Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund

Every Jewish teenager should have the opportunity to study in Israel.

That’s what Louis Herman believed, so he generously established a fund that helps Minneapolis Jewish teenagers go on peer educational trips to Israel: the Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund (LHIEF)

We recommend that applications be submitted at least one month prior to departure.

Who is eligible?

Minneapolis residents between the ages of 15 and 18 who are registered for a qualifying Israel experience:

The Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI)
These programs are dedicated to engaging teens to discover, explore and embrace their connection to the history, culture and land of Israel. AMHSI offers a year-round, eight-week intensive study abroad program for high school juniors and seniors, using an interdisciplinary curriculum which strives to provide youth with a stronger Jewish identity. Students can follow in the footsteps of more than 18,000 AMHSI alumni and discover Israel through an inspiring, life changing experience that is non-denominational and pluralistic.

There are two classic AMHSI seven-week sessions offered during the summer (with a Poland/Prague Holocaust trip add-on option). The classic program uses the land of Israel as “a living classroom” with on-site, on-the-move teaching. Students learn chronologically more than 4,000 years of Jewish history, beginning with the Biblical period and ending with the modern Middle East. Students can enjoy a college atmosphere in co-ed dorms at their ‘home away from home’ at the beautiful school campus in Hod Hasharon. In 2008, two new additional summer programs will be available to complement the backdrop of Jewish history: the first is an innovative four-week program which focuses on heroes in history, leadership, social justice, volunteer work and community service; the second is in partnership with the Ruppin Academic Center School of Marine Sciences and focuses on identity, marine biology and ecology. The academic program at Ruppin is combined with unique learning experiences and theoretical studies are offered alongside fun marine activities such as seamanship, diving and sailing. Do a 5-day SCUBA Diving course (for 1 star); swim with dolphins; save turtles; enjoy kayaking and plenty of fascinating overland and underwater excursions never offered before at AMHSI!

The Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI): http://www.amiie.org 

With more than 18,000 members and 80 years of experience, BBYO is known as the largest and most effective provider of identity-building and leadership development programs for Jewish teens. BBYO invites you to join our Israel programs,  Passport to Israel (P2I) and explore desert canyons, walk in the footsteps of history, and connect to your Jewish identity in a place like none other. P2I is your ticket to a truly hands-on journey. Our uniquely active approach to experiencing Israel is the ideal way to appreciate a country that is rich in history, spirituality, terrain, and culture.

BBYO: www.bbyo.org 

BIG IDEA Israeli Summer Camps
We welcome kids and teenagers from all over the world to join Israel’s success story:

BIG IDEA is an International Technology Summer Camp, opening the gates to the #1 success story of Israel – Technology Innovation. BIG IDEA introduces the campers to an enriching experience that touches their deepest emotions and spur creative energies in their minds. We provide an original, creative and fascinating program, matching worldwide youth with Israeli peers in a unique way using universal language – Technology. BIG IDEA is an overnight summer camp where worldwide youth who love technology get together for an unforgettable experience.

BIG IDEA is officially supported by the President of Israel, Israel Ministry of Tourism and Minister Advisor for Diaspora.

BIG IDEA: http://bigidea.co.il/en/

Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel
Every year, twenty-six outstanding North American teenagers are selected for The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. The Fellows come from all over the United States and Canada, from the widest possible range of Jewish backgrounds, and are selected based on merit, and not financial need. In their five weeks together, the Fellows encounter the land and people of Israel, study Judaism and major issues in contemporary Jewish life, and learn about themselves and each other. The summer is the beginning of a long-term association for the Fellows, which continues through our extraordinarily active alumni network.

Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel: www.bronfman.org

Camp Kimama
Camp Kimama is the first and largest International sleep-away camp in Israel in both Hebrew and English that has been hosting over 1500 campers from the ages of 7-17 each year from all over the world.  It’s an incredible experience that unites Jewish youth from all over the world and combines both fun and education with important values that every camper can take with them for the rest of their lives.  With three awesome camps all along the Mediterranean beach, there is something for everyone.  Our camps combine the fun of countless activities such as scuba-diving, dog-training, surfing, sports, fashion, performing arts, visual arts, cooking lessons, swimming, horse-riding, color war, team building and more.  We promise this is the adventure of a lifetime.

Camp Kimama: http://www.campkimama.org

Chetz V'Keshet

Spend a summer in Israel- Israeli style!

