The Taglit-Birthright Israel program has brought hundreds of thousands of young American Jews to Israel in the past 14 years; now, a new Hebrew track in partnership with the Israeli-American Council (IAC) seeks to widen that Israel experience.
Under the new program, which is entitled IAC Shelanu, Israeli-Americans aged 18-26 will be able to experience Israel in Hebrew through an immersive 10-day trip to the Holy Land.
"The Israeli-American Community is excited to be able to provide this wonderful opportunity to our future leaders," IAC National Board Member Adam Milstein remarked.
As Milstein stated, the goal of the program, which will launch in December, is to reconnect to Israel those who could be the future leaders of the Jewish community in America vis-a-vis the Jewish state.
Around 17% of second-generation Israelis who migrate to the US are married to non-Jews, according to a recent study by the Israeli polling company Migdam conducted for IAC. Hebrew fluency was also found to plunge from 53% to 19% for Israelis living in the US over ten years, the study revealed.
Through the new IAC Shelanu program, those with a weakening connection to Israel are provided with an experience of the Jewish state to reconnect them with their Jewish and Israeli identity, deepening their knowledge of their history and culture.
In particular, IAC Shelanu seeks to identify potential leaders in its selection process; after the trip ends participants will be followed up on to ensure they receive a positive influence from the experience, through such means as an alumni program.
"There is no better way to inspire our young generation, ignite their spirit, and connect them to their Jewish-Israeli heritage and the State of Israel, than to bring them to Israel with IAC Shelanu and let them see with their own eyes the history, land, and miracles of our start-up nation," commented Milstein.
Remarking on the goals of the program, Milstein added “IAC Shelanu will develop our future leaders, strengthen and build the connection between Jewish and Israeli life, and greatly impact our community for the future."