When are the winter trips?
The winter Columbia/Barnard Birthright Israel trips out of NYC are from December 23, 2019-January 3, 2020 & January 8 – 19, 2020. We will also have an optional extension program available to students who participate in the first trip from January 3-7, 2020. Find more information on EXTENSION here.
What if I am not sure of my winter break plans?
If you aren’t sure about your winter plans, but you may be interested in the trip, we encourage you to still sign-up now and save your seat, then officially register and pay the fully refundable deposit on September 4, 2019 once you’ve made up your mind. There will be plenty of time to withdraw if you decide not to go. Might as well secure a spot, just in case!
What if I register and then I can’t go? Will I get my deposit back?
When you register, you are required to pay a deposit to be considered for participation. If you decide you cannot go, you can withdraw and receive your deposit back if you do so before the withdrawal deadline (65 days before the trip). If you withdraw after this deadline, you will lose the deposit or it can roll over to the next season — if the seat offer has not been accepted.
If I register and pay the deposit am I guaranteed a spot?
Registration is a bit of a numbers game because we cannot predict how many students will sign up; however, we work hard to accommodate everyone who registers. If we have more registrants than spots, a waiting list will be created.
Can I go with friends from other schools?
Yes! A new policy has allowed for Columbia/Barnard students to invite their friends and relatives from other schools onto the Columbia/Barnard trip. If you would like to bring a friend from other schools, they must pre-register at freeisraeltrip.org/columbiabarnard before September 4, 2019.
How many students will be going this summer break?
We expect that at least 80 students will be traveling on the Columbia/Barnard Hillel buses this winter.
Do most students know other participants in advance of the trip?
No! Most of our participants do not know other students in advance of the trip, but leave the experience with a strong community of friends. We also hold several gatherings and orientations beforehand so that participants have a chance to get to know each other before the trip begins!
Is there anything I have to pay for?
Participants will receive their $250 deposit back upon completion of the trip. Participants are responsible for transportation to and from the airport (either JFK or Newark) and for the cost of one meal a day. Participants are also asked to bring $100 in tip money for our tour guide and bus driver, as is customary in the tourism industry in Israel. Any shopping or additional spending money is at your discretion.
Can I see a sample itinerary?
What’s the catch?
None at all. We are offering you this gift because we believe in empowering our students to explore their unique identities, connect with their versions of Judaism, and formulate relationships with this complex and historically fascinating region.