On a foggy Sunday evening, I, along with about 60 other University of Delaware students made our way to the Philadelphia airport. This journey was for the long anticipated trip to the holy land, the place we have heard about all our lives, and the place where our religions’ history was created. We are attending Taglit Birthright, a ten day free trip to Israel, for a chance of a lifetime. The anticipation of this trip was met with many emotions from our entire group; of excitement, fulfillment, and maybe even a little bit of nerves.
Many of my peers discussed the opportunity they will have to get closer to other students at the University through traveling.
Sophomore Jordan Schnoll said, “I feel like it (the trip) will be something I can relate to people with.” She said that as Jewish students, we tend to have many similar morals, and things in common, so she is eager to get know others.
Sophomore Paige Ruderman agrees with Schnoll. “I really hope that I meet more people on campus.” She wants to have a wider scope of people to connect with, especially out of state students, as she is a Delaware resident.
The group attending is very diverse, with students of all different years in college, including a number of freshmen. Freshman Josh Vogel said he had always seen himself as applying. “I guess I heard from friends and family about how great the trip was and I wanted to go!” He hopes it will allow him to get more involved at Hillel when he returns to campus after the trip.
When asked about the most anticipated part of the trip, many of the students mentioned climbing Masada. Freshman Jenna Wilson said she is hoping to see the magical sunrise she has heard about from family and friends. Schnoll also said she can’t wait to see Tel Aviv as a bustling and thriving city.
As far as logistics and apprehension, Ruderman doesn’t feel any. “It’s really cool because I don’t really go on trips, so it’s a good opportunity to branch out and do my own thing.” Ruderman, along with many other students also said they have never been out of the country. Vogel summed it up by saying that we have to just roll with the punches.
I am hoping for a trip to remember, and the chance to experience a totally different culture. While yes, I’m sure there will be barriers that will test us as a group, it’s the challenge that excites me.
While this is a ten-day “vacation” almost all of the students mentioned its Jewish impact. Wilson said it best. “I was already really into Judaism, but I think it will remind me why I love it so much!”