Passport To Israel

How often do your synagogue and the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts offer to give you money? There is one occasion where that happens.

Look at the Passport to Israel program, a collaborative effort between your synagogue and the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts to provide an incentive savings program for you to set aside money for your child's trip to Israel. One of the most successful community-wide collaborative efforts ever, this program has been in place for many years and has aided dozens of families from Central Massachusetts to send their teen age children to Israel.

It's a simple program that works in a very simple way. You and your synagogue combine to contribute $200 per year to the program, starting as early as the third grade. That money goes into an investment account which earns interest over the years. At the time of your child's trip to Israel, the JFCM will contribute $100 for each year you and your synagogue have contributed. Those families who started in the third grade and have children finishing their junior year in high school this year have over $3,000 set aside to defray the cost of their trip to Israel this summer.

If your child does not go on a peer trip to Israel during high school, you and your synagogue get your money returned.

Everyone agrees that traveling to Israel is a pivotal experience for most Jews, especially young people. "When we arrived in the Holy Land I couldn't even put together the words to express the overwhelming joy I had to finally be in Israel" wrote Lauren from Westborough after her trip to Israel and eastern Europe last summer. "I expected to have a great time on this trip" she continued, "but I had never imagined coming home with a stronger Jewish identity and such a powerful connection to Israel."

"Being in Israel made everything seem so real. Seeing the Jewish homeland firsthand made every biblical story seem that much more realistic, and gave me a new sense of belief in Judaism" recounts Jillian from Worcester. On being at the Western Wall in Jerusalem she added "just to get a chance to touch this beautiful wall that has stood for thousands of years was a much more meaningful experience than I could have ever imagined. It was amazing to participate in something that many Jews only dream of doing,an experience I am so thankful I got the chance to have."

There are countless stories and examples of young people having experiences on teenage trips to Israel that last a lifetime. The community thinks this is so important that this successful program has been in place for many years and is one of the finest examples of what we can do when we work together.

Enrollment is open for all children in grades 3 7 who are enrolled in a program of formal Jewish education and whose families are members of participating congregations. Beth Tikvah Synagogue and B'nai Shalom in Westboro along with Worcester synagogues Congregation Beth Israel, Temple Emanuel and Temple Sinai are all included in this terrific program.

For any family that aspires for their children to have this experience, the Passport to Israel Program is a "no brainer." It is one of the best examples of a Jewish community with shared values and common goals working together for our future.

If you would like more information regarding this program contact .