February 12 – 20, 2024
March 25 – April 2, 2024
Registration is now open!
Come join Jewish eighth graders from all over Chicago and embark on a journey to remember. You’ll explore must-see spots in Israel, dive into immersive, educational experiences and make life-long connections. Your IsraelNow trip awaits!
Get a taste of what to expect
IsraelNow trips are packed with different opportunities to get immersed in Jewish culture and history and connect with Israelis and the land. There are even Track Days where participants can customize their trip to their preferences.
Visit historical sites and museums and go on an archaeological dig.
Explore Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the breadth of Israeli culture in both.
Make friends with Israelis and engage in social justice projects.
Trek through the Negev desert and swim in the Dead Sea.
Mark your calendar
Find the latest IsraelNow trip, info session and orientation dates for the city of Chicago.
“I absolutely want to go back! The whole time, I felt so welcome, and I made so many new friends (Israeli and American). To me, Jewish identity is about people. Israel was the place where I felt like I met my best friends in a week, and everywhere we went I thought ‘wow, these people understand me.'”
– IsraelNow Alum
“I’ve made new friends, I’ve learned new things, I’ve grown a stronger connection to Israel and Judaism. I had such a fun time with the people and things in Israel on this trip. Everywhere we went, I was amazed. Even more amazed than the first time I came to Israel this past summer. It was an amazing experience!”
– IsraelNow Alum
“Going on this trip was one of the greatest decisions that I have made. I have created so many bonds with new kids and staff. Everyone was so welcoming on the trip and made me feel such a strong connection to Israel. This trip has just helped me see the start of what my life can be like in the future as a Jew. Thank you for giving me this experience, IsraelNow!!”
– IsraelNow Alum
“It was such an amazing experience being able to connect with people through your religion knowing that while we all were very different, we had one thing in common. I don’t get to do that very often because most people in my school aren’t Jewish.”
– IsraelNow Alum
Frequently asked questions for Chicago
Check out these top questions for Chicago families and visit our IsraelNow FAQ page for more answers.
The IsraelNow program fee is all-inclusive, including airfare. The trip is subsidized by both IsraelNow Education Foundation and The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. The total subsidized price per participant is $2,950 for our 2024 trips.
We invite any family in a position to do so to cover JUF’s contribution and pay a total of $4,400. The additional payment of $1,450 will go towards scholarships for IsraelNow and is fully tax deductible. A receipt will be provided upon request.
Chicago’s IsraelNow program, in partnership with Jewish United Fund, offers the following:
- B’NAI MITZVAH JUF CERTIFICATE: Apply the teen’s JUF $120 B’nai Mitzvah Israel Experience Certificate.
- JUF SKIP PROGRAM: Teens enrolled in the JUF’s SKIP (Send a Kid to Israel Program) may use a portion or all of their available funds. To learn if you are enrolled in SKIP, please contact email@example.com.
- NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIP: Families with greater financial need may apply for scholarship AFTER completing the IsraelNow application by clicking on the following link: FACTS Financial Aid Application. Financial aid applicants will be notified of awards at the end of November, following the meeting of the JUF Scholarship Committee. If you have questions about the FACTS application, please call the FACTS helpline at 866-315-9262, 7AM-9PM Monday-Friday and Saturday 8AM-2PM.
The IsraelNow Chicago trip cancellation timeline is as follows:
Cancellation on or Before September 22, 2023
A family that gives Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) and IsraelNow Education Foundation (INEF) written notice of cancellation on or before Before September 22, 2023, and completes the IsraelNow withdrawal form will be eligible for a full refund, including the deposit.
Cancellation between September 23- November 15, 2023
A family that gives JUF/INEF written notice of cancellation between September 23- November 15, 2023 and completes the IsraelNow withdrawal form, will be eligible for a refund of all money paid to JUF less $500.
Cancellation after November 15, 2023
No refunds will be granted after November 15, 2023. A family must still complete and submit the JUF/INEF withdrawal form to formally withdraw from the program.
Parents may use our letter to help explain the IsraelNow program and educational experience that can be shared with schools and teachers. Please click here for February and here for March’s letters.
- Yes! As a part of building our IsraelNow community and getting to know your teen, there are three pre-trip orientations for our participants. You can find these dates on the specific trip timeline after you register. Parents/ guardians are expected to attend the final orientation with their teen.
- In addition, our staff arranges a family conference with the teen and parents/guardians to learn more about our participants and answer any questions.
- There is also a reunion following the trip, which is optional, but a great way to stay connected to IsraelNow friends.
Our hope is that you build off the amazing experiences you have on IsraelNow when you return from your trip.
- Make sure to check out the Community Calendar regularly and follow Springboard on Instagram, to stay up to date on great programs happening this summer and fall.
- Learn about Access Grants that can help reduce the cost of your first multi-day program like a convention, retreat, or Shabbaton.
- Meet with a member of the Springboard team in person at ice cream or coffee shops or online to have one-on-one conversations and discover the programs are the best fit for you.
Please sign into our CampInTouch portal to access all your forms.
IsraelNow Chicago Staff
Sam Rodin, Director of IsraelNow Chicago
Sam Rodin is excited to be working with IsraelNow as the Chicago Director. Israel education is a passion of Sam’s, and he has been working in this field for over 15 years in synagogue settings, travel programs, and international leadership fellowships. Sam grew up in the Chicagoland area, received a BA from Indiana University, and an MA from Spertus Institute in Chicago. When not traveling to Israel, Sam loves to walk his dog, play with his cat, run around with his three young boys, and spend time with his wife.
Here are some of Sam’s IsraelNow highlights:
Favorite stop on the itinerary- Sataf hike, or any hike where we get to explore the beautiful nature of Israel.
Favorite Snack- Bissli or Ice Cream
Something you will always find in Sam’s Suitcase- An extra hat
Daniella Elyashar, Director of Community Engagement, IsraelNow Chicago
Daniella is thrilled to join the IsraelNow team! She has worked with diverse groups of children, teens and young adults in experiential education frameworks both in Israel and the US. As a British-born Israeli who moved to Chicago in 2021, building meaningful connections has always been her top priority, and she is passionate about creating educational spaces for teens to thrive in. Daniella’s most recent role was as the assistant director at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, where she met her husband Adam in 2017! She obtained her BA in Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and holds a Leadership Certificate from the Spertus Institute in Chicago. She loves cooking, baking bread and is a big Pilates fan!
Here are some of Daniella’s IsraelNow highlights:
Favorite stop on the itinerary- The Culinary Workshop with Israeli chefs
Favorite Snack- Delicious Dark Chocolate
Something you will always find in Daniella’s Suitcase- Cat hairs on her clothes from her orange cat
Please fill out the form below to get in touch with the IsraelNow Chicago Team or call us at (312) 673-3485.