The Passport Way

Discover the world of BBYO Passport

For over 60 years, has provided eye-opening travel experiences for Jewish teens and their families. More than a trip, these are journeys of discovery, adventure and growth that extend far beyond your time with us.

The Passport Way

Explore a world of meaningful travel opportunities on five continents. Our programs embrace pluralistic Jewish values and provide opportunities for inspiration, connection, and community. Plus, prior involvement with BBYO is not needed to participate!

Our Organization

BBYO Passport represents BBYO's groundbreaking initiative for Jewish travel and service learning experiences. Organized in partnership with Authentic Israel, a leading educational travel provider, BBYO Passport combines the best of informal education and travel expertise.

BBYO is the leading worldwide, pluralistic Jewish youth movement currently spanning 33 countries and engaging more than 40,000 teens. For over ninety years, BBYO has been providing opportunities for Jewish youth to develop their leadership potential and a positive Jewish identity.
Authentic Israel is a leading organizer of Jewish travel experiences for youth, families and adults. At the heart of Authentic Israel is a team of operational professionals and educators who are deeply committed to sharing their love for Israel and informal Jewish educational experiences.

Our Programs

BBYO Passport encompasses the following major program areas:

Summer Experiences

Exceptional summer experiences are at the heart of our mission. We give teens the opportunity to stand up for things they believe in, learn leadership skills, connect with new cultures, challenge themselves, make an impact and form deep, lifelong relationships. This all happens in safe environments while having a ton of fun! [EXPLORE MORE]

March of the Living

A once-in-a-lifetime experience, the March of the Living is a two-week journey each spring convening teens from around the world, Together we bear witness in Poland and commemorate Holocaust Rememberance Day in Poland, Then we journey on to Israel to celebrate Jewish renewal and join in Israel's Independence Day festivities. [EXPLORE MORE]

Beyond - Gap Year in Israel

High school graduates can go Beyond with BBYO's gap year in Israel. The five or nine month experience weaves together a unique balance of academics, experiential travel, enriching education, cultural immersion, community service and Jewish life in Israel. [EXPLORE MORE]

Israel Family Journey

With BBYO Passport, everyone's invited on the journey! Discover Israel’s rich history, modern culture and natural beauty as part of a multigenerational tour. Choose from an 8-day or 10-day tour – both of which can be combined with a 2-day extension to Eilat and Petra. Dates are offered during the summer and winter vacation seasons..[EXPLORE MORE]

Our Values

While each BBYO Passport experience is unique, they share these common programmatic goals:

Community

Teens will develop a sense of being part of a community of travelers - living in the same space, sharing meaningful experiences, and forming lasting friendships.

Jewish Life

Teens will develop a love and appreciation for Jewish Life in all its forms around the world while embracing values of mutual respect and learning.

Cultural Understanding

Teens will engage in experiences outside of their comfort zone, and will return home with greater confidence, sense of self, and independence.

Personal Growth

Teens will be exposed to new cultures and ideas, and in so doing will develop the capacity to see their own life from a broader perspective.

Role Modeling

Teens will benefit from invaluable connections with their trip staff, viewing their staff as role models.

Safety and Fun

Each experience optimizes fun while maximizing safety; teens will be able live the fullest expression of adventure travel without fear.

It's no coincidence that BBYO Passport is the leader in Jewish teen travel experiences. Each year we are honored to host more than a thousand teens on programs spanning five continents. Discover why a BBYO Passport experience is right for you!

Parents & Teens Agree

90% of parents and teens were highly satisfied with their experience

Parents know that BBYO Passport programs are enriching, meaningful and safe. Teens know they are signing on for an experience full of exploration, cross-cultural adventure and bonding. It's the best of both worlds!

Worldwide Destinations

our programs have a truly global reach

BBYO Passport programs span destinations as diverse as Israel, Argentina, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, South Africa, Nicaragua,the Czech Republic, England, France, Gibraltar, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and the USA.

Customize Your Summer

15% of teens go on more than one experience to double up on their journey!

We make it easy to explore far away lands on your terms. Our summer experiences range from 10 days to six weeks and are scheduled throughout June, July and August. Many programs are modular – meaning two experiences can be connected for an extended summer journey.

Traveling Jewishly

Jewish Diversity - Reform 43%, Conservative 38%, Just Jewish 13%, Orthodox 4%, Other 2%, Reconstructionist 1%

Exploring new cultures is inherently enriching, but traveling with a group of Jewish peers can be uniquely powerful. No matter your background, we strive to create a sense of community where everyone feels welcome and part of something bigger. 

Bonding With Teens Worldwide

39 states, 15 countries, 5 provinces, our teens come from all over the world.

