Young Jewish Adults Trip.
What is Birthright Israel? Birthright Israel is the gift of a free, 10-day trip to Israel designed for young adults of Jewish heritage, aged 18–32.
I admit that when my oldest daughter first signed up I was concerned about potential unrest in Israel. I found out though that every group travels with Israeli soldiers. The kids felt very safe the whole trip and this is what I constantly hear from others.
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!
That being said, there are many other Birthright trips that are not through UCF’s Hillel. Visit the Birthright website to see the different kinds. For instance, my daughter chose to go on a trip leaving from New York so she could meet people from other places; since she planned to move to NYC after graduation. My other daughter wanted a trip that was more adventurous (ie: more hiking and outdoorsy) so she isn’t going with Hillel either. Some trips are more religious than others too.
Camel Rides, Rafting down Jordan River, Visit the Western Wall, Float in the Dead Sea, Waterfalls of the Golan Heights, Taste Mediterranean food, Connect with Israelis your own age.
Many students that have experienced this trip say it is a life-changing event that helped form their own unique Jewish identity. My daughter learned a great lesson on her trip and shared her epiphany when she arrived home. We are often reminded of its importance. On Shabbat, they had to turn off their phones and spend the evening at a dining table with a family and some new friends. She recalls the sense of peace knowing that for 24 hours, there would be no interruptions; just this 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. She learned this, among other things, while on Birthright.
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. My youngest who will go in May plans to extend and visit with family and friends for a few days before returning.