Really? I can earn a free trip to Israel by doing this?
Yes you can. Your time is valuable. It is not unusual to get paid a stipend or to earn a travel grant to research a specific topic or work in a lab. This is similar. And the Israel scholarship is incredible. Depending on the program you choose you earn a travel voucher for an Israel trip that will make your cost either free or as low as $200.
What time do classes start each week?
Classes start 9 PM Eastern time and end at 11. That isn’t late (no self-respecting college student goes to bed before midnight—you know that). And because this program involves multiple campuses in different time zones, we can’t start any earlier. The program begins on Thursday, March 5, 2020 and runs until Monday, May 4, 2020. (Classes are on Thursday nights for the first five weeks and then switch to Mondays so as not to conflict with Passover.)
How does it work?
Each week you login to a virtual classroom. Your instructor will be waiting. The other participants will be there as well. You participate and ask questions via chat. You will also answer poll questions, watch videos, take a quiz, and write a short essay each week at the end of each session.
What happens if I miss a session?
Not a problem. You need to be there—live and in person—for at least 8 of the 10 sessions. You are responsible to submit assignments for all 10 sessions. All sessions are recorded and archived.
I don’t get it. Do I watch a video each week? Is the instructor a talking head?
No. Not at all. This program is a live, interactive, engaging experience. Your instructor is live and in real time. You will interact and ask questions. It is just like being in a classroom, except it is online.
What will I learn?
You will explore some of the most important issues concerning the relevance of Judaism in contemporary life. Some examples include the nature of free will, the intersection of faith and science, the Jewish historical experience, and the Jewish secrets of love and dating. Click here to see the full course outline.
Who is the instructor?
Your instructor is Tzvi Gluckin. He is über-hip. Click here to see what he does when he’s not teaching this course. There will also be guest speakers some weeks.
What are the requirements I need to fulfill to earn my Israel trip?
You need to participate—live and in person—for at least 8 of the 10 sessions. The sessions you might miss, you make up by watching the recording of that session.
After each session, you need to submit a 2 or 3 paragraph essay discussing what you learned (this is the minimum, you can make your essays as long as you want). You will be asked to answer specific quiz questions as well.
All participants are required to meet one-on-one with a local Olami representative in person. You will be contacted once the program is underway to set up a meeting. If no live representative is available in your area, an online meeting will be arranged. Most meetings last about 30 minutes. If a live event (class) is schedule in your area, you must attend. Both the one-on-one meeting and possible live class are program requirements.
If Monday nights are not good this semester and you do not think you can show up on time and attend at least 8 of the 10 sessions live and in person, please ask to be put on our list for next semester (there is no penalty for reapplying, we love hearing from you!).
Just to clarify, I can either choose a free trip to Israel or a trip that costs $200?
That is correct. In most cases and depending on the program you choose, the Israel voucher we offer covers all charges charged to you by the Israel program you are accepted to. And that includes flight. Depending on the program, you may need to make your way on your own to a hub (like New York or LA), but the round trip ticket to Israel is covered. The program costs are covered as well.
Can I choose any Israel trip I want or just choose to travel to Israel on my own?
No. Olami will only offer an Israel travel voucher for approved programs. But don’t worry, the list of options is massive and you should find a program that is the right fit for you. Click here to see a list of available options. The list is divided between the $200 programs first, free options, and then other scholarships your voucher is good for.
Is acceptance to an Israel program automatic?
No it isn’t.
Acceptance to an Israel program is up to the particular program you apply to. Each program is unique and has its own criteria. Once you are accepted you let us know. Your Israel trip voucher specifically goes to cover flight and some program costs. Depending on the program you are accepted to, you may need to travel to a hub (like New York or LA) on your own. (The Israel trip voucher can NOT be used to cover additional flights to a hub airport or any other travel/trip related costs).
I can’t go to Israel this winter, how long is my Israel voucher good for?
If you can’t go to Israel this summer, you can use your voucher to go to Israel in the winter (20/21) or next summer (2021). The voucher expires at that point, however, if you need special consideration for an extension, be in touch with us and we’ll do our best to work something out.
How do I redeem my Israel voucher?
Redeeming your voucher is easy:
Choose a trip from the list of approved trips.
Go through that trips application process.
Once you are accepted, you let us know. And that is it.
*In some cases, and depending on the trip you choose, you may be required to complete a second in-person interview with a representative in your area. If this is the case, receiving your voucher will be contingent upon completing this entire interview process. You will be notified if this is applicable.
Can I use my voucher for a trip to somewhere other than Israel?
No you can’t. Some partnering organizations offer trips to places like Poland, Spain, and Costa Rica in addition to Israel. Your Israel trip voucher is good for Israel trips only.
Instead of a trip to Israel, can I earn a cash stipend?
No. Olami Inspire Online offers an Israel trip only. But that’s great! And it’s worth a lot more than your typical stipend.
Who is eligible for Olami Inspire Online?
Olami Inspire Online is open to Jewish students, recent grads, and young professionals, aged 18-28.
I already did Birthright, am I still eligible for this scholarship?
Yes you are. Birthright does NOT disqualify you for this opportunity to travel and study in Israel.
I still haven’t been on Birthright, will this Israel trip disqualify me?
Yes, using this Israel trip voucher will disqualify you for Birthright, however, the voucher is good for up to a year. Go on Birthright first and save your voucher for the future.
I already participated on an Israel trip or the Maimonides Leadership Fellowship with my rabbi on campus, am I still eligible for this program?
Depending on the program you did, you may still be eligible for a 3-week Israel trip voucher for a free learning experience. However, if you are already involved with the Maimonides Fellowship or partnering organizations, Olami Inspire Online is probably not the right program for you. Apply to Olami Inspire Online and email us as well for more details.
How can I earn college credit?
Olami Inspire Online is able to offer credits via a partnership with the Theological Research Institute (TRI). TRI is accredited by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), which is a program of the Board of Regents of The University of the State of New York. Olami Inspire Online’s official course listing is “Ancient Jewish Ideas in the Modern Era.” You can view the complete listing on the NCCRS site here.
If you decide to take Olami Inspire Online for credit, you need to take the following steps:
Go to the relevant department on campus that signs off on transfer courses and submit the following items:
Name of transfer program (Theological Research Institute)
Name of Accrediting Agency (National College Credit Recommendation Services)
Name of desired course to be taken (Ancient Jewish Ideas in the Modern Era)
If your university does not accept national accrediting agencies (which is what NCCRS is), TRI courses are also offered via Excelsior College with Accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which should replace the above first two items that you will submit
Once you receive the permissions needed, you enroll online for the course at TRILTD.com