10 July 2019
By Abby Newburger, Federation Young Leadership Associate; Birthright Israel Bus #546, Staff
When 40 Americans met 7 Israelis, magic began. Relationships started forming the minute these participants were introduced in the airport. We started the journey as individuals, with a little curiosity about the Land of Israel, and finished as a family, with strong connections that will last a lifetime.
It was such a joy to witness the mifgash (exchange) between Americans and Israelis. We all learned from one another and contributed to the holistic experience of this trip. At every hike, site visit, meal, and activity, I saw participants deepen their connection to Judaism, to Israel, and to this newfound community.
Near the end of our journey, nineteen participants chose to take part in the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony in Jerusalem. Each one illustrated the importance of their experience with this group, in this place, at this time.
As I reflect on this trip, it reaffirms my passion for staffing Birthright Israel. Helping people discover their connection to Israel and their identity as a Jew in today’s world is what drives me to continue my work for our community. If you have not yet experienced Birthright Israel, I hope you will consider joining Federation’s Young Leadership, Shorashim, and the DC Community on our next trip, January 5-15, 2020.