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About Passport & Passport Eligibility

Like the familiar blue passports used by travelers, the Passport to Jewish Life opens the doors to new and exciting Jewish educational destinations - such as Jewish summer camp, congregational religious school, Jewish teen leadership and community service programs, as well as Israel experiences!  Passports are granted on the basis of either merit or need (or a combination of both). 

Age Eligibility: 
* Rising 4th graders (for religious school and summer camp) through age 22.

Eligible Programs:
* Congregation religious school
* Jewish summer camp (day camp or overnight camp)
* Bureau of Jewish Education TALIT Nation
* JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest
* Israel study programs (BJE TIES, TVT Poland Israel, and other summer, semester-abroad or gap year programs in Israel)
* Jewish youth leadership and community service programs (examples: USY Conference, USY on Wheels, Panim el Panim, NFTY Convention, NCSY Give USA)

Please note that Passport grants cannot be used for Jewish day school tuition.  Please apply directly to your Jewish day school.

Geographic Eligibility
JFFS Passport to Jewish Life is open to students whose families reside, full-time, in Orange County, California.  If family resides in a community outside the geographic borders of Orange County, but the family is affiliated with an Orange County congregation, the child is eligible to apply for a Passport.

Passport Financial Parameters:
* Rising 4th graders are limited to a request for $300. 
* Applicants for Maccabi Games and ArtsFest in North America are limited to a request for $300.  Applicants for Maccabiah in Israel can apply for up to $1,000.
* ALL OTHERS (rising 5th graders through age 22, for programs other than Maccabi in North America) can apply for up to $1,000 depending on past Passport amounts received (see next item).
* The amount for which you can apply depends on whether you have received Passports in the past which are subject to the  cumulative lifetime cap of $1,000 per applicant.  The only programs that do NOT accrue to the cap are congregation religious school and TALIT Nation.  Email to check your cap status before you apply.

In addition, please note that you MUST apply first to your program provider (camp, congregation, JCC, etc.) for their own scholarship program. 

Recommendation Letters: Required

Recommendation letters are a key component of the Passport process.  Parents: you must request a letter from a community professional (rabbi, cantor, educator, teacher, coach, etc. - cannot be from a family member) and you must also follow through to ensure it comes in by deadline.  The letter must also conform to our recommendation guidelines which you will find here:  Click here for the guidelines.  


Please note that both your online application AND the recommendation letter (which you must request from a community professional and follow through on) must be received by deadline. 2014 deadlines are as follows:

* Wednesday, January 15th at 5pm (for meeting of 1/27/14)
* Monday, February 3rd at 5pm (for meeting of 2/24/14)
* Monday, March 10th at 5pm (for meeting of 3/31/14)
* Monday, May 12th at 5pm (for meeting of 6/2/14; please note that this is the FINAL deadline for summer 2014 Passport applications (camp, Maccabi, Israel, etc.)
* Monday, August 18th at 5pm (for meeting of 9/8/14)
* Monday, September 15th at 5pm (for meeting of 10/9/14; please note that this is the FINAL deadline of 2014)

Families are contacted by telephone or email, immediately after each meeting, to inform them of the committee's decision.