(Note: Zac Gorman, one of the people on the trip, wrote an insightful blog post about the other people on our trip. I wanted to echo his thoughts, but I figured that I would just link to his post instead because I share so many of his [well-said] sentiments)
Here I sit on the Megabus from NYC to DC after 10 incredible days in Israel. I’m listening to Matisyahu’s “Jerusalem, If I Forget You” on repeat and I feel like I have a hole in my heart.
There is literally no way that I can explain the past 10 days that will do the experience any justice. No explanation I offer will enable anybody not on the trip to fully understand what we went through. It may seem overdramatic, but I truly believe it.
No one can fully understand the inside jokes we have, the incredible bonds we formed, the sense of family that developed, or the ways in which our thought processes and opinions changed and evolved.
I cannot say enough how much it meant to me to share the experience with my sister. We were already freakishly close, but this trip solidified our bond even more. I can’t imagine having to explain my experience to her and not having her understand.
Before I jump into a day-by-day breakdown of the trip, I wanted to share two personal epiphanies I had.
I loveee my life in DC, I really do. When I think of a full life, I think I live it in DC. I have an incredible circle of close friends, as well as many great acquaintances. I attend a good university and take interesting classes. I have my own small business with a fantastic team. I live in an adorable studio apartment, where I live close to literally hundreds of amazing DC sites. I have an incredibly fun and exciting internship at a great company. I’m involved in several incredible on-campus activities. I’ve attended countless events, met fascinating people, and formed meaningful connections.
On the 5th day in Israel, my sister and I were having a hard time- we were both exhausted, sick, and irritable. And she missed home- a lot. It occurred to me that I didn’t miss my life at all, save for my awesome friends. Instead of being sad about this realization, I decided to embrace it as meaning that I’ve had an incredibly fulfilled last four years but that it is definitely time for me to move on to the next life experience.
However, I started thinking: if not this life (at least for now), then what? What do I want to do next?
The next epiphany came a few days later at the Holocaust Museum. As we were watching a documentary about one man’s experience during the Holocaust, it hit me like a ton of bricks: I have to travel. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a strong feeling that I have to do something.
Being at the museum brought up so many feelings about our family and our history and our desire to reconnect with both. I think traveling will be an incredible experience to do just that.
So stay tuned as I begin to develop my traveling plans for this summer!
Has Birthright led any of you to have a strong epiphany (about Judaism or otherwise)?