19 January 2015
Like many Jewish teens, I was raised to love Israel. Dayschool education, Sunday school, URJ camps – all were components of my identity as a Reform Zionist Jew, and all taught me the ties, both emotional and historical, that bound me to Eretz Israel. But much as I cared for Israel, it had once been nothing but paragraphs in a textbook, perhaps an anecdote from a respected teacher. When I took my first trip to Israel with NFTY two years ago, it suddenly became real, and afterward, the news stories and social media feeds that had once flooded my mind began to impact me emotionally as well. Israel had become real to me – an actual land filled with people I knew and cared about. Real world experience materialize issues for me, transforming it from entity to reality.