Israel Experience Scholarships for Teens and Young Adults – Gap Program

Gap Program Procedures

The Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven Israel Experience Scholarship Program enables teens and young adults, ages 15-20, to participate in an Israel Experience to develop and enrich the recipient’s Jewish education, enhance their community, reinforce Jewish identity, and increase the likelihood of future engagement with Jewish life. Recognizing the impact of Israel travel/experiences, the Jewish Foundation provides scholarships for both short-term (minimum of 3 week program) and long-term organized Israel educational programs.

Eligibility for Israel Scholarship

  1. The Israel Scholarship program is open to Jewish students 15-20 years of age who live in the Greater New Haven area. Click here to view the map of catchment area.
  2. The applicant must participate in an approved program to Israel which is a minimum of 3 weeks that will begin anytime from the summer after ninth grade through high school graduation, including a gap year.
  3. Eligible programs must be educational and can include formal community service, volunteer work, as well as formal study. The program must be sponsored or part of a recognized organization or institution. Click here for some recognized programs.
  4. The applicant should seek additional sources of scholarship funding from his/her synagogue (if affiliated) and the applicable Israel program/sponsoring organization.
Application Requirements
  1. Essay.
    Submit a 250 word essay. The essay must include the following:
    • Reflect on the way your Jewish community has contributed to your life so far. Describe what you feel your role will be as an adult in contributing to the vibrancy of your Jewish community into the future, and how your upcoming Israel experience can help you to grow into the role you foresee for yourself. Content, style and attention to spelling and grammar are all important elements. Any outside sources quoted should be properly cited.
  2. Optional Supplemental Question.
    Thanks to the Henry & Helene Kasha Fund for the Teaching of the Hebrew Language, there are additional Israel experience scholarship monies available for students interested in the Hebrew language. If you are interested in applying for these additional monies, please answer the following:
    • Please discuss your interest in Hebrew and how you think your time in Israel can help you to develop and enhance your interest in and mastery of the Hebrew language.
  3. Recommendations
    The applicant must submit 2 letters of recommendation from 2 of the following individuals: Rabbi, teacher, coach, or other formal advisor.


When to apply/Deadlines

  • For 2024 summer trips, applications are due by Friday, April 05, 2024.
  • For 2024-2025 gap or academic year programs, applications are due by Monday, June 10, 2024.


Scholarship award process

  • All applications are strictly confidential and anonymously reviewed by the Jewish Foundation Israel Experience Scholarship committee.
  • Award notices will be sent by Tuesday, April 30, 2024 for summer trips and by Sunday, June 30, 2024 for gap or academic year programs.
  • Award checks will be made out to the Israel trip provider and sent directly to them. Families are responsible for providing the committee with all contact information for the provider.
  • This is a competitive application process and in many years there are more applicants than money available. Therefore, awards are based on the strength of the application.