I heard about the trip over a decade ago by my own madricha in a Russian-Jewish summer camp. For a decade I dreamed about going on this trip, but the experience itself went above and beyond my expectations.
Coming in as an observant participant, I was prepared to get questions that examined my reasoning to pursue a religious lifestyle, demanded an explanation for my commitment, receive justification for why I choose to do the things I do.
I was met with openness, acceptance, and most heartwarmingly- the desire to learn more. On this trip, I observed Shabbat with someone who hadn’t done so in years. I met Israelis who appreciated that their Jewish homeland was not to be taken for granted. I stayed up for hours talking to my friends about why we care about being Jewish, what role Halacha played in our lives, and what our identities meant to us.
My Madrichot on this trip were exceptional. They arranged to have Bnei Mitzvot for participants who didn’t get the chance to have them earlier in life- and I was one of the lucky people who had the pleasure of having one. My Bat Mitzvah ceremony was held in the holy city of Jerusalem, surrounded by my new closest friends, customized to my religious preferences. It was an experience that made me feel overcome with emotion- I felt very humbled to have made such a public declaration of my commitment to my faith.
Overall, I would recommend this trip to anyone who has the chance to do so. The State of Israel is a celebration of Judaism and it’s people, and to be able to see it for yourself is not an opportunity that should be missed.” #humansofcie