If you haven't taken the plunge and gone on a trip with Birthright Israel, there's a lot you still need to see and experience. While nothing beats doing it for yourself, here are some of the lesser known "magic moments", epic sights and enriching experiences that Israel has to offer.
1. The Birthright Israel Mega Event
It's called "mega" for a reason. Prepare to see world famous performers, pyrotechnics, and maybe even the president! This event never lets the crowd down.
2. Heaps and heaps of jelly treats
They're sold in abundance in the fresh food markets, and occupy their own food group in Israel. It's totally acceptable to scoop up a 4 LB bag, as long as you share with your friends!
3. Really dirty people happy to be covered in mud
Nothing like coating your hide with nature's best mineral mud pack. Just let it dry, rinse and repeat, and you will feel like a new person. #DeadSea #Bliss
4. Nature at its finest
Grottoes, waterfalls, caves, cliffs and canyo read more
Remember Jonathan Lipnicki, that cute little kid from Stuart Little, with spiky blonde hair and round glasses? You know who I'm talking about, he starred in many of our old-school movie favorites, including Jerry Maguire. Dr DoLittle and Like Mike. He is the kid who made me want a rodent for a sibling, and that my friend, requires talent!
[caption id="attachment_3201" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Snapshots of Lipnicki's career from Instagram @JonathanLipnicki[/caption]
Skip ahead a few good years, and he's kept the same charming smile, lost the glasses, and packed on some muscle. His talent for acting is still keeping him as busy as ever, with various new releases this year, but in his free time he's having epic adventures with us. Yup, you read that right. Jonathan recently went on a Birthright Israel trip run by Sachlav | IsraelontheHouse, and we had the chance to sit down with him and ask him a few questions.
[caption id="attachment_3196" align="aligncenter" width read more
1. 80% of all participants are from the USA and Canada
Even though Birthright Israel trips are available to participants from across the globe, and groups from 64 countries have participated, the USA and Canada still account for the most participants.
2. One man has pledged over $250 million to Birthright Israel
Although trips are funded by the support of over 30 000 donors, the government of Israel, and Jewish Federations, Sheldon Adelson has played a fundamental role in making Birthright Israel as big as it is today.
3. If you go on a Birthright Israel trip you're more likely to marry a Jewish spouse
It's a fact. A study was conducted among young Jewish adults by Brandeis University which found that among Birthright participants 72 percent will marry Jewish spouses, compared with 51 percent among non-participants. The same study found that 25% of Birthright Israel alumni marry other Birthright alumni!
4. There have been some interesting niche trips along the way
We are only one week into this new year, but we've got big expectations for 2017, and we're kind of impatient for it to be amazing... Lucky for us, the last few days have been pretty good:
1. We've made A LOT of new friends
2. Had our first ever LGBTQ Birthright Israel trip
3. Got off to a great start with a bit of sunrise yoga on Masada
4. Been absolutely "Wowed" by nature
5. Connected to our roots and spirituality
6. Eaten amazing falafel sandwiches. Seriously, it looks a bit messy, but they were so good they had to make the list.
7. Got masked and muddy at the Dead Sea
8. Experienced something totally different
9. Had one of the best nights out in Tel Aviv, the famous nightlife city
10. Visited Jerusalem... and many more amazing places in Israel!
Now do you see why the first week of 2017 has got us feeling so optimistic? If you want to come experience all the above and more in Israel this year, then make sure you Sign Up now for 2017 Priority Status read more
Remember that free t-shirt you won? Was it amazing? Probably not. It's sad but true, but the likelihood of anything "free" being awesome, or not involving some kind of hidden cost, is quite low.
That's why Birthright Israel isn't "free". When you add up the return flights, accommodation, food, transport, sites and activities, the whole package comes to around $3000.
Fortunately, you're not the one paying the bill!
A few exceptionally generous philanthropists, together with the Israeli government, have made it possible for you to have an incredible $3000 travel experience without having to fit the bill. If you ask us, that's pretty amazing, and is definitely not something to be taken for granted.
If it's free, how good can it be?
While it is a free Birthright Israel trip after all, and doesn't cost you a dime, it's definitely not a "cheap" experience. The generosity of Birthright Israel's supporters has ensured an exceptionally high standard of trip, and in turn made it t read more