Our Story

For over 90 years, BBYO has aspired to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences

Throughout our history, the organization has brought leadership training, community service opportunities, Jewish education, a connection to Israel, and positive identity to thousands of Jewish youth in North American and beyond. BBYO has celebrated over 60 years of organizing teen travel to Israel. Traveling to Israel is a dream shared with our ancestors for nearly 4,000 years, and that is a dream fulfilled anew each summer on BBYO Passport. Learn more about BBYO's history.

Celebrate 60+ Years of Israel Travel for Teens


When BBYO first launched its Israel programs for teens in 1956, we welcomed 19 Jewish teens from across North America. The trans-continental flight took 33 hours from New York City with a stop to refuel in Gander, Newfoundland, and then again in London, England and then again in Rome, Italy before finally arriving to Israel. It was truly a journey!

Back in 1956, Jerusalem was still a divided city, and the Western Wall as well as the Old City in general were off limits. The Golan Heights belonged to Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula belonged to Israel. The Jewish State of Israel was only eight years old, and our teens traveled the land and contributed to the development of the Jewish Homeland. During the program they even met David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir!

Today, Israel has developed into a thriving democracy, full of culture and a modern, vibrant Jewish society. These days, our teens travel freely throughout all corners of Israel and proudly walk in the footsteps of three generations of predecessors.

Be a Part of a Three Generation Tradition


We often hear from parents who took part in past BBYO Israel trips as teens. Many are excited to tell us that they have decided to share the same BBYO experience in Israel with their own children. We were especially honored during the summer 2015 to welcome the grandson of an alumnus from the original 1956 trip in Israel! A lot has changed since then, but the spirit remains the same.

We welcome you to join BBYO this coming summer and share in the same magical experience of visiting Israel (and the world) as a high school teen. These days, BBYO Passport offers a large selection of program options in Israel and beyond. Start your summer journey today.