The Jewish Foundation Board of Trustees formally approved funding for the Israel grant initiative on November 10, 1999.
The only factors that are considered are age, Jewish status, and permanent geographical ties to the greater Cincinnati area. Review the full list of eligibility requirements for high school travel grants and post-high school travel grants.
All grantees must agree to complete a survey regarding their Jewish attitudes and behaviors prior to their departure. They then must agree to complete follow-up surveys for up to 10 years. Grantees are also required to participate in a post-trip engagement program, Israel HERE, including at least 25 hours of volunteering in our community in the first year after they have returned from Israel.
The Foundation is pleased to fund an unlimited number of Israel travel grants, with grants of up to $8,000 per high school student (ages 16-18) and grants of up to $6,250 per post-high school young adult (ages 18-26 years old).
Please check with your individual trip provider to make sure your deposit is fully refundable.
The success of this program is due in large part to the collaboration of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. At the time the grant initiative was created, the Foundation Trustees determined that the organization most suited to run the program on a day-to-day basis was the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati is responsible for outreach, intake, program publicity, information, and referral on the range of available trips and trip providers; maintaining contact with parents while their children are in Israel; and all general administration.
During the first year the grants were offered, the number of individuals requesting grants exceeded expectations. With the onset of the Second Intifada, the number of applicants dropped. When the Intifada officially ended in 2005, the number of participants began rising dramatically.
The individuals who received grants reflect the diversity of Jewish practice in the Cincinnati area.
The Jewish Foundation commissioned an outside evaluator, the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), to assess the program during its first five years. Knowledge about and interest in the program grew substantially over that time period. JESNA also discovered that Israel became a topic around which the various and diverse segments of the Cincinnati Jewish community could come together.
The 2008 Cincinnati Jewish Community Study found that the emotional connection to Israel among Jewish young people in Cincinnati is much higher than for all other age groups (42% compared to 33%). National data usually show greater detachment from Israel for this age cohort. Recently, three trip cohorts were asked about the impact of their trips on their lives. Their reactions are described below. The first group visited Israel in 2007, the second visited in 2008 and the last group visited this past year. Regardless of how long ago the trip took place, the great majority of each age cohort now has a closer identification with the State of Israel. All cohorts similarly feel a closer connection with Jewish people and made new friends.
|Response||Went Two Years Ago||Went One Year Ago||Went This Past Year|
|I feel a closer identification with the State of Israel||82.7%||93.3%||80.0%|
|I am a better advocate for Israel||82.7%||66.7%||67.5%|
|I made new friends||80.8%||92.2%||97.5%|
|I feel a closer connection with Jewish people||78.8%||78.9%||77.5%|
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