DISCOVERING THE WORLD OF BBYO PASSPORT
Since 1924, BBYO has provided eye-opening travel experiences for Jewish teens and their families. Our programs are journeys of discovery, with adventures and growth, that extend far beyond your time with us.
WHO WE ARE
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!
BBYO Passport encompasses the following major program areas:
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]
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 Remembrance Day in Poland. Then we journey on to Israel to celebrate Jewish renewal and join in Israel’s Independence Day festivities. [EXPLORE MORE]
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]
While each BBYO Passport experience is unique, they share these common programmatic goals:
Safety and Fun
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
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!
BBYO Passport programs span destinations as diverse as Israel, Argentina, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, South Africa, Ecuador, Czechia, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Scotland, Germany, Thailand, Gibraltar, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and the USA.
Customize Your Summer
We make it easy to explore far away lands on your terms. Our summer experiences range from 9 days to five weeks and are scheduled throughout June, July, and August. Many programs are modular – meaning two experiences can be connected for an extended summer journey.
Exploring new cultures is inherently enriching, and 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
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.
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 assistance for teens participating in our Israel experiences. Additional local funds are often available as well.
Specialized Staff Teams
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
Our teen experiences include all meals, accommodations, programming and much, much more. Most programs outside of North America include an optional group flight.
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 year round 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!
Vice President, Immersive Experiences, BBYO Inc.
Senior Program Director
Associate, Immersive Experiences
Manager, Program Registration and Administration, Immersive Experiences
Our team of passionate summer staff comes together to lead our summer experiences, and more than 50% return year after year. Meet members of our BBYO family who will be welcoming you this summer!
“My madrich was hands-on the entire trip! When we needed someone to be a little more strict, he never strayed, and when we needed someone to lighten the mood, he always jumped in to make us laugh! He was such an important part of my whole experience!” – Summer 2017 Participant
Arielle Ben Zaken
Operations Manager — Americas
Operations Manager — South Africa, Ecuador, and Thailand
March of the Living
Sr. Program Director
Gadi Ben Dov
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.
In 2016, we celebrated 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.
We welcomed our first group of 19 teens who came together from across North America to travel to Israel with us in 1956. The trans-continental flight took 33 hours from New York City with stops to refuel in Gander, Newfoundland, London, and Rome before finally arriving to Israel. It was truly a journey!
Back then Jerusalem was a divided city. The Western Wall as well as the Old City were generally off limits. The Golan Heights belonged to Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula belonged to Israel. At the time, the Jewish State of Israel was only eight years old when our teens traveled the country to help contribute 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 of 2015 to welcome the grandson of an alumnus from the original 1956 trip in Israel!
Today, 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 remains 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. With safety as our first priority, we are equally committed to providing you with a meaningful and fun experience.
In destinations across the globe, we provide proactive risk management and well-informed precautionary measures to ensure the safety and security of all our participants. Our procedures vary to match the specific situation in each country in which we travel, while our core approach remains the same:
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.
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, and Poland.
Our staff are carefully selected, must pass a background screening, and attend an in-person training with a strong emphasis on participant well-being.
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.
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:
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.
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. Our programs in Israel are accompanied at all times by a security/first aid escort and monitored by Israel’s ‘Situation of Room’.
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.
We do not use public transportation. Rather, our travel is on a private coach bus with experienced drivers trained to keep the bus secured.
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.
We plan our itineraries with caution in mind — being careful to avoid areas of potentially heightened concern and always traveling with discretion. If necessary, we do not hesitate to modify itineraries or policies in the interest of safety.
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.
Since 1956, the heart of our programs has been our Israel trips. These 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 commitment-free 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.