Time to start blogging! Right now I am about two-thirds of the way through my trip to Israel. I just finished the organized portion through Birthright Taglit, and I am now in Tel Aviv with Lauren.
I am going to go back to the beginning of my trip and start blogging from there. First, I am going to start with a disclaimer. (It’s great how I think people are going to read this). I am in no way a representative for Taglit-Birthright or Hillel. I am simply writing about my experience in Israel. And if you’re one of the people I went on the trip with, I apologize in advance because I am probably going to make fun of you. I am considering changing names. We’ll see…
I guess I will begin with how I managed to get myself to Israel since I am still painfully broke after studying abroad. Top Shop, I blame you for my post abroad bank account.
Taglit-Birthright is an amazing organization which sends any Jewish 18-26 year old to Israel for a 10-day guided trip for FREE. Jews giving things a way for free? I know…I was surprised too. The trip is funded through private philanthropists and the Israeli government. Sooo if you are an American tax payer, thanks for sending me to Israel.
According to their website, “Taglit-Birthright Israel’s founders created this program to send thousands of young Jewish adults from all over the world to Israel as a gift in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.” According to my trip organizer, Taglit-Birthright is primarily for making Jewish babies.
Either way, I’m here. Eleven days ago, I hopped on a wonderful 14 hour flight and made it to the Motherland. My first clue that my trip was going to be absolutely life changing was the family I sat next to on the flight. I sat next to the perfect orthodox Israeli family. At one point in the flight when all of the lights were off and most people were sleeping (or passed out in exhaustion/frustration from trying to beat the next impossible level of Angry Birds), I looked over to see the father standing in the aisle way praying while his wife slept with their smallest boy in her arms and the two other little boys slept in the row in front of me. It was enough to make my heart explode. Too bad I couldn’t help thinking about the fact that the guy sitting in the window seat next to me didn’t get up to pee for the ENTIRE 14 hour flight. I was really concerned.
Once we finally made it, my Birthright group headed to Hispin. Hispin in a Kibbutz in the north of Israel near the Golan heights.
A Kibbutz is a little town that is basically a collective community. If this were the 50’s, McCarthy would call them Communists and we would probably tap their phones.
We stayed in hostel type rooms and spent the next three days touring the north of Israel.
Time to end this blog since I’ve been at this coffee shop for approximately four hours and I need to explore more. Oh, the title of this blog “עם ישראל חי” (Am Yisrael Chai) means “the people of Israel are alive” if you were curious.
I realize I haven’t written anything about Israel yet, but I promise I’ll get there. I’ll just leave you with this…The first day in Israel we “rafted” (aka floated) down the Jordan River. Turn on “Will You Be There?” by Michael Jackson as you consider this wonderful image.