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When In Israel... EAT

Meet One of Our Past Culinary Israel Participants

Alena Alter
Alena Alter Birthright Israel

Alena Alter is a certified chef with an associate degree in Culinary Arts from Schoolcraft College in Detriot, Michigan. As Alena says, "as a chef and as a Jew, my life revolves around food and I want to soak up as much out of life and out of food as I can." If you are a foodie or a professional in the food industry, Israel Expert's Culinary Israel trip may be just the trip for you! 

I went on the Culinary East Coast Birthright trip, it changed the way I thought of Israel and the way I thought of myself.  

I don’t really think of myself as religious, I think of myself as more of a cultural Jew and I fell in love with the culture of Israel.  

I enjoyed seeing the Western Wall and the Old City, I enjoyed tasting the freshest falafel I’d ever had and having my pick of 10 different shawarma places for lunch.  

But what I’ll never forget are the 48 people that I met.  There were 40 eople from the US and 8 from Israel that traveled with is the whole trip, some even staying in a hotel 20 minutes from their home.  I fell in love with these people and fell in love with Israel.  The communal attitude is extremely different than anything that I have ever seen as a US citizen; so carefree and loving.  

This Birthright trip showed me that being Jewish means whatever I want it to mean, its means going to synagogue every Saturday or just fasting on Yom Kippur.  It means whatever you want it to.  I really can’t say much about the trip specifics because I know every trip is different, but if they were half as good as mine, you’ll leave the trip with a new sense of Israel, a hankering for Israeli salad, and most importantly: 48 new family members who couldn’t be happier to have you and one, rather small place, that you’re always welcome to go when you can’t find home.  


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