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Q: Who is eligible?
A: Your child is eligible to participate if he or she is in grades Kindergarten through 9 and is a resident of Miami-Dade County.
Q: Do I have to participate in the program for a certain amount of time before I can receive the funds?
A: There is a minimum enrollment period of three years before funds can be used.
Q: How much are the yearly contributions?
A: The yearly contributions are $100 from your family, $100 from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and $100 from a participating synagogue, if you are a member of that synagogue.
Q: Can I still enroll my child in the program if we are not members of a synagogue?
A: If you are not a synagogue member, but your child meets all the other eligibility requirements, Federation welcomes you to participate and receive matching funds.
Q: How much will the fund be worth by the end of 9th grade?
A: If your family has participated for the entire program (10 years) beginning in Kindergarten, and is a member of a participating synagogue, you will have saved $3,000, plus accrued interest, toward the cost of an Israel program. If you are not a participating synagogue member, you will have saved $2,000, plus accrued interest.
Q: Family members would like to contribute to our fund as birthday or Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts. Will their contributions also be matched?
A: While every contribution made will continue to accrue interest in the account, a maximum of $100 will be matched every year.
Q: When can my child travel on a Gift of Israel Savings Program supported trip?
A: After a minimum of three years of enrollment, the accumulated funds and interest may be used from 8th grade to age 26, toward the cost of an educational trip to Israel.
Q: Will the accumulated amount pay for the entire trip?
A: No, but it will cover a significant portion of the cost. Your congregation, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and national organizations may also offer additional assistance.
Q: What kind of trips qualify?
A: The funds may be used for a peer-based Israel experience program with Jewish educational content such as AMHSI (Alexander Muss High School in Israel), BBYO, Diller Teen Fellows, March of the Living, NCSY, NFTY Summer Tour, USY, Yeshiva programs, MASA Long-Term Israel programs, Seminary programs, High School Israel trips, Hebraica School of Madrichim, Young Judaea Year Course, semester abroad programs and many more. Funds may not be used to participate on Taglit-Birthright Israel trips.
Q: What if my family leaves the congregation before my child completes 9th grade?
A: If your family joins a new Gift of Israel partner synagogue, you may transfer your account to your new participating synagogue. If your new congregation is not a partner synagogue or if you do not join a new congregation, you will no longer receive the synagogue match but continue to receive the Federation match.
Q: What if my family moves out of Miami-Dade County?
A: If a student transfers from one participating Federation community to another, the student may continue to remain in the Gift of Israel Savings Program pursuant to the terms and conditions of the new community, as long as the child has been enrolled in the program for at least three years. All funds accumulated to date will be transferred to the participating community upon receipt of written notice from the participant. If the participant moves out of Miami-Dade County permanently, please contact the Gift of Israel administrator at Federation.
Q: What if my child decides not to go on an Israel trip?
A: You and your synagogue can receive a full refund of all contributions. Accrued interest will be re-deposited in Federation’s Gift of Israel Savings Program account. Families also have the option to transfer the family contribution, without any accrued interest, from one child’s Gift of Israel account to that of a sibling, at the sole discretion of the participating congregation and/or Jewish institution. Another option is to donate your family’s accumulated funds to help a financially deserving child participate in an Israel program, and receive a tax deduction for your generosity.
For additional questions, please contact Inbar Cohen at GiftofIsrael@JewishMiami.org or 786.866.8431.