My Aggie Birthright Trip to Israel

Monday, 29 January, 2018 - 6:32 pm

talia 1.JPGLooking back at the birthright trip, I realize how much we actually managed to cram in ten days. We went to Tzvat, Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Masada, the Dead Sea, the Bedouin tents, and Jerusalem. We hiked the Banyas, went jeeping in the Golan Heights, were joined by eight of the finest IDF soldiers, walked the streets of Tel Aviv, floated in the Dead Sea, rode camels, visited the Jewish quarter and Western Wall, drank Israeli beer, ate falafel or shawarma pitas almost every day, and concluded with a fun last night together on Ben Yehuda street. Each of us took something different away from the trip, but I think it’s safe to say that each of us enjoyed it more than words can describe.

This birthright trip, and more specifically this group was exceptional in so many ways.  First reason being that we had the best trip educator we could have possibly had. Being an Aggie myself, I am slightly biased toward my aggie rabbi but if you were to ask a non-aggie, they would have said the same thing. Rabbi Yossi taught us so much over the course of this trip: in the mornings, during our daily activities, and especially during Q&A nights on Shabbat. Rabbi kept us laughing on the bus rides and was always there to help if anyone needed. We also wouldn’t have had such an exceptional trip if we had not had Leiah and Tzion, our tour guide and bus driver. They really solidified the exceptionality of this trip and helped us truly appreciate the rich culture of Israel with their passion for the Holy Land. If Mayanot 138, the Howdy Bus had had a different bus driver, tour guide, or educator, our trip would not have gone as smoothly or been as remarkable as it was.

talia 4.jpgI can’t express how meaningful, fun, and life-changing this trip was for me without talking about the incredible group of students that made this trip what it was. It was so beautiful and refreshing to see the diversity of people in this group. Everyone in this group grew up in such different environments with all such unique backgrounds. I’m so glad I had the pleasure of getting to speak one-on-one with so many other young Jewish students exploring their Jewish roots. Just as Rabbi continues to remind us, “every one of us is made in the image of G-d and everyone has a special purpose on this earth”. Understanding this really helps us to better appreciate every person that comes into our lives. This was such a cohesive group of students because everyone was so accepting of each other, which made it that much easier for all of us to get along well. It was truly inspiring to see how much everyone grew over the course of the trip. I especially loved to see how engaged everyone was during Rabbi’s Shabbat Q&A. People asked questions about Judaism and Torah that I never even thought to ask before. I learned so much during those Q&A sessions that made me question my own perspectives on the topics discussed. 

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Although birthright is over, there was one reoccurring theme that many people continued to bring up in the group: getting out of our comfort zone. This message is one that we should keep with us no matter where our lives take us. We should be open to trying new things, asking the tough questions, and maybe even joining a pro-Israel organization on your campus. Thank you for making this trip all that it was, and I can’t wait to see how you put what you learned about Israel to action on your campuses. עם ישראל חי 🇮🇱.

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