Chances are – if you’re Jewish – you, your family, your friends, and everyone that falls within your Jewish geography population, has heard of Birthright Israel.
If you’re not Jewish you’ve most likely still heard of it, thanks to your treasured Jewish friend who fills you in on these sorts of things. Unfortunately, you know that the odds are not in your favor on traveling to Israel with that friend, but they’ve saved you from the “You’ve NEVER heard of BIRTHRIGHT?” question.
When the topic of Birthright Israel comes up amongst a circle of Jewish girls there is nothing more entertaining than overhearing the back and forth banter of Long Island princesses talk about why the program they’re applying to with their “bestie” or their “bit*hes” far exceeds any other program. What can typically be overheard at Goldbergs, Kitchen Kabaret, or Bagel Café every day are conversations like: “That program is way too religious.” – “The hotels in that program are SICK.”- “I’ve applied like twice already, I don’t get it.”
Taglit- Birthright Israel provides a gift of first time, peer group; educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26 from around the world.
Here are the 20 reasons you should be going on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip this summer if you haven’t already.
1. It’s the gift of a free trip; it’s your birthright.
2. We are young and you should travel while you can, and as much as you can. Stop making excuses. Easy Solutions: 21-26 years old? That is what personal days are for. Plus, this is educational. In college? Even better. What I learned from experience: you’ll get to start your internship late or cut it short. You may even be excused for part of recruitment workweek.
3. Your Jewish mother will never stop nagging, but at least this is one less thing she can nag you about.
4. Hummus. Hummus. Falafel. Hummus. Hummus. Fresh Israeli food.
5. Meeting the Israeli soldiers is amazing. Just, literally, amazing. Ask anyone who has been. I left wishing I could have spent more time together with them!
6. It’s a celebration, folks! If you never had a bar or bat-mitzvah, now you can, and with all of your new friends! What’s better than a bar or bat-mitzvah? Um, nothing!
7. Camels. You get to ride a camel. Then, you can upload your camel picture on Wednesday. Like, Happy #Humpday from Israel. Talk about trendy.
8. Happy Vibes/ Campers. Nobody on Birthright is catty. Everyone just wants to be friends with everyone and frolic through Israel! You will make friends, at some points it might even seem like too many, and it is truly amazing. Leave the #NoNewFriends state of mind at home.
9. How often do you get to climb Masada at sunrise? Probably not so often.
10. Bus Rides! You get to ride the bus everywhere like you did when you were on your trip with sleep away camp or on teen tour. If you get bus sick easily I’d recommend Dramamine. You sleep more on the bus than in your hotel.
11. Waterfalls, and lots of them.
12. Educational. Who knew learning could be so fun?
13. Bedouin Tents. Watching some of the girls bug out about sleeping in sleeping bags that have been used by who knows how many people – priceless.
14. Jewography. Someone on the trip is bound to be your college friend’s best friend from home, your camp friend’s best friend from college or home, or your college roomie’s long lost cousin. Either way, you’ll know more people than you thought you would.
15. You wake up the day after Shabbat night anxiously calling your mom to explain to her how Israel has changed your life and how you have to extend your trip. Extend! You can extend your trip for up to 3 months and still use your return ticket that was gifted to you by Birthright Israel.
16. Shabbat in Israel. It makes you feel so close to everyone and gives you such an appreciation for your religion that you even daydream of following the tradition of Shabbat on a regular basis.
17. The Dead Sea. My skin has never felt smoother.
18. You will not have to worry about missing the gym.
19. You hike A LOT. Probably up to 6 miles before lunch. Need to get in shape? Trying to lose a few extra? Perf!
20. Your tour guide – He or she really does love you. Be nice to them and you will have a fabulous trip. Make it fun for them too! They are so knowledgeable on Israel it’s unbelievable.