Who is eligible for Ta’am Yisrael?
All Chicagoland area eighth-grade students are eligible to apply to attend Ta’am Yisrael.
- Participants are required to be enrolled in a continuing Israel educational program through the end of their 8th grade school year, and he/she is expected to enroll in a continuing Jewish educational program or other Jewish communal activity for the 9th grade year. Families whose son/daughter was enrolled in Jewish educational programs at a congregation for their 7th grade year are expected to fulfill their 8th grade requirement at that same congregation. Families with no congregational membership in recent years should contact the Ta’am Yisrael staff to discuss options for fulfilling this 8th grade and 9th grade requirement.
- Participants are required to submit all registration materials by the designated dates outlined in the Ta'am Yisrael 2017 Registration Timeline. Items not submitted on time may place acceptance at risk.
- All information provided in all components of the Ta’am Yisrael registration must be truthful, complete, and accurate. Submitting inaccurate or incomplete information, or omitting health or medication information which could affect a participant’s experience on Ta'am Yisrael, may place acceptance at risk, or be grounds for early dismissal from the program.
- Each participant and a parent must have a personal interview with a CFJE/Ta’am Yisrael representative. Parent and child must attend together.
- Participant is required to abide by the Ta’am Yisrael code of conduct.
- Participant and parent are required to participate in all scheduled participant and participant/parent orientations, respectively, per the schedule established by CFJE. The full list of orientation meetings can be found at www.taamyisrael.org after the High Holidays.
- Participant is required to participate in ongoing evaluative surveys following their participation in the program.
- Final date for acceptance of applications, pending availability, is November 1st, 2016.
What does Ta’am Yisrael cost?
The program fees that families pay for Ta'am Yisrael is all-inclusive, and includes airfare. Through generous support from the Jewish United Fund and other local foundations and funders, we are able to offer the Ta’am Yisrael experience at a significantly reduced program fee of $2,495 for February, and $2,795 for March, well below the actual cost of approximately $5,000 per participant; families who need to can reduce their program fees in multiple ways, outlined below. We ask that families who are able to please help assist participants who cannot afford the reduced program fees by paying as much of the full program costs as possible, above and beyond the $2,495 or $2,795. (Any contribution above the required program fees is tax-deductible and will receive a tax donation letter from CFJE/JUF).
Opportunities to reduce your program fees include:
- EARLY REGISTRATION $200 DISCOUNT: Register by September 16th and save $200 (if registering by September 16th this discount will automatically be reflected in your program fees).
- BAT MITZVAH $120 CERTIFICATE: Apply your JUF $120 Bar/Bat Mitzvah Israel Experience Certificate, which may be used for any Israel Experience program.
- JUF SKIP PROGRAM: Families enrolled in the JUF’s SKIP (Send a Kid to Israel Program) may use up to $500 of their SKIP funds (or $380 if also applying the $120 JUF Bar/Bat Mitzvah certificate). To learn if you are enrolled in SKIP please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIP: Families with greater financial need can apply for additional scholarship. The scholarship form is available in the registration portal. (You must first register for the Ta'am Yisrael program.)
Will my child still be eligible for Birthright?
Yes. Birthright Israel has recently changed their policies to accept alumni of longer-duration Israel experience programs. And even prior to that, Ta'am Yisrael alumni were accepted, since our program is not long enough to disqualify participants.
More importantly—8th grade is the perfect time for your child to go to Israel, and the impact Ta'am Yisrael makes on your child's Jewish identity will inform the decisions he/she makes throughout high school and college, from studying Hebrew to engaging in Jewish activities, from social circles to college choice, and beyond.
Who staffs Ta’am Yisrael?
Ta'am Yisrael staff is comprised of educational staff from CFJE/JUF; Congregational Educators and Rabbis; community program youth professionals and medical staff. All Ta'am Yisrael staff participates in extensive staff training, which includes CPR training. CFJE contracts with a highly regarded Israeli security company which provides security throughout the experience.
We went on a family trip to Israel—why should they go on Ta’am Yisrael?
Family trips to Israel are a wonderful experience to share with your children. But they're not a replacement for the peer experience that's so valuable to immersive educational experiences like camps and retreats. Experiencing Israel with peers and friends opens teenagers' hearts and minds to absorb the experience in an entirely new way, which leads to a long-term impact on their Jewish identity.