KAHAL aspires to give the tens of thousands of Jewish students studying abroad each year the resources, tools, and connections they need to meaningfully engage with the Jewish community and deepen their Jewish identity during one of the most important, meaningful, and enduring experiences of their lives.
WHAT WE DO
KAHAL creates and facilitates transformational Jewish experiences for study abroad students. Wherever you’re traveling, whether it’s London or Lisbon, Paris or Prague, Shanghai or Sydney, KAHAL can connect you to amazing, immersive travel experiences in your local community. Working with local Jewish students, families, organizations, and community leaders, KAHAL connects Jewish students to exciting opportunities, such as:
Each year, more than 25,000 American Jewish students study abroad. These programs range from three months to more than one year and are a critical component of students’ developmental journey. According to the Study Abroad for Global Engagement Study, a longitudinal study of 6600 study abroad alumni from five decades and funded by the United States Government, study abroad was viewed by students as “the most impactful aspect of their [college] experiences, perceived as being far more important than any other aspect of their undergraduate experience.” In fact, the major qualitative finding of the study was that “overwhelmingly, the study abroad experience was among the most influential experiences in participants’ lives, or was the most impactful experience.”
Founded in 2013 as the American voice to the World Union of Jewish Students, KAHAL quickly pivoted. Having studied abroad themselves, the founders realized too few study abroad students were taking advantage of the opportunities presented by international Jewish communities. For most students, studying abroad is a transformational and impactful experience, but not a Jewish one. Before KAHAL, the Jewish community was missing a critical opportunity to increase students’ connection to the global Jewish people. Three years later, KAHAL is the premier organization for Jewish study abroad students around the world, helping thousands immerse themselves in Jewish life in 39 countries and 70 cities around the world.
OUR NAME: KAHAL
KAHAL, or “community,” refers back to the once great, autonomous Jewish communities of pre-Enlightenment Europe. As the Kahals and ghettos dissolved, Jews became more involved in the secular communities of their home countries. While in many ways the Jewish community benefited immensely from their newly-gained liberties, one might say they lost the sense of community that came from daily life in the ghetto.
Today, Jewish study abroad students take advantage of limitless opportunities presented by the cultures of their host countries. They are free to be British, Italian, Chilean, or Chinese, even if only for a semester. Then they can connect with KAHAL and find their Jewish home abroad.