You've seen it on the gram, you've heard about it from friends, but some things you've just gotta do for yourself. If you're a Jewish 20-something, going on Birthright Israel is one of those things. Here are some of the "magic moments", epic sights and enriching experiences which are so much better IRL, but for now we're serving them up for you in a blog!
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
Raquel Gadaa kept a daily diary on her Birthright Israel trip where she documented her experience over 10 days. Now she's opened it up for us to get an insider perspective on the journey of a Birthright Israel trip participant. Thank you so much for sharing!
My Birthright Israel trip experience was unlike no other, which is something that can really be said for anyone who has been on a trip. One of the best things about Birthright Israel is that no one leaves with the same stories, but we all leave with 40 new friends and a different perspective on Israel. We also all leave having a bigger emotional bond with Israel, and the people we met while exploring it. While on my trip in August 2018, I took daily journals highlighting the things we did so that I would be able to look back at them when I get older. I don’t want to ever forget the amazing memories I made.
Welcome to Israel: Day 1 of Birthright Israel, August 5th 2018
Day one of Birthright Israel felt lik read more
1. Exercise More
Skip the gym, and try something a little different like rock climbing, hiking, rafting or sunrise yoga on Masada.
2. Spend less, save more
That's easy to do when you're traveling for free with all your accommodation, transport, activities and most meals covered!
3. Eat healthier food
Did you know Israelis have one of the most healthy diets in the world? Expect to eat a lot of fresh fruit & veg with all those falafel balls and shwarmas!
4. More time with friends & family
Bring friends or a family member on your 10 day Israel trip, or make 40 new friends in Israel!
5. Learn something new
You could read it in a book, or your could see it for yourself. History, culture, and politics, all at your fingertips.
6. Connect to your heritage
Discover more about Jewish history, culture and traditions. Visit the Western Wall and experience Shabbat in Israel.
7. Stress less
We all need a time out every so often. Spend time in nature, chill on 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