Mr. Gidi Mark, International CEO of Birthright Israel, acknowledged two decades of successful partnership between Birthright and Chabad on Campus in a letter to Rabbi Levi Margolin, Director of Operations at Mayanot Israel, the Birthright division of the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies.
“I would like to take this opportunity to convey my appreciation to you and to Rav [Shlomo] Gestetner for the Birthright Israel-Chabad on Campus partnership through Mayanot, that has been so successful since the year 2000” wrote Mark in his letter. “The dedication, devotion, and leadership of the Chabad campus rabbis in both recruiting and leading thousands of students on hundreds of trips over the years, have been essential to this success.”
Since January 2000, when the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies launched Mayanot Israel as one of the approved Birthright Israel trip providers, nearly 100 Chabad on Campus Rabbis and Rebbetzins have served as Jewish Educator Staff on Mayanot’s free, signature ten-day Birthright trip through Eretz Yisroel.
Mayanot’s partnership with Chabad on Campus has brought the gift of Birthright Israel to tens-of-thousands of students from over 80 Chabad Houses on campuses across America. The success of this partnership over the years has made Mayanot into one of the leading Birthright Israel providers, operating an average of 115 trips per year since 2016 (not including 2020/21, due to Covid-19).
The relationships between Mayanot and both Birthright Israel and Chabad on Campus have always been essential, and Margolin has made maintaining those relationship a priority, even through Covid. “Being the bridge to bring Chabad on Campus and Birthright together is a privilege and a responsibility” Margolin said. “My goal is to ensure that the partnership carries well into the future, after Covid and beyond.”
Last week, Margolin, with his newborn son, Chaim Tzvi in tow, delivered Purim gifts to the Birthright Israel team at their headquarters in Modi’in, as he does before every major Jewish holiday. Margolin Jr. was all smiles as he was warmly welcomed by department heads, dedicated team members and the COO, Nimrod Ran and the CEO, Gidi Mark.
Joining the Margolins in delivering Mishloach Manos to Birthright HQ was Shmulik Israel, director of the Taglit department at Masa Yehudi, the long time, devoted land-providers of Mayanot’s Birthright trips. “To be a part of what Mayanot and Birthright Israel do is one of the greatest honors of my life” Israel said. “Especially working with the Rebbe’s Shluchim. Their devotion and dedication to Jewish life is inspiring and contagious.”
With Covid 19 still nestled in across the globe, neither Mayanot, nor Birthright Israel can confirm when trip operations will return but Mark, in his letter, recognized the efforts of the Shluchim during this time. “This past COVID 19 year has been difficult for us all, and I have no doubt that rabbis on campus are facing significant interruptions and complications in fulfilling their mission and providing programming” he stated. “Their continued work, despite this global crisis, highlights yet again just how crucial they are to Jewish life.”
Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Executive Director of the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies, praised CEO Gidi Mark, and his team, for their partnership and their dedication. “Thank you and Kol Hakavod, to Birthright Israel, with Mr. Mark at the helm, for two decades of partnership and success” he said. “On behalf of Mayanot, the Chabad on Campus representatives and our nearly 50,000 Birthright Israel alumni, I can safely say, you are making a tremendous difference in the lives of so many.”
Birthright Israel is an innovative partnership between the people of Israel through the Government of Israel, private philanthropists and thousands of donors and Jewish communities around the world. For more information, visit www.birthrightisrael.com.
The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies, founded in 1997, aims to create Jewishly educated Leadership across the globe through its Birthright Israel trips, the Post High School and Men’s and Women’s Jewish Studies programs, the Mayanot Shul and now, the Mayanot Online Academy. For more information, visit www.mayanotisrael.com and www.mayanot.edu.