Cleveland Birthright Explores Israel

Tags: Birthright, Young Adults, I-connect, Teens, Israel, Federation

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Check out what the Cleveland Community Birthright trip has been doing during their trip to Israel this winter!

December 31, 2014

"Immediately upon arriving in Israel, our group headed south. Over the last few days we have been getting to know each other and exploring the Negev desert and its beautiful oasis. We can't wait to spend New Year's Eve at the Bedouin tents, learn more about desert culture, ride camels and then head to Jerusalem for Shabbat! Happy New Year from Israel!" – Ari and Leora, Birthright Trip Leaders

"These past few days have been incredible! We’ve already made so many memories and friendships that will last a lifetime and it’s only been two days! My favorite part so far was climbing Masada to watch the sunrise- although I could have done without the 4:30 am wake-up call!" – Taryn Weiss, Birthright Participant

"My favorite part so far was going to the dead sea and putting mud all over our bodies. It was definitely something I can officially check off my bucket list." – Sarah Kest, Birthright Participant

January 2, 2015

"Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem! Yesterday we visited the grave of David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel and learned about his dream of making the desert bloom and about the importance of passion and following your dreams even if they seem impossible. We then ascended to Jerusalem. Today we explored the old city of Jerusalem, the western wall and the machaneh yehudah market where we experienced the hustle and bustle of the city preparing for Shabbat. We are looking forward to a relaxing Shabbat in Jerusalem and an incredible week to come!" – Ari and Leora, Birthright Trip Leaders

"Every day in New York I run through the streets to get to wherever I am going but in Israel, the hustle and bustle stops completely and I am able to breathe and take in the scenery. Instead of worrying about where I am going and how I am getting there, I enjoy the journey every step of the way." – Melanie Hoffer, Birthright Participant

January 5, 2015

"Shalom from Israel! Yesterday we spent the day in Jerusalem visiting Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and Museum and Har Herzl, Israel's national cemetery. It was an incredibly powerful day as we learned about the history of our people and the sacrifices that so many people made in order for us to be here in Israel today. We concluded our time in Jerusalem and headed north to the Sea of Galilee." – Leora and Ari, Birthright Trip Leaders

"Today our group traveled to Beit Shean, Cleveland's sister city in Israel. We started our day at Gilboa School, where we played with the children during recess and painted a mural on one of the school walls with flowers. We also met amazing people our age who are teaching English in the city through the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program. They introduced us to the kids they teach every day and served as our guides through the city's archaeological park with the most amazing, untouched Roman ruins. The group's highlight was eating ethnic food in the homes of amazing Beit Shean women, Etti, Sarah, and Batzion, each of whom immigrated from other countries in the Middle East and have made the city their home. The warmth we felt in Beit Shean reminded us of being home in Cleveland. We were one of the lucky Birthright trips to visit our city's sister city. With our stomachs full, we traveled back to Tiberias, where we will stay the night. There, we finished our day relaxing at the city's hot springs. Each day here is truly a gift and the people of Beit Shean gave us a truly amazing day." – Maddie Weiner, Birthright Participant

Today our group traveled to Beit Shean, Cleveland's sister city in Israel.

January 6, 2015

"Yesterday we visited the beautiful city of Tzfat, the center of Jewish mysticism and spirituality. We explored the artist galleries and synagogues, learned a little bit about Kabbalah and visited Ascend, where we discussed contemporary issues in Israeli and Jewish society. We also said farewell to our Israeli friends who has been traveling with us for the past 5 days." – Leora and Ari, Birthright Trip Leaders

January 7, 2015

"Today was our last day in Israel. We spent the day in Tel Aviv where we experienced some pretty wild weather! Despite the rain and wind, we visited Independence Hall where David Ben Gurion declared the independence of the state of Israel in 1948. We then visited Rabin Square in the center of Tel Aviv where Yitzchak Rabin was murdered. From there we experienced the craziness of Israel's largest mall and then headed to Tel Aviv University's Diaspora Museum. Tonight we are headed to the airport where we will say goodbye to Israel and head home to the U.S. -- until next time!" – Leora and Ari, Birthright Trip Leaders

"Birthright reinforced my passion for Jewish communal work. In addition to Judaism's role in my professional life, this trip has shown me the importance of incorporating Judaism into my own personal and social community as well. This trip has motivated me to encourage others to become engaged in the Jewish community in whatever way they feel comfortable." – Matthew Newman, Birthright Participant

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Learn More: Birthright, Young Adults, I-connect, Teens, Israel, Federation