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July 26, 2012 - Image 79

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-07-26

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jewish@edu

for college students by college students

Proud To Be Jewish

Detroit Community Taglit-Birthright Israel trip
makes the connection real.

SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

R

eceiving an email stating you have

a free flight booked from JFK to
Israel in three weeks stirred many

feelings. On one hand, I was excited to travel
to the home of the Jewish people; on the

other, I had to daily withstand my mother's
worries of her son not returning home from

a war-ridden area.
I decided to let my parents worry of the

dangers of war, as I worried about the dan-

gers of not finding friends on the trip. As I
began this journey, all of my apprehension

slowly faded.
In New York, the group I would travel

with for the next 10 days greeted me.
Because this trip was through the Jewish

Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, NEXTGen
Detroit and Hillel of Metro Detroit, I saw

of American Jews is very prevalent in Israeli
society.

We ended our trip on the gorgeous beach-
es of Tel Aviv, where we relaxed and enjoyed

the culture. Israel's culture is what impacted

me most. Trekking with these young Israelis
truly gave me a sense of how fast they had
matured because of their time in the army,

for their eyes have seen much worse than I

hope mine ever will.
As a whole, you feel Israelis have such a

strong connection to their country. That it
is not merely land they inhabit, but more a
source of identity that keeps them all con-

Forman, Bryan Fenster and Ayelet Kon also
were there to help guide the trip.

making this journey available to our young
Jewish community. Not once did I feel unsafe

When we landed in Israel, we met the
smiling Israelis assigned to travel with us. I

on this trip; the staff made our safety the

based on being from Federation's Partnership
region, their resumes, leadership skills and

ability to speak English.

The Ise aelis on our trip were around age
23 and had finished their mandatory military

service.

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in the United States, and it makes me proud
to be a Jew.

many familiar faces. Federation staffers Tara

be part of this Community Birthright experi-
ence because only select Israelis are chosen,

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nected as one. It is something you rarely find

Reflecting on this trip, I am truly thankful
to Taglit-Birthright Israel and Federation for

would learn they were particularly happy to

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that lives up to the day.

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Israel for several days; I just did not want

to separate myself from a country I now
correlate with very fond memories with

friends. Needless to say, I plan on visiting
many times again in the future, and I highly

recommend the youth in our community take
advantage of this opportunity.
I never expected to gain the knowledge

We stopped at many beautiful locations:
a rustic Bedouin village in southern Israel

and perspective this trip bestowed upon

where we rode camels and slept outdoors,
Masada at sunrise, a c ip in the Dead Sea.
Throughout the t.t..‘,' wore able to see

has to reveal, for you may find things about
yourself that you never could imagine. @

glimpses of the Detroit's Jewish commu-

Adam Fynke, 20, of Troy attends Michigan

nity's impact on Israel. Touring the Davidson
Center outside of the Western Wall in

State University. For more information and

Jerusalem made me feel that the influence

Ayelet Kon at kon®jfmd.org.

me, so take the leap and seek all that Israel

to register for the December trip, email

Birthright group listening to guideYirton ICahalani on top of
Masada

July 26 2012

85

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