As they navigated the challenges of the past two years, synagogues offered their members online programming for everything from Shabbat and High Holy Day services to bar and bat mitzvahs. Now, as COVID-19 restrictions ease and congregations reunite in person, Jewish National Fund-USA has one message for rabbis nationwide: “Seize the moment. It’s time to bring your congregations home to Israel.”

On March 1, Jewish National Fund-USA, in partnership with Tel Aviv-based Kenes Tours, announced it is launching “Come Home for a Visit: Bring your Congregation to Israel,” a new initiative that aims to help rabbis revive their relationships with congregants while restoring members’ connection to Judaism and the Jewish homeland.

Through this new endeavor, made possible by a $1.6 million grant (over two years) from Jewish National Fund-USA’s Boruchin Center, the organization is offering a $500 per participant subsidy for all approved congregational missions to Israel.

“Here in the United States, synagogues are working tirelessly to re-establish the feeling of community and the spiritual connection that comes from uniting together in a local house of worship,” said JNF-USA’s chief of staff Deena Shiff, who heads up the organization’s Travel & Tours department. “Bringing your congregants to Israel is the perfect way to nourish and reinvigorate them in meaningful ways, while also providing an economic boost for Israelis who need it the most.”

“We are thrilled Israel’s travel and tourism industry has awakened from a two-year slumber,” added Cheri S. Levitan, CEO of Kenes Tours. “From our perspective, connecting with the land, people and cultures of Israel creates community like nothing else! We invite everyone back to Israel, and hope to welcome you soon.”

Planning a comprehensive and fulfilling tour of Israel for a group, however, is no easy feat, with so much to see and so much ground to cover. Luckily, Jewish National Fund-USA, which has connected individuals to the land and people of Israel for more than a century, is tapped into the best places to visit, eat and stay. By partnering with JNF-USA via the congregational travel program, synagogues will gain access to the organization’s exclusive full-service tour operator that will help tailor the mission to the group’s needs and interests and make planning the international vacation an easy and seamless experience.

“Come Home for a Visit: Bring your Congregation to Israel” facts at a glance:

  • All trips must be booked through JNF-USA’s Travel & Tours department with a minimum of five days of touring.
  • The subsidy is available for congregations led by rabbis who are members of Jewish National Fund-USA’s Rabbis for Israel.
  • Jewish National Fund-USA’s travel provider will work with congregations to organize everything: hotels, guides, budget, etc.
  • Participating congregations are free to determine their own itinerary. However, it is a requirement that one full day is devoted to exploring Jewish National Fund-USA’s impactful projects in Israel.
  • If your congregation does not have enough people to fill a trip, JNF-USA will connect you with other congregations traveling at the same time and the trips can be combined. JNF-USA is also offering three synagogue missions of its own that people can join.
  • For a full list of requirements, visit

Gather your community and come home to Israel for the trip of a lifetime. For more information about the subsidy or to plan a trip, call 877-563-8687 or email

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