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Monday, January 16, 2006

The Table of Birthrighters

Well, I'm home from guarding and that means I'm tired. I guarded last night for 4.5 hours straight which is half an hour longer than I am used to. I didn't think that half an hour would make such a difference but apparently it does! The time does not move! There was also no power in our room so the heater wasn't working. Translation: I froze my cute little ass off. But enough complaining.

Today at lunch my table happened to be made up of four people who were just recently on birthright, with the most recent returnee returning last night. She seemed to have had a similar experience to me. She could barely find words to describe the trip and yet at the same time couldn't shut up about what an amazing time she had. We all sat around reminiscing about our trips and after an hour when we were the only ones left in the dining room, and they started putting the chairs on the tables to clean the floor, we decided it was time to leave- so we talked for ten more minutes outside. It was interesting to hear how much the trip really impacted the other Israelis as well as myself and the Americans. Birthright- Kudos from me on a job well done!


At 10:05 PM, January 16, 2006, Blogger Cori/Shoshana said...

It doesn't bother you that at least half of those Americans on birthright initially come on the trip so that they can meet/hook up with young IDF soldiers like yourself? Or are you all unfamiliar with this phenomenon, for lack of a better term :)

At 10:31 PM, January 16, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I think "at least half" is a bit of an exaggeration. Most of the Israelis go because it's 2 weeks off from the army. To me, the reason they come on the trip is not so important. I think the trip is well thought out and no matter what reason people have for coming on the trip, they leave with similar memories of the country, and feelings towards it. The trip is there to get young Jews to realize they have a connection to this country, and I think that is exactly what it does, whether these young Jews are American, Israeli, or any other nationality.

At 10:54 PM, January 16, 2006, Blogger Cori/Shoshana said...

I completely agree with you as far as the end result of the trip having an important impact on the majority of participants. I was just joking a bit, as I love to make fun of American, Jewish college students like myself. You do Shorashim, no?

At 11:43 PM, January 16, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I know, but you bring up a good point.

I personally did Shorashim. I know of others from my base though that did other programs. I think Shorashim is the best (not only because it's the longest and therefore most time off the army) but the more time spent, Israelis and Americans together, means stronger bonds and relationships. I think the Israellis and authenticity to the trip. We show a side of Israel you don't see just by seeing "touristy places" like Masada and the Dead Sea.

At 12:41 AM, January 17, 2006, Blogger Cori/Shoshana said...

you're right, definitely. i would do shorashim if i did BR. Traveling with Israeli peers (in addition to IDF soldiers) is invaluable

At 7:56 PM, January 17, 2006, Blogger mahler said...

it's nice to hear that birthright for the israelis isn't just the sum of hookups and faux pas with clueless americans.

At 10:26 PM, January 17, 2006, Blogger Cori/Shoshana said...

i agree with mahler-- i think that i was reluctant to even ask you whether or not this was the case (IDF men seeking loose American women on BR), but it seems that you've relieved my concerns.


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