Baltimore to Israel
June 22nd- July 17th, 2020
How much does it cost?
Regular cost: $6,000
With BZD Subsidy: $2,995
Who is eligible?
Jewish teens currently enrolled in high school (9th-12th grade) who have not previously been on an organized teen mission to Israel.
Are there additional scholarship funds available?
Explore JNF's Plant Your Way to Israel Program. Sell trees to be planted in Israel for the Jewish National Fund to friends and family and earn money for the trip.
If you belong to a synagogue, Men’s Club and/or Sisterhood may have funds available; also your Rabbi, through a Discretionary Fund might be able to help.
If you’re a Baltimore teen you can apply for a needs-based CFIE scholarship through the Center for Jewish Education
Hebrew Free Loan Association offers interest-free loans instead of scholarships.
Do I need a passport?
To travel to and from Israel, you need a passport valid for an additional six months after your date of return to the US. Be sure now that your passport does not expire before January 24, 2019, otherwise you will NOT be allowed to board the plane. You are responsible for getting or renewing your passport.
Passport applications are at
1.) any regional office of the U.S. State Department’s Passport Division;
2.) your local U.S. Post Office;
3.) any U.S. District or State Court having naturalization authority.
Do I need a visa?
Passports of US citizens will be stamped with a permit upon arrival in Israel. If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the Israeli Embassy as you may need a visa to enter Israel.
Who is the staff?
A BZD staff member joins other American and Israeli counselors. Our BZD team includes a licensed Israeli tour guide, and a certified security guard/medic. The staff understands their responsibility for the well-being of the teenagers in their care, and are knowledgeable about adolescent issues and needs.
For the safety, well-being, and enjoyment of all, BZD provides full-time professional supervision and leadership from the time of Baltimore's departure to the time of return.
Maccabi World Union (an affiliate of Maccabi USA) is the BZD trip provider. Its Education Department trip coordinators are personally involved in every aspect of the program. They spend quality time with the group and are on call for any problems or emergencies that may arise.
What are the rooming arrangements?
At most accommodations, rooming is usually based on three participants per room, and occasionally, four per room. At each new overnight location, rotation of rooming assignments allows trip participants to get to know one another and promotes group bonding.
When can I see the actual program itinerary?
The trip itinerary with accommodations details is given prior to your departure date. Note that even confirmed itineraries might require some changes on the ground. Parents will be notified of any changes.
How will we get to the flight?
As our departure date approaches, we announce the location and time for the group departure from Baltimore. BZD organizes group transportation for an additional fee per participant.
Can I extend my stay?
To extend a ticket, contact BZD to connect directly with our travel agent. Note: Participants are responsible for any additional ‘change of ticket’ fees charged.
Can my special dietary needs be accommodated?
All program-related meals in Israel, including those aboard the flights to and from Israel, are certified kosher by Israel’s official local rabbinical authorities. If you have special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, vegetarian, etc.), be sure to note this in advance on the application so we can make proper arrangements for the flight and during the trip.
Are cell phones available?
You can rent a cell phone for Israel through either Israel Phones or Talk N Save.
If you have a cell phone that supports interchangeable SIM cards, ask at Israel Phones about SIM card rental.
You can bring your personal cell phones instead of renting a cell phone. Note that international phone and data rates for home cell phones can be very expensive. Whether you bring a personal phone or rent one, BZD is not responsible for damage or lost devices; we ask for a record of your personal phone number in advance. At most hostels, hotels, and sometimes on the bus, the teens will have access to free Wi-Fi. Please note, some sites that the teens will visit may not have a strong cell phone connection, particularly during hikes or desert activities.
How is the family updated during the trip?
Since staying in touch is critical, BZD maintains a sophisticated system of communicating with the group and their families. Our group leader carries a cell phone at all times. BZD’s US staff stays in touch with the group on a daily basis. Verification of the group’s arrival is sent by email from the BZD office which also provides regular, daily email updates of the group’s progress along with pictures.
How much spending money should I bring?
From our experience, participants spend an average of $100/week for gifts, snacks, and drinks, etc.
If using a debit/credit card be sure your card is accepted at international bank machines.
Prepaid cards, such as AMEX – Pass can be used like a credit card and an ATM card.
The shekel (NIS - New Israeli Shekel) is Israel’s legal tender. Staff assists participants in money exchanges at the airport and official currency exchange offices around Israel.
What are the luggage restrictions and recommended luggage types?
Packing can be a challenge. Since the teens will be carrying their own luggage in/out of hotels/hostels, and on/off the bus throughout the program, be sure their duffel or suitcase is made of lightweight but durable material. Consider using a duffel bag on wheels.
Teens may only bring 1 piece of checked luggage (duffel bags and rolling suitcases work best), and one backpack for daily travel on the road.
The airline allows only 1 checked bag weighing no more than 50 pounds: It can be no more than a total of 62 inches (length + width + height).
One carry-on size bag + one personal hand-held item are also allowed
Before packing, please review the updated restrictions for checked and carry-on luggage listed on the TSA website.
What shall I pack?
After signing up for the trip, BZD will send you a Participants’ Packet with a suggested packing list of clothes to bring with you.
How do I reserve a spot and pay for my trip?
Go online to www.bzdisrael.org or mail-in payments to BZD:
104 Church Lane, Suite 130, Baltimore, MD 21208.
A $450 non-refundable application fee is required to reserve your spot,
with full trip payment to be paid before Passover 2019.
Payment plans are available- email Carenl@bzdisrael.org for more details!
What if I need to cancel?
The $450 application fee is non-refundable but, other payments may be returned to you in the event you need to cancel.
Can I visit with Israeli family and friends when I am in Israel?
On our optional Family and Friends Weekend, you will be permitted to spend time with friends and/or relatives. We require that you let us know the name(s), address and phone number of those whom you are planning to spend the weekend.
The release form in the participant packet must be submitted by parent/s no later than May 30, 2018
The host family is responsible for pick-up and drop-off at an arranged location with BZD staff. The person picking up must be at least 21 years of age and must carry a form of identification.
Do I need medical and travel insurance?
BZD’s Israeli supplementary medical insurance program covers all participants for almost everything. The exceptions are pre-existing conditions, mental health problems, eyeglasses, and dental work.
If you become ill, you will receive free medical assistance, free medication, and any additional needed care. Hospitalization is included. The plan provides coverage anywhere in Israel and operates 24 hours a day.
You must bring a copy of your family’s insurance card, including the plan name and policy number. Please also include a copy with your application.
In the event you must return home due to a medical problem or accident, the staff will send you home, and your family is responsible for the cost. Should a chaperone be needed to accompany you, your family is similarly responsible for the chaperone’s costs (if the insurance does not cover the cost).
While BZD does not provide travelers insurance, you might want to consider buying it.