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Birthright Alumni Program Ends Subsidized Shabbat

Birthright NEXT is ending its subsidized Shabbat meal program for Birthright alumni, the group announced in an email to constituents on December 4.

NEXT will also end two similar programs that help pay for Passover seders and High Holiday dinners. The group said that it had helped fund 21,800 events through the three programs since 2008.

NEXT did not say why it was canceling the meals programs, which have long been the most visible elements of Birthright’s post-trip outreach efforts. A spokesman for Birthright NEXT said that no one at the organization was available Monday to speak about the cancellation.

The programs provided cash reimbursements to Birthright alumni to cover expenses of hosting a Shabbat or holiday meal. NEXT paid $14 per guest for up to 16 guests. In return, guests were asked to pose for a picture to send back to Birthright NEXT headquarters.

The final NEXT Shabbat meals will be hosted on December 27th. Hosts will have until January 10 to file for their reimbursements.

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