Guide to the HMI Application Process
- Who is HMI for?
- Who's eligible for HMI?
- How does the application work?
- What happens after we apply?
- What happens after the interview?
Who is HMI for?
HMI is open to couples of all cultural, racial, religious, gender, and sexual identities who are looking to create connections with each other and to Jewish life. HMI is geared toward couples with at least one Jewish partner, between the ages of 25 and 40, and who are within the first five years of marriage or early in their lifelong committed partnership. Before you apply, please make sure you meet our Eligibility Requirements on the next tab.
Our goal for each trip is to build cohorts that are reflective of the community, including couples with interfaith, Jewish, Jewish by choice, and multi-racial backgrounds. All couples will be based in the same metro area to enhance community-building during and after the trip. HMI is most powerful and impactful for couples who have yet to find a strong connection to the Jewish community or Jewish life and are searching for the right ways to incorporate Judaism into their relationship, family, and home.
Who’s eligible for HMI?
Honeymoon Israel’s hope is to create a fulfilling, welcoming experience for couples with at least one Jewish partner who do not yet have strong connections to Jewish life. HMI is a good fit for couples who are searching for ways in which they want to incorporate Judaism in their relationships, family, community, and home.
The HMI experience is open to couples of any cultural, racial, gender, and sexual identities. HMI aims to ensure that each trip has a diverse mix of people including couples where both partners were born Jewish, interfaith couples, and couples where at least one partner is a Jew-by-choice.
Each couple must meet basic eligibility requirements in order to be considered for a Honeymoon Israel trip. Meeting the requirements is the first step and does not guarantee a spot on the trip.
- At least one partner must be Jewish. We define that broadly, such as one Jewish parent or grandparent.
- You must be a resident of the geographic catchment area in the city the trip is based. Trips are organized locally, so you’ll be traveling with other couples from your community.
- Couples should be committed and/or married life partners between the ages of 25-40. At least one partner must be between 25-40 at the time of the trip and neither partner over 45 years old.
- If married, couples must be within the first five years of marriage or very close to it.
- At least one partner must have no prior organized Israel travel experience on a post high school Jewish peer trip (i.e. if both partners have been on Birthright or a MASA program, you are ineligible)
How does the application work?
The HMI Application process begins with submitting your application form. When an application cycle is open for your city, you can submit an online application by the posted deadline for that cycle. Once submitted, it will be reviewed by HMI staff and a trained team of HMI alumni.
Here are some tips as you prepare for your online application:
- Complete every answer with detail – we’re trying to understand your background/motivations/how we can best serve you. Provide full answers to the questions.
- There’s no right or wrong answer. We simply want to better understand who you are as a couple.
- It’s critical that both partners complete the application together. We want to see that the answers reflect both partners’ voices.
- Be honest! Don’t cheat the process by trying to fit a mold that you think we’re looking for. HMI is completely open to couples of all diverse backgrounds and experiences.
When you submit your application, you’ll receive an automated confirmation email. If you don’t receive the confirmation email, email us at email@example.com.
What happens after we apply?
Once we receive and review your application, we’ll reach out to you via email to let you know if you’re invited to the next step in the process: the interview.
If you’re invited to the interview round, we’ll email you with dates and times to sign up to be interviewed by an HMI staff member or trained HMI alumni. A local community partner may join the interview as well. The interview is a time for us to bring your application to life. Before the interview, it’s helpful to get familiar with the HMI Experience. Other than that, there’s nothing you need to do to prepare!
If you’re not invited to the interview round, there are different factors that may have led to that. We receive approximately 4X the number of applications than we have spots available for upcoming trips. We try to interview as many eligible couples as possible and offer the opportunity for those who don’t get to interview to provide HMI with feedback.
Don’t forget to make sure you meet our Eligibility Requirements as those who don’t meet them won’t be invited to interview. The most common reason for ineligibility is not living within the geographic catchment area. Make sure you meet all the requirements before you apply.
What happens after the interview?
After your interview, we’ll let you know via email about whether or not you’re secured a spot on an upcoming HMI trip.
