Young Jewish Adults Israel Trip
What exactly is Birthright Israel? Birthright Israel began in 1999 with a bold idea—offering a free, life-changing trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 32 and, in doing so, transforming the Jewish future. Their mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the less connected, the opportunity to visit Israel on an educational and inspirational religious experience. Today, Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world and it aims to strengthen Jewish identity, communities, and connection with Israel. Each trip is 100% funded by 30,000+ donors each year. The experience of Birthright is one that students will remember always and the connections made with fellow students on the trip will turn into life-long friendships. There is no reason to be concerned about political unrest or their safety since every trip is guided and constantly with Israeli soldiers.
IU has two different organizations that offer and sponsor this trip: IU Chabad and IU Hillel. What could be better than that? This is the trip you go on with your friends from college or to meet new people from your campus. Ten extraordinary days experiencing the enriching, inspiring and exhilarating sights, sounds, and soul of Israel Hang out with Israelis your age, hike beautiful trails, and catch breathtaking views. When you get back, you’ll have an awesome community back on campus that you formed on the trip. You’re not a tourist you’re an adventure-seeker!
Some of the tour highlights: camel rides, rafting down the Jordan River, visit the Western Wall, float in the Dead Sea, waterfalls of the Golan Heights, taste Mediterranean food, camping in the desert, wine tastings on Israeli Vineyards, ATVing, and connecting with Israelis your own age. I went on Birthright the summer going into my junior year of college. I decided I wanted to branch out and meet new friends so I actually went on a program called Yael Adventures and it was the best decision I could have made. Not only did I make amazing friends that I still talk to on a weekly basis, but I also found my connection to Israel.
This program gave me somewhat of an awakening when I realized that everyone in Israel is connected in a deep way. All the Israelis share this deep sense of pride for their homeland and truly want to spread their knowledge and history amongst others. The Israelis I met were so insanely grateful for the land they live on and the people they had around them. On Shabbat, we celebrated with locals in the town of Jerusalem and had an extraordinary dinner.
To this day, I can still recall the sense of peace knowing that for 24 hours there would be no interruptions-no phones; just an overwhelmingly great feeling of serenity and an opportunity to recharge. Whether one celebrates Shabbat religiously or not was not the point; but rather the chance to step back, reflect and recharge once a week is something we can all benefit from. While on Birthright I learned to be more appreciative of my surroundings, to take a minute to learn every day, and to take initiative when it comes to learning about my ancestors.
There are also extension trips that students can look into. They have a variety of types from cooking to volunteering, but many students also choose to extend and travel a bit on their own before returning to the U.S. It surely saves on the cost of airfare, since Birthright covers it. If students want to go back to Israel or have never done Birthright, there are summer internships available including the more popular one Onward. For more information on trip dates and how to apply, visit this Birthright Israel page or the IU Hillel or IU Chabad pages.
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