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Israel Experience

What is the Israel Experience?

The Israel Experience is a financial incentive program administered by Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York (Federation). Its purpose is to help provide Jewish youth with financial means to visit and study in Israel.

How does it Work?

A parent or account guardian opens an Israel Experience account by completing an application form and making deposits into an account for the benefit of a child.

For every $1.75 that is deposited into a child’s account during a calendar year, Federation matches $1 on December 31st of that year, to a maximum of $100 annually for a lifetime maximum of $1,000. Additionally, interest will be paid on December 31st on the balance in the account on December 31st of the previous year. When a child is ready to take a trip to Israel, the account guardian provides trip information to Federation and Federation forwards the account funds directly to the trip provider.

Who is eligible to participate in the Israel Experience program?

Any child whose Israel Experience account guardian (parent or grandparent) supports Federation’s annual campaign with a minimum $50 gift is eligible to participate in the Israel Experience program. The child and account guardian must reside in Federation’s service area at the time the account is established and the child must reside in Federation’s service area for matches to be made.

At what age may an Israel trip be taken?

Research has shown that a trip to Israel can have a most profound effect on high school and college students. To that end, it is recommended that trips be taken between the completion of a student’s sophomore year in high school and sophomore year in college.

Understanding that other options might be requested, Israel Experience funds can be used between the ages of 12 and 25.

May family/friends deposit more than $175 to an individual account in a year?

Yes, they may deposit more than $175 in an account, but Federation will only match the first $175 deposited. (Federation’s maximum match is $100 per year.) Interest will be paid on all family/friend deposits made to the account.

What is an approved Israel program?

An approved program is one that emphasizes an enriching Jewish learning or living experience in Israel. A list of approved programs is maintained at Federation. The Israel Experience Committee will consider requests for other programs.

What if the cost of the trip is different from the amount in the Israel Experience account?

If the cost of the trip exceeds the value of the Israel Experience account, the parent or account guardian is responsible for additional trip costs. If the cost of the trip is less than the value of the Israel Experience account, there are a few options. The account can remain active for a future trip, or with certain limitations, the funds can be transferred to a sibling’s account, or the excess funds are prorated and returned to the account guardian, synagogue, and Federation, as if the account was closed.

How is the Israel Experience account disbursed?

The Israel Experience account is disbursed by Federation, upon appropriate notice, directly to the trip provider.

What if trip participation is canceled after funds have been paid?

When Federation disburses funds to the trip provider, the trip provider is notified to return all funds to Federation if the participant cancels. The parent/account guardian is responsible for all non-refundable fees charged by the trip provider. In cases where non-refundable fees are deducted from Federation’s contribution, those fees will be deducted from the family/friend portion of the account. If the deducted fees exceed the family/ friend value of the account, the remainder of the charges will be deducted from the interest portion of the account.

For more information contact Amy Drucker, 783-7800 ext. 229 or email adrucker@jewishfedny.org.

This program is generously sponsored by M&T Bank

M&T Bank

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York
Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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