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Assimilation

by Riley Pope • Memphis, TN February 13, 2020 at 7:15 am
2019 Birthright Israel participant Riley Pope with his mom in Memphis, TN

Assimilation

by Riley Pope • Memphis, TN February 13, 2020 at 7:15 am

Assimilation. A word we hear so often in the Jewish world. It’s a tragedy not quite as obvious as the many others that have plagued the Jewish people before. If you grew up Jewish, unlike me, you have likely not felt the sting of assimilation or been able to comprehend what that entails fully. Read More

I Wandered for 20 Years Until You Found Me

by Riley Pope • Memphis, TN January 30, 2020 at 7:00 am
Riley Pope in Tel Aviv during Birthright Israel

I Wandered for 20 Years Until You Found Me

by Riley Pope • Memphis, TN January 30, 2020 at 7:00 am

I wandered for twenty years until Birthright Israel found me. This is how happened. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, the most Jewish thing we did at my house was on Christmas, when we’d leave rugelach out for Santa. And to make things even more ironic, my last name is Pope. My mom’s parents are Jewish but did not raise her with any Judaism. Read More

Young Leadership Spotlight: Neil St. Clair

by Neil St. Clair • New York, New York January 28, 2020 at 3:14 am
Neil St. Clair with his wife at Birthright Israel Foundation's Young Leadership Event in NYC

Young Leadership Spotlight: Neil St. Clair

by Neil St. Clair • New York, New York January 28, 2020 at 3:14 am

My last name might confuse you, but I am, in fact, an American Jew through my mother. My mother’s maiden name is Robin and she was born and raised in Pittsburgh a few generations after our ancestors fled the pogroms of Czarist Russia. And my father came from an Episcopalian background. Read More

Birthright Israel Love Story: Jenna McCoppin & Shelby Klein

by Birthright Israel Foundation January 15, 2020 at 8:39 am

Birthright Israel Love Story: Jenna McCoppin & Shelby Klein

by Birthright Israel Foundation January 15, 2020 at 8:39 am

In 2016, Jenna McCoppin from Dallas, TX, decided the time was now or never to sign up for Birthright Israel. She knew this would be her last chance to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime gift, “It was important to me to take advantage of the opportunity, but there was also hope to find something that I had been searching for my whole life.” Read More

What Does 2022 Olympic Hopeful Myles Silverman Say About Birthright Israel?

by Birthright Israel Foundation January 14, 2020 at 8:17 am
Myles Silverman on his Birthright Israel trip

What Does 2022 Olympic Hopeful Myles Silverman Say About Birthright Israel?

by Birthright Israel Foundation 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. Read More

A Lesson of Understanding

by Nathan Tecotsky • Claremont, CA January 9, 2020 at 7:29 pm

A Lesson of Understanding

by Nathan Tecotsky • Claremont, CA January 9, 2020 at 7:29 pm

We asked recent alumnus, Nathan Tecotzky of Claremont, CA, what was the most important lesson you learned on Birthright Israel, and his answer is definitely worth sharing. If there’s one major lesson I took away from going to Israel, it was the lesson of the importance of understanding. I have friends from Syria and Lebanon. Read More

I Was Drinking the Kool-Aid. Actually, I Took A Bath In It.

by Tori Greene • Miami, FL January 2, 2020 at 8:59 am

I Was Drinking the Kool-Aid. Actually, I Took A Bath In It.

by Tori Greene • Miami, FL January 2, 2020 at 8:59 am

Everything changed after Birthright Israel. Judaism was pure boredom to me up until I stepped off the plane at Ben-Gurion Airport in 2014. I grew up in Florida and went to the University of South Florida, where I joined a Jewish sorority, with only four Jewish members. Chabad would ask me to attend Shabbat, and I honestly wanted to be anywhere but there. Read More

A Jewish Identity Centuries in the Making

by Alejandro Mansbach • Washington, DC December 31, 2019 at 8:58 am

A Jewish Identity Centuries in the Making

by Alejandro Mansbach • Washington, DC December 31, 2019 at 8:58 am

We want to take you back in time to the 15th century. Imagine a small village in Spain, with stone pathways, the smell of Pescado Frito coming from the windows on Friday afternoons and Ladino was spoken on the street corner. This was probably daily life for the Jews of Spain centuries ago, that was until they were forced to convert or flee. Read More

Finding My Place and My Voice

by Cole Keister • Portland, OR December 30, 2019 at 4:57 pm

Finding My Place and My Voice

by Cole Keister • Portland, OR December 30, 2019 at 4:57 pm

Where I grew up in rural Oregon people denied the Holocaust. I experienced a lot of antisemitism from people who really had never met Jewish people. I don’t identify as being religious, but being Jewish is an important part of who I am. I remember that starting around when I was just about 7, other kids would tell me I was going to hell for being Jewish, I would be gifted the bible or asked to come to church so that I could be “saved”, and I became very aware that I was different. “…I would be gifted the bible or asked to come to church so that I could be “saved”, and I became very aware that I was different.” When I got to Middle School the antisemitism became more intense, I was called a kike, a dirty Jew, swastikas would show up on my things, and again every day I was reminded I was different for being Jewish. Read More

Birthright Israel, Day by Day

by Eren Niederhoffer • Atlanta, GA December 28, 2019 at 8:56 am

Birthright Israel, Day by Day

by Eren Niederhoffer • Atlanta, GA December 28, 2019 at 8:56 am

Nine years ago, Eren Niederhoffer of Atlanta, GA, met 15 other people who also have Autism as he boarded a 747 to Israel. He had the pleasure to highlight pivotal moments on Birthright Israel in an article in The Jewish Georgian in 2011. However, most importantly, in the years to come after his Birthright Israel trip, Eren’s experience will never leave him. Read More