I’m Back!!

So sorry for the long absence from writing. It has been almost a year and a lot has happened in that time. I will get more into that in future posts but for now I will update you all in where I am right now. 

I am currently on a bus in Israel sitting next to our amazing bus driver Tiger. We are driving from Haifa to Jerusalem. I am staffing my second Birthright trip. It is day 3 and I have to say that I love my bus. I learned this fact even more so when we were rafting down the Jordan river yesterday and saw a few of the other buses. 

This is the first time I have staffed a “national” trip and the first time I have staffed with Israel Outdoors. There is definitely a difference between staffing a national trip and a campus trip. I do love Israel Outdoors so far and I love Hillel International as well. Both are great providers and they both offer amazing experiences for the participants. 

I sometimes wonder if any Birthright trip will ever be as amazing as that first trip though. There was something special, unique about that trip. From my co-staff Gal, to our tour guide Lilach, our amazing Israeli soldiers that were with us all 10 days to the participants. Maybe it was the fact that it was Winter or Hanukkah and New Years. I like to believe that everything came together for the perfect trip for all involved. It was the longest, quickest hardest and most amazing 10 days of my life. 

With that said I am on day 3 of doing it all over again. I have once again lucked out on my tour guide Vadim, bus driver Tiger, co-staff Molly and my participants. On this trip, we have a lot of different things going on. We have brothers, sisters, brother & sister, relationships, cousins and a few you know, regular participants. They have all come together as a big family within hours of meeting each other. I believe it was the 2 days of traveling that did it but also their amazing personalities as well. Whatever the reason, they are together as a family and that makes the trips even more amazing. 

I am excited to see how the next week goes on this trip. This is Israel Outdoors Bus #396 by the way. We have done so much already but have even more to go. We have Shabbat, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, The Dead Sea, Masada, Bedouin tents, camel rides and many more things to do. 

I want to write more but we are about to drive into Jerusalem. I will end with this: I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family that allow me to continue to have these amazing opportunities and I am beyond moved to have the ability to help young Jewish adults on their own Jewish & Israel journeys…

What’s Next?

It is an interesting feeling when you plan for one thing for so long and out of nowhere plans change. I understand that at some level we can’t control anything in our lives, all we can control is how we handle what comes our way. I thought I would be in Ukraine right now and for the next 23 months with the Peace Corps, but that changed in a moment when I hurt my shoulder. All I can do is ask, “What’s next?”

What’s next is an amazing opportunity for me. I have been offered and have accepted the position of Israel Engagement Fellow with Oregon Hillel serving the students of the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. This means I am moving to the West Coast! It will be a drastic change for this East Coast boy and his dog Maverick but we are up for it. I am excited that I will be interacting with students and helping them with their Birthright trips and their connection to Israel. Plus I get to go on the Birthright trips to Israel with them as a trip leader! This means I can continue to explore my connection to Israel too, a country I am very passionate about.

Am I where I thought I would be right now? No. However, everything happens for a reason. We can never stop learning and we can never stop exploring. What’s Next…