One word that I would use to describe my Birthright Israel trip would be “breathtaking.” My Birthright Israel trip was humbling and very meaningful. Not only did I learn about Israeli culture, but I also discovered a deeper connection within myself that I hadn’t felt before. There’s that saying, “expect the unexpected” and that really rang true on this trip. There were several unexpected moments of surprise, joy, grief, and triumph all of which made the trip incredibly significant.
Visiting the Kotel was POWERFUL. I instantly started crying when I touched the wall and felt a massive wave of peace and comfort. It was like time stopped and I felt a balance or shift in my spirit. It was just an overwhelming feeling in the best way possible and I felt as if everything was meant to be. I looked next to me and saw a pregnant woman praying with her belly touching the wall. She and her baby were praying together, and it was special to see how connected they were so early on; not a lot of people observe that in their lifetime. I know it sounds corny, but it was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.
Then there was the Mifgash (Israeli soldiers) experience. The biggest thing I learned from the soldiers on my trip was chutzpah. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and trying to be our best selves, but instead of being insecure or anxious, it’s best to have chutzpah and be as confident as we can and push through discomfort, because that is where we learn and grow the most. The trip wouldn’t have been the same without our soldiers. They were passionate, intellectual, hardworking and inspiring to say the least. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel Israel with Birthright Israel.
It’s a very special gift to be Jewish and I am very proud of that.
Ariana Sloan is a 2018 Birthright Israel alumna from Los Angeles, CA. She’s a fabulous multi-threat and multi-talented actress, singer, songwriter, recording artist, dancer, musician, and performer. A member of SAG/AFTRA, and known for her EP called “Day One” and movie Twisted Path, plus multiple television commercials, she is taking the entertainment industry by storm. Ariana is an Honors Graduate of AMDA College, where she also studied in NYC/Hollywood, with a BFA in Musical Theater.