categoryTrip Highlights

It’s Just A Bus Full of Holy Souls and Me

by Shira Kaplan • New York February 4, 2020 at 9:44 am
Birthright Israel participants on their bus

It’s Just A Bus Full of Holy Souls and Me

by Shira Kaplan • New York February 4, 2020 at 9:44 am

Before I left for Birthright Israel in May of 2019, I was scared. I wasn’t nervous about the security situation, or sad about being far from my family— I was scared that I wouldn’t make the absolute most of this opportunity to make a difference. I’m glad I was scared because, as a madricha (trip staff), I had the responsibility to ensure that a bus full of holy souls would have a life-changing experience. Judaism is a huge part of my life. 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

Birthright Israel Gave My Son What I Couldn’t

by Daniela Filmer • Delmar, New York January 28, 2020 at 7:49 am
Jacob visiting the Bedouin tents in Israel

Birthright Israel Gave My Son What I Couldn’t

by Daniela Filmer • Delmar, New York January 28, 2020 at 7:49 am

The Birthright Israel trip was an amazing experience for my son Jacob, he literally came back a changed person with a more insightful view on history, current events and learned so much about the people of his rich heritage. Jacob was amazed by the things he saw and, most importantly, was challenged by the activities he participated in. 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

Tikkun Olam: Bringing Light into Darkness

by Birthright Israel Foundation January 22, 2020 at 8:01 am
Participants in the Negev

Tikkun Olam: Bringing Light into Darkness

by Birthright Israel Foundation January 22, 2020 at 8:01 am

In Judaism, it is our duty as human beings to perform mitzvot or acts of kindness. These acts of kindness elevate us, drawing us closer to G-d and to the purest and most authentic versions of ourselves. When we contribute to the well-being of society and strive to be the best versions of ourselves, we are practicing an act known as Tikkun Olam. 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