BBYO Passport programs attract teens from across North America and around the world. Last year we welcomed teens from 39 American states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 15 other countries. The diversity of our participants makes for a uniquely enriching travel community.

Scholarships Available

88% of scholarship applicants receive funding on average of $1000

As a not-for-profit organization committed to sharing more Jewish experiences with more Jewish teens, BBYO is proud to award $100,000 in scholarship assistances for teens participating in our Israel experiences. Additional local funds are often available as well.

Specialized Staff Teams

our teams - 90% work with teens year-round, 52% are repeat staff, 12 countries of origin

BBYO Passport programs are staffed by a select group of professional educators, community professionals and emerging leaders. Over 50% of our staff return yearly and bring a passion for leadership, mentoring and creating inspirational moments.

No Hidden Costs

no hidden costs - our nearly all-inclusive registration guarantees the comfort of knowing your full costs up front

Our teen experiences include all meals, accommodations, programming and much, much more. Most programs outside of North America include an optional group flight from New York City.

Passionate and caring staff are at the heart of all BBYO Passport experiences. Our programs are staffed by a highly selective group of educators, community professionals, logistical managers and madrichim (counselors) -- all of whom are backed up by our yearround leadership team. Before we have the honor to welcome you, take a moment to learn about the people who make it all possible.

Want to join our team? Apply to staff a summer experience!

90% Work with Teens Year-Round
52% Are Repeat Staff
12 countries of Origin

Year-Round Staff

Leadership

Matthew Grossman

CEO of BBYO

Robyn Judelsohn

Sr Director of Immersive Experiences

Avi Green

Managing Director, BBYO Passport

Aaron Robbin

Director, BBYO Passport

Adam Blue

Program Manager

Alyssa Baron

Program Manager

Malina Jacobowitz

Director of Marketing

Juliet Berman

Associate Director,
Marketing

Summer Experiences

Madrichim/Counselors

Nammie Ichilov

Madrich

Scott Loitherstein

Madrich

Catherine Schwartz

Madricha

Drew Wolman

Madrich

Alyssa Baron

Madricha

Ben Taylor

Madrich

Guides

Dima Gohshtet

Guide

Moran Waysberg

Guide

Amir Tal

Guide

Irad Fenical

Guide

Michal Kohane

Guide

Roberto Carlo Aguilar Torres (Chino)

Guide

Operations

Ian Dirnfield

Operations Manager

Efrat Levi

Guides & Educational Coordinator

Talia Spear

Program Operator — Israel

Aleksandra Jezeršek Matjašič

Program Operator — Europe

Rok Bulc

Program Operator — Europe

Zak Jeffay

Operations Manager — Europe

Stuart Katz

Operations Manager — Americas

Joanne Trangle

Operations Manager — South Africa & Nicaragua

Beyond — Gap Year

Operations

Rina Rebibo

North America Director

Eyal Goldman

Program Director, Israel

Madrichim

Michal Leschinsky

Madricha

Evan Gerwitz

Madrich

March of the Living

Educators

Sherrie Stalarow

Sr. Program Director

Joey Eisman

Madrich

Dima Gohshtet

Guide

Moran Waysberg

Guide

Israel Family Journey

Operations

Bonnie Shoval

Program Manager, North America

Ella Rahamim

Program Manager, Israel

Guides

Hagai Gov

Guide

Yaakov Shabbat

Guide

Gadi Ben Dov

Guide

Irad Fenical

Guide

Throughout our history, BBYO has brought leadership training, community service opportunities, Jewish education, a connection to Israel, and positive identity to thousands of Jewish youth in North America and beyond.

This summer we celebrate 60 years of providing high quality summer experiences in Israel for Jewish teens. Travel to Israel is a dream shared with our ancestors for thousands of years, and it is a dream fulfilled anew each summer on BBYO Passport.

In 1956, we welcomed our first group of 19 teens who came together from across North America to travel to Israel with us. The trans-continental flight took 33 hours from New York City with a stop to refuel in Gander, Newfoundland, and then again in London, England and then again in Rome, Italy before finally arriving to Israel. It was truly a journey!

Back then Jerusalem was still a divided city, and the Western Wall as well as the Old City in general were off limits. The Golan Heights belonged to Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula belonged to Israel. The Jewish State of Israel was only eight years old, and our teens traveled the land and contributed to the development of the Jewish Homeland. During the program they even met David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir!

Today, Israel has developed into a thriving democracy, full of culture and a modern, vibrant Jewish society. These days, our teens travel freely throughout all corners of Israel and proudly walk in the footsteps of three generations of predecessors.

Be a Part of a Tradition Spanning Three Generations

We often hear from parents who took part in past BBYO Israel trips as teens. Many are excited to tell us that they have decided to share the same BBYO experience in Israel with their own children. We were especially honored during the summer 2015 to welcome the grandson of an alumnus from the original 1956 trip in Israel!

