In this week’s edition of What Alumni Are Saying we’re hearing from participants from New Jersey. Since Birthright Israel’s inception, 72,305 young Jewish adults from New Jersey have received this life-changing gift.…
What Does 2022 Olympic Hopeful Myles Silverman Say About Birthright Israel?January 14, 2020 at 8:17 am
The summer of 2019 was life-changing for collegiate snowboarder and contender for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Myles Silverman. Although Myles grew up in an interfaith home, he was raised predominantly Jewish. Judaism was always a part of Myles’ life as he attended Hebrew school up until 5th grade and celebrated his Bar Mitzvah when he turned 13. But as Myles began transitioning into young adulthood, he wanted to explore his Judaism even more. He wanted to dive deeper. So, in May 2019, he packed his bags and headed on the trip of a lifetime.
“I feel as though it is an important experience for any Jewish person,” Myles says about Birthright Israel. “As my father’s side is mostly Jewish and has visited Israel before, I found it to be my duty and follow in their footsteps and visit the Holy Land.”
Once on the ground, Myles became more aware of things he had never even thought about before. Being the independent type, Myles traveled alone, but it wasn’t long before he began forming lifelong friendships. 40 new faces surrounded Myles every minute of every day for ten full days. His experiences were enhanced as he did not know anyone prior to going on the trip. Myles’ favorite part of the trip was the sunrise hike on Masada, and the events leading up to it. “The night before our early morning departure, I stayed up all night talking and freestyling with one of the guys I met on the trip. Having the opportunity to meet other Jewish kids my age and being able to visit such meaningful and exquisite places really made the experience unlike any other.”
After returning home from the trip, Myles thought of all the ways that Birthright Israel helped shape his Jewish identity. “Birthright Israel definitely had a significant impact on my life. I plan to visit Israel every year going forward. I tell everyone I know about how amazing my trip was and I fully encourage other young Jews to take advantage of this opportunity. I think it’s extremely important for my children to be raised Jewish. I fully embrace and am proud of being Jewish…
My life would not be the same if I hadn’t gone on Birthright Israel. The trip changed my view of Israel and I feel a stronger sense of pride for being Jewish. I feel as though my religious identity has been thoroughly enhanced and I feel more connected with my religion. In addition to this, I have gained great friendships, especially with the Israeli soldiers. I even made a pact with them that I will come back every summer to visit… and I plan on staying true to my word. Thank you to every single person that has donated to Birthright, allowing me to have such an amazing and insightful experience. This trip has truly changed my life for the better and given me a strong connection to Judaism. I feel very grateful to have seen Israel and immerse myself in the culture. I also hope to give back and provide other young Jews with the incredible experience that I had.”
Myles Silverman was born and raised in Brunswick, Maine. He began snowboarding at the age of 6 and has been pursuing his dream of being an Olympian ever since. Myles currently attends Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, New York, pursuing a major in history and minor in entrepreneurial studies. In his free time, Myles loves to train at the gym, find new music and watch snowboarding videos.Blog Home