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Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim - Bus 249 - June 2010

Do you or your friends want to go on Taglit-Birthright Israel?

Join Jewish young professionals ages 22-26 who live in the DC area this winter on a Taglit-Birthright Israel: DC Community trip! Registration opens 10:00 AM on September 14. Visit for more information!

Contact Sarah Arenstein at or 301-230-7277 with questions!

Posted by: dcadmin (September 02, 2010 at 9:02 AM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 10: Dear Diary - Nate

Nate Adelman
Arlington, VA

Dear Diary,

Today the "49ers" went on the long-awaited voyage to the Dead Sea. As far as the voyage is concerned, it was pretty easy because Yisrael (our bus driver) drove us right up to the beach.

After two minutes of anticipation, we went right in. As everyone knows, you simply float in the Dead Sea. It is my favorite beach by far. All the pleasures of the beach and water, but way less effort to stay afloat.

A few minutes later, the Dead Sea mud came out. Besides looking aweeesommee, it exfoliates your skin to a silky-smooth finish.

Although we are no longer at the Dead Sea, I am taking some of it back to the U.S. with me. Let me explain. The Dead Sea is 400 meters below sea level, so the ozone is thicker than normal. Thus, Boaz and Roni (Israelis on our trip) told me that you cannot get sunburned. Well, they were wrong. My skin went from a milky white to a deep reddish hue. I cannot believe today is the last day of the trip. The only part of me happy about that is my sunburns.

Ciao from Jerusalem,

Posted by: dcadmin (July 01, 2010 at 3:59 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink
Tags: Dead Sea

Day 9: Happy Birthday Michael!!!

We celebrate Michael Johnson's birthday while on our Taglit-Birthright Israel trip!

Posted by: dcadmin (July 01, 2010 at 10:47 AM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 9: Bedouin Hospitality - Allison & Mandy

Allison Winik
Bethesda, MD
Mandy McTyre
Washington, DC

Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorshim Bus 249 rides into the sunset
(above) Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorshim Bus 249 rides into the sunset

One of our last days was spent driving from the city into the Negev desert. We arrived in the evening a bit before sunset and quickly got settled into the group tent! The "group tent" wasn't your typical tent. It fit our family of 51 and even had outlets to charge our cell phones. While some played soccer or relaxed before dinner, we went with some group members on a walk around the campground, saw a beautiful sunset, and even got a sneak peak at our next day's adventure (the camels!). After our down time, we listened to a local Bedouin tell us about their culture (including how to make coffee to welcome a guest a brief demonstration of how to play a local instrument). Finally, we got to eat a traditional Bedouin meal for dinner. Sitting on the ground, we ate rice, lamb, hummus and salad with our hands. Needless to say, we all left the tent pleasantly stuffed.
Our night concluded with two group activities--one fun and one serious. Our first activity was essentially a full-body version of Rock, Paper, Scissors that came to an abrupt end with one MINOR injury. The next activity was called Badad (or Alone), and as the name implies, we were taken to individual spots in the desert and given time to take in the moon, stars and Negev backdrop and to reflect on our experiences thus far. We think everyone in the group really appreciated having some quiet time finally to meditate and to digest our diverse Israel experience.
After our return to the campground, we made s'mores around a bonfire as people progressively left to go to sleep. We woke up bright and early the next day and started off with camel rides. Most of us had never been on camels before and thoroughly enjoyed this unique experience.
Overall it was a great introduction to the Bedouin way of life and the Israeli desert.

Posted by: dcadmin (June 30, 2010 at 3:58 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 7: VIDEO: Visiting Yad Vashem - Mary

Mary talks about visiting Yad Vashem and the thoughts and emotions evoked by the memorial.

Posted by: dcadmin (June 30, 2010 at 3:48 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 6: VIDEO: Shabbat With the Whole DC Contingent - Reut

Reut talks about spending Shabbat with all 140 Washington, DC trip participants and how she was surprised about support for the IDF.

Posted by: dcadmin (June 30, 2010 at 3:47 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 8: VIDEO: Going to the Western Wall - Liza

Liza shares her experience of going to the Western Wall and how it made her think of her grandparents:

Posted by: dcadmin (June 29, 2010 at 12:29 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 6: VIDEOS: Bus 249 puts on a Reverse Mifgash Skit

Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorshim Bus 249 puts on a Reverse Mifgash Skit.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Posted by: dcadmin (June 29, 2010 at 10:20 AM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 6: "The Click" - Mary

Mary Pilger
McLean, VA
The whole trip I’ve been waiting to feel connection to Israel, to feel “the click” so many of my friends have felt. I love Israel and this trip is great, but I haven’t clicked with Israel. Not on hikes, in Tzfat, not even at the Wailing Wall (although it was powerful). But today in Jerusalem on Shabbat, I clicked, we played a game that we could have played in the States, “Agree/Disagree.” Birthright alumni from DC read three statements:
1) Judaism cannot exist without Israel
2) The State of Israel could exist elsewhere
3) I will only merry a Jew
We had to go to the corner we most identified with for each statement: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. My answers surprised me, and I know they are different now because of Israel than if I had been asked six days ago.
I found myself siding strongly with Israel. Even when it wasn’t a state, it was a promise woven into all aspects of Judaism. On Passover we always say, “Next year in Jerusalem.” The Torah tells of the promise and this physical place is so important.
When I realized how I felt, that this is my home, that these are my people, my brothers and sisters, I felt so strongly for Israel and I wept. I clicked, I felt my heart expand for the country that is now such a part of me. I wanted to go outside and touch the ground.
I am so glad that I clicked on Shabbat and in Jerusalem. I can’t thank Birthright enough for that, let alone the whole trip.

Posted by: dcadmin (June 29, 2010 at 9:16 AM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Birthright Israel

About Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim Bus 249

On the Taglit-Birthright Israel: DC Community Trips, participants have the opportunity to experience the awesome adventure of Israel from the inside, through the eyes and hearts of Israeli peers. Along with other young adults from the greater Washington DC area, participants travel for 10-days with Israelis who share the beauty, excitement and complexities of their country with them.

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