Shalom! Ready to go to Israel?

The Maccabi Gap Year program is an 8-month program for teens ages 18-19 (post high school) interested in having unique Israel experience, coordinated and planned by Maccabi World Union. Participants will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills through our Machon LeMadrchim seminars. You'll have the option to join the IDF’s Marva experience, train and assist with the Magen David Adom emergency service, live and work on a kibbutz, tour all over Israel, and learn about the Holocaust through an immersive tour in Poland for one week. There will also be a period of time when participants will live in Tel Aviv. Throughout the program, there will be many opportunities to discover and see Israel from many perspectives. If you're interested in the program, add your name to the list below and we'll be in touch with you about the experience.

If you're ready to apply NOW, jump right to the
registration section!

Interest Form

About Maccabi World Union

Maccabi World Union (MWU) is the largest and oldest Jewish sports organization spanning over five continents, in 80 countries, 450 clubs, and 450,000 members.  MWU is a Zionist organization that utilizes sports as a means to bring Jewish people of all ages closer to Judaism and Israel in addition to various informal educational activities in a manner that surpasses politics and sectarianism.

Maccabi World Union is proud to be one of the leaders in Short & Long-term Israel Programs. With more than 1500 fellows from more than 15 countries around the world as regular participants, Maccabi World Union develops educational & tourism meaningful and affordable program experiences intended for Worldwide Jewish; teenagers, young professionals, and adults.


Ready to go? Start your application in the link below and make sure to indicate you are applying for the BBYO experience on the form. Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis—the earlier you apply, the better!

Gap Year Options and Costs
Aug 23, 2021–May 20 2022 | $17,000

Apply Now

Scholarships are available. If you have questions about the program or want to learn more about scholarships, reach out to BBYO Central Sh'licha, Nitzan Ben Shaya. She's excited to talk to you about this opportunity!

A Glimpse Into Your Year

Explore all of the different opportunities you'll have during the Gap Year. Over a year in Israel, you should find many things that will be exciting, new, educational, and fun. The program includes medical insurance, meals, accommodations, transportation, and programming. The Gap Year program is fully supervised and coordinated by Maccabi World Union Madrichim under the supervision of the Program Director. If you have any questions about the program, reach out to BBYO Central Sh'licha, Nitzan Ben Shaya.

Machon Le Madrichim

Machon Le Madrichim

Based at Kiryat Moriah in Jerusalem, the famous Machon course has trained counselors and young educators from all over the world since the 1940s. You'll learn about innovative pedagogical techniques, Israeli sociology, Middle East conflicts, and many other subjects. The classroom is Israel and you'll be able to develop your leadership, public speaking, and project planning skills. Enjoy many guided study tours and excursions all over Israel to bring your course work to life and volunteer in Israeli NGOs, which will allow you to truly immerse yourself in Israeli society.



A kibbutz is a co-operative, communal living environment. You'll have the opportunity to adopt the kibbutz lifestyle by working and living side-by-side with locals. On the kibbutz, you'll work, learn, and practice your Hebrew, swim, play sports, and so much more. A madrich will live with you on the kibbutz and will organize activities which may include lectures, sports, day trips, games, and city visits.

Tel Aviv Immersion

Tel Aviv Immersion: Live Like a Local

During this part of the program, you will live in apartments in Tel Aviv with 3-6 roommates. There will be evening activities led by the Madrichim or various professional speakers. While living in Tel Aviv, participants will receive a weekly stipend and be responsible for their own food shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and other house-keeping. Madrichim will also live on site and be around to help. Staples of the Tel Aviv experience include learning Hebrew at Ulpan, volunteering with Magen David Adom (MDA). Magen David Adom is the medical emergency assistance in Israel. The MDA course will give international certification for each participant. Your MDA course is a wonderful opportunity to live in modern Israel's most exciting metropolitan environment—the place every young person wants to be.



Service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is an important element in the life of young Israelis. The army is a personality-forging rite-of-passage that strengthens Israeli's patriotism and identification with the State of Israel. Marva, participation in the IDF, will undoubtably deepen participant's sense of belonging to the Jewish People and in Israel. Marva will deliver a 'boot camp' experience to understand military life, as well as provide practical skills to learn the ethical content of the IDF. Throughout the program, participants will be led by a team of Officers and Sergeants, and will be under their command 24/7.  

Note: While the Marva is an army experience, participants will never be exposed to danger or be placed in an operational situation. Acceptance into Marva is strictly at the discretion of the IDF, and your application will be reviewed after full registration details are received, medical information reviewed, and a final interview has been completed.

Ongoing Experiences

New Friendships with Maccabi Tzair

Maccabi Tzair, BBYO's sister Movement in Israel, is Maccabi World Union's Youth Movement. A specific Maccabi Tzair branch will be assigned to host participants throughout the program in various events such as the Maccabi Torch Relay, Purim festivals and home hospitality over some weekends.

Sports Event Management

Work with Goldfish Productions, a leading Israeli events production firm, to learn about the crazy world of sports event management. Their clients consist of some of Israel's top businesses, companies, and municipalities. The participants will work alongside Goldfish staff and go behind the scenes of the sporting events such as triathlons, marathons, and night runs.

Sports and Media

Throughout the program, there will be opportunities to visit a sports TV studio and see television coverage of games, meet with sports reporters, visit sporting newspaper facilities, examine press coverage, and watch sporting events from the Press box. Participants will also have the change to connect with a CEO of an Israeli sports team.


There are many avenues in which you can apply for scholarship for this program. Many organizations are super excited about you spending a year after high school in the Jewish homeland.

Masa Israel Journey

Masa is a joint initiative of the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency for Israel whose purpose is to make long-term programs in Israel more affordable by giving need based scholarships to participants. This program is approved by Masa and applications can be obtained through the Masa website. Here is a full list of additional scholarship you can apply to.

Jewish Federation

Contact local Jewish Organizations – a full list can be found here.

Even if your Federation is not listed on the list provided, it is worthwhile to contact the Jewish Federation in your community. How? Call their office, do not email them. When you call the Federation, ask to speak with the Financial Aid Director, the person in charge of scholarships, or the Israel desk. Explain your situation and ask if you‘re eligible to apply to any of their scholarships. Each Federation has different scholarships to offer – if you have any questions call Nitzan for help.

Listed below are Federations that only give scholarships to people who are located in and or around their city. Please do not contact them if you’re from a different area:
1. Cleveland area – (216) 371–0446
2. Indianapolis – (317) 255–3124
3. Orange County, CA –(949) 435–3450
4. Phoenix – (480) 634–4900, ext. 1119
5. Rhode Island – 401.421-4111 ext. 179
6. San Francisco – If you’re from the San Francisco Bay Area, contact the Financial Aid Director, (415) 751-6983, ext. 107.d.      

Israel within Reach Scholarship – visit their website to learn more about their scholarships (for San Francisco and Bay Area teens)

The Jewish Service

Jewish Service connects high school graduates (17–19 years old) to a wide variety of extraordinary 8–12 month-long programs in Israel. These programs offer high school graduates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live, volunteer, learn and grow in Israel through meaningful, and often life-changing volunteer placements. Students will gain practical experience that can provide a critical advantage when applying to competitive university programs, while volunteering side by side with Israelis of the same age and making a real contribution to the country.

For additional scholarship please reach out to BBYO Central Sh'licha, Nitzan Ben Shaya.