Just last night, I returned to America from Israel and I thought that I should write about my experience but also thank Birthright for giving me such an amazing experience.
For many young college Jewish students, you probably have heard of this very special program called Birthright. If you haven't heard of it, it is an incredible 10-day trip with all expenses paid for 18-27-year-olds to go to Israel. If you are Jewish, I highly recommend going on this trip. There are different types of birthright programs such as Shorashim, Maayanot, single-gender programs, and so many more. You get to travel all over Israel from the Golan Heights to Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv to the Negev Desert. You go to all of the popular spots like Ben Yehuda street, the shuk, and many more. You even go to important places like Yad Vashem (Holocaust museum), the Western Wall, etc.
The one I went on was Birthright but with Shorashim. This organization is very special because Shorashim finds young Israelis to go on the trip with us crazy Americans! But honestly, the Israelis made this trip so I want to thank you for that. You guys knew what type of food was good or if I was being ripped off by the vendors in the many markets that Israel has. They all are in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and told us their experiences and stories in the IDF. Each Israeli that I met on this trip had their own unique personality and if you are reading this, never change because being yourself and allowing us to get to know you guys inspired me so much.
Normally on Birthright, there is at least two staff members and a tour guide. Also, there is a medic who is a security guard and nurse. Words can not describe how I am so thankful to have such amazing staff and an incredible tour guide on this trip. I had a little issue with my tooth and I needed a dental appointment quickly. The tour guide was able to get me an appointment within the next day and the staff and medic calmed me down about it because I was freaking out. Thank you all for being there for me but also for planning all of the different activities and making sure everything ran smoothly.
And lastly, the participants aka my friends aka my new family: I've enjoyed getting to know all of you. You all have such unique experiences and stories. Whether we came from not knowing anything about Judaism to being raised in an interfaith household to being raised up in a Jewish household, I think we all have connected very well with our unique differences within Judaism. Thank you all for opening my eyes to a new perspective that all Jews are really different and we all have different views on Judaism. I think we can all say that this trip was an incredible and life-changing experience for all us and that we all learned something new about ourselves and Judaism. Thank you all for making this trip possible. If we all didn't decide to spend half of our winter break in Israel, this trip would not have happened without you guys!
Thank you, Birthright, for giving me the opportunity to go to the Holy Land for the second time.
Thank you, Birthright, for allowing me to grow to become a better person and Jew.
Thank you, Birthright, for giving me a better understanding that there are many different types of Jews and that everyone has different views on Judaism.
Thank you, Birthright, for the memories that will be cherished forever.