Almost a week ago now, my Y2I trip was finished, ending possibly the best two weeks I have ever had in my lifetime. On the trip, we discussed many topics regarding Israel advocacy and the importance of raising your children Jewish, which is the topic that I want to explore more. All my life my parents had told me that I needed to marry someone Jewish and make sure that I raise my kids Jewish, and I never totally understood why that was so important to them.
Y2I got me to understand just how important this is and why it is my duty. On the trip we had a talk with a man called Shlomo “Momo.” He talked to us about how Israel and the Jewish people in America are brothers and sisters who face similar problems. He talked about how the Jewish people are less than one percent of the world’s population and we somehow have around 1/3 of the total Nobel prizes. This fact totally astonished me, and when he talked about how many Jewish people that there could’ve been had the Holocaust not happened, it made me think about how much talent and culture was lost, not with just the initial 6 million, but with their children and grandchildren, the total number of people lost to the Holocaust who can never actually be counted. After this talk I fully understood that it was my duty to marry and raise my children Jewish because, if I don’t, then slowly the Jewish people will not be a people anymore, and being one of the most prolific people in the world that would be a huge tragedy.
Another very important thing that I gained from my Y2I was a deep sense that Israel is my home. This is my fourth or fifth time visiting, and never before have I felt such a deep connection to the land. Now, wanting to join the IDF after high school, I feel as if it is my responsibility to see to it that this country stays stable. Y2I also taught me that it is also my responsibility to defend Israel in the eyes of the world, giving me the tools necessary to advocate for Israel at my school and on any future college campuses.
Back to my deep connection to the land. Just the other day I was in my car thinking about the crazy drivers here and I thought, “Gosh, it’s almost like a foreign country here.” At first this may seem like a negative statement, but during that entire thought I was thinking and feeling deeply inside me that I was genuinely at home. This land doesn’t seem foreign to me. In fact it seems more like home than a foreign country.
I personally think that the most important thing that Y2I is able to give to the lucky kids who go on the trip is the opportunity to meet so many other Jewish kids, ones who live nearby, as possible. I have made more and better friends on this trip than I have in almost two years of high school. Every single person I met became either an acquaintance or a friend who I can’t wait to meet again, and that is an amazing thing to have happen in just two weeks. I honestly can’t emphasize enough how amazing it is to now know more Jewish people my age than I have ever known in my lifetime.
My experience on Y2I was one of the best experiences of my life and I feel as if I can’t put down my thoughts of this trip on paper and I can only really get across the magic of this trip through a conversation.
P.S. We should try to have the kids from Sarasota and Virginia on our trip every year!!
101 teens recently returned from Israel on Lappin Foundation’s 2016 Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I), a fully subsidized two-week community teen Israel experience.