Federation scholarships enable children to attend Jewish summer camp and travel to Israel

(February 8, 2021) – The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is now accepting applications on a rolling basis for need-based scholarships for Jewish overnight summer camp and Israel travel, including gap-year programs, which enable children and teens to participate in these transformative Jewish educational experiences.


“Jewish summer camp and Israel trips are a critical part of building our children’s Jewish identity to help ensure our traditions continue for generations to come,” said Allison Leibman, Chair of the Federation’s Scholarships & Grants Committee.


The Federation provides $90,000 each year for camp and Israel travel scholarships, which are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is recommended to apply early.


The scholarships are for children ages 7-16 who attend an overnight Jewish-content summer camp for at least one week, and for high school students to have an intensive, more than three-week educational Israel experience. Israel Gap year programs are also included. All scholarships are need based and applicants remain anonymous throughout the committee process.


While many camps suspended their programs last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are finding ways to safely reopen for summer 2021. Israel travel programs are also trying to determine if they can safely provide this once-in-a-lifetime experience this summer and for the next school year.


“At Jewish summer camp and on trips to Israel, children have incredible experiences and make lifelong friends, but for our Jewish community it does so much more. Camp and Israel programs create a deep, personal bond between the next generation and our Jewish traditions and values. At camp and in Israel, children and teens don’t just experience their Judaism, they celebrate it and develop a lasting connection,” said Federation VP of Education Elaine Kellerman.


Camp programs can cost from $2,500-$4,800, and Israel travel can cost $7,000 for a summer program and $26,000 for GAP year, so scholarships can make the difference in whether a child can participate.


“This amazing Israel trip would not have been possible without the support and funding from the Jewish Federation,” said an anonymous scholarship recipient. “When my parents found out the total cost for the trip they apologized and told me that I would not be able to go. I would like to thank you for helping me have the best experience of my life.”


For more information, contact Liz Garza at egarza@houstonjewish.org. Scholarship applications are now being accepted online through the Jewish Federation website at https://www.houstonjewish.org/camp-israel-scholarships