The Taglit-Birthright Israel is a program brought to life by the collective efforts of philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt, together with the Israeli government and other private people. The program aims to give the Jews around the world the opportunity to visit Israel. Today, hundreds of thousands of Jews already get to experience the sights and sounds of Israel.
If this is your first time to do this, read on.
Now that you have successfully enlisted yourself for your Taglit-Birthright trip, how do you prepare for what’s in store for you once you step on the lands of Israel? Here are four things you should know before you pack your bags and hop on the plane:
1. You will follow a schedule.
Since you are going there through an official Israel tour operator, you need to follow their schedule which they laid out to maximize the number of days you’ll be staying in the country. You will usually leave very early in the morning, and then hop from one place to other until the evening.
As opposed to your regular vacation, this trip will give you little room to go out and explore on your own. But don’t worry, you will definitely get to make friends with your travel buddies and bond with them.
2. Consider the weather and other elements.
Israel is located in the Middle East, surrounded by deserts. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the weather will always be sunny and warm. Just to be sure, check the weather forecast for the entire country before leaving, and pack accordingly.
Additionally, since you will be visiting different locations, be prepared to get your clothes dirty, especially if you’ll go to the desert. Pack comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Also, take note of the appropriate dress code for men and women, as you may be required to wear them in some places.
3. You can actually go alone.
You don’t need to go and experience the wonders of Israel in groups. A lot of young adults actually prefer to travel alone, since they want the experience solemnity and privacy. If your friends cannot go with you, you can still and will definitely establish new friendships with your fellow travelers.
4. You will build strong connections with the people around you.
This program is more than simply inculcating in you your Jewish roots. A lot of Taglit Birthright stories actually speak of young people falling in love and finding their significant other during their trip. Others made life-long friends and kept their friendship alive despite the distance. Even if this is your first time to recognize your Jewish roots, you will feel a strong connection with the place and the people around you.
Keep these four things in mind, and enjoy your Taglit-Birthright experience. Once you come back, tell us your story in the comment section below.