Shalom Life | August 07, 2015

'Birthright Excel' a Success for 5th Year in a Row

The Excel program pairs students with Israeli businesses in the business and technology sectors

By: B. Shane Morganstein

Published: August 5th, 2015 in Business » Israel

'Birthright Excel' a Success for 5th Year in a Row

With record-high numbers of Jews attending the Taglit-Birthright program this year, it comes as no surprise that the Excel program, a subset of the birthright experience, has had its most successful iteration to date.

The 2-month internship, which pairs Jewish Canadian and American students with internships in Israel, aims to build lasting relationships for the participants with Israel. Though the 5th year of the program has just been completed, participants are already taking to social media and the internet to express their joy at having completed the program.

"My favorite thing [about the internship] was that I got to know what its like to bank in Israel," began Josh Benediva, a 20-year-old University of Chicago student who spent his summer working as an analyst for Ernst Young Israel. "I got the best professional experience because of the nature of the market in Israel, in terms of work experience."

In addition to interning, participants are also introduced to high-profile individuals in the Israeli business and technology sectors, attend workshops led by industry leaders, and are given the opportunity to travel the country. Participants are also paired with an Israeli of the same age, to not only provide lessons in Israeli culture, but to also establish a deeper connection with the State of Israel.

"The Birthright Excel Program, currently in its 5th year, allows outstanding students from the United States and Canada the opportunity to intern with leading companies in Israel and gain a better look into Israel's society," explained Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel.

"Known for its innovative startup scene and entrepreneurial spirit, I believe that Israel is the ideal place for them to make their first steps in the business world," he continued.

This year's program, which hosted 44 students from 27 academic institutions across Canada and the USA, concluded today at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Many high-profile businessmen will be in attendance, including Shai Babad, director-general of Israel's Finance Ministry, Yoram Tietz, Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Israel, and David Gappell, director of the Schusterman Foundation-Israel.

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