About 14,000 Birthright Israel participants from nearly 900 universities and colleges in North America are expected to land in Israel in the coming months as part of Birthright’s summer season.

The flights, which begin on May 1, mark Birthright Israel’s long-awaited return after a series of suspensions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The trips are an opportunity for North American students to have a life-changing experience in Israel with their college friends and meet new people from their campus. They are usually timed to coincide with the school’s summer and winter breaks.

“After a long hiatus, we are excited to bring back so many students from North America to these important and exciting tours to Israel. Many of these students are coming from college and university campuses where incidences of anti-Semitism are increasing, leaving them feeling beleaguered and isolated,” said Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark. “We know that after going on a Birthright trip, these students feel more confident.”

Colleges with the largest number of participants include the University of Michigan (585 students); the University of Florida (506 students); and the University of Wisconsin (424 students). See the full list of universities and colleges here.

Zachary Lech, 20, a Harvard University student studying government, is all set to go on an upcoming campus trip. Having grown up in a small town, Lech said that he had not experienced being part of “a vibrant Jewish community” before arriving on the Massachusetts campus.

He says he hopes to further his Jewish involvement through Birthright. “I went on a short trip to Israel when I was 10, but this is my first time really seeing the country,” he said. “I’m beyond excited to join the amazing people I’ve met here at Harvard on a trip to Israel to see for myself what Jewish life can really look like and to explore my culture.”

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