The Yale Herald- Brian Loeb, SY â€™14, had never given any thought to traveling to Israelâ€”that is, until he saw a table in Commons advertising Yale Hillelâ€™s Taglit-Birthright trip over spring break. Birthright provides free trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. Birthright aims â€śto strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry and participantsâ€™ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people,â€ť according to its website. Like all other Birthright travelers, the Hillel group of over 30 Yalies had to grapple with their personal relationships to this mission.
The ten-day trip, coordinated and led by Amir Sella, Israel Programs Coordinator for the Slifka Center, Steven Sitrin, Executive Director of Slifka, and a Birthright guide, took students on a whirlwind tour of the country. While the itinerary attempted to cover important historical sites like Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, and Independence Hall, where Israel was proclaimed a state in 1948, it also included lighter activities, such as an excursion to the Black Sea and a visit to an olive oil press.
Although qualification for Birthright trips requires one Jewish parent, people of all Jewish backgrounds and affiliations are welcome. Loeb said that though he was initially worried that he might be less religious and knowledgeable about Jewish tradition and history than other members of the group, that didnâ€™t turn out to be the case.
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Written by: Emma Schindler- Originally published in The Yale HeraldÂ on 3/25/11 Image credit: The Jewish Star
Does anyone know of any other program anywhere that gives you one completely free trip for 10 daysÂ to the other side of the world (Israel) just having one jewish parent?Â Is there even anything close to it?Â What an awesome deal that is apparently also an awesome time.