Every year Sachlav Birthright Israel brings thousands of young Jews from all over North America to Israel for the experience of a lifetime. Over the years, Sachlav has become known for its diversity and its unique participants including movie stars, professional photographers and LGBTQ advocates. It is this diversity that sparked the need for Humans of Birthright Israel! If your interested in going on a trip, REGISTER HERE.
Meet Michael Kushner! Michael is a 26 year old actor and photographer in New York City with a large following on Instagram! He is also the creator of the Dressing Room Project and one of the founding members of Musical Theatre Factory.
Follow him on Instagram at @themichaelkushner
Heres what he had to say about his trip:
Q: How would you sum up your trip in 1 sentence?
A: Birthright was an incredibly insightful experience that helped me understand myself and the world around me!
Q: Tell me a little bit about your life as a photographer and your project “The Dressing Room Project.” What inspires you and what are your goals?
A: My life as a photographer started when I got a camera for Hanukkah and flourished when I started photographing my friends during my year abroad in London. When I moved to New York City to become an actor, photography became a constant in my life. Photography has shaped me as an artist and a performer.
The Dressing Room Project, a photographic journal of actors prepping for their roles on Broadway, is meant to fill in the gaps between theatre lover and theatre artist. People have so many questions for actors preparing for roles and I want to answer those questions with visuals.
Q: How was visiting Israel as an artist? Did you find anything that you could connect to?
A: Without a doubt! Culture is incredibly important to me. Seeing how people relate to each other, love each other and deal with conflict; it’s exactly what I try to replicate on stage! The same goes for when I photograph a client – I want it to be truthful and to represent the moment.
Q: Why did you pick Sachlav | IsraelontheHouse?
A: Well, I was in a bit of a hurry. It was one of those “omg I’m 26 and I haven’t done Birthright!” moments. My friends and I immediately googled Birthright and Sachlav was the first search result. Sachlav’s trip dates also perfectly matched with our schedule.
Q: What was/is your connection to Israel and Judaism before your Birthright Israel trip? What was/is it now after your trip?
A: I actually performed a one man show on January 28th in NYC and was writing the final touches and memorizing it (in the shower lol) when I was on my Birthright Israel trip. In the one man show, I talk about the fact that I am culturally just Jewish. I was before Birthright and still am. I love my culture. It’s important and beautiful. As an Ashkenazi Jew, I love Yiddish and I love Jewish food. I love how we communicate. The unspoken rules. I also find love in the religious aspect of Judaism.
Q: What impact has your Birthright Israel | Sachlav IsraelontheHouse trip had on you?
A: My Birthright trip helped me start asking questions about myself and the world. Experiencing Israel was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was beautifully eye opening. I don’t agree with everything in Israel politically – but I was able to find a way to disagree with those things in a more peaceful way than how I disagree with things in Trump’s America. I hope to bring some of that energy back home.
Q: What were your three favorite things on your trip?
A: The sights/activities, the food and the trust. I love a trip where I can let go and everything is planned for me!
Q: Do you plan/hope to come back to Israel? If so, why?
A: I would love to – my boyfriend would love it! It’s such a beautifully unique country and the history is so rich. There’s no way I got everything in in 10 days.
Q: Would you recommend Sachlav IsraelontheHouse to a friend?
A: Absolutely 🙂