From the minute I was born and my mother screamed "oy" in the labor room, I was engulfed in my Jewish culture. Well, maybe not at that exact moment (because I don't exactly remember it) but you get the picture. At an early age, I grew up listening to the stories of my Jewish heritage as my grandmother read stories on our ancestors such as Moses crossing the Red Sea. I grew up eating matzah ball soup when I was sick. It was not till a few months ago did I learn that I can visit the land where my ancestors walked just BECAUSE I was Jewish. My sister, boyfriend and I recently went on Birthright, an organization that offers Jews between the ages of 18-27 an all expenses paid for trip to Israel for 10 days. Birthright was not only an opportunity to travel and walk on the ancient land of my ancestors, but also meet other young Jews and be engulfed in Israeli culture. Here are a few reasons why you should go on Birthright.
1. You will meet other Jews like you.
If you come from a hometown or a college where there are not many other Jews that live in the area, you will finally have a chance to meet the wider Jewish community.
2. You will meet a Nice Jewish Boy.
It is literally like college during the summer time, or winter break. Since most people go on Birthright when they are in college, you witness the general slobber scene of people hooking up or making out in the back of the bus. But on the bright side, if you come home with a Jewish boyfriend, I do not think your mom will be complaining. You will make every Jewish mother's dream come true.
3. You will make lifelong Jewish friends.
When my trip ended, everyone was exchanging cell phone numbers, Snapchats, and Instagram accounts.
4. You will get to try some actual falafel.
It won't be some crummy falafel you pay TOO much money for in California.
5. You will experience what extreme heat is.
If you ever thought Los Angeles had unbearable heat, you will be grateful to take a stroll in the early afternoon in downtown LA after walking through Israel.
6. You will learn to bargain.
Do not let anyone rip you off (ex. Cab drivers, retail stores and even beach chair renters).
7. You will have the opportunity to see a starry night like you never could have imagined.
During the night you sleep in the Bedouin Tents, your Birthright Trip will most likely stand out in the middle of the desert, perhaps meditate and look up at a starry night like you have never seen before.
8. You will get to float in the Dead Sea.
You don't need any manmade floaty devices to float in this sea. Just make sure you don't shave the night before you go in the Sea because you will regret it.
9. You will have the opportunity to swim in the Red Sea.
If you make your way to Eliat, you can snorkel and see the coral reefs.
10. You will learn that walking two miles is nothing.
On average, you will be walking about four to six miles every day so get ready to get your exercise in.
11. You will learn to pack less.
I ended up not wearing half of the stuff I packed, but I still had to carry it around.