Gandel Philanthropy grant continues to foster Jewish connections

January 16, 2019 by Stacy Hayman
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Gandel Philanthropy has announced a significant grant to the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA), continuing their longstanding support of the Taglit-Birthright Israel program, which the ZFA manages in Australia.

Taglit-Birthright Israel is a visionary global program that provides a gift of a 10-day educational tour of Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18-26 who have not previously participated in a post-school peer-group Israel trip. Birthright motivates young adults to explore their Jewish identity and heritage through first-hand educational experiences.  The Birthright Israel trip is a journey through both Jewish history and contemporary Israel, accompanied by Israeli peers (“the Mifgash”) who join the trips as colleagues and friends. Taglit- Birthright Israel is committed to a culture of open discussion and dialogue about all issues: identity, geopolitics, religion, and Jewish life.

The ZFA is proud to represent the Australian Jewish community as the local partner in this unique project, which is championed by Gandel Philanthropy as the Principal Australian Supporter.

The $150,000 Gandel Philanthropy commitment will enable 120 young adults across three groups – many of whom are currently unaffiliated with the Australian Jewish community and have never visited Israel – to experience Taglit-Birthright Israel in 2019.

The aim of the grant is to help foster Jewish identity and continuity. Mr John Gandel, Chairman of Gandel Philanthropy the Principal Australian Supporter of Taglit Birthright Israel said, “The evidence shows that Taglit-Birthright Israel program has been a major contributor to strengthening Jewish continuity right around the world and we are very proud to be associated with it”.


The ZFA are grateful for Gandel Philanthropy’s ongoing financial commitment which supported 80 participants in the past year alone and has directly enabled over 1140 young adults to participate in these transformative trips since 2011. ZFA President Jeremy Leibler welcomed Gandel Philanthropy’s renewal of support. “I acknowledge the remarkable generosity and foresight of Gandel Philanthropy. Since 2011, Mr John Gandel and Mrs Pauline Gandel have contributed over a million dollars towards Australian Birthright programs, and have contributed not only to the Jewish futures of those who participated directly in the programs but also to a stronger and more connected Australian Jewish community”

Reflecting on her Taglit-Birthright Israel experience earlier this year, program alumnus Jen Doig said: “This trip was probably one of the biggest turning points in my life. The biggest insight for me was something that our amazing guide said on the first day: there are 14 million Jews, and there are 14 million ways of practising Judaism. On the trip, I made lifelong friends, learned about my culture, learned more about who I am and where I’ve come from. Growing up, I’ve never really felt like I fitted in. I didn’t grow up in a Jewish community and always felt a bit different to everyone else. But going on Birthright, you’re thrown into a group of people who feel exactly the same way that you do! “

“It is remarkable that a 10-day trip to Israel can change not only a person’s future but that of the Jewish people. The outcomes of the program for the participants are priceless in terms of Jewish continuity and Jewish and Zionist identity, and successive research studies have demonstrated the positive impact of Taglit-Birthright Israel on future engagement with the Jewish community, with Israel and in reducing rates of intermarriage,” said Ginette Searle, ZFA CEO.

Research conducted by the Cohen Centre of Brandeis University indicates that participation in Birthright Israel positively alters participants’ trajectory of Jewish engagement and connection to Israel.  72% of Taglit-Birthright participants marry someone Jewish as opposed to 51% of non-participants and participants are also 35% more likely than non-participants to feel confident in explaining the situation in Israel.

Registration for this FREE July 2019 trip opens at 10AM EST on 28 January 2019. The program is overwhelmed by demand every year and there is a long list of participants waiting to receive their gift.

To pre-register email and be the first to find out when applications open on 28 January 2019.

For more information on the eligibility criteria and program dates, visit call 03 9272 5644.

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