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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Is Birthright All That It's Cracked Up To Be?

Especially ever since my cousin's daughter was on a Birthright trip here, and we couldn't see her, since her "Jerusalem" base/hotel was in Shoresh, sort of like going to see New York City and staying in Great Neck or Woodmere, White Plains or even Livingston, NJ.

I know that some of the groups do stay in Jerusalem, when they're in Jerusalem, but I also understand that they're extremely limited to their bus and itinerary. They could be in one of those fancy media centers anyplace in the world, getting the sensations of Israel.


Risa said...

My answer is a resounding YES!
The idea of keeping the groups together and with little free time is to make the experience more intense.
The groups are accompanied by madrichim as well as a few 'regular' Israeli soldiers all of whom take part in the super-Jewish-Zionist immersion week.
My husband's cousin was very favorable affected by the trip. He stayed on an extra week or so afterwards so we were actually able to see him then. This is a young man who was actually leftist anti-Israel in thinking during his college years (although mercifully somewhat apathetic and self-centered so that there wasn't much activity in that direction) who returned from the trip with a really different point of view.
He had even mentioned returning to look for a job here (until he found one there).
Many of the older (it takes people up to 28) participants use it as an introduction to their aliya and stay on and keep contact with their madrichim and the soldiers that they meet on the trip.
There is a purpose to the 'free' trip. Just like those 'free' lunches where you have to listen to the sales pitch. Only here they're sellin us!

Batya said...

Thanks, Good to hear, but I understand that not all the tours are the same. So if we're recommending that people go, we have to be more specific.

Cosmic X said...


We had two guests last Shabbat that took the birthright trip with mayanot (chabad). They were profoundly affected by the trip and they were excited about their "new" connection to Israel, Judaism and the Jewish People.

Cosmic X said...

P.S. Please forgive me for not doing the meme! i just haven't found the time!

Batya said...

cos' of course you're forgiven

I think that there really is a difference between the various Birthright programs, and if we have any influence as to which a young relative or "child of" goes on, we should make our recommendations very specific.

Anonymous said...

Batya, maybe you should have asked your cousim more about the trip. About security issues that exist that demand groups travel together. about rising tourist costs that make it impossible to stay close to the kotel , about how there are as many different types of trips as there are types of settlers and we cant clump them either. Ask. I work with this program and nothing, nothing and i mean nothing can come close to what this progam has done for our country, our people and our religoion.. but it gets tiring that people like you quickly beat it up without really doing your homework. lazy journalism..nope just lazy

Batya said...

For sure, some of the groups are great, but they're not all the same. I don't think they should be "near the kotel," but Shoresh isn't Jerusalem.

Blogging isn't professional journalism. Sorry. I just wish all journalism would be professional.