My Birthright Israel trip was amazing! I experienced a phenomenal country with 40 beautiful souls. We all came from different parts of the U.S. with the same dream in mind to return home to Israel.
Upon arrival, I felt this unexplainable deep connection to the land. We met our tour guide Ron and off we went for an adventure of a lifetime. Shana and Matt, our group leaders, or as we called them “mom and dad,” helped the group grow closer together.
I am an ancestral person and I have a lot of respect for the journey my ancestors had to endure. My background includes Creole (African American, Ashkenazi, French, Irish and Native American) roots from New Orleans, LA. During the early 1700’s, my ancestors came from Nantes, France to New Orleans to escape religious persecution.
My great-grandmother Emma would talk about the family dream to return to Israel, but no one had ever achieved the dream. I was the first to return in my family and carry out the dream that my ancestors had when they came to the U.S. nearly 300 years ago. The family dream of returning home to Israel is the reason I wanted to go on Birthright. It meant so much to me that I accomplished that dream for them and myself.
I learned a lot about the Israeli culture while on Birthright. The Israelis are the sweetest and most welcoming people ever. Everywhere I turned it felt like home.
I learned more about the Jewish people and the perseverance that we have as a culture. We have withstood many battles for freedom to save our land, culture, traditions and people. There is an inner strength within us to keep persevering; and we pass this down to our children with hopes of a brighter future. This is the true definition of being Jewish.
Israel had so much to offer from the food and music to beaches and historical sites. My favorite cities were Jerusalem, Eilat and Safed.
The food was very delicious in Israel from the chicken kebab in Safed to the maqluba dish at the Bedouin tents.
The best part of the trip for me was the Western Wall. When we arrived at the Kotel, there was this overwhelming feeling of joy that washed upon me. I felt spiritually closer to God.
Overall, my experience in Israel was nothing less than incredible. The Israeli soldiers, Bar, Ron, Elai, Sharon, Ofek and Tomer made the experience even better with their laughter, jokes, and caring hearts. I experienced Israel and made 40 new friends.
I encourage anyone who is interested in Birthright to go because you will not regret it.