This winter break, I had the experience of a lifetime. I went on a free trip to Israel through Taglit, or Birthright, which is a not-for-profit organization that allows Jewish young adults from 18-26 to take a 10-day trip to Israel at no cost. The trip is run through various trip organizers. My trip hit so many major sites and expand your horizons both educationally and in terms of what is inside your own comfort zone.
I know exactly what you’re thinking. “The situation in Israel is unsafe. Even with whatever ceasefire is implemented, the region is still unstable, and bombings may still occur. Why choose now to go?” The truth is, there is never a time to go when Israel is NOT in potentially unsafe, and the recent events that were highlighted by the media did not make Israel any less safe. Even still, the areas that are consistently unsafe, such as Gaza, are avoided by Taglit to ascertain the safety of participants. In addition, all buses are tracked by a GPS, and consistently check with the Situation Room in Israel to ensure that their itineraries are safe on each particular day depending upon the local situation.
Going to Israel during this time of instability in the Middle East did not affect my experience. I was not exposed to any sort of unsafe situation in Israel whatsoever, and felt safe through the entirety of the trip. I was able to hike, ride a camel, visit amazing sights like the Western Wall, and so much more. I am so glad that I decided to go regardless of the situation, because it was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I highly recommend visiting Israel, and if your children are eligible, having them apply to participate in Birthright. Trips run during winter and summer breaks, but registration takes place well in advance. Keep up with registration opportunities here.
The trip organizer I used, which was Kenes through Awesome Israel, covered many of the same sites as the other trip organizers, but maintained no specific agenda. If your children are interested in a trip that is not affiliated with a specific branch of Judaism and therefore mixes all participants together in one group to experience Israel together, and allows them to explore Israel and formulate their own opinions based on their experiences and the knowledge that they gain, this is the trip for them. Check out Awesome Israel’s site here.
If you are interested in having your children sign up for the trip or if your children are interested in going, and your children are eligible to apply for a Birthright trip, feel free to contact us at Miss O Moms here so that I can refer your children to Awesome Israel and hopefully increase their chances of getting on the trip. The trip involves an application process, and often times, potential participants are placed on wait lists or have to re-apply for the following season to hopefully be placed on a trip. If I refer your children, the chances that they will be placed on a wait list may diminish, considering I am an ambassador providing their information and referring them.
Don’t be too concerned about your children visiting Israel. It will be a safe trip, guaranteed, and they will have such an amazing time. Don’t let your children miss out on an experience that only lasts 10 days, but will never be forgotten.