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BRI’s Vision, Mission, and Operations

Insights from January 3 Seminar in Jerusalem



  1. This document is a summary of the main insights raised by BRI leadership and stakeholders in a seminar which took place on January 3, 2011 at the BRI offices in Jerusalem.

  2. The backdrop for this reassessment process are major trends affecting Birthright’s playing field, as well as the recent decision by the Government of Israel to significantly increase it support for the program, thereby allowing the organization to grow exponentially in the coming years.

  3. The Jerusalem meeting was the second part of a strategic seminar which began in NYC on November 2010. The goal of the NY seminar was to reevaluate Birthright’s Vision, Mission, Strategy, and Unique Value Proposition for the year 2020. The outcome was the compilation of a series of mission statements and values which could serve as guidelines for future decisions made by BRI’s management team (see attached mission statements).

  4. As a follow-up to the NYC seminar, BRI stakeholders recently met again in Jerusalem to discuss some of the operational issues and challenges facing Birthright today. Specifically, the focus of the recent seminar was to map out the dilemmas related to the issues of participant eligibility and sustainability of the organization.

  5. The Reut Institute has been invited by BRI’s management team to help facilitate this re-visioning process. The following is a summary of the main issues raised in the meeting.


Eligibility Criteria

  1. Birthright's purpose and mission, as outlined in the NYC seminar is: "To secure a birthright gift for every eligible young adult to have a transformative Israel experience that strengthens their Jewish identity and connects them to the Jewish people and to Israel."

  2. Participants were asked to zoom-in on the word ‘eligible’ and assess whether today's criteria are still relevant and whether they should be modified in light of the expected growth in funding.

  3. Today's eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Participants must have at least one Jewish parent (in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, at least one Jewish grandparent);

  • Age 18-26, living outside of Israel;

  • No previous (group and educational) trip to Israel.

Overtime, the following exceptions were made:

  • Participants who have been to Israel but for a period of less than seven days;

  • Children of Israeli parents who left before the age of 12.

BRI’s Vision, Mission, and Operations


Jewish Peoplehood

The New Contract: Jewish Peoplehood

The fundamental question at hand is as follows: How can Birthright shift the balance away from ‘good-will giving’ towards greater financial sustainability?

קראו את הגרסה בעברית

Israeli-Diaspora Relations, Jewish Peoplehood, Nation-State, Zionism

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