Shalom Life | November 10, 2014

Birthright Honeymoons To Israel Are Now A Thing

Honeymoon Israel hopes to bring North American newlyweds on a near fully subsidized trip to Israel to help keep the Jewish faith alive

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: October 31st, 2014 in News » Israel

Birthright Honeymoons To Israel Are Now A Thing

If you’re a newlywed between the ages of 25 and 40, and have always dreamed of going to visit Israel but couldn’t afford the full trip then you’re in luck. A new program, Honeymoon Israel, is looking to bring newly married or committed life partners on a nine-day tour through Israel that’s similar to the Taglit-Birthright program for students.

Honeymoon Israel was founded by Mike Wise and Avi Rubel. Although both men are American, according to The Jewish Daily Forward, they both have a background in planning and organizing Jewish events. Wise, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, and Rubel, the North American director of Masa, met at a conference on Jewish Engagement in Israel back in 2013. Rubel happened to be in the audience during Wise’s pitch and he was instantly drawn to the idea.

Currently the pair, and Honeymoon Israel, have raised the initial funding required to launch two pilot trips in the spring of 2015. They claim to have received over a million in funding from an anonymous Jewish family organisation. The first test run will include 20 couples from Los Angeles and Phoenix, while the second one will include 20 couples from Los Angeles and Atlanta, the report explains. The program will target groups of newlyweds in specific locations, as opposed to sending couples from across the country all at once.

“For us, the real focus is on what happens after the trip. The whole point is to keep emerging Jewish families connected to Jewish life, and that’s why it’s important that they know each other,” explained Rubel to The Jewish Daily Forward. ”Israel is a powerful catalyst and experience, and it provides an opportunity to take people out of their normal atmosphere and give them a Jewish experience.”

These honeymoon trips to Israel will span over nine days, and cost participants $1,500 to participate, although they claim that with the amount put in by Honeymoon Israel the trip costs closer to $10,000. The couple can be interfaith, or fully Jewish, but one or more of them has to not have any previous serious engagement with the Jewish faith or have been on a trip to Israel. Couples can be of any sexuality, and must have been married in the last 3 to 5 years.

The goal of Honeymoon Israel is to bring thousands of North American couples to Israel in the hopes of renewing or instilling their faith in the Jewish tradition. Wise explains to The Jewish Daily Forward that, “So far, while testing the idea in pre-launch, beta testing mode, couples are responding enthusiastically to the idea and we’re expecting a waiting list.”

For more information you can visit www.honeymoonisrael.org, which is slated to go live come November 15th.

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