How Birthright Brought Me Closer to Judaism

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I went on Birthright in January 2014 with Rutgers Hillel. I grew up in a very Jewish household, went to Jewish Day School my whole life and was active in USY, Young Judaea Summer Camp. This was my 4th trip to Israel, and by far my favorite one.
This trip opened my eyes to the fact that not every person, and certainly not every Jew, is the same. I grew up surrounded by people very similar to me and this trip allowed me to become friends with my fellow students who didn’t necessarily grow up going to synagogue, going to Jewish camps or programs, and some didn’t even have a Hebrew name. This trip and experience brought me closer to Judaism because I was able to see that no matter where you come from or what your background is, everyone has a place within Judaism and it’s all about finding where you belong. It also reminded me just how important Israel is and how it has the power to bring us all together no matter what.

Sami Brandspiegel

Rutgers Hillel Student Board President

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