Students Speak



I'm from a small community in the United States. I decided in March of 2006 that I wanted to study at a seminary in Israel.

I applied to a number of different organizations in order to receive scholarships so that I could afford to study in Israel. In the end, I earned scholarships from the following sponsors:

Jeff Seidel $500 (airfare scholarship)
MASA $9,500 (tuition scholarship)
Orthodox Synagogue in the town where I went to university $200
Jewish Federation in my home community $1,000
Individual donor $750 (airfare scholarship)
Work-study opportunities at my seminary $8/hr taken off my tuition
TOTAL $ RAISED: $11,950 +

Here is some advice that I can offer to help you if you need a scholarship:

  1. Apply to every sort of organization – synagogues, schools, Jewish Federations, Hillel, and the student organizations. Regardless of affiliation of the synagogue, you should apply to every synagogue in your area – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, etc.

  2. Apply to people and organizations in every community in which you have lived. This includes the community where you went to university.

  3. Tell people of your interest to study in Israel. You never know who may hear that you need help. And who knows? They may be able to help you.

  4. If you are from a small community, there are less resources and funding opportunities. However, there are also fewer applicants for scholarships so you're more likely to get one.

  5. Defray costs by going on 2- or 3-week trips such as the AISH HaTorah Jewel Program (for girls) or Essentials (for guys) the Jerusalem Fellowships Program; the Hasbara Fellowship Program; or Birthright/Taglit Israel Program. These organizations will generally pay for a round-trip airplane ticket to Israel (at least from the New York – Tel Aviv portion of your flight).

  6. Check Web sites of airlines for special deals for seminaries, yeshivas, or university students. The following airlines are student friendly or are relatively cheap.

    Some of these airlines have cheap open tickets or special baggage allowances for students. Call them for more details. This may depend on your country of origin.
* This is the true story of a student currently in Israel (as of April 2007), but her name was changed to maintain anonymity.