For the last 35 years Chetz V’Keshet (CVK) has been bringing Jewish teens to Israel for a once in a lifetime experience. Our 4 week-long trip consists of youths ages 15-18 from various communities and denominations, who come together for a truly remarkable journey in Israel together with Israeli teens.

During our program the participants explore the cultural, historical, and religious aspects of Israel, while enjoying a safe and secure environment. Our participants will climb Masada at sunrise, have an army week (IDF’s army week), stay in a Bedouin tent, take a dip in the Kinneret while enjoying a classic Israeli cookout, and much more.

Participants are encouraged to experience Israel for themselves, whatever their level of observance or connection to Israel may be in an Israeli oriented program for both Hebrew and English speakers.

Chetz V’Keshet: www.israelscouts.org/#!chez-vkeshet/ce9s

Habonim Dror MBI
MBI (Machaneh Bonim B’Israel) is a unique Israel experience designed to meet the goals of Habonim Dror. This summer you have the opportunity to participate in an amazing Israel program, which will provide you with memories and lasting ties to Israel and your national kvutsah (group) for the rest of your life. By downloading this application package you have become a potential MBI participant. MBI is not just another teen tour. It is a program with specific goals and expectations for its participants. While MBI is open to post-tenth graders who have not been involved in Habonim Dror before, participants are expected to be involved in the movement after the summer is over.

Habonim Dror MBI: www.habonimdror.org

Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair is a youth movement, based on the principles of Progressive Zionism, Social Justice, Progressive Judaism and self-actualization, and committed to peace and equality. It promotes a strong commitment to Israel, and a Jewish identity based on our common ancestry, history, and culture.  Hashomer Hatzair believes firmly in social justice and community responsibility, and facilitates lasting and powerful group and individual friendships.    During Yedid Plus trip to Isael, the participants will acquire the knowledge and tools to return to the movement, their communities and their peers, able to share what they have learned. The program in Israel will consist of a series of educational seminars, tours of Israel and a week stay on a kibbutz.

Hashomer Hatzair: www.hashomerhatzair.org/israel_yedid.html

JCC Maccabi
Our four-week teen program is pluralistic and non-denominational. It’s perfect for teens that enjoy meeting other teens, exploring new places, trying new foods, and learning about their history. At JCC Maccabi Israel, we have created a trip that uniquely blends travel, education, and adventure perfect for Jewish American teens. Learn and discover Israel with teens from across the country. Extend your curiosities, question answers, and challenge yourself. Return with incredible insights, memories, and experiences that will change you and shape you into the person you will become.

JCC Maccabi: www.jccmaccabiisrael.org

Machach Bnei Akiva
Mach Hach Ba’Aretz combines the excitement and inspiration of Israel in an enjoyable and dynamic Religious Zionist educational summer experience. Mach Hach Ba’Aretz is a 5 1/2 week summer program for 10th grade graduates which offers a unique way of exploring and visiting Israel. Through seminars, visiting historical sites, kibbutzim, and meeting with Bnei Akiva members in Israel, Mach Hach Ba’Aretz participants experience Israel first hand and develop a deeper understanding and connection to Eretz Yisrael. Mach Hach Ba’Aretz is not just another summer tour, but rather, is a unique religious Zionist educational program designed to deepen the appreciation and connection to our religious and national heritage, culture and history.

Machach Bnei Akiva: www.bneiakiva.org 

National Council of Young Israel- Achva
Achva’s summer tours feature fantastic sites and attractions, spectacular views, exciting cities, great friends and a warm, caring staff- all under the auspices of the National Council of Young Israel. All tours are strictly kosher, shomer Shabbat, and designed for observant teenagers with an Orthodox day school background.

National Council of Young Israel- Achva: www.youngisrael.org/achva/

National Jewish Council for Disabilities Yad B'yad Israel
The Yad B’Yad Israel Program brings high school students together with Yachad members on a fabulous Israel leadership experience. Participants form strong bonds of friendship and grow beyond themselves as they experience our homeland, Israel, in a new and unparalleled way.

With safety always our first priority, our group enjoys time in Jerusalem, an Israeli army base, the Kineret and Dead Sea, and many other fantastic locations. They ride camels, hike up Masada, participate in special Shabbat programs, and so much more. Yachad members experience Israel just as their peers do, forming incredible relationships with their new friends. High school students benefit from a unique leadership-training program providing seminars in leadership, advocacy and hands-on experience in special education.

