-5 weeks spent on a NFTY in Israel program provides a much deeper experience that provides the foundation for a strong, lasting connection with Israel and Judaism. We encourage anyone interested in both NFTY in Israel and Taglit-Birthright Israel to participate in NFTY in Israel while still in high school, knowing that they can still take advantage of the gift of Birthright when they are older.
For more information visit GoKesher.org.