Birthright Israel Gave Me a Home
Meet One of Our Past Showtime Israel a.k.a Entertainment Participants
Chloe Rosenthal is a magician, writer, director and actress who grew up traveling in an RV. Chloe is currently studying bartending and magic with the aspirations of becoming a bar magician and traveling the world. Due to this, it is no wonder Chloe chose the Showtime Israel a.k.a Entertainment Birthright Israel trip!
In mid-September I signed up for what would be the trip of a lifetime. It was a strange time for me to decide to do this as I was at a memorial for a family member who had passed. It was being surrounded by so much love and life that made me realize how important it is to be connected to the places and the people you come from. On December 18th I left for Israel. It was Birthright Israel that gifted me with this time, education and experience. While I may not have had the Jewish upbringing that many of these young women and men had, I did feel deeply emotionally connected with this place and with this culture I previously knew close to nothing about.
My Dad followed me through the pictures I posted on Instagram along the way. And slowly he began sharing with me more and more about our family. Stories I’d never known. He reminisced when I shared photos of the Bahai Gardens, he stayed in Haifa for awhile and said he could see himself living there. So could I. He loved the camel photos and remembered the glorious Dead Sea.
But it was the Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, that hit the hardest. There were moments I couldn’t breathe. After hours upon hours of listening to the personal stories, following Hitler’s rise to power while internally struggling with how eerily similar his behavior and politics were to the man who is now leading my country, then to the survival stories and the final moments and God… that children’s memorial. I had barely anything left in me while still trying to process that some people in this world still believe the Holocaust was all just a myth. That same day I learned that over 40 members of my family were killed in Auschwitz.
I was very impressed with the young soldiers we had on our trip. They were so intelligent in every sense. We held deep conversations and bonded like family instantly. Israel gave me a feeling I’d never had before; I belonged. Did you know that Israel declared independence on May 14th of 1948? That’s 172 years AFTER the U.S. declared independence. All those underdog stories we live for, sports movies and war movies and stories of overcoming great challenges and stories of miracles. Well, THAT’S Israel. This tiny little country with so much fight in it. They are kind, they work hard, they are advanced in more than just technology, but in love. They cherish the moments many of us miss and they live every moment as if it’s their last. Maybe they have to, because of where they are and what they’ve had to face, but I’ve never found a place or a people that made me feel more alive.
Birthright gave me exactly what I needed to have faith in myself. Birthright gave me a home; somewhere I will someday return to and probably stay. I still don’t know if I believe in God. I don’t know exactly where I’m going or exactly what I want to do in life, but the difference is, I don’t mind the ride anymore. In fact, I live for it.