Throughout the summer and winter seasons of Birthright Israel trips, young Jewish adults experience firsthand the ancient and modern streets of Jerusalem. For many, this is the first time they visit this holy city that is so dear to our history. Together, with their bus mates, participants discover the Western Wall, place a note in the cracks and cherish this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity forever.

They talk of how the energy of the city boosts them up, how having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at the Kotel changed their life and simply by experiencing the magic of Jerusalem with their new friends, they reignite a passion for Judaism inside. Each memory shared with us about these moments reinforces how the gift of Birthright Israel is crucial to keeping Judaism alive. Read below the profound impact Jerusalem has on participants:

“I remember learning about the Western Wall in Hebrew school. My mom always said we would one day visit Jerusalem and see it. She was diagnosed with Pick’s Disease the year I graduated high school. We never got to go and my dreams of visiting Israel with her died. Because of the gift of Birthright Israel and generous donors, I was able to bring a photo of my mom and I and leave it in the Wall forever. Without your contribution, it would have taken my years and years to save up to make that journey.”
– Sara

“Upon taking my first steps into Jerusalem, I felt all of these emotions rush through me, and I immediately knew I was home. For the first, and maybe only, time in my life, I was able to look around and see that I was not alone in my Jewish faith, but that it existed all around me. It is etched in the Western Wall, woven into the history that defines the city, and continues to redefine itself in the modernity that coincides present with past. I will never forget this feeling and am privileged that Birthright Israel helped me experience Jerusalem firsthand.”
– Mallory

“Every moment of my trip is an experience I will cherish forever but perhaps none more than our Shabbat in Jerusalem. Despite all of the amazing sites and places we experienced it was the intimate time I spent with the others on the trip including our staff and soldiers that solidified the importance of the Birthright Israel experience. It truly strengthened my Jewish identity more than anything else.”
– Ethan

Hiking in the Negev 2018