TAC Israel FAQs
Who is the TAC Israel program for?
Any rising 10th grade campers are eligible for our TAC Israel trip. Most of our campers come from NJY Camps, however we always welcome anyone who has never participated in an NJY Camp or program. Many teens, old and new, choose our program to attend Israel for the pluralistic approach to our teen Israel travel experience with our decades of experience running multiple teen travel options.
Can I extend my trip?
Teens may extend their trip as long as they are picked up from the airport in Tel Aviv by an authorized adult at the conclusion of the trip. Any cost to extend is the family’s responsibility and is dependent on airline availability. There will be a form to fill out on your NJYHome account.
What is included in the price of the trip?
Flights to and from Israel, accommodations, all meals, in-country transportation, basic health insurance (excluding preexisting conditions), laundry, staff gratuities, and all programming are included. The only spending that will be your responsibility will be snacks, bottled water, souvenirs, gifts, etc.
Can we have friends or family visit our teen while in Israel?
You may have family or friends in Israel that you would like to see during the program. This is your trip, and we want to accommodate these opportunities as much as possible. However, there are also logistical, security, and social considerations. Ultimately, our camp staff will maintain the policy regarding such visits, and these opportunities will be considered during non-programmed time. Teens are not allowed to leave the group in any scenario.
We will have a designated day in our programming for visits, but those visiting must be pre-approved. There is a form in your NJYHome account to authorize such visits. More information regarding visiting will be provided in April or May.
Is there financial aid available?
We work with RootOne, which provides a $3000 voucher to eligible teens towards our Israel program. For more information on RootOne, please visit their website for more details.
Additional financial aid may be available from your synagogue, Greater Metrowest for eligible families, UJA of NY, or your local federation.
How do I get to and from Israel?
At least 30 days prior to departure, families will receive notice of departure airport, meeting locations and times. Participants and their families are responsible for their own arrangements to and from the departure airport and to be on time. The airport is typically from one of the New York/New Jersey airports.
Flights to and from Israel
All flights to and from Israel are arranged by NJY Camp and our travel partner. Arrangements can be made before May 1 if you wish to meet your camper in Israel and extend their stay. We can not guarantee a change in flight ticket after May 1 and extensions are based on airline availability. We typically fly El Al, but this may vary depending on group availability. You will receive flight information before May 1. Families are responsible for any cost for any flight changes.
Do I need a passport?
Participants must have a valid passport for at least 6 months after the final date of the trip. No special visas are needed with USA and UK passports. Please check with Israel’s travel ministry if you plan to travel on another passport if any visa requirements are necessary.
What are the meals like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, catered meals, packed meals, and pizur (allowance funds) where participants are given funds to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided in Israel is kosher. In the case of pizur, these meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant/food stand options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. While traveling in Israel, you will find that the food options are numerous, but you can still expect to eat mostly Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, bourekas, and much more. Prepare yourself to try new types of foods and flavors. Given the active nature of the program, eating regularly is very important, even if it’s not the kind of food you are accustomed to eating.
We will always provide a gluten free option and provide food for those with various other allergens, however, unlike camp we have no control over the kitchens in which food is prepared. We will communicate with our vendors to provide necessary substitutes.
Is there a packing list?
You will be able to view a packing list on your NJYHome account along with all your other forms. Once finalized, you will receive a participant handbook with all the information you will need for Israel.
Check with your specific airline for the most updated terms, however, the following are the basic luggage rules for transatlantic group flights:
- Checked Luggage: One bag of no more than 50 pounds (23 Kg) and no more than 30 inches long.
- Carry-on Luggage: One carry-on backpack.
When deciding what kind of luggage to bring, keep in mind you will need to load your luggage on/off the bus and to/from our accommodations. Keep it manageable and bring luggage with wheels (we suggest a rolling duffel). Before packing, review updated TSA restrictions, and if you bring a suitcase that locks, do not lock it for the flight unless it is a TSA friendly-lock.
Can my Teen bring their cell-phone?
Yes! With modern day cell phones, taking pictures and staying connected has never been easier. We ask that cell phone use be during non-program times with the exception of picture taking.
Wi-fi is available in many of the accommodations we will be staying in. If you wish your teen to have access to mobile data you are more than welcome to contact your provider about international roaming. This is the most expensive option in most cases. We encourage you to obtain an Israel sim. A link with information on how to do this will be in the participant handbook and you will have access to our group rate. This is typically the most cost effective and easiest option.
Who supervises the group?
There are typically around 3 TAC counselors per bus group who are trained and experienced NJY Camps staff. They go through a rigorous application and vetting process to make sure your teens are in great hands while traveling.
Counselors are joined by an experienced trip leader who oversees the entire program. The trip leader is in constant contact with camp leadership back at home.
Every bus is also joined by a certified Israeli tour educator, an Israeli counselor, and a medic/security guard.
How is security and safety handled?
Safe travel is our guiding consideration, and we take a number of steps to reduce security risks in Israel – including traveling on a private bus, staying at accommodations with security, planning our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, traveling with an armed guard, and registering for monitoring through Israel’s Situation Room. Our rules and approach may adjust during the program based on our best judgment.
In addition to traveling with a guard, we travel with licensed guides who are trained in security procedures, and we depend on everyone following their instructions.
Can I still go on birthright after I participate in TAC Israel?
Yes! TAC Israel alumni are permitted to travel on Taglit-Birthright Israel when older.
Taglit-Birthright Israel is a free 10-day trip exclusively for 18-26 year olds. While Birthright is a wonderful benefit for Jewish young adults and encourages your teen to participate when older, there is only so much that you can do in only 10 days in Israel. There is something unique about traveling the entirety of Israel with your closest friends and experiencing all Israel has to offer on your TAC Israel experience.
How is medical care handled on the trip?
Every bus group travels with a medic who is trained in basic first aid. Staff are trained in emergency procedures and any medical issue above basic first aid, campers will be transported to a clinic or emergency room. Campers will always be accompanied by camp staff and a Hebrew speaker. We encourage you to take the time to fill out all medical forms accurately in your NJYHome account before the start of the trip. In any situation where a camper must leave the group to see medical personnel or if a camper must miss any programming time due to illness, parents will be notified.
Medications are collected at the airport and distributed to campers as needed by trained staff. Similar to camp, campers are not allowed to carry their own medication and this includes over-the-counter medications. This includes, but is not limited to birth-control, melatonin, and Ibuprofen.
Staff will have access to over the counter medications and will distribute as needed if given prior consent through medical forms.
Who do I contact if I need to get in touch with my teen?
We have our Parent Liaison for you to contact for anything Israel related. Name and contact information will be provided to you before the trip. We do not provide the contact information for our trip leader and camp staff. They are regularly busy making sure your teens have the best experience and their focus should be on your teens. Our trip leader is in contact with the parent-liaison multiple times a day and any emergencies will be communicated immediately. The trip leader and parent liaison are also in contact with the directors at TAC daily.
You are more than welcome to contact camp, though we strongly encourage you to reach out to the parent liaison for anything related to Israel. The parent liaison has the most up to date information and general pulse of the group on a daily basis.
Remember that Israel is 7 hours ahead of camp so sometimes communication is delayed. We also encourage you not to make scheduled days and times to communicate with your teen via their own mobile devices.