About 2,000 Birthright Israel participants from 45 states and provinces in North America are scheduled to land in Israel this month and next for the first trips of 2022.

The flights, which begin this weekend, mark Birthright Israel’s return after a series of suspensions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After a long hiatus, we are excited and honored to bring back so many participants from North America on these important and exciting tours to Israel,” said Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark.

The following list represents the number of participants arriving in February and March from each state or province in North America: Alabama: 1; Alaska: 3; Arizona: 1; California: 54; Colorado: 19; Connecticut: 13; Delaware: 1; Washington, D.C.: 10; Florida: 42; Georgia: 1; Hawaii: 1; Illinois: 18; Indiana: 2; Iowa: 2; Kansas: 1; Kentucky: 2; Louisiana: 2; Maine: 1; Manitoba, Canada: 1; Maryland: 17; Massachusetts: 33; Michigan: 8; Minnesota: 1; Mississippi: 1; Missouri: 3; Montana: 2; Nevada: 4; New Hampshire: 5; New Jersey: 28; New Mexico: 1; New York: 100; North Dakota: 12; Ohio: 20; Ontario: 2; Oregon: 3; Pennsylvania: 30; Rhode Island: 7; South Carolina: 3; Tennessee: 3; Texas: 16; Vermont: 3; Virginia: 8; Washington: 7; and Wisconsin: 7.

“I am so excited to go on my Birthright Israel trip next month,” said Kayla Dinsfriend, a chef and culinary educator from Sitka, Alaska. “I have been looking forward to this for so long, it almost doesn’t seem real! I can’t wait to step into the life and culture of Israel, and eat all I can along the way.”

Kayla Dinsfriend. Credit: Courtesy of Birthright Israel.

The 2020 outbreak of the coronavirus led to a break that ended in May 2021, before the Delta variant grounded the trips again. This was followed by a suspension due to Omicron in December, when the program was forced to cancel despite 3,000 young people from North America having registered to participate.

Now, Birthright Israel organizers remain positive about the future as they greet the February and March participants, and look forward to the summer when they will welcome an additional 15,000 North American young people along with others from around the world.

The summer season, which launches in May, will be the last opportunity for those aged 27-32 to participate in a Birthright Israel trip. Starting in the winter of 2023, the trips will be restricted to those aged 18-26.

“We expect to bring about 3,000 young adults from around the world in the next two months, and during the summer, we expect about 15,000 from North America and nearly 20,000 worldwide,” said Mark. “Our summer trips are filling up quickly, and we are optimistic that we will now be able to accommodate the 100,000 North American young adults that signed up for a trip over the last two years and couldn’t travel.”

Participants must be fully vaccinated. Birthright Israel continues to work closely with Israel’s Ministry of Health to ensure a comprehensive COVID protocol, taking care of all participants’ needs while in Israel.

JNS

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