These days, BBYO Passport offers a large selection of experiences in Israel and around the world. So much has changed since that very first trip, but the spirit of our experiences remain the same.

 

 

The safety and well-being of our participants will always be our guiding consideration. For over 90 years BBYO has strived to earn the trust of teens and parents on programs close to home and far away. Behind this history is a systematic approach to providing a responsible environment backed up by a team of caring professionals with decades of experience. And while safety is our guiding priority, we are equally committed to providing you with a meaningful and entirely fun experience.

Worldwide Approach

In destinations across the globe, we provide proactive risk management and well-informed precautionary measures to ensure the safety and secuity of all our participants. Our procedures vary to match the specific situation in each country we travel in, but our core approach remain the same:

Local Expertise

Our program directors are skilled professionals — many of whom are also licensed guides — who bring years of local knowledge and cultural expertise to our trips.

Security Escorts

In regions where we assess it to be prudent, groups will be escorted by a licensed security professional. Such countries currently include Israel, Bulgaria, Argentina, France and Poland.

Well-Trained Staff

Our staff are carefully selected, must pass a background screening, and they attend in-person training with a strong emphasis on participant well-being.

Supervised Programs

While we make every effort to give participants space and time to explore on their own, there is no leaving the group without approved supervision.

Israel Approach

Since 1956, BBYO has organized teen programs in Israel that have resulted in a strengthened sense of Jewish identity, a lasting connection to the State of Israel, and lives transformed. Behind our track record is a layered approach to providing a safe and meaningful experience:

Security Escorts

Each group is accompanied at all times by a licensed security escort and a trained medic, most of whom have recently completed their military service.

24/7 Monitoring

Our programs are backed up by our office in Israel and a network of field staff who support the trips on the ground, 24/7.

GPS Communications

Each group leader carries a GPS communication device to ensure they are in contact with the secuirty agencies and with our main office at all times.

Private Transport

We do not use public transportation. Rather, our travel is on a private coach bus with experienced drivers trained to keep the bus secured.

Sleeping Sound

We only stay at overnight accommodations with security personnel on site and which are equipped with secure rooms in accordance with Israel's high standards.

Careful Planning

We plan our itineraries with caution in mind — being careful to avoid areas of potentially heightened concern and always traveling with discretion.

Always Vigilant

If necessary, we do not hesitate to modify itineraries in the interest of safety. Decisions are made carefully and based on guidance from the authorities monitoring our programs.

Under the Umbrella

Our itineraries are approved in advance and re-approved daily by the "Situation Room", a special unit administered by the Ministry of Education and coordinated with Israel's security services.

 

Dear Parents, 

Passport represents BBYO's groundbreaking initiative to provide Jewish teens with meaningful summer travel experiences in Israel and around the world. Our objective is to provide your teen with a transformative summer – full of new experiences and a new understanding of our world. Perhaps on a more ambitious level, our goal is to enable each participant to develop the capacity to see his or her own life and home country from a much broader perspective.

As background, BBYO is the leading worldwide, pluralistic Jewish youth movement currently spanning 33 countries and engaging more than 40,000 teens. For the past century, BBYO has been providing opportunities for Jewish youth to develop their leadership potential, a positive Jewish identity and commitment to their personal development.

BBYO Passport programs are open to the Jewish community at-large. Teens do not need to be a member, or at all affiliated with BBYO, prior to attending a Passport program. In fact most trips are comprised of more non-members than members. BBYO does help bring elements of its culture to the trips, ensuring that the participants' experiences do not end when they return to North America. Click here for more information about the world of BBYO.

At the heart of the Passport program are our Israel trips, since 1956, touching teen lives. Our Israel programs will help your child develop a profound understanding of Jewish history, modern Israel, and his or her Jewish identity -- without being tied to any specific movement or ideological approach. Studies have shown that a trip to Israel may serve as the single most powerful experience in forming the Jewish identity of high school teens. 

BBYO Passport is especially proud to have shared the experience of Israel with more Jewish teens than any other youth movement.

Lastly, on behalf of the entire BBYO Passport staff, I would like to assure you that our approach to the question of safety & security is comprehensive – without compromising our ability to provide your children with an overwhelmingly positive summer experience. Of course, you can be sure that the Passport staff will also be sending you regular trip updates and posting online pictures so that you can follow along with your child's experience from home.

We appreciate this opportunity to introduce Israel and the world at-large to your children. We encourage you to take advantage of our no-risk registration policy, and start your teen on a BBYO Passport journey today. Please do not hesitate to contact our staff directly should you have questions.

Sincerely,

Matthew Grossman
CEO, BBYO