This past summer, hundreds of BBYO teens from all over the world spent their time in Israel on a BBYO summer program. Many Liberty Region Alephs, including myself, formed new friendships, discovered a love for the Jewish homeland, and explored the country's landscape, culture, and history.
Ben Shimon from Allentown AZA decided to go to Israel to learn more about his family's homeland. “My father is from Israel, more specifically Bat Yam, and being able to experience my direct lineages’ homeland has always been a bucket list item for me,” Shimon explained. Ben decided to go on Israel Trek because of the “authentic experience”. “I chose this because I thought it would prove the most rugged, authentic, and accurate adventure. I didn't want to be taken to only touristy places, and I felt that choosing a more physically challenging experience would let me create better friends.” He certainly got that experience on Trek. People on trek experienced rough hikes, volunteering on a farm and later in Gadna, and being shouted at by IDF sergeants is definitely not a ‘touristy’ experience!
Israel tours are also a great opportunity to make friends or reinforce old friendships. Levi Hancock mentioned walking in Tzfat and that mentoring was a wonderful experience that his ILSI group bonded over and helped enhance friendships. Micah Margolis explained that ISLI provides lots of opportunities for debate and discussion and enhances the closeness of the group.
This was my first visit to Israel and I left with a profound love for the country. I was blown away by the beautiful and challenging hikes, incredible scenery, deep history, and the amazing contrast between ancient and modern. For example, comparing Tzfat and Tel Aviv. When we walked in Tzfat, we saw a city that almost looked like it was out of a history book, while Tel Aviv is as modern and loud as any American city. I can't wait to go back again, and I know there is so much more to see.
Jonah Levy is an Aleph from Liberty Region who was the youngest editor of his school's yearbook.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
This article will inform you on everything you need to know about Giving BBYO Day!!
What Ariana DeBose’s Oscar win meant for me as a Latina.
Get The Shofar blasted to your inboxSubscribe