categoryBirthright Israel Alumni

Birthright Israel: The Gift for the Jewish Future

by Rabbi Ari Hart • Skokie, Illinois September 13, 2020 at 7:18 am
Rabbi Ari Heart

Birthright Israel: The Gift for the Jewish Future

by Rabbi Ari Hart • Skokie, Illinois September 13, 2020 at 7:18 am

A dangerous misconception exists; the Jewish people are oriented to the past. Our collective age, deep connection to ancient traditions, our lived memory of events centuries before our time, the image of Tevye singing, “Tradition!” and more sometimes belie the truth: We are not a people of the past. We are a people of the future.  Read More

Navigating Life After Your Birthright Israel Trip

by Birthright Israel Foundation September 2, 2020 at 8:00 am
Birthright Israel participants hugging at Mega event

Navigating Life After Your Birthright Israel Trip

by Birthright Israel Foundation September 2, 2020 at 8:00 am

When alumnus Neil St. Clair first entered the workforce, his family encouraged him to hide his Jewish identity, “suggesting that if I want to succeed, I should not display my Judaism.” He didn’t identify publicly as a Jewish person for the first time until he was in his 30s. Married, with his second child on the way, he decided to claim his birthright through Birthright Israel’s pilot program for 27-32 year olds. Read More

How Birthright Israel Foundation is Transforming Young Jewish Lives in Philadelphia

by Birthright Israel Foundation September 1, 2020 at 8:00 am
Remi Schwartz and her Birthright Israel group in 2018

How Birthright Israel Foundation is Transforming Young Jewish Lives in Philadelphia

by Birthright Israel Foundation September 1, 2020 at 8:00 am

Throughout the last twenty years, Birthright Israel Foundation has changed tens of thousands of young Jewish lives in Philadelphia. This is in large part due to the incredible local lay leadership, proving Philadelphia is truly the City of Brotherly Love. We must thank our local lay leaders Margie Honickman, Gail Norry, Susan Schwartz and the late Madlyn Abramson z’l who have worked tirelessly to ensure this gift remains a factor of life for young Jews in the city.   Read More

Birthright Israel Love Story: Courtney Barnett & Shahriar Sharifi

by Courtney Barnett & Shahriar Sharifi August 27, 2020 at 8:00 am
2014 Birthright Israel alumni Courtney Barnett & Shahria Sharifi's engagement portrait

Birthright Israel Love Story: Courtney Barnett & Shahriar Sharifi

by Courtney Barnett & Shahriar Sharifi August 27, 2020 at 8:00 am

In 2014, when Courtney and Shahriar both boarded planes to Israel, they never imagined they’d met their future spouse. Courtney was living in Phoenix and Shahriar was living in Encino when they signed up and despite Operation Protective Edge going on Israel, they both knew this trip was too important to pass up. Read More

Questions & Answers: The Meaning of a Bat Mitzvah at 23

by Sabrina Karlin • New York, NY August 25, 2020 at 8:00 am
2020 Birthright Israel alumna Sabrina Karlin's Bat Mitzvah at 23 years old

Questions & Answers: The Meaning of a Bat Mitzvah at 23

by Sabrina Karlin • New York, NY August 25, 2020 at 8:00 am

I returned from my Birthright Israel trip several months ago now. There, I took advantage of the opportunity to have a Bat Mitzvah at the age of 23, during which each participant spoke about what they wanted to commit to from that day forward. Below, I reflect on this speech, discussing what my trip meant to me and how the ceremony connects my past, present and future.   Read More

10 Days, Forever Changed: An Experience Beyond A Free Trip to Israel

by Birthright Israel Foundation August 24, 2020 at 8:00 am
Birthright Israel participants standing in front of a statue in Jaffa, Israel.

10 Days, Forever Changed: An Experience Beyond A Free Trip to Israel

by Birthright Israel Foundation August 24, 2020 at 8:00 am

Twenty years ago, 9,000 Jewish young adults embarked on the first round of Birthright Israel trips. They were pioneering travelers who signed up for the free trip without any point of reference, like the wealth of alumni testimonials and Brandeis University studies available to prospective participants today. “I left the United States with no preconceived notions or expectations of what Israel was going to do to me,” said KC Yasmer, a June 2000 alumnus. Read More

Birthright Israel with Argentinians: Connecting with our Jewish Identities

by Nathan Lightman • Chicago, IL August 21, 2020 at 8:03 am
Nathan Lightman with his Birthright Israel group in front of the Kotel

Birthright Israel with Argentinians: Connecting with our Jewish Identities

by Nathan Lightman • Chicago, IL August 21, 2020 at 8:03 am

Growing up, I went to Sunday school every Sunday until I was 16. For a time, I was even at the synagogue on a weekday evening after soccer practice for Hebrew/religious school as well. At a young age, I felt connected to my Jewish identity; I loved the songs, the prayers, the food (other than maror), the holidays, and the community.  Read More

Birthright Israel Fellows: Leading the Way

by Birthright Israel Foundation August 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm
Birthright Israel Fellows at a training seminar in San Diego

Birthright Israel Fellows: Leading the Way

by Birthright Israel Foundation August 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm

“So, let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves by saying our names, where we’re from, our most memorable Birthright Israel moment, how each of us defines our Jewish identity, a value that represents how we live our lives, and what each of us is hoping to get out of being here at Birthright Israel Fellows.” Read More

Connecting with Grandma: How My Birthright Israel Trip Reconnected Us

by Alix Ablaza • Philadelphia, PA August 19, 2020 at 8:00 am
Alix Ablaza in the Negev on a windy day at sunrise on her 2015 Birthright Israel trip

Connecting with Grandma: How My Birthright Israel Trip Reconnected Us

by Alix Ablaza • Philadelphia, PA August 19, 2020 at 8:00 am

Over the last few years, Birthright Israel and Birthright Israel Foundation have become dear to my heart. This is in large part due to Margie Honickman who many in the Philadelphia area know and love. Margie sits on the Board of Directors and is the Philadelphia Leadership Council Co-Chair for the Foundation too. Before I began working for her, I had never heard of Birthright Israel.    Read More

Birthright Israel Ignited My Love of Judaism Even More

by Billy Steinberg • Highland Park, IL August 17, 2020 at 8:00 am
Billy Steinberg on the beach in Tel Aviv on his 2018 Birthright Israel trip

Birthright Israel Ignited My Love of Judaism Even More

by Billy Steinberg • Highland Park, IL August 17, 2020 at 8:00 am

My love for Judaism was ignited at my Bar Mitzvah and the candle has stayed aflame since that day. It was only when my sister went on Birthright Israel, I became interested in going to Israel, where all our prayers go. I have Autism and I knew that I too could have my Birthright Israel experience with peers from all walks of life.   Read More