Record Number of Young Jews Sign up for Birthright
Over 40,000 people signed up, with space for only 15,000
More North Americans are signing up for Birthright trips than ever with a record 40,108 Jews between ages 18-26 signing up for a free 10-day trip to Israel this summer.
“We see Taglit-Birthright Israel turning into a real rite of passage for a majority of young Jews worldwide and we hope many thousands more will come to Israel,” Yoel Edelstein, chairman of Taglit-Birthright Israel’s steering committee and Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, reports Ynet.
This year’s registration was both the shortest and also had the most competition, with only a seven-day window to register- from February 15 to 22.
1,000 people signed up in the first minute.
Only a fraction of the 40,000 applicants will get the chance to go on Birthright as funding for the May to August trips only covers approximately 15, 000 North Americans.
In total, 33,000 Jews worldwide will go on Birthright in 2011.
Birthright is trying to up that number to 51,000 by 2013. To that end, Israel announced in January it would give $100 million in funding.
“Our goal to bring one in every two young adults to Israel is readily achievable in terms of the demand we could do it this year if we had the funding,” said Birthright Israel Foundation President Robert P. Aronson, reports Ynet.