National Jewish Council for Disabilities Yad B’yad Israel: https://www.yachad.org/yby/ 

Offering programs to bring Jewish teens back to their heritage, NCSY is at the forefront of the battle against assimilation. NCSY is a multi-faceted Jewish Youth group which is open to all Jewish youth regardless of background and affiliation. Offering social and educational programming in hundreds of communities across the U.S. and Canada, NCSY is a leader in bringing unaffiliated youth an awareness of what Judaism is all about. For Jewish teenagers, NCSY is a relaxed, fun environment to learn about their own heritage. NCSY offers a variety of programs in Israel including options for male-only, female-only or co-ed groups, and options for extensive travel in Europe.

NCSY: www.ncsy.org

The word nesiya means journey in Hebrew. Nesiya’s creative journeys explore Judaism and Israel through a combination of travel, outdoor adventure, workshops in the performing and visual arts, community service projects, and creative study. No special background or skills are needed to have a great time on Nesiya. Meet and work with fascinating Israeli personalities including expert nature guides, visual artists, writers, musicians, actors, scholars, and community activists. Nesiya invites you to experience Israeli in an environment that reflects the diversity and vitality of the Jewish people today. Israeli and North Americans from secular, Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox backgrounds come together and share responsibility for building a dynamic and caring community.

Nesiya: www.nesiya.org

For over sixty years, the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism. Thousands of families have chosen NFTY for more than a promise of a thrilling experience in Israel. NFTY programs have transformed more than 27,000 young people by turning a spark of interest into a summer of exciting challenges, wonderful new friends, and a lifelong involvement with Judaism. Whether its for six weeks or six months, there’s an opportunity for you to travel to Israel with NFTY!

NFTY: www.nftyisrael.org/summer

No’ar Hadash Israel Experience
No’ar Hadash Israel Experience:

After building a community together at Camp JRF, participants will travel to Israel where they will begin a month-long interactive experience of the land and the people.  Participants will move through time and space as they find ways in which Jews have lived their lives in Israel throughout the generations.  They will spend time in all parts of the country as they climb, swim, sing, hike, learn, and explore their way through the land.  Participants will have an opportunity to experience Shabbat in Jerusalem, see the sunrise over Masada, participate in tikkun olam projects with their Israeli peers, marvel at the natural wonders of the land, connect with innovative and progressive organizations, and discuss the realities of life in contemporary Israel.  They will then bring their learning back to the Reconstructionist youth community in the United States – spending Shabbat at Camp JRF so that they can share their experiences, their stories, and their excitement about this unforgettable summer.

No’ar Hadash Israel Experience: http://noarhadash.org/Israel/

Ramah Seminar is a 6-week trip, based in Jerusalem, which includes exploring Israel’s history, archeological digs, tiyulim (trips), and more, including the opportunity to spend the summer with Ramah campers from all over North America.

Ramah: www.ramah.org.il

Technion International Start-up Program

At the Start-Up Summer Program, teens between the ages of 15-18 years old from around the world come together for a 4-week program taught entirely in English at Israel’s most prestigious science and technology university. Students explore high-tech business development and experiment with entrepreneurship and innovation in a fun and welcoming atmosphere. Working in small teams, students gain experience in innovative thinking and benefit from cross-cultural exchange.

Students participate in academic workshops, visit leading Israeli tech firms and successful start-ups, meet industry leaders and get to know Israel as part of the program’s exciting curriculum.

This exciting 4-week program for 9th-12th graders is coordinated by the Jewish Journey and Technion International, and consists of academic workshops, site visits to Israeli tech firms, and meetings with leaders and innovators in the field.

Technion International: int.technion.ac.il/academic-programs/pre-university-programs/start-up-camp/

TRY is a semester-long study program for 10th, 11th and 12th graders at the Ramah Jerusalem High School, a fully accredited international secondary school. During this semester abroad, students make Israel their classroom and Jerusalem their home. They meet their curricular requirements from their home high schools, immerse themselves in Israeli culture, study Hebrew in an ulpan-style class, all while forming lifelong friendships with teens from across North America. During our Israel Core Course, students walk in the footsteps of their ancestors and connect with 4,000 years of Jewish history in the places it happened. The course includes a powerful 6-day journey to Poland. TRY is accredited by the Middle States Association Schools and Colleges.