If you’re secured a spot on an HMI trip, you’ll be asked to register for the trip and submit your payment. HMI is flexible with payment plans if you need more time to submit the trip payment.
If you’re notified that HMI cannot secure you a spot on an upcoming trip, you’re welcome to re-apply in the next application cycle for your city. HMI wants to secure spots for as many qualified, eligible applicants as possible. Please note that if you’re not secured a spot on your desired trip, we will do our best to give you a chance to participate in the future. HMI does not automatically add all interviewed applicants to a trip waitlist, but in the case that a participant drops out prior to the trip, some applicants may be notified and invited to take the spot.
The email notification will also inform you that the HMI local team and/or partners in your city will be reaching out to connect with you personally to help you find other ways to engage with the Jewish community.
Apply in Your City
Ready to apply for HMI?! Here you’ll find info session and application links, deadlines, and trip dates for all open application cycles. Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Info Sessions
Curious to learn more about Honeymoon Israel? Join us at one of our virtual or in-person info sessions! During these sessions, our team members will be available to answer all your questions about Honeymoon Israel as an organization, the HMI trip, and of course the application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who’s eligible to apply to participate in Honeymoon Israel (HMI)?
Please see our Eligibility Requirements tab for a complete list of eligibility criteria. The best way for us to get to know you is by submitting an application. Please note that if you complete an application and do not fully meet the eligibility criteria, you may be disqualified from moving forward.
If Honeymoon Israel isn’t currently running trips from our city, can we apply with another city?
No. We require all of our participants to live in the city from which the trip is based. Part of our mission as an organization is to help couples build a strong community in the city in which they live. Couples must live close to each other so they can participate in follow-up programming and events with our local partners.
What if we have children?
We love children and we look forward to meeting yours in the future, but we cannot accommodate them on our trips. For your children’s safety, and so you can receive the most benefit and enjoyment from the HMI experience, we cannot allow children of any age to travel with you OR any family member(s) on a trip with a similar or parallel itinerary to the HMI trip. We want you and others to be able to focus 100% on the trip experience.
How much does Honeymoon Israel cost?
The trip cost is $2900 per couple. This includes flight, hotels, planned activities, and about half of the meals for both partners. The couple is responsible for the remaining meals, as well as travel and health insurance. Honeymoon Israel offers payment plans and, in some cases, local partners may offer financial assistance to ensure that cost is not a barrier.
While the trip cost is $2,900 per couple, the overall Honeymoon Israel experience, including pre and post trip components, costs approximately $20,000 per couple. The remainder is a gift thanks to the generosity of federations, foundations, and individual donors and alumni who support our mission.
Why does Honeymoon Israel do this?
Our goal is to welcome all couples with at least one Jewish partner to the Jewish community. We’re here to help a diverse range of couples have a deeper connection to Jewish life in whatever way makes sense to them and their family.
What’s expected of me/us?
Our trips are designed to help young couples create community with each other and develop deeper connections to Jewish life. In order to do that, we are looking for couples who are willing to fully participate in all aspects of the program. This includes but is not limited to: three mandatory surveys about your experience (one pre-trip, two post-trip), two pre-trip gatherings, all trip activities, and a post-trip reunion.
The HMI experience encourages inquiry, questions, and discussion so we expect you to come with an open mind, ready to have fun, experience Israel, and connect with each other and your cohort so that you have the opportunity to build a community that can support you on your journey as you explore Jewish life.
If we are accepted, when do we have to pay our nonrefundable deposit?
If you are secured a spot on an HMI trip, you will be asked to register for the trip and submit your $2,900 payment within two weeks of notification. HMI can arrange an individual payment plan if necessary.
If we are not accepted, can we apply again?
If you are notified that HMI cannot secure you a spot on an upcoming trip, you are welcome to reapply in the next application cycle for your city. HMI does not automatically add all interviewed applicants to a trip waitlist, but in the case that a participant drops out prior to the trip, some applicants may be notified and invited to fill the spot.
What will the accommodations be like during the trip?
