All Jewish Young Adults Need to go on Birthright

11 Reasons EVERY Jewish Young Adult Needs To Go On Birthright

The best experience of my life was on Birthright.


1. Become more connected with your Judaism

Prayer for the houseHayley Garron

You don't have to be a super religious person to go to Israel; most people in my group were not, but everyone definitely left the trip feeling more connected to being Jewish and to Israel.

2. You get super close to a new group of Jewish people around your age

Birthright group photoHayley Garron

Since I went on the trip through my university's Hillel, it was a lot easier to connect with other college students, and even several people who were out of college. Our group got very close, and I know we will all still keep in touch, and hopefully have a reunion one day.

3. Climb Masada, and check climbing a mountain off your bucket list

At the top of the mountainHayley Garron

Maybe you live somewhere with mountains, but in Florida, it is pretty flat. It was amazing to see all of the mountains and hills in Israel- especially the ones above the clouds. On one of the days, we hiked up Masada, and had the most amazing views. It was crazy looking down and seeing clouds below us.

4. Get fit and active

Hayley Garron

Birthright is definitely not for the faint of heart. Every day, we did all sorts of physical activities- such as climbing mountains and going on nature hikes. The scenery definitely made the exercise worth it. It was also amazing coming back and seeing that I dropped 5 pounds, despite all of the food I ate there!

5. The FOOD

The falafel was AMAZING! And vegan :)Hayley Garron

Speaking of food, Israel had AMAZING food. All of the hotels that we stayed at had huge buffets for every meal, and most days, we had free time during lunch to go explore restaurants, coffee shops, and souvenir shops. There was always plenty to eat- just make sure you drink a lot of water. Also, if you are vegan (like me), you'll love Tel Aviv- there were new vegan dishes at every single place we went, and it was awesome! I did get sick because the food is so different than what I was used to, so go easy, and definitely don't eat TOO much pasta for breakfast- every hotel had it on the breakfast buffet!

6. The Dead Sea

Friends in the Dead SeaHayley Garron

We were told on the trip that the Dead Sea may not be open to the public for that much longer, so definitely get there while you can! I am not a big fan of mud so I did not slather myself in it, but everyone else in our group had an awesome time nourishing their skin with the mineral-rich mud, as well as throwing it at each other. OH, and of course, floating in all of the salt was the best part.

7. You get to visit the Western Wall

The Western WallHayley Garron

While most people love Tel Aviv and I enjoyed it, Jerusalem by far was my favorite city. I loved the architecture of all of the buildings, and visiting the Western Wall was such a sacred experience. There are rows and rows of chairs with Siddurs (prayer books) for anyone who wants to pray at the wall. There was also a wait to put my note in the wall, but it was well worth it. This is the place that I remember hearing about most in Sunday school- especially the lessons on its history and importance.

8. Getting to participate in community service

At Save A Child's HeartHayley Garron

In Hebrew, we use the phrases Tikkun Olam and performing Mitzvot when talking about "making the world a better place." On one of our mornings, we went to this home called Save a Child's Heart, which houses children from all over the world with heart conditions while they get the proper medical help, and until they are strong enough to go home. Many of their moms also stay with them during their time there. During our visit, we learned how we could make an impact on the children's lives, and were given some time to play with them. It was such a heart-warming experience, and I hope to go back and visit on my next trip to Israel.

9. Spending time in a Bedouin tent in the middle of the desert

On a camel in the desertHayley Garron

Besides Jerusalem, my other favorite place was when we spent a (cold) night in a Bedouin tent. I remember we were on main roads, and then minutes later, we were headed into the desert- the middle of nowhere. But it was the most beautiful thing looking out the bus window and seeing nothing but miles and miles of sand, sky, and mountains all around us. We learned about the Bedouin coffee and tea rituals, had a hearty meal of middle-eastern food around a table on the ground, and also had fun around a bonfire before going to sleep in a giant (heated) tent. It was cold in the desert, but it was the most peaceful place I've ever been. I spent all night looking at constellations in the sky, and listening to the sound of animals in the distance. The whole experience was so beautiful and surreal.

10. Exploring art, markets, and shopping centers

Shopping Center in Tel AvivHayley Garron

11. You meet and become close with a group of Israeli soldiers.

Some of my new best friendsHayley Garron

I know my first point was about people, but I thought it fitting to end talking about the Israeli soldiers that were in our group. Not every birthright group gets their soldiers for 10 days like my group did- we were special, and definitely blessed for that. The seven soldiers that were with us became our closest friends, and are people that I plan on keeping in my life indefinitely. I connected so well with most of them, and still talk to several on a daily basis. Becoming friends with them has opened my eyes to a new culture, and how young adults live in this culture- going into the military directly after high school, and what their lives look like. Even though we live on different sides of the world, I found that we have more similarities than differences, and the trip was only as amazing as it was because I got close with them.

The last full day- of course was the hardest- was awesome because we went back to Tel Aviv and got to explore it alone. The minute we stepped off the bus in our groups, the biggest rainstorm I've ever been caught in hit us- yes it definitely does rain in the desert. It was so cold, and we were all wet, so the first place we ran to was a mall to buy some dry clothes. The mall was really cool though, because there was this one strip where it had dozens of different cultural food vendors to fulfill all of your food dreams. There were Asian stands, middle-eastern stands, European food stands, and more. All of them tried to catch your eye with samples- there was so much to choose from, and it was hard making a decision. After eating in the mall, we went to explore the open-air outdoor markets. These were where bartering skills were important. Wandering through the market was definitely an overwhelming experience- there were so many people everywhere, and I am so glad that we had our new Israeli friends with us to help barter and translate.

There is so much more I could write about for this trip, it was the best time of my life and I fell in love with a new place I call home. If you are thinking about going on birthright, I definitely would do it, because it is an amazing experience.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit


1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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