Budget cuts will cause Birthright Israel to cut up to one-third of its trip participants in 2023 and beyond, the organization announced on Monday.

Citing inflation and rising travel expenses that have increased the per-person cost of the experience to $4,500, Birthright stated that it is “now seeking contributions from the wider American-Jewish community to maintain the organization’s provision of the critical program” that provides free 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish young adults.

“The significant cost increases of our program mean that we will not be able to accommodate as many applicants in the coming years, and we know that those who miss out on a Birthright trip are unlikely to travel to Israel at all,” Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark said in a statement. “There has never been a more critical need for Birthright Israel than now. Without a major immediate increase in fundraising, we will be hard-pressed to have the positive effect we’ve had on many individuals—and that will inevitably impact American Jewish organizations that are used to seeing enthusiastic young adults return from Israel and take major roles in the Jewish community. On average, nearly 60% of communal professionals in the U.S. are Birthright alumni.”

Birthright Israel Foundation President & CEO Izzy Tapoohi said there is a misconception that Birthright “is funded by just a few large donors, including the Government of Israel and the Adelson Family Foundation.”

“Birthright Israel Foundation’s support comes from donors at all levels, from alumni and parents to mid and large donors and today we call upon the entire Jewish community to help us maximize the number of future participants who can begin their Jewish journey on this critical program,” said Tapoohi.

American Jews who attend Birthright trips are 160% more likely to have a spouse who is Jewish, according to recently published analysis by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University.

JNS

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