The Trip That Made Me Feel Complete
Meet One of Our Past Discover Israel Participants
Justin Ehrenpreis is a Reconstructionist Jew from the suburbs of New York. Justin loves to tour, hike, and travel which is exactly why he decided to join our Discover Israel Birthright trip this past season! Read Justin's blog to learn all about his favorite moments from an awesome trip!
Traveling, being a tourist, and enjoying it with a group of strangers, both American and Israeli, made this trip unique. If you want to tour and experience Israel from top to bottom and make new friends, then the Discover Israel Birthright trip is perfect for you!
Experiencing all of Israel with people I didn’t initially know was something new to me. I have never travelled with strangers, so I was initially hesitant, however even from the onset, people wanted to get to know me and enjoyed my company which is a great feeling! Even when we seperated during out night outs and went to different bars around Tel Aviv and later on in Jerusalem, I never felt alone.
My favorite part of this trip was the Bedouin hospitality. We ate Bedouin-styled food, slept in the tent, sat around the camp fire, sang songs, and rode camels the next morning. This experience made me bond with the group more than I ever have with strangers.
I also enjoyed visiting Caesarea, an ancient Roman city. Caesarea is amazing because you can see Roman architecture against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. When we were sitting in the ancient Roman amphitheatre, Sarah, an oprah singer and fellow participant, performed for us. It was incredible to see an ancient amphitheatre still being used today!
However, I would say that one of the highlights of the trip for me was spending Shabbat at a canyon in the Negev desert. It was weird (in the best way) to be with our group in the desert feeling isolated from the world, since we are always used to being connected and in a hub of people, but the quiet was very necessary! We played different games to better understand Israel and its beauty as well as complexities, as well as a game to bond us even closer as a group.
Towards the end of the trip we were all very tired from all the traveling and exploring, after all, we only had 10 days to learn about an entire country! This trip made me feel complete. I have never been surrounded by so many Jews before, and being that that was the case on this trip, it gave me a sense of wholesomeness, which is a feeling I have never had before.
If I were able to visit Israel again, I would like to go back to Mount Herzl which is Israel's military cemetary and also is the burial ground for several well-known leaders and politicians. There are so many parts to the cemetary, as well as so many people who gave up their lives for Israel and I would like to go back to pay my respects to them and thank them for defending the Jewish country.
I would like to thank the following people:
Israel Experts for putting together such an awesome itinerary.
Angela Ugorets and Emily Zussman, our staff, for their constant source of entertainment and positivity.
Our security guard and medic, Stav Segal, for helping us with the language barriers, enjoying our company and being there if we ever need him.
The Israelis who joined us on the trip for sharing their stories and being so open and fun!
Gil Shemesh for being an amzing tour guide and helping us experience Israel in such a short time.
Last but not least, thank you to all the people I shared this trip with!