Birthright - trip of a lifetime!!
I have been home for almost a week now and still quite a bit jet lagged. But it was so worth every ounce of sleep deprivation I am dealing with.
I have had many friends go on Birthright and come back saying how amazing and life changing the trip was. And I never doubted them (esp. after stalking their pictures), but it really is all that and much more. To be honest it is really hard to put in to words just how amazing and life changing this experience is. The places you see, the things you learn, the people you meet. It is just all so unexplainable. Something you just have to experience for yourself.
Some people come home feeling more Jewish. I am not sure I feel more Jewish, but I definitely feel more connected and have a better appreciation for my religion and culture. I have always considered myself more culturally Jewish then religiously Jewish and that is still the case, but now I appreciate the religious and historical aspect of Judaism more.
Going to Yad Vashem was life changing in itself. In 6th grade we went on a field trip to the Jewish Museum in the city and as an 11 year old it was very emotional (especially being only one of two Jews in the class). But going to Yad Vashem trumped that. Maybe it’s because I am older and more mature and have since learned more about the Holocaust. Just seeing the model of one of the gas chambers and then right behind it the empty shoes of the victims was almost too much to handle. That was when the first tear in my already watery eyes fell. Just thinking about all those innocent people was heartbreaking. Right before leaving we walked through the Children Memorial. Seeing all those lit up candles reflecting behind the glass made my heart sink. To think of all those young, defenseless, children who had so much a head of them, to look forward to, and everything was just taken away from them just because they were Jewish. I can’t even begin to imagine how scary that must have been for them (and everyone else for that matter). The museum made it all just seem so much more real then any history book ever did.
Climbing Masada was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experiences I have ever had in my 24 years of life! The view from there was unlike anything I have ever seen. I have seen the sun come up before, but NOTHING can ever compare to watching it rise while at the top of Masada (and having it accompanied by a shofar being blown = priceless!!).
I am not much of a work out fan…Zumba is a good enough form of work out for me lol. But this trip has made me want to actually do some hiking (not as intense as Masada, but some mild hiking I am totally down for now :))
I went on this trip not knowing a single person, I came home with 51 awesome new friends!! The bond made with these people is unreal! We were told at JFK by one of the group leaders that after a few days we would all become really close. He was wrong about one thing…it wasn’t after a few days, by day 2 we all felt the strong bond that beginning to form. Honestly, I feel it is safe to say that we had the best group of people (including staff) ever! There was no such thing as a secret with any of us and any food/drink was free for anyone to have a bite/sip. I have never had so many Jewish friends in my life. It’s nice to have all these people who were raise similar to me and have similar beliefs as me. I could go on for days upon days about these people, but I won’t…all I will say is that these are definitely people who will stay in my life forever! We have all experienced such an amazing thing together and no one can ever take that away from us. Learning about how the Israeli’s lives are before, during, and after serving in the IDF is something I will never forget; as well as hearing all the amazing stories from our absolutely wonderful and inspiring tour guide.
Birthright is basically like adult camp…and I loved it!! I am so glad I decided to go! I am so proud of myself!! I could not have asked for a better first travel experience!!!!
Missed connection moment
Totally had my first missed connection moment during this evening’s commute home. So bummed about it. He was sooo cute and tall and cute and was wearing a Beatles Abby Road t-shirt. And he was cute. Kinda hipster looking but in a cute way. We caught a glance like once or twice and he got off at the same stop I got off at but I only realized it after he walked past the bus line I was on :( Wahhh
I tried so hard not to look tired and to make sure I had a smile one my face and kept trying to make/keep eye contact.
The only time the A train wasn’t such a miserable ride. Lol.