A guide to getting it all, Part III: Oh, the places you’ll go

In my last post, we covered who you will travel with. But still, many people (naturally) wonder if they will fit in, if they are (you name it) enough. Don’t worry, come with a positive attitude and an open mind, and you are sure to befriend an amazing group of people.

Still worried? Ok… So let’s take a step back. Let’s spend some time thinking about a very important subject: YOU.

What’s your background?

When traveling to Israel, especially on an organized trip with peers, many people would like to know that they are traveling with others that are similar to them. For each, similar can be something else; geographically, professionally, religiously or whatever.

People from all walks of life go on Birthright. On my trip with Mayanot, people came from everywhere! Mayanot has alumnae from ALL 50 states (and even beyond) who span professions from A-Z! They are 18-26 years old. They are tall and short. They are blond, brunette, redheads, black-haired… They study history, law, medicine, African Arts, music, International Politics, Computer Science and even Botany. They manage brands, they own stores, they teach, work for non-for-profits, you name it!

The six staff members on my trip (including the awesome guard and the bus driver) hailed from six different countries! They each had their own story to share. They each molded the experience in a special way.

And guess what? Even the Israelis that joined the trip came from many different types of homes and upbringings. They came in all shapes and forms (and their English had an irresistible, exotic Israeli accent!). They wanted to learn from us, just as much as we wanted to learn from them!

So no matter where you come from, what you study or where you work or what your interests are, you will be at home on a Birthright trip.

But really, I’m not “Jewish enough” for the trip! (Or, am I too Jewish?!)

Impossible! Trip organizers will gladly accept anyone from any background, but some have religious affiliations and prioritize applicants from their youth groups or who volunteer at their synagogues.

Like many others, I came to Mayanot with zero affiliation. I clicked “just Jewish” for “how I personally identify as a Jew.”

On my trip, the term “Just Jewish” was perfect. Because, that’s really all you need. Mayanot has a “no Jew left behind” policy of sorts. You need zero knowledge, zero involvement and zero religious commitment to attend. On a Birthright trip, every single person goes out of his or her way to make sure everyone else fits in perfectly and comfortably.

And no, don’t be silly… of course you’re not too Jewish! (Is that even possible?)


Now are you feeling more relaxed? Can’t wait to come? I feel you! I wish I could do my entire trip again. Don’t forget to register! The chance of a lifetime is waiting–and so are Israeli’s amazing beaches, falafel joints & more! 

About the Author
Shana is a twenty-six year old attorney who resides in Long Island, New York, just outside of New York City. Shana has a passion for photography and enjoys experiencing many different places through her camera lens. Shana first came to Israel to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah at the age of twelve. Since then, she has returned three times with Taglit-Birthright: Mayanot. While in Israel, she fell in love with the culture, the people, and of course, the food!
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