Justin Maybury is a recent Birthright Israel alum born and raised in Bermuda. He is 33 years old and is pretty sure he is the only Hungarian/Bermudian Jewish male in the whole world. He still resides in Bermuda and is a Corporate Assistant Manager at a Corporate Service Provider on the island. He loves sports, especially football (soccer), traveling, and spending time with friends. In our interview below, you’ll learn how Birthright Israel brought Justin closer to his Jewish identity and the State of Israel.

Q&A with Justin Maybury

What inspired you to sign up for a Birthright Israel trip?

Justin Maybury: “To be honest, I had considered going on Birthright Israel years ago but never took the initiative. It was not until I ran into the head of the Jewish community here in Bermuda who had mentioned the opportunity which I jumped at. To be frank, it’s hard to turn down a trip to Israel with almost all expenses paid!”

Did you have any preconceived notions prior to going to Israel?

Justin Maybury: “I did. I had the idea that Birthright Israel would try and indoctrinate me a bit. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case and that while certain perspectives were presented to us, it was within an open forum that allowed us to discuss them and put forward our own ideas. I also felt that our Israeli tour guide Bar (who was excellent) helped to keep things centered when the narrative may have been pushed one way, which was positive.”

Did you grow up with a connection to your Jewish identity?

Justin Maybury: “I most definitely have a bigger connection to my Jewish identity as a result of this experience. Coming from Bermuda, a place with very few Jewish people, it was really amazing to be in a country as well as part of a group that was all Jewish. I have always been a bit of an odd man out from a religious perspective, so it was enlightening to spend time in Israel and learn from the experience. My group was really special to me too. The trip also helped me feel closer to Judaism and resulted in some very happy as well as emotional moments which were really special to me and will be something I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”

Every Dollar Counts! Donate today and help send a young Jewish adult ona life-changing trip to claim their birthright.
Every Dollar Counts! Donate today and help send a young Jewish adult ona life-changing trip to claim their birthright.

What was your biggest takeaway from the trip?

Justin Maybury: “I do identify as a Jewish person and always have, but my experience at the wall was shocking in a positive way. When I touched the wall for the first time on Shabbat, I felt a warmth and a feeling I have never felt before and was taken aback by it. I am not sure if it is because I was trying to talk to god and let go, but it was a moment I will keep with me for the rest of my life. It also exemplifies the holiness of Israel and Jerusalem. As a nonreligious person, this experience at least made me now spiritual. I enjoyed spending time with the Israelis that joined our group too. Getting their perspectives and seeing that even with their different upbringing and experience (military service) we still had a lot to relate to. All in all, I think Israel is just a wonderful and special place and somewhere that you have to visit to truly appreciate. I have never been to a place quite like it and definitely plan to go back. I have also encouraged friends (Jewish and gentile) to visit.

How has Birthright Israel played a role in your life since coming home from the trip?

Justin Maybury: “It has made me feel closer to my Jewish identity and made me prouder to be Jewish. While this is quite simple, I think this is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life and something that would have unlikely happened without this experience.”

It takes nearly 40,000 donors each year to provide the gift of Birthright Israel to young Jews everywhere. If you could meet the person who made your trip possible, what would you say to them?

Justin Maybury: “I actually had the chance to have lunch and talk to the specific donor who pushed for me to go and gave me this opportunity. I was incredibly thankful to him, and we had a great time talking about the trip, Israel, and our different experiences. We plan to keep in touch.