by Sarah L., NFTY-EIE Summer 2013 Student
From having my Bat Mitzvah at age 13, Israel has always been a dream of mine. Learning about the stories of Judaism has led me to feel connected spiritually to the land. Traveling to Israel and spending a summer there has not only been an aspiration of mine, but a necessity. Learning Hebrew and Jewish studies, as well as traveling around the country, riding camels, and spending Shabbat in the holy land is an experience that I cannot wait to encounter.
When I was 14 years old, I started to attend NFTY events. NFTY events were unlike any other Jewish gathering that I had attended in the past. They made Judaism really come to life and left me with great friends and memories for a lifetime. I knew of other Israel programs, but I could not imagine going on any other program besides one that NFTY offered. NFTY-EIE seemed like a great for me because of my desire to learn the history and language of the country while traveling around. I expect this summer to be filled with friendship, adventure, surprises, knowledge, learning, cooking, exercise, and much more that is to be uncovered.
As the months counted down to weeks, and as this week before we leave to Israel counts down to days, I could not be any more thrilled than I already am. Having never been outside the country before I am unsure of what to fully expect, but I know that whatever I am confronted with I will welcome it with an open mind and a willing heart.