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Side view of grocery cart containing produce, bread, and several other items

Although Israel is filled with many religious people, most supermarket visits don’t come with a side of checkout-line-blessings like the ones I witnessed recently.

Chelsea Feuchs
Mattan Berner-Kadish, Mechina alumnus

When I signed up, I had no idea about Mechina, a gap-year program in Israel. Sure, I’d asked questions, talked to others, and read up, but I had no idea about its magic.

Tamar Roig
The author and his daughter riding camels in Israel

Growing up, Israel was a far-away, exotic land that demanded only monetary donations and tree plantings. Recently, I seized a chance to see the country for myself.

Howard J. Schwach
A group of friends eating a casual dinner together

Israel is more than what makes the headlines. It is also filled with people who will reach across the divide and give you the opportunity to be in community together.

Chelsea Feuchs
Bedouin village

Although we don’t vote in Israel’s elections and should not expect to, neither does the Knesset have a monopoly over the Zionist project. It belongs to all Jews.

Abe Silberstein
Two NFTY participants praying at the Kotel

At the Kotel, the stark contrasts between Reform and Orthodox Jews and the physical separation of males and females left me ambivalent during my recent visit.

Daniel Goldberg
View of the Old City and the hills of Jerusalem at sunset

During the Days of Awe, we engage in a full accounting of our souls and our actions. Perhaps this process should be applied to our relationship with Israel as well.

Chelsea Feuchs
Eight individuals (adults and children) in shadow walking single file in front of a sky of sun and clouds

When Usumain arrived in Israel after years of searching for a safe place to call home, he was desperately in need of a country that would open its arms to him.

Sarah Moody
Portion of the Israel flag (Star of David on white background with part of the blue stripes visible) on the righthand part of a wooden surface

It was May 13, 1948 and the new Jewish State was to be declared the following afternoon, but David Ben Gurion didn’t yet have a Declaration of Independence.

Rabbi Neal Gold
Scene of Jerusalem with a lot of buildings made from Jerusalem stone

For those of us who believe that, while Israel should be a “nation like all the other nations,” it should somehow not be too much like all the others.

Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein


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