1. What’s included in the cost of the program?
The cost of the program includes international roundtrip airfare to and from Israel, luggage insurance, adult supervision, accommodations, meals, basic medical coverage while traveling with JCC Maccabi Israel, and the complete touring program (including guided tours, admissions and ground transportation).
Not included are: passport fees, U.S.; individual spending money; tips for tour guide and driver.
2. What role does Judaism play?
JCC Maccabi Israel is not religiously or politically affiliated. Our participants experience Judaism in the most meaningful and pluralistic way. Guided by our staff, our participants celebrate Shabbat as a group. We do not use transportation on Shabbat. We encourage our participants to explore various Jewish customs and observances. We believe that Shabbat is a very special time, especially in Israel, and we do “take a break” from the hustle and bustle of the program to experience it in a reflective and restful way. All food that we provide is Kosher.
3. Who are the group staff (madrichim)?
We believe that staff (madrichim) is one of the most integral pieces to the success of the program. We therefore seek out the most qualified individuals to lead our programs. Each bus has American madrichim (counselors) plus an Israeli tour guide and armed chaperone. American madrichim are at least 21 years old, have been to Israel before and have experience working with youth in an informal and/or formal setting. Our Israeli staff have experience working with American youth. The tour guides are licensed through the Ministry of Tourism
4. Who are the participants in the JCC Maccabi Israel?
JCC Maccabi Israel programs can be divided into two types of groups. Community based groups and camp groups. Community based trips, are groups of teens coming from the same community (JCC, JCC Summer camp, Federation) . The trip is built and designed with cooperation of the community; usually some of the American madrichim come from the community. In some cases JCCs may team together to fill a bus, bringing together teens from multiple centers.
5. What about accommodations and transportation?
JCC Maccabi Israel programs stay at modern youth hostels, dormitories, field schools, kibbutz guesthouses, hotels and a few nights under the stars. These accommodations are well suited for travel in Israel and have both dining halls and recreational facilities. Accommodations are based on 3-4 people in a room. A private, modern, air conditioned bus is used for travel.
6. Do I need spending money?
You will need spending money to buy your family and friends lots of great presents from Israel, as well as a falafel or two for you. Based on our experience, we recommend $100 – $175 a week. Of course, should you want to bring more, you can.* Our staff also exchanges money for the group.
* We highly recommend www.payoneer.com, for a prepaid MasterCard
7. What about my laundry?
Laundry is done “camp style” approximately every ten to fourteen days. Our staff calls a laundry service that comes and picks up the dirty laundry and usually returns it the next day. Each participant should bring a laundry bag that will identify his or her clothing. Availability of laundry service is dependent on where the group is located.
8. What type of luggage should I bring?
Bring only one main piece of luggage. Usually a duffle on wheels with a handle is best. Pack a soft gym bag as well, a “three-day” bag as we call it. On weekends when you stay in an Israeli home, or sleep outdoors, you will pack everything you need in this smaller bag, leaving your main luggage stored safely away.
9. What if I get hurt or sick?
Israel has a modern medical system, should a participant get hurt or feel sick we will arrange for him/her to see a physician and get all the necessary treatment. He/she will be escorted by a staff member at all times.
Medical services and insurance coverage for illness/injury while on a JCC Maccabi Israel trip is provided throughout the program and is included in the cost of the program. Coverage does not include dental treatment, eye glasses or drug abuse.
10. What are the ages of participants in the program?
Participants are generally 16-18 years old. Participants in the program should be at the age of 15 by May first, the year of the program.
11. Will there be time to see my family or friends during the trip?
Yes, all groups will have free weekend to spend with family or friends. Parents need to sign the friends and family hospitality release form which includes all the details about the hosting family. Should participants choose not to spend free time with family or friends then there is an option to stay at the hotel under staff supervision for the weekend.
12. Can I still go on Birthright if I go on a JMI trip?
Yes, Taglit Birthright recently opened eligibility to those who attended a peer trip to Israel before the age of 18. This change was announced in January 2014.