Have questions about REALITY? We have the answers! Below you'll find responses to frequently asked questions regarding our journeys, referral and application process and more.
What is REALITY?
REALITY brings inspiring changemakers on a formative journey to Israel to strengthen their leadership, to ignite their passion for repairing the world, and to deepen their understanding of and connection to a unique and complex country.
REALITY’s week-long journeys are curated for leaders who work in a range of industries at the forefront of societal innovation—from media to technology, food to wellness, design to social impact. Through an intensive, thoughtfully tailored itinerary, participants engage with Israel’s storied history, diverse society and rich culture, while deepening their leadership skills and developing partnerships with peers from across the globe.
REALITY participants go beyond headlines and soundbites to explore firsthand Israel’s many interwoven stories, successes and challenges that offer a lens for engaging with the most pressing questions our world faces. Every REALITY journey presents multiple—and often competing—narratives and perspectives on the historical, social and political realities on the ground, as participants hear from many of the people and communities that comprise Israel’s diverse society—Jewish, Arab, Palestinian, Ethiopian, LGBTQ+ and more.
Following their REALITY journey, all participants become a part of the REALITY community, a network of more than 2,200 global changemakers who have participated in a REALITY journey and are applying lessons learned and lasting connections from Israel to make a deeper impact through their work.
REALITY is an initiative of Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, which strives for a future in which the United States and Israel live up to their highest ideals and achieve more just and inclusive societies.
Why does REALITY take place in Israel?
For more than 30 years, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies has invested in building deeper knowledge of and support for Israel, as well as in strengthening Israel as a secure homeland for the Jewish people, a thriving democracy and an inclusive civil society. Through programs such as REALITY, Schusterman offers transformative opportunities for leaders in an array of fields to deepen their leadership skills and their understanding of Israel and the surrounding region while immersing themselves in its vibrant culture, complex history and diverse society.
REALITY participants go beyond headlines and soundbites to explore Israel’s many interwoven stories, successes and challenges that offer a lens for engaging with the most pressing questions our world faces. Every REALITY journey presents multiple—and often competing—narratives and perspectives on the historical, social and political realities on the ground, as participants hear from many of the people and communities that comprise Israel’s diverse society, including Jewish, Arab, Palestinians, Ethiopian, LGBTQ+, multiple faiths and more.
REALITY journeys reflect Schusterman’s belief that by grappling with difficult questions firsthand and engaging substantively with a wide range of stories, histories and perspectives, we can strengthen our abilities to foster dialogue across differences, seek shared solutions to complex issues and be part of shaping a better reality.
We hope that the influential leaders we bring to Israel through REALITY are inspired by their REALITY experience to reflect on the values that guide their leadership and spark positive change in the world.
What work does Schusterman do connected to Israel?
Schusterman Family Philanthropies invests in Israel as a secure homeland for the Jewish people, a thriving democracy and an inclusive civil society that cares for its most vulnerable. In the U.S., we support efforts to build deeper understanding of Israel through education and first-hand experience. You can read more about our Israel Grantmaking work and our Israel Education and Engagement focus area.
What REALITY journeys are you offering this year?
We are offering the following REALITY journeys in 2022:
- REALITY Creatives
- REALITY Impact
- REALITY Music
- REALITY Pride
- REALITY Sports
- REALITY Storytellers
- REALITY Taste
- REALITY Tech
- REALITY Women
If I was accepted to a REALITY journey that was canceled due to COVID-19, do I need to reapply for a 2022 journey?
All accepted participants for our postponed 2020 journeys have priority for our 2022 journeys and do not need to reapply. To reserve your spot:
- Complete the interest survey. All accepted 2020 participants received an email in early November with the dates for our 2022 REALITY Journeys and a survey to share participation availability.
- Complete your registration. Once you complete the interest survey, our team will send a registration form by mid-January, 2022. To reserve your spot, complete the registration form and payment of the highly subsidized registration fee of $1,180.
- Complete your travel form. You will receive a travel form once we receive your registration form and registration fee.
Please email [email protected] if you did not receive the interest survey or have any questions about how to reserve your spot.
How do I apply for a REALITY 2022 journey if I wasn't previously accepted?
Due to the cancellation of our journeys in 2020 because of COVID-19, all accepted journey participants from 2020 have priority to participate in our 2022 journeys. With COVID regulations in place, we have limited spots on our journeys this year and therefore we will not have open applications for those who were not previously accepted. We look forward to your interest in joining us in 2023.
What to Know About Your REALITY Journey
What is included with the registration fee?
The highly subsidized registration fee of $1,180 includes a round-trip plane ticket (within the parameters outlined on the travel form you will receive), single room hotel accommodations, three meals per day, coach transport, activities and more. Your registration fee for the REALITY experience includes a sum dedicated to offsetting the environmental impact of your international travel and journey while in Israel. REALITY invests that sum in carbon reduction projects to mitigate unavoidable carbon emissions caused by travel and reduce the journey’s carbon footprint.
Please note that needs-based subsidies are available.
If I have to withdraw from a journey, can the registration fee be refunded?
No. Unfortunately, the registration fee is non-refundable and cannot be transferred to a different REALITY participant or used another year.
If I have to withdraw from a journey, can I defer my acceptance to next year?
No. We cannot automatically defer acceptance to a future journey but you can reapply.
Is there a way that I can connect with other participants before the journey starts?
Yes! We highly encourage you to connect with other members of your cohort. About a month before the journey, you will receive an email with an invitation to join a WhatsApp group for your journey’s participants.
How physically rigorous is the journey?