Our program is called Honeymoon Israel for a reason! Participants stay in beautiful 4-5 star hotels throughout Israel. Each couple has their own private room. Hotels are often walking distance to restaurants in the major cities and beaches when near the water. All hotel stays include an expansive Israeli breakfast buffet for participants to enjoy each morning. The Honeymoon Israel trip is romantic, warm, and welcoming.
What if I’m pregnant?
Individuals who are pregnant are welcome to participate on a trip if they are able to provide Honeymoon Israel written approval for travel from their doctor prior to departure.
I’m a nursing parent, can I pump while on the trip?
It is possible to pump while you are in Israel. However, you may run into challenges regarding proximity to electricity and/or temperature control of your milk should you choose to transport it while in Israel. Please click here to learn more about pumping while in Israel.
Is Honeymoon Israel affiliated with any other organizations?
Honeymoon Israel is an independent 501c3 organization. We work in collaboration with local partners and organizations in each city, helping individual couples and groups of couples explore Jewish life and values. Honeymoon Israel is supported by funders throughout the Jewish community who share our goal of welcoming and building community for a diverse range of Jewish families, including interfaith couples.
What about safety and security?
Your safety, health, and security are our top priorities. Honeymoon Israel takes safety and security very seriously. We operate in partnership with a tour provider on the ground in Israel who is in constant communication with the Ministry of Tourism. Together we ensure that all HMI trips are following the most updated safety and security guidelines in Israel. We work with experienced, accredited, professional tour guides and trip operators who have access to the most up-to-date security information, and our trip itineraries are reviewed continually to ensure you have the best experience possible. HMI trip staff leaders go over safety and security protocols during pre-trip gatherings and are available before and during the trip to address any questions or concerns.
What is the application process?
The application process is a two-step process. First, you and your partner will complete an online written application when the application cycle in your city is open. The second step is an in-person or video interview. Not all applicants are invited to the second step of the application process due to limited capacity for interviews and trip spots. If couples are invited to an interview, the interview will take 30 minutes, take place on a designated set of dates, and each invited couple will have the ability to sign up for a slot.
Who are Honeymoon Israel’s local partners?
In every Honeymoon Israel community, we work with local partners who are integral to the HMI experience. Our local partners are senior educators and community workers who share our vision and values. They live and work in your community and will be available to you before, during, and after the trip.
Will Honeymoon Israel fill more than one trip with applicants from the same application cycle?
Depending on the specific cycle, Honeymoon Israel may fill more than one trip during one application cycle.
Will this be a religious trip?
Honeymoon Israel is not affiliated with any particular denomination, nor will any part of the trip be focused on encouraging conversion or a specific Jewish practice. The trip is focused on providing a platform for young couples to explore the ways in which they would like to incorporate Judaism into their relationship and family, in whatever way is meaningful to them. We find that providing the space for discussion is very powerful in a group setting.
Are people with physical disabilities or different access needs able to participate?
Honeymoon Israel is committed to finding ways to accommodate all individuals who are selected for our trips. If you choose to apply and are ultimately secured a spot on the trip, our team will discuss the best way to accommodate your needs and comfort level while in Israel.
Does Honeymoon Israel require health or travel insurance coverage for its participants?
Yes, Honeymoon Israel requires participants to obtain travel and health insurance prior to departure. Travel insurance should cover trip cancellation, health coverage, mandatory COVID-19 quarantine costs, luggage delays, and flight delays/cancellations. The cost of insurance is the responsibility of each participant.
Travel insurance offers you financial protection if your trip is disrupted due to COVID-19. Israel currently requires a five day isolation period after testing positive. If you test positive while on an HMI trip, you will be responsible for quarantine expenses and travel change costs, as well as any additional costs you may incur, such as separate hotel rooms for your partner if they do not test positive.
In Their Own Words
“I will be forever grateful to HMI for providing me the opportunity of a lifetime: experiencing the land of Israel with my husband and a group of strangers who quickly became family. This trip allowed me to deepen my connection to Judaism, [and] it fostered a community in Boston and exceeded my expectations in ways I couldn't have predicted. If it weren't for HMI, I do not believe I would have ever visited Israel in my lifetime; now, I am certain that we will return.”Victoria and MattHMI Boston Sept. '19