Article by Paul Morris, Berkshire Center student
I went to Israel because it was an important trip to me and because I wanted to learn more about being a Jew, since it is my birth right. I was accepted to the Mayanot trip and we left on March 12, 2008 (I was the first one in my family to go!). From the beginning, I met and became friends with many wonderful people. We flew from Newark, NJ to Tel Aviv, Israel. The flight was 10 hours long.
The first day in Israel, we had orientation before we made goat cheese pizza. after that, I rode on a donkey with Joe, my roommate, and it was wonderful. After the ride we relaxed at the hotel Tiberius. We then went to Tzfat, which is an old city where we toured around, ate pizza for lunch, and the had Shabbat at the hotel. We were so busy every day! One of the days we had practice for a play we were doing at the park and went on a boat ride, listening to lots of good Israeli music. I especially liked the drums.
Another day, we went on a jeep ride, hiking in the park and then back to Tel Aviv. We went to the science museum meeting some Jewish college students, went to Independence Hall, and then we slept at the Bedouin tent, which was very cool. The next day, I rode on a camel, toured Massada, floated in the Dead Sea, and then went to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.
On the seventh day in Israel, I went to a very sad museum, the Holocaust Museum, and we learned about ‘Child’s Play”. It is about children who play during World War II and when they are hungry they steal food from the guards. If they didn’t steal the food they would die, and it made me very upset. I also did volunteer work for the disabled adults, putting prizes in a bag for them, and then we swam in the pool. On the eighth day in Israel, I went to the zoo and studied about Noah’s Ark, shopped in the old city of Jerusalem buying a menorah, and then we all enjoyed a Purim party.
On the last day I prayed for my family at the Western Wall for Shabbat. We celebrated our great trip with a farewell party at the hotel. We said good bye to Israel and flew back from Tel Aviv, Israel to New York, NY. I enjoyed Israel so much and it’s was one of the best Middle Eastern trips I could have ever imagined. It was important for me to be in Israel because I feel deeply in my heart about being a Jew.
I have been in the Friendship Circle since fall 2003, so this trip was really exciting for me. I had so much fun on our trip and with my group of friends!