As busloads of students return home from Taglit-Birthright Israel winter trips and Hillel Alternative Breaks in the Gulf Coast and Israel, their Facebook pages and blogs are coming to life with photos and personal reflections about the experience.
UMass Amherst student Alana Jakas.
University of Virginia Hillel student Sarah Sherman writes, "One of the images that will stay with me forever is the wall around Bethlehem [preventing Israelis from entering the Palestinian section of the city]. Writings were scrawled across the wall, including 'We will never forget' and even 'We will never forgive.' It makes me worry about what a wall [here in the United States would] do to foreign relations."
Towson University sophomore Jenny Walko said, "“I did not intend on getting Bat Mitzvahed when I came here. I just thought I would come to Israel, explore my religion and that would be the end of it. But while here, I realized that it’s not longer, ‘Yeah, I’m Jewish because my mother is.’ It’s, ‘Yeah, I’m Jewish because I’m Jewish.’ With the amazing people on my bus I’ve been able to learn both about myself and about my religion and this has just been an awesome experience and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
University of Virginia Hillel sophomore Harrison Foster said of his experience at Mt. Herzl Cemetery, "While many young Americans are preparing to drive or picking up their dresses for the numerous sweet 16s, young Israelis are getting their military uniforms tailored and preparing for life without school and normal freedoms. One of the rewards for this mandatory army service is the ability to be buried in Mt. Herzel Cemetery if they are killed during their duty. The importance of this would become evident at the closing stages of our visit."
Bus 731 in Ashkelon.
Dorschy's Israel Adventures
Rebuilding New Orleans
Campus Blogs (multiple submissions):
Virginia Tech Hillel
University of Virginia Hillel
Hillel of Greater Toronto
Share your personal comments below.
For more news like this and up-to-date briefs about Jewish campus life, subscribe to our free eNewsletter Hillel Campus Report.