Story #6: Paul Sileika

I had always wanted to visit Israel as I felt like it would be a meaningful way to deepen the connection to my Jewish identity. I have to admit that my trip to Israel exceeded all my expectations!
Not only is exploring Israel an exciting experience because of the history (and the food!), but getting to know the other participants on the trip made it all the better. We became instant friends and we all still chat on WhatsApp to this day.
When you start your trip, the leaders will often refer to the participants as “mishpacha” which means “family” in Hebrew. I think that title is very accurate. It’s so wonderful to have your own Birthright family across Canada, as well as the friends I made who live in Israel. Now when I go to visit Israel I have a lot of people who I am eager to see, as well as across Canada.
I loved my experience so much that I applied and was accepted as a “madrich” which is a birthright leader. I’ve led 2 trips over the past year and had the opportunity to build a “mishpacha” for others which was an exciting way to give back.
If you haven’t applied for a trip: why not? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

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