"Birthright wasn’t my first time visiting Israel, but it was the first time I really connected with Israel as my Jewish homeland. The opportunity to see so much of Israel with fellow students, IDF soldiers, and an incredible tour guide allowed me to see the country with new eyes. My favorite day had to be when we woke up after sleeping in the desert, rode camels before a delicious breakfast, hiked up and down Masada, swam in the dead sea, and then arrived in Jerusalem as the sun set over the hills. That kind of experience just can’t be beat. I’ll cherish my time spent on Birthright and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to visit with my friends."
"Going on a birthright trip with USC Hillel this past winter break was my first time ever traveling to Israel, and it was an incredible experience. Judaism has always been an important part of my life, and the trip encouraged me to evaluate the role of Judaism in my life while having an amazing adventure. Physically seeing all of the places I'd learned about in Hebrew School for years made me really appreciate the Jewish education I had growing up. It was such a surreal and amazing feeling to be in a geographical location where the default was Jewish, and I didn't have to think about explaining or justifying myself and my heritage. The trip made me feel so much closer to my family's Jewish history, and I definitely plan on returning to Israel in the future. I met new people, American and Israeli, that I know I will stay in touch with for years to come. Seeing each person grow throughout the trip and have their own realizations about their Jewish identities was a wonderful process to witness and learn from, which is why it is so important that every young Jewish adult has the opportunity to go on a birthright trip."