Carly Rapaport and Alex Vargas met on their Birthright Israel trip back in the summer of 2014. Although they lived under 6 miles from each other in Boston at the time, they didn’t meet until their trip when they were over 5,000 miles from home!

Carly explains, “Alex had wanted to go on a Birthright Israel trip for years, but he just couldn’t find the right time. He actually signed up for, and then cancelled, two previous trips prior to the one he actually went on! None of my friends or family from home had ever gone on Birthright, I had only heard about it from my camp friends. I never had anyone to go with, but when I finally convinced my best friend from high school to go with me, we made it happen.”

Carly and Alex got married on August 26, 2018, almost exactly 4 years to the day of when they met en route to Tel Aviv. Their friend Sarah, who they met on the trip, married them, and Hanna, Carly’s best friend from high school, signed their Ketubah!

Carly says, “We are so grateful to Birthright for bringing us together. We want others to know how life-changing the experience really can be. We do hope to make it back to Israel again one day. Thank you so much for bringing us together. We truly wouldn’t be where we are today without Birthright Israel!”

We asked Carly a few questions about her trip. Here’s what she had to say…

Did either of you think you’d meet your future partner on Birthright Israel?

Absolutely not! Best surprise of my life! 

Did you two share an experience on the trip that you’ll hold close forever?

Alex and I had our Bnei Mitzvot together at the Western Wall. That’s something we will never forget and that moment will always hold a special place in our hearts.

What did you learn on your Birthright Israel trip?

During our time in Israel, we learned so much about the country, the amazing people who live there and made friendships that will literally last a lifetime. We also fully felt like we were accepted for whatever level or degree of “Jewish” we were, and we LOVED that. There were no rules. No competitions. Just true acceptance and love. We immediately felt like we belonged.

Do you think your life would be the same if you hadn’t gone on a trip?

Of course not!! Alex and I only lived 5 miles from each other in Boston, but we met in Israel! We are originally from opposite sides of the country. He was in Business School and I was working full-time when we went on the trip. Our paths would never have crossed. We are so beyond grateful for Birthright Israel and all that it has brought us! We hope to go back together one day and will encourage our future kids to go on the trip!