The average person lives for about 27,375 days. I am only 18 and I have already had the 10 best days of my life. It sort of seems a little crazy. Now, you are probably curious as to what made these 10 days the best, right? Well I can make it simple for you, it is called Birthright. Birthright, or Taglit in Hebrew, is a 10 day trip to Israel for Jewish teens. I went on this trip with KU Hillel and returned about 6 days ago feeling like a totally new person. I know it all sounds so cliché, but hear me out.
Israel taught me to be open to new things. Israel taught me to make friends even when I thought I already had enough. Israel taught me to eat foreign foods and enjoy them. Israel taught me to do things that I would never do at home. Let Israel change you like it did me.
On one of the first nights of the trip we were each asked what we wanted to get out of being in Israel. My response was that I wanted to cry while I was there. It seems strange, so let me clarify. I am not an emotional person, but I wanted something we were going to do or see in Israel to make me emotional. Nothing got to me and I sort of felt guilty about it.
While in Israel, Rabbi Schuster, who was one of our group leaders, talked about how participating in Shabbat does not necessarily mean that a person must attend services, all someone has to do is acknowledge it. Light a candle, have some challah at dinner, or say the shema before bed. What the rabbi said made me recognize how easy it can be to celebrate Shabbat and I look at Judaism differently now because of that.