The guy on my Birthright bus

Do you remember that guy on your Birthright bus?

I remember mine.

I happened to fall in love with mine.

Eighteen years after meeting him on my trip, we are blessed with 3 children.


Do you remember that guy on your Birthright bus?

He had that cool tattoo on his arm.

It was wild to you that a Jewish soldier was rocking a tat like that…

But you remember it.

You asked him where he got it and what the meaning was.

You will never forget what he said…


Do you remember that woman on your Birthright trip?

She was an officer.

She was incredible.

You were all trying to grab some semblance of sleep after spending yet another night chatting into the hours of the morning and there she was.

Out for a morning run.

All smiles and full of positive energy as she walked into the dining room where we were lucky to have changed out of our pajamas.


How about the one that you shared your deepest thoughts with?

Laughed with.

Cried with.

How is it possible that after just a few days, you could feel such a deep connection to someone, from a different part of the world, who doesn’t even speak the same language as you?


Do you remember them?

The “Israeli soldiers”.

Who then become college students.

You wished each other mazal tov on graduation.

You “liked” their photos from their post army trek across South America.

What an incredible adventure…


You watched in amazement as their IG account hit 100K, following their food adventures across Israel.

You celebrated each other’s weddings, children being born, new jobs…


Eytam Magini was that guy on your Birthright bus.

You thought it was so cool he worked for Wix.

And celebrated his engagement, just last month, to his fiancé.

He was the one that comforted you during a difficult moment on your trip.


Eytam was that guy on a 2015 Taglit-Birthright Israel trip.

He was the guy on the bus we all sat next to.

And now he is gone.

Stolen along with all of his dreams, as he sat with his best friend for a beer in Tel Aviv.

Image-Times of Israel

And his death makes something so far away, hit so very close to home…

About the Author
Michelle Rojas-Tal is the Jewish Agency's central Shlicha to Hillel International and Director of the Israel Fellows Program. The Jewish Agency for Israel Fellows program brings nearly 80 young emissaries to campuses across North America and close to a dozen across the globe to serve on college campuses. Michelle and her family are currently on Shlichut and living in the greater D.C. area from Jerusalem. She has devoted her life's work to Israel and the Jewish people.
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