I'm a Science guy, he's religious, she's a sorority girl, and they're into meditation. Could we be more different?
We were 40 strangers about to share our space, our time, and our travel snacks for the next 10 days. It's understandable that I was nervous.
I figured that all things going well, we'd get on just fine. The trip would be fun, and at the end we'd all go our separate ways and probably never see each other again.
What I didn't expect was that this weird bunch of people would be the heart and soul of my trip. That when I'd look back on the experience, I'd say that above all the awesome things we did and saw, it's the people that were the real highlight for me.
At first I thought we were just lucky, but then my trip counselor let me in on a little secret.
"It's not just us, it's what Birthright Israel brings out in people."
No matter where we're from, or what unique talents we might have, when we touch down in Israel, we're on equal ground. We're all experien read more
With a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, I had two religions, but felt connected to neither. I heard about Birthright Israel and the trips they offer, but honestly didn’t feel it was for me because I wasn’t even close to being Jewish despite having Jewish blood and a Jewish last name. I was coming up on my twenty seventh year, which is the cut off to go on this trip. At the last minute, I decided to go for it without any expectation of what was going to happen or what it was going to be about. My parents are not too religious, but when I was little they still tried to pass down their religious views - according to my mom, I was not a fan of either one.
Within the last six to seven years, I did my research for my Italian ancestry and found I could become an Italian citizen, which I did. I loved the process of figuring out the missing puzzle pieces of who I am and where I came from. I was able to trace myself back to my great-grandfather in Sicily. As excited as I was t read more
We recently had the chance to catch up with Birthright Israel alum Cameron Alpert.
Today, Cameron runs AKIVA STRIPE, a clothing brand which brilliantly blends Pop Culture and Jewish Iconography. The brand is at the intersection of where where 'Jewishness' and 'Coolness' collide. His journey to discover his unique style is an interesting one.
The following is our interview with Cameron himself.
Sachlav: So, Cameron how you feeling today?
Cameron: Feeling excellent! I’m getting ready to do bit of traveling which is always exciting, so mostly packing.
Sachlav: Tell me more about AKIVA STRIPE. Where did the name come from?
Cameron: Akiva is a cognate of my middle name, Jacob, and also one of my favorite Hebrew names. Akiva can also mean protector, which ultimately creates the idea of a protection stripe, a very culturally relevant theme. The name suddenly came to mind one day as I was driving.
Sachlav: Do you believe that the Jewish youth in America these days are "proud" to be Je read more
- By Gabby Hergt, Alumna & Trip Staff
Two weeks ago was the culmination of a portion of my journey that started almost two years ago. It has been my personal blessing to have been able to experience four amazing Israel trips with Birthright Israel. My first trip in 2013 was the start of a life-long love affair with a country that has become, in my heart, soul, and spirit, my home and people who have become my friends and family. Since returning to Israel three more times as a counselor, Birthright has offered me a view of Israel as both a participant and as a leader. These have both been invaluable to my personal growth and learning of Israel.
The beginning of my trips always starts with me telling the participants why I chose to lead. I explain to them that my reason is not for a free flight, delicious food, and gorgeous Israeli boys, but rather because of the personal fulfillment that I gain by helping each participant fall in love with Israel. Being able to show my participant read more
- by Perri Fuerst, Winter 2014 trip participant
As nominated social media addict of my amazing Sachlav Birthright trip, I have different viewpoints from my other trip members [ie. every amazing moment must be captured & shared!]. Something we can all agree on though, was that the trip was by far the most unforgettable experience we have ever encountered. The friendships we made are irreplaceable, and I can hardly wait to see everyone again in the not so distant future. I am 22 years old and happened to be the oldest member on my trip. The age difference between my new found friends and I didn’t bother me at all.
Here's why I chose to come to Israel: I always knew about Birthright and always thought I would eventually make my way to Israel with Birthright’s help, but I never thought this day would actually come. People used to nag me to register for the trip, and I would always push it aside and say I wasn’t ready yet. It wasn’t until quite recently when my mother read more