On the day my grandmother passed away this March, my uncle received his
results from a 23 and Me DNA test. My family was surprised to learn that a large
portion of my uncle and father's ethnicity is Ashkenazi. We came to the
conclusion that the Jewish heritage came from my grandmother- who moved to the
United States from Hungary after World War II.
Growing up without a practiced religion, I was fascinated and excited to hear about my heritage. My grandmother continues to be of the most inspirational people I know. I have always been intrigued by her background, but now even more so. I decided that I wanted to go on #BlueHenBirthrightIsrael to learn more about a large part of my heritage that I missed the chance to learn about all of these years.
I wasn’t even sure if I would qualify for Birthright Israel since I did not grow
up practicing Judaism and had only found out about my heritage recently. But after contacting UD Hillel, Becca was immediately fascinated by my story and encouraged me to sign up for the winter 2018 trip. I appreciated how welcoming Hillel was to someone with a story like mine. It made me that much more excited to explore my Jewish heritage.
Reflecting on Birthright, I can share it was one of the best decisions I've made. It connected me to a part of my heritage I previously knew nothing about, and made
me feel a part of a whole new community. I am so grateful to have had the
opportunity to explore a beautiful country for ten days and meet so many amazing
people. Having new friends at UD is such a great opportunity post-Birthright because it means that the experience doesn’t have to end after just the ten days. Even though I consider my Jewish heritage an ongoing mystery, I now feel more connected to Jewish culture and am finally proud to say that it is part of my heritage.