Alternative Spring break FAQS
Who is this program meant for?
This program is meant for Jewish undergraduate college students, during the university spring
break. Some students will come as cohorts with their Hillel professionals, and others can join
the general group during your respective dates. It doesn’t matter how often you have been to
Israel (or even if you were born in Israel), but this program is not ideal for someone who has
never been to Israel; you will not be touring the country in the typical Birthright program.
*Non-Jewish TAMID members who are alumni of Onward Israel programs are also eligible for
Will I still be eligible for a Birthright Israel trip or another Onward program?
Yes! Participating in this volunteer program will not disqualify you from a future Birthright Israel
trip or Onward program, provided that all other eligibility requirements are met.
Will there be an orientation before I arrive in Israel?
Yes, there will be a virtual orientation prior to your arrival in Israel as well as an in person
orientation on the first day of the program.
Do I need to speak Hebrew?
No, you don't need to speak Hebrew but it's always a plus!
What is the cost of the program? What is covered? What is not covered?
The entire cost of the program is $1,400 USD, but upon completion of the program you will
receive a $700 subsidy. The cost includes roundtrip transatlantic flights from NYC or MIA and
the $50 Taglit program fee. In addition to the airfare, your housing, transportation to/from TLV
airport, transportation to volunteering, basic health insurance and organized activities are
You are responsible for any additional travel required to or from NYC/TLV.
In addition to the $1,400 program costs, there is a $250 refundable deposit, which you will
receive back as long as you complete the program in good standing.
What type of insurance policy is provided? What additional insurance do I need to provide?
Basic health insurance is included in the program fee. You will need to show proof of additional
health insurance for pre-existing conditions not covered by the health policy.
Basic health insurance will not cover injuries directly connected to the war, however the State
of Israel by law does cover such damages for anyone legally in the country.
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to Israel.
Will there be an opportunity to meet Israelis?
Yes, the program will foster opportunities to make social connections with Israelis who are also
volunteering in similar enterprises and also includes social experiences with mifgashim (local
Will there be free time when I’m not volunteering?
Yes, when you aren’t volunteering or participating in other Onward programming there will be
Are there staff on the program?
Yes—our programs are staffed by full time professionals who run our Onward Israel programs
for college students. We are there to support you socially and logistically while you are in Israel.
There will also be Hillel International involved at various times on the ground.
Will I be able to observe Shabbat and Kashrut on the program?
Yes, there are no volunteer assignments on Shabbat and you will be able to observe Shabbat
and Kashrut according to your practice. Since these programs are only one week, it is crucial
that you depart the US on Saturday night (after Shabbat on ElAl). As such, you may need to get
to Miami or NYC before Shabbat, depending on where you go to school.
There are synagogues in the area of the housing.
Please note we can't guarantee that your roommates will share the same level of observance,
however, we will do our best to match you accordingly.
What transportation will be provided once I arrive in Israel?
Transportation to and from the airport, as well as the volunteer placements will be provided.
Travel to volunteer placements may take up to an hour in each direction.
Can I take public transportation?
You are not required to take public transportation for volunteering, however, you may use
public transportation in your free time in line with Israeli Civil Defense instructions.
Will there be access to WIFI?
Yes, there will be WIFI access in all housing accommodations. There may not be WIFI access at
the volunteer sites, therefore a mobile phone with data is required.
What happens if I need to leave the program before it ends?
Participation in the entirety of the program, from the first official day until the final day is
mandatory. Orientation and closing program activities are included in the program dates.
Participants are required to be in Israel for all portions of the program.
In the event of a personal emergency, costs associated with leaving early (flight changes,
transportation etc) are the responsibility of the participant. Additionally, you will lose your $250
Will the housing accommodations have a safe room?
Yes, all accommodations will have a safe room or a shelter within the building.
I have friends or family in Israel, can I stay with them?
During the dates of the program, all participants are required to stay in the Onward
accommodations. Since this is a very short program, and you need to get back to campus, there
is very little time to see friends or family outside of Tel Aviv. We suggest you plan another trip
back to see them.
If you are in Israel before or after the program begins and ends, you are responsible for your
own accommodations and can choose to stay with friends or family.
Can I stay in Israel after the program is over?
Yes. You will be responsible for your own accommodations, health insurance, and general
safety once the program has ended.
What will happen if the security situation on the ground in Israel worsens during my stay?
In the event that the situation in Israel worsens, we will make adjustments to the program
including relocation of the group if warranted. Since we booked your transatlantic flights, we
will adjust your flights in the very unlikely situation that the program would need to end early.
What happens if my program is cancelled?
You will receive a refund for your flight and your program fee.