Susie Gelman, the former chairwoman of the Birthright Israel Foundation, and a major federation lay leader of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and one of the official hostso fo this GA, just made a pitch for Birthright in front of a couple of thousand folks at the GA’s second plenary.
Birthright advocates have certainly been ringing the fund-raising bell louder in recent weeks, bolstered by a new study by Brandeis that they say shows that Birthright is it in terms of Jewish identity.
Yet three applicants are wait listed for ever one person aged 18-26 that is able to go on the trip each year, Gelman said, adding that Birthright has a waitlist of 13,000 people.
“We are trying to do more with less,” she said. “But we cannot allow ourselves to be so consumed with the present challenges that we bankrupt our future. The solution is right before our eyes – Birthright Israel.”
Birthright funding is very much on the GA map. Yesterday I tweeted on an event at the Israel Embassy at which Michael Steinhardt, Charles BRonfman and Natan Sharansky spoke about Birthright, and later todya there will be a session at which the Brandeis and Birthright folks talk about the results of the study that Gelman referenced… which you can read about here.