In this week’s edition of What Alumni Are Saying we’re hearing from participants from New Jersey. Since Birthright Israel’s inception, 72,305 young Jewish adults from New Jersey have received this life-changing gift.…
The Mifgash FactorNovember 27, 2018 at 10:30 am
Mifgash means “encounter” in Hebrew!
Thanks to feedback from trip participants, it has become one of the most meaningful aspects of the Birthright Israel trip. In the Mifgash, young Jews from around the world meet Israeli peers, most of whom are soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and together they create bonds of understanding that can last a lifetime.
On a typical Birthright Israel trip, six to eight Israelis join a Birthright Israel group for at least half of the trip. These young Israelis are full participants and become an integral part of the trip experience.
For North Americans, participation of the Israelis shifts the character of the Birthright Israel trip by bursting the “bubble” of the typical bus tour, turning it into something more profound.
The interaction and conversation with Israeli peers — on the bus, during visits to historical sites, in group and one-on-one discussions — allows young adults from abroad to learn first-hand about military service, Israeli society, politics, culture and family life as seen through the eyes of Israelis who are their age.
The impact on Israelis is equally profound. 100,000 young Israelis, to date, have participated in the Mifgash and their experience has had a transforming effect on next-generation Israel.
Birthright Israel conducted a survey with former Mifgash participants and the results solidified the importance of this program. When asked why they want to join the program, the most common answers were:
- To meet Jews from abroad
- To strengthen trip participants’ identity with Israel
- To help participants understand the importance of the Israeli army
- To strengthen their own Jewish identity
Did You Know?
- 83% felt that Birthright Israel contributed to their understanding of Jewish life in the Diaspora.
- 95% were extremely happy with the program.
- 78% felt “very strongly” that Birthright Israel strengthened the importance of their army service.
- 88% reported that it is “extremely” important to continue the Birthright Israel program.