Kesher Taglit-Birthright Israel alum, Ben Zemmel, writes about his experience in Israel and what he found that surprised him.
on May 7, 2013
on April 4, 2013
By Joy Friedman, Lead Organizer, URJ Campaign for Youth Engagement
& Jesse Paikin, URJ Israel Programs Coordinator
Birthright is an incomparable catalyst for young adult engagement. The experience of ten days in the Jewish country – developing deep relationships that only an immersive experience can allow – gives participants time to cultivate, and (for most) reengage with Jewish content and ideas. But what is it that makes the connections through Kesher different from some of the other Israel program options available? When asked by a number of our participants, here’s some of what we told them.
on February 5, 2013
By Allison Karns, Kesher Taglit-Birthright Israel alum
When I was asked to write about my Kesher Birthright experience, a few things ran through my mind. First, I realized I haven’t written a single thing since I graduated from college two and a half years ago (I work in IT). Second, I thought: There aren’t enough words to describe what an amazing Birthright experience I had (or perhaps this goes back to my lack of writing skills). Either way, Birthright is something you must experience for yourself.
on January 30, 2013
By Emily Winters, Kesher Taglit-Birthright Israel alum
…After recuperating from finals week, I headed off to Israel for 10 days with my brother and long-time friend. It was a once in a lifetime experience! I traveled with about 40 other college-age kids from all over the United States (and one from Canada) and we got to explore this rich, historical land together in a whirlwind adventure. It was absolutely amazing!
on January 29, 2013
By Ashley Hufford, Kesher Taglit-Birthright Israel alum
I was raised Jewish. I went to Hebrew pre-school, then a bi-weekly Hebrew school. I had a bat mitzvah and even a confirmation, but I never considered myself that Jewish. I always said “I’m Jewish with a focus on the ‘ish.’” It often garnered a laugh, but I also thought it was a pretty great description. When I thought about going to Israel, I didn’t think it would have such an impact on my life. I figured it would be, well, a free trip—which is why the whole experience took me by surprise.
I was incredibly nervous about the trip. I had done a fair amount of traveling during a semester abroad, but I had never been so far from home, let alone with 40 people I didn’t know. The first few hours in Israel were rough. We arrived at 4:30 in the morning. I was cranky and nervous. I didn’t really know how to speak to my trip mates, and, frankly, I didn’t want to be there. On the drive from the airport in Tel Aviv to our hotel in Jerusalem, our tour guide had us stop just outside the city. I was frustrated. I wanted to get to our hotel and go to sleep. He made us all get off the bus and walk through a small park. We climbed a set of stairs and at the top, I lost my breath.
on January 22, 2013
By Brett Burka, Kesher Taglit-Birthright Israel Alum
One of my fondest Shabbat memories came this past summer in a hotel conference room in Jerusalem. Despite the fact that we were sitting in a conference room, in the basement of the hotel, I realized that night that I had never felt such a strong connection to my religion as I did at that very moment. Looking around the room everyone had smiles from ear to ear, those who were passive and reserved during our first few services were singing louder than anyone in the room. Those of us who had originally stuck close to the friends we knew going into the trip had spread themselves out throughout the circle we sat in so that we were truly a cohesive unit.
By Rachel Brustein, KESHER Taglit-Birthright Israel, NFTY & OSRUI alum
Ever since I started going to camp at URJ Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute in 2006, I had dreamed of going to Israel. When I signed up for a URJ Kesher Birthright trip this past fell, I was not expecting the very wide range of Jewish education from the participants on the trip. I quickly appreciated what I had learned at camp and in NFTY.
on November 21, 2012
Read about how KESHER Birthright alum Alexis Drattell found a home for herself in Israel, then carried her experiences with her as she discovers Reform Jewish life in Milan, Italy.
on August 29, 2012
While in Israel, recent KESHER Taglit-Birthright Israel participant, Kim Goral filmed and produced a segment for NBC News, providing a window into Birthright’s impact on Israel’s economy and culture. Oh, and let’s not forget the indelible impact on our Jewish youth!
on August 28, 2012
William Farrel, from Monsey, New York, was a participant on a KESHER Taglit-Birthright Israel trip this summer. As part of his experience in Israel, William celebrated his Bar Mitzvah with the community. Here are the words he shared as part of his D’var Torah.
- The Chaperone’s Tale | Day 1: Heroic Efforts June 30, 2011
- The Chaperone’s Tale | Day 2: Intertwining History June 30, 2011
- The Chaperone’s Tale | Day 5: Continuing the Journey into the Abyss July 7, 2011
- Day 100 May 9, 2013
- How Kesher Birthright is more than a vacation or tour May 7, 2013
- Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut April 20, 2013
- Indelible Connections | Billboard Judaism: [...] Crossposted at The URJ Israel Programs Blog ...
- How My URJ Camp and NFTY Experiences Helped Me On Birthright | Kutz Camp: [...] To continue reading Rachel’s blog, ple...
- Marla Rosenthol: nice...