REALITY includes an intensive, thoughtfully developed itinerary of speakers, activities and experiences with little downtime. The group is on the move from morning until night. Many of the activities are outside with fairly high temperatures and include some hiking and long bus rides.
While the REALITY experience is physically rigorous, REALITY strives to accommodate individuals with visible and invisible disabilities. Please be in touch with us via [email protected] if you have any questions specific to your needs.
I have severe allergies. Are you able to accommodate?
We do our best to accommodate allergies throughout the journey experience. When an allergy is shared with our team, we gather as much information as possible from the participant(s) so we can notify and prepare our travel partner and vendors in advance of the group’s arrival. If accepted, it is important that you share this information with us as early as possible so we can do our best to make reasonable accommodations.
While REALITY journeys often visit locations not under our direct supervision, we do double-check ingredients with food vendors and restaurants at each location throughout the experience. However, since we do not prepare the meals ourselves, we are unable to guarantee that allergy-related requests are fully implemented. Restaurants and food vendors in Israel are often less knowledgeable than their North American counterparts about accommodations for severe food allergies, especially as it relates to cross-contamination.
To help, we can provide an allergy card written in English and Hebrew to share when necessary. If you have food-related allergies, we also recommend that you:
- Do your own double-checking with both REALITY and restaurant staff.
- Obtain comprehensive medical insurance.
- Speak with your doctor about what to bring.
How Do Flights and Insurance Work?
How does the flight process work?
REALITY partners with a travel agent to book participants’ flights to and from Israel. Participants should not book their own flights. Every journey has an international group flight that departs from JFK or Newark airport and U.S.-based participants are expected to fly on the group flight. Detailed travel information will be sent upon acceptance and completing registration for the journey.
Can I arrive after the program begins or depart before it officially ends?
No. Participants must join the journey for its entirety and cannot arrive late or leave early. We do not make exceptions because each aspect of the program is crucial to your REALITY experience.
Am I responsible for any flight costs?
Ideally, no. If you complete your travel form by the deadline and are flying on a group flight coach class ticket, you will not incur any flight costs. Additional fees may be incurred if you submit your travel form submission after the deadline, plan to extend your time in Israel, change your flight at the last minute or do not fly on the group flight. The travel agent will communicate these costs with you prior to booking.
I want to extend my time in Israel (before/after) REALITY. What should I do?
After completing your registration, you will receive a travel form that allows you to make a request to extend your stay in Israel. The travel agent will communicate any additional costs with you prior to booking. Please note that you will be responsible for your own accommodations as well as any transportation in Israel prior to the start of the journey or after the journey ends.
I need to return to a different destination from where I departed for REALITY. How can I make those arrangements?
If you need to return to a different destination for any reason, communicate these plans to the travel agent via the travel form. The travel agent will then communicate any additional costs with you before booking.
Can I make a last-minute change to my flight?
We strongly encourage participants to finalize flight arrangements with the travel agent as soon as possible. Additional fees may be incurred by the changes, which you will be responsible for.
Do I need a visa to travel to Israel?
U.S. citizens do not need a visa. If you are traveling from outside the U.S., please check visa requirements with your local Israel consulate as soon as you have been accepted on a REALITY journey to ensure you can obtain any documents necessary to travel to Israel. We can provide you with proof of the REALITY invitation and other relevant documents you may need to obtain the visa. We cannot, however, go on your behalf to a government office in Israel or otherwise.
My passport expires in less than six months from the start of the experience. Do I need to renew?
Yes. You must renew your passport if it expires less than six months from the start of the experience.
Does REALITY cover travel health insurance?
No. Participants are responsible for providing their own medical insurance coverage while on a REALITY journey. Your insurance must include coverage for medical treatment of COVID-19. Prior to traveling, please confirm with your health insurance provider that you are adequately covered for the duration of the journey, including travel days. You are also responsible for ensuring you have received all immunizations recommended by your health care provider for this journey.
Do I need to be vaccinated to travel to Israel?
Yes. All participants arriving in Israel must provide proof of their vaccination card. Currently, Israel only permits visitors to enter if they have received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (two doses for J&J) OR have completed two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (one does for J&J) within six months before departure.
Do I need to get a PCR test to travel to Israel?
Yes. All participants arriving in Israel must have a negative result from a PCR test result conducted within 72 hours before departure.
In addition to proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test, do I need anything else?
Yes. Within 24 hours before departure to Israel, participants must complete a health certification on the Ministry of Health website (its short and sweet!). Confirmation of completion of the health certification is also a pre-condition for boarding the flight to Israel. REALITY will provide clear step-by-step instructions on how to complete this form.
What happens once I land in Israel?
Participants will undergo a PCR test and a serology test after landing in Israel and before leaving the airport. After leaving the airport, participants will isolate in the hotel until they receive a positive antibodies result and an email confirmation from Israel’s Ministry of Health.
Test results normally come back between 2-4 hours. During this time, you can relax at the hotel!
Do I need additional health insurance that covers COVID?
Yes. All participants arriving in Israel must obtain an insurance policy with coverage for medical treatment of COVID-19.
Will REALITY implement COVID-related regulations during the journey?
REALITY will comply with the Israeli government’s COVID-19 regulations as we strive to ensure a safe environment for participants and the communities we visit throughout the journey. Our team will provide disinfectant, ensure that our bus and meeting spaces are sterilized daily and provide single occupancy rooms. We will also do our best to ensure that as many meals and programming as possible are held outdoors. When this is not possible, masks may be required.
There is currently a mandatory mask mandate in Israel, though this may be lifted by the time your journey takes place.