Year 10 Israel programs have been operating in Jewish Day schools and through BJE for over 30 years. It has always been recognised that participation in high school Israel programs strengthens the participants’ Jewish and Zionist identities and communal connections. Unfortunately, participation had not been able to exceed 20% of eligible participants, primarily due to financial constraints.
In 2011, the Gen08 Continuity Report released findings that youth movements and trips to Israel are key drivers of Jewish identity and thus continuity. As a result of these findings JCA established a committee to explore opportunities to increase participation in these important “touch points” for the development of strong Jewish identity.
The JCA Touch Points Communal Review was the springboard from which Y2i was launched. These insights, combined with other international research, make it clear that Israel-based educational programs of five weeks or more play a significant role in determining Jewish continuity.
In 2014, to test the assumption that cost is a significant barrier to greater adoption, a donor committed $500,000 through Y2i to provide 100 $5,000 subsidies for any prospective applicant. This led to a 39% participation increase from the preceding year, including the creation of Emanuel’s Chavayah program.
After the success of the pilot program Y2i was formally established in 2015 as a JCA fund. Y2i subsidies are available for participation in an approved program of five weeks or longer. Students are eligible if they reside in NSW, ACT or QLD and have one Jewish parent.
JCA granted Y2i the rights to hold a Capital Appeal in 2015 to raise the funds required to provide these subsidies. $10m was raised in that appeal which was sufficient to fund Y2i until 2020. Y2i was planning to fundraise again in 2020 however COVID put a stop to Israel trips, and Y2i fundraising. After record participation in 2022 with 383 Year 10 students and 213 Year 11 students (on catch up trips) going to Israel, Y2i will be approaching the community for support again in 2023 for our Continuity Appeal.