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General FAQs

General Questions: 

do you need to be jewish?

Because our donors and fiscal sponsors support us as an organization that connects Jewish students and young professionals with social justice causes around the world, we are only able to accept Jewish participants on our programs.

Thankfully, there are many other organizations available for people of any and all backgrounds to participate in travel and service work.

WHO SHOULD APPLY?

We're seeking bright, talented, and Idealistic Jewish young professionals and college students generally between the ages of 19 and 33 years old, with a sincere and burning interest in exploring the world and a desire to make it a better place.

We LOVE people from diverse backgrounds and experiences and believe that everyone – from students to teachers, social workers to business people, artists and entrepreneurs – has something important to offer on our programs, and we'd love to meet you for an interview and learn more about you. Ultimately, it's the unique quality and character of our participants that make each trip such a thrill, so we're looking forward to having YOU join us!

 

How Large are the trips?

Trip size may vary, but generally our programs are between 10 and 20 participants and include 2-3 members of staff. We like to keep the trips on the smaller side because it gives our participants a better opportunity to know each other and connect with the children and causes that we work with.

What is the application deadline?

Justifi trips are filled on a rolling basis and participants are accepted on a first-come-first-accepted basis. Historically trips have filled up 4 weeks prior to the start date, so we recommend applying as early as possible to request your spot. Your spot is confirmed by paying a deposit for the trip of your choice. 

 

 

Do I need to purchase travel Insurance?

All participants are required to purchase travel insurance that covers them in the event of injury or hospitalization while abroad.  Travelex, Allianz and Travel Guard are popular low-cost options. Visit our Flights and Insurance page for more information.

When was Justifi Founded?

Justifi was founded in 2009 by Rabbi Jamie Cowland and his wife, Ilana Cowland. Since then, we have run dozens of programs and engaged over 300 participants.

 

Is there a religious component to the trips?

Justifi welcomes both religious and non-religious Jews of all levels of observance and from all backgrounds of Jewish education. We try to maintain an environment that is non-dogmatic yet highlights Jewish wisdom and values. Part of this goal includes scheduled conversations around Jewish idealism, wisdom, the notion of Tikun Olam (building a better world), and breaking through your own personal obstacles using a Jewish skillset. 

Who Staffs the Programs?

Each trip is run by a student leader (many are recent Justifi Alumni) and an educator who work together to run your trip. They've scoped out the best places to stay and have worked tirelessly to design a program that is both exciting and meaningful for you. And, rest assured, one or both of them has scoped out the locations beforehand and can help answer questions about your destination country - both before the trip via phone or email and during the trip in person.  You will be notified of your trip staff a few weeks before the trip.

 

ARE TRIPS SUITABLE FOR OBSERVANT JEWS?

Yes! 

Kosher: All food provided on the program is kosher (either provided by a local Chabad center or prepared in a small kosher kitchen, under supervision by an Orthodox Jew). Our meat sourced is Glatt Kosher, rice and vegetables are checked for insects, and all food is prepared and served using exclusively milk / meat kitchenware. If you're concerned about additional access to Kosher food, we recommend that you bring your own supplemental snacks. 

 

Shabbat: It is entirely possible to keep Shabbat on our programs, there is no programming that would interfere with your ability to keep Shabbat to your level of comfort.

That said, we welcome participants from all levels of Jewish observance and keeping kosher and Shabbat on the program is entirely optional and a matter of personal preference.

Cancellation Policy (Refund Schedule)!

Your trip deposit is refundable for 48 hours while you look at flights, after which point it is non-refundable. If your plans change and space allows, we will happily transfer your deposit towards a future trip of your choosing, subject to a $100 rebooking fee.

Final trip expenses are due 4-weeks prior to the trip start date and are not refundable. 

The best way to protect yourself against unexpected travel conflicts, emergencies, or trip interruption is to purchase comprehensive travel insurance that meets the guidelines outlined on our Flights and Insurance page.  

 

In the unlikely event that we need to cancel your trip or change program start dates in a way that makes it impossible for you to participate, we will refund your entire program cost or accommodated you as best we can onto another program of your choosing. 

 

Can You Really Make a Difference in such a short period of time:

It's a good question, and one we've thought a lot about, too.  The answer is Yes, and No. 

NO, WE'RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS OF OUR HOST COUNTRY IN SUCH A SHORT VISIT.

Most of the issues we address are complicated and challenging. But that's not an excuse to ignore them. As we discuss on our programs, for many people "I don't know" is a convenient stopping point to give up and move on to something easier or more convenient. For true leaders, our sages teach us, "I don't know" is a jumping off point towards action and finding relevant solutions. When we first started, we didn't know how we could get started addressing some of the world's biggest issues, but we knew there were passionate masses of Jewish students and young professionals who were ambitious enough to take them on. So, we've sought to figure it out. Here's what we discovered:

YES, YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD THROUGH SHORT SERVICE TRIPS. HERE'S HOW:

  • Step 1: Assemble a bright and talented team. 
  • Step 2: Partner with local organisations on the ground and support the work they know needs doing.
  • Step 3: Ensure that your work has vision and direction, with projects building off of previous successes and learning from previous failures.
  • Step 4: Connect the pieces, and do the work. 

Through sustained partnerships with local organisations that are doing the work on the ground day-in and day-out, Justifi ensures the sustainability of its work and ensures that your time is well spent and well directed. So, yes, if you come on a trip, you will be making a difference to the people you meet, to yourself, and if you chose to, your community at home afterwards.  Follow up education and letting people know about what you have seen and experienced will open other people's eyes to these issues and may inspire them to act as well.