This winter, thousands of young Jews are arriving in Israel and will be shocked at how much they can learn in 10 days on a Birthright Israel trip. By not only visiting sites but gaining insights from their tour educators and Israeli peers, these moments here and there turn into lessons they’ll appreciate for a lifetime. Below are just four real-life examples of what our participants brought home in the last few weeks.

Israel might just be the tech capital of the world.

“I think the biggest eye-opener was the Innovation Center by Birthright Israel, where we got to see all the technological contributions Israel has on the world. Regardless of religious or political orientation, it is impossible to deny that Israel is the light upon the world, be it through medical startups, innovation in irrigation, or defense techniques.”

–  Julia T., Sherman Oaks, CA

Israel cares about all Jews, not just those living in Israel.

“When we were walking through Mt. Herzl, we stopped at many different monuments. We stopped at the graves of Jewish parachutists, went by a memorial for Soviet Jews, and even Michael Levin’s grave. The fact there were so many Jews remembered and honored who weren’t even from Israel made me realize the size of the community that I am part of. I’m from a small town and have never been part of a Jewish community, but seeing proof of the celebration and remembrance of Jews from all over the world finally made me understand that Israel cares about me as well.”

–  Alexandra B., East Canaan, CT

Wherever you go, Israel is in your heart.

“While on Birthright Israel, I learned that our faith is more than just one set of beliefs. Being Jewish means, Israel will always be your home, no matter where you choose to spend your life. It means that the Mifgashim are your brothers and sisters and that the sparkling markets in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will always have something to offer you. It means that wherever you go, Israel is in your heart.”

–  Elizabeth L., Denver, CO

Birthright Israel is more than just a trip.

“The biggest takeaway from the trip for me was that this trip was not just a trip, but it was a journey, an experience, and the adventure of a lifetime.”

–  Amanda K., Thiensville, WI