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Student perspectives

Mayanot Birthright experience









Thank you to everyone who made my Birthright trip so meaningful! It truly was the experience of a life time and I’ll forever be connected to those I got to explore the Holy Land with!
- Jacob Taub






Mayanot Birthright experience






















Birthright is the reason that I will always stand for Israel. The connection that I made with the country can never be duplicated. I cannot be more thankful for the donors who are responsible for sending me on the trip of lifetime. The moments that we shared with each other will never be forgotten.

-Daniel Warner 



Mayanot Birthright experience









 To start, thank you for providing my entire bus and I the trip of a lifetime. I certainly had my expectations... everyone did... but this trip far exceeded those by light years. I had taken a trip to Israel with my family when I was about 5 years old; well before I could appreciate what this special place had to offer. This trip not only deepened my connection to my religion and my jewish roots, but further, allowed me to connect with roughly 50 people, some whom I knew very well prior to the trip, and some whom I met for the first time upon my arrival to the holy land.

The magic of birthright is evident, yet it is intangible. Indescribable, perhaps. That same feeling I got when I approached the Kotel for the first time - those who have been on birthright understand the physical energy that radiates off of the Wall - is the same feeling that comes over me when I reflect on what could be the greatest 10 days of my life. From visiting Misgav-Am, the kibbutz at the Lebanon border, to floating in The Dead Sea, to celebrating Shabbat in Jerusalem, I will remember it all.

Thank you to those that make this trip possible. In my particular case, it was the perfect way for me to end the chapter in my life titled, "The College Years." Though the trip focused on educating the jewish "youth" to deepen our appreciation for the religion, itself, and what our people have endured over the years (and it definitely did), it also acted as the perfect way for me to sit back and think about my four years at The University of Texas at Austin. What had I learned? What skills would I carry with me into the real world? What did I want my next four (or more) years to look like? Birthright oddly helped answer all of these questions because it grounded me.

I will repeat it, again. Thank you to those that made this trip possible. It was truly humbling!

Matthew Feigin




Mayanot Birthright experience

I have grown up with a love for Israel and had been three times before. I did not think anything could top my previous experiences but Birthright through Chabad at UT was the ultimate trip of a lifetime. Getting to experience Israel with my friends from UT and Rabbi Zev was absolutely amazing and lifechanging. The best part was seeing my friends that did not grow up religious or knowing much about Israel fall in love with the homeland.
--Cayla Sher 


Mayanot Birthright experience







 I can barely fathom the fact that I had the opportunity to travel across the world with close friends and new friends to the holiest place in the world. Israel should have seemed foreign to me, but it quickly became a place of comfort because of all the rich history and culture I could easily relate to from years of Judaic studies. Our Birthright experiences ranged from discussions about the power of relationships in the Mikvah in Zfat, to camping under the stars in the Bedouin tents, to singing “Bo-bo-bo-boker Tov” every morning in the bus. Spending Shabbat in Jerusalem was one of the most meaningful parts of the trip. It was so powerful to visit the Kotel, slip personal notes into the wall and participate in the Israeli dances with fellow Jewish women from all over the world. Celebrating the B’not Mitzvah, performed by Rabbi Zev, Director of the Chabad student center at UT Austin, in front of the Kotel for the two girls in our group was such a special moment as well. The Birthright trip could not have happened without the generosity of each donor and the dedication of each staff member. Also, the soldiers were such a big asset to our group because they gave us a taste of their life in Israel, and we began to realize that they were strong and mature in most ways but just like us in other ways. I would go back to Israel in a heartbeat. Mayanot 504 became such a tight knit group and the bonds we made are irreplaceable, and I will continue to cherish each one of them. I look forward to the day we all go back to Israel together. I cant express how thankful I am for Birthright, and how it helped bring me back to my Jewish roots and remind me why I am so proud to be a Jewish woman.

--Hailey Hoppenstein

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