This journey offers a fabulous tour to Israel for young adults with special needs. Through its dedicated and experienced staff and tour guides, great activities, and state-of-the-art specialized bus, the trip is designed for participants to have a comfortable and incredible journey.
This trip is exclusive with Israel Free Spirit, one of the Birthright Israel trip organizers, in partnership with Yachad. Birthright Israel gratefully acknowledges the support of the Azrieli Foundation.
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What are the trip dates?
Our trip is 10 days long. We run 2 trips a year, mid winter and spring. The trip leaves from New York.
What is the cost?
Our trip is FREE from New York! Participants from outside of New York are responsible to get to New York. When completing your application you will be asked to put down a $250 deposit (+$10 processing fee). This deposit will be refunded to you after you return from the trip or if you are not accepted. The only way to lose the deposit is if you are accepted on the trip but then cancel less than 65 days before the trip.
What is the trip like?
The trip consists of 10 days of travelling through Israel. We follow a typical schedule at a more relaxed pace. We choose more interactive, hands-on and accessible activities that speak to the strengths of our participants. Activities and tour sites include, jeeping, making chocolate, visiting the Kotel, Masada, Tel Aviv and other fun and important Israeli sites. We usually begin our trip with a few days in the North of Israel and then travel to Jerusalem and continue touring from there. In order to create the most successful and supportive environment for our participants, we stay in one hotel in the north and one in Jerusalem and travel out from there. We find this cuts down on unnecessary transitions and allows for a smoother and more successful travel experience on an already fast paced trip.
Who is eligible?
The trip is open to Jewish young adults age 18-32 years old with developmental or cognitive special needs living in North America. Applicants cannot have spent time on any organized peer trip/program in Israel after the age of 18. Eligibility is determined through our intake process. We take a total of 24 participants on each trip. If participants are unable to make it on the trip they applied for, they are added to a waitlist for the following trip. Applicants must have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of returning from the trip.
How is the trip staffed?
The trip is staffed by a Yachad Trip Leader, a Birthright Israel trip educator and 12 direct care staff. We provide 1 direct staff member for every 2 participants. We emphasize a peer support approach to staffing our trip to facilitate an inclusive Birthright Israel environment. Our staff have extensive experience and are highly skilled at working with our participants.
How do I apply?
- Follow instructions below for Birthright Israel application.
- We will send a medical form to be completed by the applicant’s physician.
- After completing the application you will be contacted to set up an intake appointment over the phone. Our intake process is very in depth and designed to make sure we are well equipped to support each participant to the very best of our ability and ensure the safest and most successful experience for them. The initial intake is conducted with a parent or guardian and takes between 45 minutes to an hour.
- After the initial intake we will ask to speak with 2-3 professionals (therapist, teacher, program director etc.) in the applicant’s life to help broaden our knowledge base.
- We like to get to know our applicants and will set up a video call or in person meeting depending on location to meet each applicant individually.
- If applicants take medication, we set up a separate call with parents/guardians/whoever administers to go over all medication information and protocol.
- After all information is gathered, applicants will be contacted with acceptance status.
- Further trip information will be made available once applicants have been accepted.
Our comprehensive intake process is what allows for our trips to be as successful and smooth as they are! We appreciate the patience and cooperation of everyone involved as we work hard to create a safe and successful program experience.
Instructions for Birthright Israel application: (you can only apply once the season has opened)
- Begin your application here.
- Use an email address you have access to, we recommend using a parent or guardian email as this will be the email used to send important, trip and application related information. Use the same email address for your Yachad application.
- When filling out the application make sure to select OU- Israel Free Spirit as your trip organizer. You must then select Yachad as your trip option.
- When completing your application you will be asked to put down a $250 deposit (+$10 processing fee). This deposit will be refunded to you after you return from the trip or if you are not accepted. The deposit will be held if you are accepted to a trip, but cancel after the allotted time for cancellation or fail to show up for your flight.
Testimonials from past trips
I’m amazed that we were able to experience so much of Israel’s history and culture in just a ten day trip. It was inspiring and so much fun! Thank you Taglit-Birthright, Israel Free Spirit, and Yachad!
Yachad Birthright is a once in a lifetime opportunity for so many young adults. It is a reminder that with the right combination of kindness, excitement, logistical organization, passion and sensitivity, anything is possible.
I loved the different side trips and the hotels. I was nervous at my Bat Mitzvah, but I did it. It was in the desert, on Masada.
Birthright was an absolutely amazing experience. I had been to Israel 3x with family before but going alone and with a group was a totally different perspective. What stood out to me was when we went to Yad Vashem and the western wall. I have so many new friends now because of birthright. The memories I have from the trip still haven’t left me.
Getting to staff the Yachad Birthright trip twice was an unbelievable experience. After being a participant in a previous birthright trip it was clear to me that the Yachad group brings a passion that is unparalleled. There is the purest desire to connect with our people and our land. This energy is felt and absorbed by all those who interact with our group.
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