In the winter of 2012, a girl from Seattle, WA, and a boy from Charlotte, NC, both signed up for Birthright Israel hoping to get more connected to their Jewish heritage and have a fantastic experience, but little did they know they’d end up meeting their soulmate. This is the Birthright Israel Love Story of Ruthie Schorr and Simon Menaker.

Ruthie and Simon say that neither of them went into the trip with the thought or intention to meet someone, but after looking back, told us, “it makes a lot of sense why people connect on the trip – there is something special being in Israel for the first time. It’s natural for people who have the same heritage and cultural background to appreciate and share that experience on a deeper level.”

Ruthie and Simon during their engagement.

When we asked them about the longterm impact the trip had on their relationship and lives, the couple says, “it was a catalyst for seven years of love and drastically altered the course of our lives. We dated long distance for three and a half years before relocating to Miami together when Simon started medical school. Over those seven years, we have gone on countless adventures both at home and abroad, brought our families close together, and created plans for the future. Every aspect of our lives is inextricably linked with each other’s, and we owe that entirely to Birthright Israel.”

However, these love birds discovered more than just each other but discovered a great deal about both Jewish and Israeli history. “I think what we really took away from the trip was an appreciation for how important Judaism is to us and how we intend to make it an integral part of our lives moving forward,” said Ruthie.