Growing up in an American-Israeli household has had an extremely positive impact on my perspective of Judaism. Although my mom was born in America, my dad lived in Israel until he was 12, so I have always felt a deep connection to Israel, or so I thought. The first time I traveled to Israel was when I was 13, so even though I felt a connection to the country, it was nothing compared to the actual feeling I had inside after I stepped off that plane for the first time in 2015.
I have gone to visit Israel three times since, and each time was a completely different and incredible experience. My most recent trip was last July and it was more special than the others; I do not know if it was because I was older and had a better understanding of the country, or because my family traveled the entire country in only two weeks! Let’s say I did not want to leave once those two weeks were up. Israel is the only place in the world where I can find others who share the same views of Judaism as me, and I think that is exceptionally unique.
We started in Tel Aviv, where we walked along the beaches and saw the beautiful scenery of the city. It was, indeed, the best way to start an amazing trip. From there, we drove down south to Eilat. In Eilat, we went scuba diving, swimming in the red sea, walked through the city, and did so much more. We were even able to see Jordan from across the sea! After Eilat, we went to my favorite city: Jerusalem. The Western Wall was my favorite part of the trip; it was where I felt the most significant connection to my Jewish identity. The food, the city, everything about Jerusalem was a different experience than the rest of Israel. Finally, we traveled back south to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea was beautiful, and again, we even saw the skyline of Jordan! It was the perfect way to end such an amazing trip, and I left the country with a new understanding of Judaism and what it means to me!
Arielle Salomon is a BBG from Greater Jersey Hudson River Region.
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