Laura Fenton is originally from Memphis, TN. She thought she’d never make it to the land of milk and honey… that was until she heard of Birthright Israel!

Israel was never a place I thought I would visit until the opportunity to go on Birthright Israel opened up. I am so grateful to had gone at the age of 31 since they extended the eligibility!  It was the perfect time in my life to have such an experience. I know at this point I got so much out of it and learned more than I thought I would.

It was also the first time I felt like the majority and not the minority and that being Jewish doesn’t mean I have to hide. As a Jew who lives in the South, I often find I must hide my faith because it’s easier than trying to explain it. Birthright Israel gave me the feeling like I belonged.

The most emotional point of my trip was visiting the Western Wall not once, but twice. Both times I had an emotional reaction that I didn’t expect. It was here I felt extremely connected to the Jewish people.

At the end of the day though, I am especially thankful to my fellow Birthright Israel peers who welcomed me with open arms. I know I left the trip with several lifelong friends and most of all with Jewish friends!

Laura is an Engineering and Innovation Communicator at Boeing in Seattle, WA. In her spare time she enjoys attending concerts and CrossFit workouts.