Israel Engagement

Mission Statement


The mission of the Israel Engagement Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is to provide awareness, education and opportunities for Israel engagement at the community level. We accomplish this by fostering relationships among community organizations, coordinating with existing Israel programs and events and providing direct educational resources to the entire community.


Israel Trips and Experiences


With the multitude of Israel experiences available, there is a perfect Israel trip for everyone. The trick is knowing which one is the right one. Download a list of questions to help you focus on your individual needs and determine how they mesh with the offerings of the various trip providers.


The following links provide information about a variety of Israel trips and programs.



Academic Programs

Summer Programs

Gap Year, Semester and Year-Long Programs




Birthright Israel

Short Term and Long Term Programs


Volunteer Programs in Israel  

Additional Volunteering Opportunities


Volunteer Opportunities

Ulpan and More


Teen Israel Ambassadors


The Teen Israel Ambassadors program is a two-year initiative for select 11th & 12th grade high school students.  It empowers students to respond to the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic challenges they may face on college campuses. Through a series of sessions, students gain greater knowledge of Israel/Jewish history and current events and advocacy skills.  Students learn from and work with local and national educators and organizations as well as with outside experts, such as noted Middle East and communications expert Neil Lazarus; and Gary Kenzer, North American CEO of Honest Reporting. Students are recommended through their school principals and youth group advisors for this two-year commitment.​

The Shirley Barish Israel Educators Institute


The Shirley Barish Israel Educators Institute was developed by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston as a response to a community need to create change regarding Israel education for synagogue religious schools in the Greater Houston area. The focus of the Institute is to educate and train middle and high school teachers about Israel, to become more effective in the classroom and to impart firsthand knowledge and passion about Israel to their students. The Shirley Barish Israel Educators Institute includes pre-trip training sessions, a fully subsidized trip to Israel, as well as regular networking opportunities post-trip.  


The cornerstone of the Institute is the Shirley Barish Israel Educators Trip.  It was created and funded in loving memory of Shirley Barish z"l by the Barish family/Chair King Backyard Store in honor of her commitment to Jewish education, especially Israel education. The inaugural trip took place during the summer of 2014 with 19 educators representing nine Houston area congregations. This unique professional development training, based on several specific Israel curricula, aims to empower teachers and strengthen their Israel identity.


More information


Contact Information:

Marna Meyer

Israel Engagement Director

 (713) 729-7000 extension 329