Israel Travel

Grant FAQs

How long has The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati funded Israel travel grants for Jewish high school students and young adults?

The Jewish Foundation Board of Trustees formally approved funding for the Israel grant initiative on November 10, 1999.


What criteria are used to award grants?

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.


What are the grant recipients’ responsibilities?

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. 


What is the maximum grant award?

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).


What happens if I send a deposit to a trip provider and I do not get the grant?

Please check with your individual trip provider to make sure your deposit is fully refundable.


How do the grants funded by the Jewish Foundation compare with those in other Jewish communities?​

  • Columbus, Ohio, provides awards up to $1,500
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, provides teens with $750
  • Memphis, Tennessee, provides teens with a maximum of $3,500
  • Washington, D.C., provides a maximum of $1,700
  • Minneapolis Jewish teens receive a maximum of $1,000


Why are both The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati involved in this initiative?

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.


Have there been any trends in the use of the grants over time?

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.


Year High School Post-HS Total
FY2000 105 51 156
FY2001 42 22 64
FY2002 18 10 28
FY2003 24 26 50
FY2004 40 21 61
FY2005 76 26 102
FY2006 82 39 121
FY2007 114 31 147
FY2008 129 68 197
FY2009 105 21 126
FY2010 122 22 145
Total 857 339 1,197


What is the religious background of grantees?

The individuals who received grants reflect the diversity of Jewish practice in the Cincinnati area.


Affiliation Percentage
Chabad 1.9%
Conservative 31.5%
Humanist 2.9%
Lubavitch 1.4%
Orthodox 12.5%
Reconstructionist 0.4%
Reform 42.4%
Unaffiliated 7.0%
Total 100%


What have been some of the major outcomes of this initiative?

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%


Cincy Journeys

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