Federation summer camp and Israel travel scholarship applications now open

Federation summer camp and Israel travel scholarship applications now open

December 12, 2023 – The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is now accepting need-based scholarships applications 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 travel is a time for children to be free, a time of growth and independence. Spending time with peers, in an impactful Jewish experience away from home, is one of the pillars that help to create Jewish identity and continuity. We at the Jewish Federation are honored to give families the help that they need to facilitate these joyous Jewish moments that reinforce the value of our traditions and our connection to Israel,” said Sherrie Eisenman, Chair of the Federation’s Scholarships & Grants Committee.  

 This year, the Federation increased its Scholarship Fund for camp and Israel travel to $120,000 to emphasize the importance of supporting families in need and ensuring all children have access to meaningful Jewish experiences. The fund is supported by the Annual Campaign, and the Roger Sofer Legacy Scholarship for Israel Fund also contributes annually to Federation scholarships for Israel travel.  

 Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to submit applications is May 12. Applications for long-term (8-weeks to 1-year) programs should be submitted by March 1. Last year, the Federation awarded 141 camp scholarships and 15 Israel scholarships. 

 The scholarships are for children in the greater Houston area, 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.  

 One theme we heard consistently in last year’s Hineni Houston listening journey was the need to make Jewish life affordable for all. By increasing our commitment to scholarships, the Federation is working to open access to these impactful programs,” said Sara Sandhaus, Planning and Allocations Manager at the Federation. 

 Camp programs can cost from $2,000-6,500, and Israel travel can cost $6,000 for a short-term program and up to $35,000 for a gap year program, so scholarships can make the difference in whether a child can participate.  

 This really means so much and is the deal breaker that is actually allowing our child to attend due to our financial situation,” said an anonymous scholarship recipient. 

  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