Simon Family Passport to Israel helps 8 teens head to Israel this summer

by | May 6, 2021 | Other News

Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s Simon Family Passport to Israel will send eight students to Israel after a yearlong program pause due to the pandemic.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world last year, we simply couldn’t have students travel in the summer of 2020,” says Naomi Limor Sedek, president and CEO of Tidewater Jewish Foundation. “Now, with the world slowly re-opening, we’re happy to see a renewed interest in the Simon Family Passport to Israel program and see Jewish students participate in an Israel experience.”

The Simon Family Passport to Israel program was established by Marvin Simon, who believed it was important for young people to experience Israel. The program provides funds to enable and encourage Jewish students to participate in a trip to Israel. Trips that qualify include educational and peer group experiences.

Previous recipients of the program have traveled to the Sea of Galilee, participated in a BBYO leadership seminar, studied at the elite learning institution Yeshivas Toras Moshe, and, of course, ridden camels.

“We’re so excited to help Jewish students travel to Israel this year,” says Kaitlyn Oelsner, TJF’s director of philanthropy. “Be on the lookout for their stories and experiences over the coming months.”

Qualifying trips are organized by a non-profit organization or educational or religious institution, are staffed by appropriate personnel, and have a structured itinerary. Jewish students between the ages of 13 and 18 may apply, and those students over 18 may apply as long as they indicate why a Birthright Israel trip will not meet their current needs. Trips will be funded up to 30% of the eligible expenses, with a maximum of $6,000 per student.

Applications for Simon Family Passport to Israel will re-open on October 1, 2021. For more information, visit or contact Ann Swindell at or 757-965-6106.

– Thomas Mills