My Conflicting Thoughts About My First Trip to the Holy Land

December 2, 2022
Ruby Borer

Sydney, Australia

Class of 2024

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As Jewish teens in today’s society, we are overloaded with conflicting information about Israel. On one hand, we hear the media and many influencers be overly critical of our holy land due to confusing geopolitics and on the other hand, we hear our fellow community members talk about how beautiful and amazing this tiny Middle Eastern country is. So it is only natural that when preparing for my first trip to the holy land, I have no idea what to think. I am excited to experience and see so many important cultural and heritage sites but don’t know what to think of the geopolitics of the area I am about to fly to.

In just a few short weeks, I will be traveling to Israel with 160 other 16 year olds to embark on the journey of a lifetime and learn about our culture and history in the most important place. I am more than excited to experience the holiness of this land and have the opportunity to connect with my culture and religion in a way that it is impossible to do anywhere else. I am all too excited to experience the holiness of the Kotel for the first time and for the first time in my life to be in a country surrounded by people like me. I am so excited to experience the promised land in its entirety, swim in the dead sea at the Earth’s lowest point, climb the ancient fortress of Masada, and taste what I have been promised will be the best shawarma and falafel I will ever have.

However, the controversial information that the media is constantly pouring into my head and the constant fighting in the geopolitical climate of the area has caused many nerves. Although we are constantly told that there are bomb shelters and protection all over the country, the fear of even being in a country with the possibility of bombing is immense. This fear and nervousness is perpetrated even further by the biased media that we are consuming everyday. It is so important that each and every one of us educate ourselves on both sides of the story, allowing our generation to be the driver of positive change. As  Jewish teens in today’s society, it is our responsibility to continue the legacy of our ancestors and protect our homeland in a respectful way that allows other cultures and peoples to experience and capitalize on their holy sites as well.

Without a doubt there are a ton of conflicting things flooding my brain at an already stressful time, but still the opportunities that this trip will offer me outweigh the nervousness and fear. The opportunity to experience a country like no other and learn about my culture, religion, ethnicity and history is so important to me and I am so excited to learn in this tiny Middle Eastern country in a way you don’t anywhere else. For Jewish teens, Israel should not be a country that comes with fear and nerves. It is up to us to help change this and make the most of the time we get to spend in the holy land capitalising on the opportunity to learn about our culture and religion.

Ruby Borer is a BBG living in Sydney, Australia who has a dog named Marshmello.

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.

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