Alumni Trip Highlights

Discovering the Real Israel on Birthright Israel

Growing up in Massachusetts, my family went to temple every so often. I started going less and less after my Bar Mitzvah, even though we still celebrated Hanukkah. I heard about Birthright Israel through my mom and I was reluctant, but I was still interested. Initially, I looked at a general Birthright Israel trip, but as I talked with the organizers, they told me…   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

Recap: Birthright Israel’s Summer 2020 Initiatives

As the leading educational project of the Jewish world, our mission is to help young Jews form unbreakable bonds with Israel and their Jewish heritage. So, even though Birthright Israel trips are paused, the team has been quite busy. Watch the short video below to see how they are engaging young Jews throughout the world. Birthright Israel's 'Community Features' Secondly,…   Read More 
Alumni Love Stories

Birthright Israel Love Story: Nikki Labaschin & Joey Torres

In college, Nikki found community in her Birthright Israel family. So much so, when her class voted for superlatives, they named her most likely to be CEO of Birthright Israel. Although Nikki isn't the CEO, she did become a madricha for a Chicago Professionals trip. It was during this trip she met Joey, who she'd soon find out was her…   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

Navigating Life After Your Birthright Israel Trip

When alumnus Neil St. Clair first entered the workforce, his family encouraged him to hide his Jewish identity, “suggesting that if I want to succeed, I should not display my Judaism.” He didn’t identify publicly as a Jewish person for the first time until he was in his 30s. Married, with his second child on the way, he decided to…   Read More 
Alumni Love Stories

Birthright Israel Love Story: Courtney Barnett & Shahriar Sharifi

In 2014, when Courtney and Shahriar both boarded planes to Israel, they never imagined they'd met their future spouse. Courtney was living in Phoenix and Shahriar was living in Encino when they signed up and despite Operation Protective Edge going on Israel, they both knew this trip was too important to pass up. After falling in love on Birthright Israel…   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

Questions & Answers: The Meaning of a Bat Mitzvah at 23

I returned from my Birthright Israel trip several months ago now. There, I took advantage of the opportunity to have a Bat Mitzvah at the age of 23, during which each participant spoke about what they wanted to commit to from that day forward. Below, I reflect on this speech, discussing what my trip meant to me and how the ceremony connects my past, present and future.   “After being accepted to Birthright Israel and learning…   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

10 Days, Forever Changed: An Experience Beyond A Free Trip to Israel

Twenty years ago, 9,000 Jewish young adults embarked on the first round of Birthright Israel trips. They were pioneering travelers who signed up for the free trip without any point of reference, like the wealth of alumni testimonials and Brandeis University studies available to prospective participants today. “I left the United States with no preconceived notions or expectations of what…   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

Birthright Israel with Argentinians: Connecting with our Jewish Identities

Growing up, I went to Sunday school every Sunday until I was 16. For a time, I was even at the synagogue on a weekday evening after soccer practice for Hebrew/religious school as well. At a young age, I felt connected to my Jewish identity; I loved the songs, the prayers, the food (other than maror), the holidays, and the community. …   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

Birthright Israel Fellows: Leading the Way

“So, let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves by saying our names, where we’re from, our most memorable Birthright Israel moment, how each of us defines our Jewish identity, a value that represents how we live our lives, and what each of us is hoping to get out of being here at Birthright Israel Fellows.” And, this is how…   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

Connecting with Grandma: How My Birthright Israel Trip Reconnected Us

Over the last few years, Birthright Israel and Birthright Israel Foundation have become dear to my heart. This is in large part due to Margie Honickman who many in the Philadelphia area know and love. Margie sits on the Board of Directors and is the Philadelphia Leadership Council Co-Chair for the Foundation too. Before I began working for her, I had never heard of…   Read More 
Alumni Trip Highlights

Birthright Israel Ignited My Love of Judaism Even More

My love for Judaism was ignited at my Bar Mitzvah and the candle has stayed aflame since that day. It was only when my sister went on Birthright Israel, I became interested in going to Israel, where all our prayers go. I have Autism and I knew that I too could have my Birthright Israel experience with peers from all walks of life.   At first, I was nervous about being the only…   Read More 

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