One young leader recalls her life-changing trip to Israel with the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley through a program called Israel Next Dor:
This was my third time in Israel and I was excited to come back to the fun, friendly and beautiful country I had missed. From my experience on Birthright, to my time studying at the Ulpan in Haifa, Israel has always felt to me like an open and carefree environment that fosters meaningful relationships. During this trip, connectivity with others continued to be the most meaningful aspect for me.
I reconnected with an Israeli friend with whom I had stayed after Birthright at her family's home in Afula; it had been 10 years, but felt like no time had passed. Additionally, experiencing Israel with my husband brought new meaning and connectivity, especially with it being his first time. The magic of Israel's effect to connect people was even strong enough to strengthen our relationship.
Most importantly, it was incredible coming to Israel with my local community. Each previous time I had created strong bonds; however, my new friends and I all lived far from one another. On this trip, we get to continue the strong bonds created in Israel back in our local community. For this I am most excited.
My love for Israel was reinvigorated, and this time, I look forward to maintaining the excitement within our local community and bringing home that Israeli sense of openness and carefree welcoming!