Students Inspired by Rutgers Hillel Birthright Trip


Old City – We went walking through the old city and it was definitely an experience I will not forget. Observing all the architecture and the people around the town was one thing to be amazed by, but when I came upon a local citizen playing some guitar instrument I stopped in my place. This man was by himself on the steps playing this instrument so beautifully; I felt so inspired. I felt like I was in a movie. Definitely a moment I will remember from this trip. — Eden Sapir ’15

Dead Sea – The Dead Sea was definitely was one of the more anticipated scheduled events during this trip. Floating in a sea of water was something that most of us have never experienced. I always saw pictures of people reading the newspapers or playing chess inside the sea, but never really understood how it worked. I literally walked on out into the sea, (I highly recommend water shoes or flip flops of some sort) and just dreaded the time of entering my body into the freezing body of water. I walked out 50 yards or so, and dipped my body in believing I would sink a little bit. However, that was not the case. I immediately started to float on top of the water. As I looked around in amazement and took in the moment of just being able to lay down and relax in a body of water without having to lay on top of a raft, I heard the tune of Gangnam Style. I watched as me and other members of the group threw balls of salt crystals at each other. Also, while defending myself from being hit by a ball of salt, I splashed myself in the face with the Dead Sea water. Never have I ever had my eyes burn so bad for what would be one long “blind” minute or two. As I got out of the Dead Sea, I felt really dry and clean, but knew it was a feeling I would never experience again after swimming with over forty other humans.  — Justin Bennett ’16

Jerusalem – Having been in Israel before, and having gone to Jerusalem before, I did have some experience to build my thoughts off of. However, this time was so different than the last. The last time I was in Jerusalem I was 12, for my Bat Mitzvah, and although I did tour around and see all the sights I did not feel the connection that I do this time. Being able to experience the Kotel was an amazing thing. Having learned about Israel my entire life, the Kotel had the largest meaning to me. Being able to pray at the Kotel was unbelievable! Additionally, I really enjoyed visiting Yad Vashem. I have learned about the Holocaust in the past, however, this museum really brought it to life in a scary but very real way. Overall, looking back at my Taglit Birthright experience I can say in full confidence that I felt the biggest and deepest connection with the city of Jerusalem. — Dahlia Schudrich ’14