Let me take you through the journey of a Birthright participant. This is an unimaginable experience that manages to squeeze 3000 years of history, culture, archaeology, social events, new people, spiritual moments, and religious debates, while simultaneously raising questions of identity into 10 days.

How is this possible,you ask? The answer is simple: no sleep.

On a more serious note, Birthright is an organization that believes every Jew has a literal right from birth tocome and visit the home of the Jewish people. That is why Birthright is flying Jewish youth (ages 22-26) from all over the world for a 10 day trip in Israel. This is a magnificent experience, not only for meeting new Jewish people, but also for having a once in a life time opportunity as individuals to take a"break" from your regular routine and ask the most important questions of life. If there is any special mission, journey or accomplishment of this generation l fill that it can be the birthright program- that allows these Jews to visit the state of Israel and met their citizens.  

One of the most important visits on the Birthright trip is the visit to Jerusalem. This visit is usually between 3-4 days, and includes a Shabbat (Saturday). The visit combines the old city with the new, the destruction with the rebuilt, and makes the Jerusalem experience one of the highlights of the trip. 

Being a guide for a Birthright group is an opportunity not only to meet other Jews from other backgrounds and countries but it's also a magnificent opportunity to be inspired by the participants, their thoughts, their feelings, and their personalities. There is no better way to describe these 10 days, especially the visit in Jerusalem, than to ask the participants themselves to talk about this outstanding experience.  

How did you get to birthright?

Shmueli Englard (21, New Jersey): I didn't go to Israel for a year before college but a lot offriends did, so to try getting to see them and Israel, I applied for birthright. 3 tries later, and I got on.

What did you think about Israel before you came here?

Nima Kampler (19, Chicago, IL) : Before I wentto Israel, I always thought of Israel as a symbol rather than a place where people live and work.

What experience didyou go through on Birthright?

: This trip changed my vision of Israel entirely. Of course, it's ancient and historic, but it's also a living, breathing nation, filled with young Jewish adults just like you and me.

Fayna Perlman (18,Brooklyn, NY)
: Birthright wasone of the most intense and exciting experiences of my life. It’s such a blessing to have been able to partake in a trip so dedicated to its audience

Whatwas your most meaningful and special place in Jerusalem?

: The most special part of Jerusalem and [what] defines it is the Western Wall. It's hard to describe whatit means. It’s a symbol for the fact that the Jewish nation will always survive. You also feel the happiness there. It's...amazing. 

Kampler: One of the points that changed my vision [of] Israel was the Western Wall, which for me was the most spiritual and moving part of the trip. It was just incredible to be there with thousands of Israelis, young and old, who come to this place. I left notes in the wall – for my parents, some from friends,and my own message as well – which was extremely meaningful to me. My trip would not have been complete without seeing the ancient ruins and seeing what has been destroyed. But on the bright side, Ifinally felt the 2000 year promise: that I would see [the] rebuilding of the ancient temple soon.

Shelby Ilana Cohen (22, Hewlett Neck, NY): I thought that the western wall, especially during Shabbat, was really amazing. There were so many people there who looked different, but were all there for the same reason. I loved all of Jerusalem because you can really get a sense of the history the place has.

: Even though it didn’t open many spiritual doors for me it certainly made me appreciate the beauty that is Israel; the energy coursing through the veins of the old city, and the unexplained connection between Jews that embodies every reason [for] why Israel was created. Between sleepless nights, amazing adventures, and [meeting] friends that can last a lifetime, even 3 weeks later I’m still reflecting.

Reading all these stories and putting all of these pieces together creates a beautiful anthology of 300,000 stories throughout the 13 years of Birthright. These stories are personal onone hand, and on the other, they are the story of every Jew. They are the stories of our nation, of our people, of Jerusalem.