Shabbat on a Birthright Israel trip is a special experience. After the hustle of five days of nonstop travel, the group enjoyed taking the day to rest, relax, and reflect on the experience they have been having thus far. One participant described:
"Our celebration of Shabbat in Jerusalem was less of a celebration and more of an actual day of rest. Considering how packed our trip has been since we landed, we assumed the holiest of days would be just as busy. Fortunately, we were wrong. After five nights in Israel with filled days, rest was much needed. In the U.S. nothing changes on a Saturday. However, in Israel, the whole country partakes in this rest. For us, it was nice to not only sleep in, but to experience what Shabbat is like in a country where the majority of the population observed it."
While another commented:
"Coming from a family that never fully practiced Shabbat, I am so glad I got to do it in Jerusalem. I loved eating good food, hanging out with my newfound best friends, and embracing my Jewishness."
Some Birthright trips offer participants the opportunity to become b’nai mitzvah in front of their new Jewish community. Five of our participants took the opportunity to stand together as Jewish adults. One reflected upon the experience:
"This day was so special in so many ways. It was on Shabbat, it was on Chanukah, and it was on Rosh Chodesh. The ceremony was done with our Birthright group; most of us had met just six days prior, but over those six days, we have all grown very close as a group and as a family. We all have different relationships with Judaism, but we all have one thing in common. All of us chose to go on Birthright because we wanted to learn about Israel. Everything from the history, culture, politics, environment, religion; there is something very special about this place. It was an honor to have my bat mitzvah here, and I was honored to have each and every person of our group present!"