From the Dead Sea, to the Western Wall, to the night time meditation in the Negev desert, my entire Birthright Israel trip was enlightening, joyous, spiritual, and insightful. The people, places, views, bus naps, pillow talks, jokes, late night convos, and nights of 3 hours of sleep all became worth it when the country of Israel left a mark on my heart.

Birthright Israel was an experience only those who were part of it will hold on to, but we will hold onto it in our hearts forever. The special bond that was created will last beyond the ten days we spent together in Israel.

Having been back in the US for a month, I feel a sense of longing, nostalgia even, for the trip. I can’t believe it’s over, I went on Birthright, I finally went! And it was better, bigger, and greater than I could have ever imagined. It truly and fully lives up to the hype. The people, put together for a certain reason, absolutely made this trip one for the books. The staff, Rabbi Dov, Yoni, Alana and Moshe, each unique in their own way, joined together for the perfect combination of guidance over this spiritual journey.

Highlights from Holly's trip

I feel so much closer to my Jewish heritage, to Israel, and my 39 new friends. I felt so in the moment during Birthright Israel. I was just “on” – enjoying every moment, every second, living in it, basking in it. I have no regrets, only fond memories, that I will truly cherish with me for the rest of my life. From this trip, I gained some best friends and a new family.

I looked around the room during our reflection on the last night, at each face, and truly realized how much we have bonded over the past ten days. How was it possible to have this much love for a group of people? The appreciation for the human connections formed on my Birthright Israel trip was remarkable.

The guidance of our staff members really made my group something special. Rabbi Dov, a voice of wisdom throughout the entire trip, added so many special touches that made the trip as extraordinary as it was. He was so approachable, reiterating many times that we could ask him any questions that we had about Israel and Judaism. Not only did he provide informative and inspirational information, but he also fostered many FUN moments, and brought pure joy to the group many times.

Photos of Holly on her Birthright Israel trip

Our tour guide Yoni was not only a fantastic resource but also an incredible person. He was a joy to listen to and a wealth of knowledge about Israel and the Jewish people. He made the group really FEEL our experience- whether that feeling is somberness at Mount Hertzel, curiosity at the Dead Sea, inspiration at Masada, grief at Yad Vashem. Yoni had a way of translating not only history, but also feelings, to the group. I feel so blessed that he was part of my Israel experience.

Being in the holy land, walking on sacred ground with my own two feet, was a gift I will be forever grateful for. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude for everyone who made this possible. Coming home to Israel was a special feeling, indescribable really, hard to put into words. I fell in love with Israel, the people, the culture, and what it stands for. I made Israeli friends, saw the beautiful landscape, and feel so much closer to my Jewish heritage through this experience. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

Holly Millet is originally from Long Valley, NJ and is currently getting her Masters of Education at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. She is a Winter 2018-2019 Birthright Israel alumna.