My name is Zoe Newman, and I am a Kindergarten teacher in Cincinnati, OH. I am originally from Cleveland, but I went to the University of Cincinnati for college, got a job after graduating, and decided to stay!

Coming back from Birthright Israel, I would say without a doubt that I had the best ten days of my life. I originally signed up for Birthright Israel because I heard many good stories from friends who had previously gone, and I wanted to go to Israel and experience the same things.

Although I had been to Israel twice before this, I was young and with a group of people, I already knew. One thing that I think was really special was the fact that I went alone this time; I didn’t sign up with anyone I knew, I didn’t travel with anyone I knew, I just went to meet new people and learn more about myself and Judaism, and I did all of the above!

My childhood was full of Judaism. I went to a Jewish day school and celebrated Shabbat weekly and all of the Jewish holidays too. It was fascinating to experience Judaism and Israel from an older, more mature perspective.

Sample 10 Day Itinerary: See how a typical Birthright Israel trip comes to life and how it unites young Jewish adults from all over the world with the people, history, and land of Israel.

One of my biggest takeaways from these ten days was the value of friendship. Meeting 40 new people at an airport and spending all your time and energy with them for over a week straight really brings out a new kind of relationship that cannot be put into words. Our group connected in ways that I could not have connected with if it were a friend from high school, college, or home. Meeting new people and experiencing all of Israel, our shared Judaism, the connections among us, and any and everything else, this group will hold a special place in my heart forever.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve kept in contact with my new friends, I’ve devoted more time in my life to understanding and practicing my Judaism, and I genuinely have been looking forward to living a more Jewish life and planning a return to Israel as soon as possible.

To say I’m thankful for my trip is an understatement. If I could meet the person who made my trip possible, I would probably be speechless because I am at a total loss for words. It’s really challenging to put into words how incredible this trip was. Whenever anyone asks me how Israel was, I tell them, “I really can’t even put it into words how meaningful, emotional, special and perfect it was.” And this is true; I would thank this person a million times because I’ve never experienced something so amazing in my life, and that’s because of them!

Overall, if one can, I say make it work with your schedule and find a time to go on Birthright Israel. You’ll experience something so truly life-changing in the best ways possible.