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Girl Meets Desert

Meet One of Our Past Brazil-USA Connect Participants

Elissa Goldberg
Elissa Goldberg Birthright Israel

Elissa Goldberg is an 18-year-old college student from New York. Elissa chose the Brazil - USA Connect Birthright Israel trip with Israel Experts because she thought it would be cool to meet different Jews from around the world. After you read her blog, we are sure you can understand why! 

Going on Birthright Israel with Israel Experts on the Brazil- USA Connect trip was life-changing! I never imagined becoming close friends with 41 other people from around the United States, Brazil and Israel.

 I saw so many places and even though I loved them all, the place I connected to the most was the desert. When we arrived in the desert, my tour guide told us to take in the peacefulness and to think and meditate in the silence. It was a very moving experience for me. That night we slept in the Bedouin tents and were surrounding by nothing but desert and rolling sand dunes.  I never imagined camping in the desert before and I want to do it again. Being able to interact with other Birthright groups who were there when we were, and making new friends by singing around the campfire was incredible. I think also staying in one tent with the whole group was fun because we grew closer as a family. In the morning, we rode camels, which was  both terrifying and fun, but allowed me to experience more of the desert life. 

Hiking Masada was breath-taking. Although I did have trouble walking up the stairs, I was walking with one of my friends on the group who kept me talking about something other than the climb to distract me. He also kept jokingly telling me that I will slip first which made me determined to prove him wrong!

The view at the top of Masada was so beautiful; it really showed how vast the desert is. 

Another amazing thing I love in Israel is the liquor tasting and the nightlife in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 

Going to the Ami ‘ad Winery in the North was delicious as we were able to try many different types of wines and liquors. 

The nightlife is so crazy in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem too, and I think having the Israelis with us was an advantage because they were able to tell us the tips and tricks of where were should spend our night out. The atmosphere was fun and the company was always great. 

I think as a whole the trip went above and beyond my expectations. I learned so much about Israel, both the history and the current conflict, which made this trip not only fun, but educational too.

I was not looking forward to going to the airport to board the flight back to America, however the moment we arrived in the airport  we were greeted by the Israelis  from our group who had left us a day before which was an amazing surprise! 

The 10 day trip was not enough for me as I still wanted to see and explore more of Israel! I believe going on Birthright was the best decision I have ever  made, and being able to say I now have really good friends in Brazil and Israel is a blessing. 

I honestly can’t wait to visit my new friends across the globe and go back to Israel soon!  


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