TRY: www.try.ramah.org.il

Spend your summer with USY (United Synagogue Youth of the Conservative Movement) for a complete introduction to the land of Israel. You’ll be exposed to the history and contemporary realities of Judaism and Israel. Climb the fortress of Masada, explore the stalactite caves of Netifim, swim in the waters of the Kinneret, pray at the Kotel, and drink tea in a Bedouin tent on the sands of the Negev desert. You’ll experience these sights and sounds with new friends who share your love of the Jewish homeland.

USY: www.usy.org

Young Judea
There are plenty of opportunities to experience Israel, but Young Judaea is certainly leading the way. Through our 55 years of sending youth to Israel, we’ve developed comprehensive Israel programs and not just teen tours! Young Judaea’s jam-packed programs give you all the fun and excitement of a teen tour plus those extras that will make your summer a time to meet new people, learn, grow, be challenged, and most of all, have a great time. Options for travel to Prague, Rome and Spain.

Young Judaea: www.youngjudea.org

What does the LHIEF offer?

Funding is available up to a maximum amount of $1,000 utilizing the following criteria:

  1. Base Grant: $750 (Calculated by the duration of program – Maximum $750)
  2. Merit Grants: $50 per Activity (Up to $250)

Scholarships will be awarded only once to each applicant.

Merit Grants are based on past or current involvement in the following categories of Jewish activities:

  • Youth group involvement
  • Communal organization volunteer work
  • Formal Jewish education
  • Camping experience
  • Communal work experience

When you get back from your trip . . . Teens who receive grants will be asked to volunteer in the Jewish community upon their return, as a way to give back and share their experience with others.

Questions? Noa is here to help!




To be eligible for the LHIEF grant you must be either a resident of Minneapolis (and metro based area) or a member of a Minneapolis synagogue. If you live in the St. Paul area, click here to learn about Passport to Israel.

The Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund is a designated endowment within the Jewish Community Foundation, the planned giving and endowment department of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

Meet Louis Herman

Born and raised in the Jewish community of Minneapolis, Louis Herman never had any children.
But he thought of the community’s children as his children, and used his hard-earned wealth to support causes that focused on Jewish education.  In 1992, Mr. Herman donated $1 million to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation as an endowment. A few years later, the LOUIS HERMAN ISRAEL EXPERIENCE FUND was established.

Since its inception in 1995, the Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund has awarded more than $1,000,000 in grants to over 1000 Minneapolis teens. Many of these grant recipients have returned from their Israel Experiences to become active members of their Jewish community, fulfilling Mr. Herman’s vision of developing a new generation of committed Jews. Mr. Herman’s generosity to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and to other Jewish institutions, has touched the lives of thousands of Jewish youth and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I do if I’m unsure whether I qualify for a Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund (LHIEF) grant?
    We recommend that you apply for a grant. After you submit your application, the LHIEF Coordinator will review it and contact you to discuss your eligibility. 
  • Why won’t the on-line application allow me to continue on to the next application page?
    The on-line application must be filled out completely. Certain information is required on the application, and if you don’t provide that information, the computer will prompt you to include it before allowing you to continue. You may contact the LHIEF Coordinator (952- 417-2319) while you are filling out the application if you encounter any problems.
  • What happens after I submit my on-line application to the Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund?
    After you submit your application, it is secured in an on-line console to which only the LHIEF Coordinator has access. On a regular basis, the Coordinator checks the status of the console and contacts all new applicants to confirm receipt of the application and to explain the rest of the grant process.
  • How is LHIEF grant money distributed?
    The money is sent directly to the Israel program that the applicant is participating in. From time of application submission, it usually takes approximately ONE MONTH for a check to be credited to your account with the program. For this reason, we encourage you to apply to the Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund as soon as you decide which program you will be participating in. It is also extremely important that you provide all pertinent program contact information requested in the on-line application.
  • How will I know that my Israel program has received my LHIEF grant?
    After your grant has been approved, we send a check to your Israel program with a cover letter explaining that you’re a LHIEF grant recipient. When we send that letter to your program, we also send a copy of that letter to your home address, as shown on your grant application. Deposit of LHIEF funds should be reflected on your next program bill. You should contact the LHIEF Coordinator (952- 417-2319) if you’re concerned about the processing of your grant.
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