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L’Takayn Olam


Spend four weeks sightseeing, exploring, and engaging in service projects on a daily basis in Haifa, Jerusalem, and the Golan. Gain a true love and understanding of the Jewish homeland by planting new life into its soil, meeting and engaging with its people, and lending a hand to make it even better.

Highlights Include

Volunteering at Bet Sefer Yuvalim, a school for children with cerebral palsy, preparing and serving food at Beit Refael soup kitchen, handing out toys to children at Sha’arei Tzedek, Jerusalem Bird Observatory, Ein Gedi, Masada, and the Haifa Zoo.


What is USY Israel Pilgrimage?

For over 60 years USY has taken hundreds of teens to Israel and beyond, connecting them to the Jewish homeland. By experiencing Israel’s beauty and power alongside their peers, taking part in a variety of fun adventurous outdoor activities, and engaging in interesting educational discussions, teens will gain a new appreciation, understanding, and love for the Jewish homeland.

In addition to the basic Israel trip USY offers varying programs including authentic Israeli experiences and social-action focused trips, on which teens can meet and personally touch the lives of Israeli citizens, experiencing the country in a very unique and meaningful way.

We also offer combination trips, where teens can visit part of Europe and explore other significant sights of Jewish history before traveling to Israel. Destinations in Europe include Italy, Poland, Prague, and Germany.

What are the age requirements for this program?

USY Israel Pilgrimage programs are open to teens currently in grades 10-12.

What is the typical group size?

Each group is co-ed and will include 20-45 teens.

How is the program staffed?

Groups are led by five to seven staff members including a group leader, North American counselors, an Israeli counselor, and an Israeli medic. All staff members are qualified advisors, youth directors, teachers, and Conservative rabbis.

Additional support staff in Israel includes various knowledgeable lecturers, tour guides, and other USY personnel. All USY Summer Experience staff participates in an intensive training seminar prior to the trip.

How do teens travel on Israel Pilgrimage?

Teens travel on a fully equipped motor coach, driven by professionals. Whenever possible, we maintain the same drivers throughout the summer.

How do you approach security?

The safety and well-being of our teens has always been, and continues to be, our highest priority. Matters of security always take precedence over all other concerns.

Throughout the summer, trip itineraries are adapted as the situation dictates, in a manner to assure the safety of all participants. Changes to the trip may include travels routes, accommodations, and escalation of USY security protocols. We always scrupulously avoid “unsafe” destinations and venues. Our safety record is impeccable as we have decades of experience operating programs under all circumstances. For more information on our security protocols, please see the security Q&A.

What is the food like?

While traveling, teens will have the opportunity to taste the flavors of Israel. Three full, kosher meals and numerous snacks are provided each day. Food is provided by various caterers, hotels, and restaurants throughout Israel. Additionally, in some cities participants will be able to go out on their own for meals at select (delicious!) kosher restaurants.

Where do teens stay while traveling?

Teens stay in hotels and youth hostels, dormitory-style bases, field schools and kibbutz guesthouses. Additionally, two weeks of the trip are spent in Jerusalem, duration which time it’s our hope that the city will feel like a second home for participants.

Is there a community service component to your trips and what does it include?

During the course of the summer, teens will participate in 6 hours volunteer work with “Pioneer Of Tzedakah” Danny Siegel. Past projects include serving meals at soup kitchens, picking vegetables with Leket Yisrael for the hungry, and working with children with disabilities.

For teens who prefer more intensive service-focused travel, we offer L’Takayn Olam, which offers 35+ hours of volunteer work and the chance to experience Israel in a truly one-of-a-kind way— by meeting and helping Israel’s people through hands-on service and social action projects. Past projects include:

  • Volunteering at the RAMBAM Medical Center Children’s Hospital
  • Helping with various animal-related projects at the Haifa Zoo
  • Picking weeds, fruits & vegetables on a farm with Chava Shel Beit Zayit

What does the cost of this program include?

The cost of USY Israel Pilgrimage includes round trip flights from New York to Israel, room and board, an approved Israeli medical plan, sightseeing tours with professional guides, gratuities and admission fees. (Personal expenses and extra personal baggage are additional.)

Are there scholarships available?

Scholarships are available through USY regions, local congregations and their affiliated groups. For further information contact your synagogue, regional USY directory, or visit our scholarship database and Ways to Save page.

Who do I contact with additional questions?

If you have any questions about this or other USY summer programs, e-mail us at [email protected].

  • June 26-July 24, 2018
  • $ 6,400
    • Registration is closed for 2018
    • 29 DAYS
    • Grades 10-12*
    • *Current grade as of 2017-2018 school year


Sample Itinerary

**Based on 2016 itinerary. All schedules and activities are subject to change.

Day 1New YorkDepart from New York airport
Day 2Yemin Moshe, JerusalemArrive in Jerusalem; Settle into hotel
Day 3JerusalemExplore Jerusalem from the First & Second Temple Period; Tour the City of David and Southern Kotel
Day 4JerusalemVisit Yad Vashem; Volunteer at the Painter's House (Gardening project)
Day 5JerusalemVolunteer with Mitzvah Man, Danny Siegel; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 6JerusalemCelebrate Shabbat
Day 7HaifaTour Haifa; Participate in new volunteer placement orientation
Day 8HaifaVolunteer at project placement; Ride the Carmelit (underground funicular railway)
Day 9HaifaVolunteer at project placement; Visit National Museum of Science
Day 10HaifaVolunteer at project placement; Visit Yemin Orde Youth Village; Shop at the Grand Canyon Mall
Day 11HaifaVolunteer at project placement; Visit Bahai Gardens
Day 12HaifaClean up and swim at Student Beach; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 13HaifaCelebrate Shabbat
Day 14Daliat El-Carmel & HannatonVisit a Druze town; Participate in new volunteer project orientation
Day 15Hannaton, Tiberias & Kfar MandaTake part in volunteer project; Swim at Blue Beach
Day 16Hannaton & Kfar MandaPick vegetables for the hungry; Swim in Kibbutz Hannaton pool; Visit Kfar Manda and meet Arab teenagers
Day 17Holon & Old JaffaExperience Invitation to Silence exhibit at Israeli Children's Museum; Shop at Jaffa market
Day 18Tel Aviv & Ben Shemen ForestTour Independence Hall; Compete in USY's HaEvent games
Day 19Free WeekendTeens leave for free weekend
Day 20Free WeekendCelebrate Shabbat
Day 21Nes HarimHike and spelunk in the Bar Kochba caves; Volunteer at Nes Harim
Day 22Lehavim & SderotParticipate in forest work; Visit the city of Sderot
Day 23SatafContinue agricultural volunteer work; Go on a mini-hike in the hills of Jerusalem
Day 24Jerusalem & Kfar HanokdimVisit Ammunition Hill and Har Herzl; Take a camel ride Experience life in a Bedouin Tent
Day 25Massada/Ein GediHike Massada at sunrise; Hike Ein Gedi and Nachal David; Swim in the Dead Sea
Day 26Ashdod & JerusalemRelax on the beach; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 27JerusalemCelebrate Shabbat
Day 28JerusalemVolunteer at Yad Lekashish (Lifeline for the Old); Go shopping in Jerusalem; Celebrate summer's end with final banquet
Day 29New YorkDepart from airport/Arrive in New York
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