While most college students sat on their asses over their winter breaks, I was hiking up the Masada and was floating in the Dead Sea, all before 12 pm. Hiking the Masada? Floating in the Dead Sea? You may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, she must have spent her winter break in none other than Israel, the Holy Land! That must have been one expensive trip!” Well, you would be correct about where I was. Yes, I was in Israel over my winter break. However, you’re wrong about the price, because my trip to Israel was totally and completely FREE!
That’s right, if you’re a Jew, you can score a trip to Israel with little to no expense through a program called Birthright. Birthright began in 2000 and has been sending Jewish kids between the ages of 18-26 to Israel ever since. The program is designed to allow Jewish kids to explore their Jewish cultures and identities, but really, you’re just exploring Israel for 10 days with 40 people of your age group. You go on insane adventures and get fucked up every night since the drinking age is only 18.
Birthright offers many different options depending on your interests and personalities, so you can pick which one is best for you. Let’s say you’re really into hiking…well, there are trips in Israel that involve hiking all day every day. There are also more generalized trips, with a mixture of hiking and exploring Israeli cities. You can even pick a group of people to go with based on your age group. Regardless of what trip you pick, and the company you choose to go through, it’s still a free trip, so you’re guaranteed to have an awesome time!
The trip I chose was Taglit-Birthright, sponsored by Hillel. Taglit is pretty much the standard way to go to Israel on college campuses. If you go through Taglit, you will be going with other people from your college, as well as people from other colleges. On Birthright you travel around Israel on a bus. My bus had kids both from Hofstra University and NYU on it. We also had two other kids from different schools in the New York City area on our trip, because their schools didn’t have their own trips. If you’re looking for a Taglit trip and your school doesn’t offer one, you can always apply through another school.
Each trip will be slightly different, depending not only on the one you chose to go on, but also your trip’s tour guide and group leaders. However, there are some standard, yet amazing things each trip is sure to do on its itinerary. This will include visiting the western wall, hiking the Masada, floating in the dead sea, camel rides with the Bedouin’s, visiting Yad Vashem and much, much more. Also, Israeli soldiers accompany each trip, which makes the trip even more fun, because Israeli soldiers are fucking sexy! Two of my friends hooked up with their Israeli soldiers…so who knows, maybe you’ll get just as lucky.
Birthright trips happen both during winter break, as well as over summer vacation. If you’re a Jew, how could you pass up an opportunity to go to Israel for free? The only thing you have to pay for is lunch and spending money! Plus, the America dollar is so strong that everything is super cheap when you’re buying gifts for friends and family back at home!
For more information on how to find a trip to go to Israel, click HERE.