I am thrilled to note that during the course of my four and a half month trip around the world, I did not have to start a cycle of prednisone. I did become a bit more symptomatic at certain points throughout the journey, and I almost brought myself to call my GI and get his approval to start on prednisone. Thankfully, these mini-flares (possibly due to my stomach adjusting to new foods, etc) went away just in the knick of time. I certainly did not want the powerful mood-affecting steroid to impact my experience. Continue reading
My two week Israel adventure seems like a far off dream at this point. I love reflecting on my growth as a traveler as I think about that time. My brother Josh just sent me some brilliant stuff that he wrote after returning home from Asia. It’s a fantastic commentary on travel. Like many things in life, it is inspired by our experiences in Israel. Enjoy it! Continue reading
Below is a guest post submitted by my birthright buddy Leo Mikinberg. Enjoy it!
“I had an amazing opportunity to have dinner with family in Israel. Around the table sat 5 adults that I’ve been introduced to at some point in my life (rather briefly), and 6 amazing kids, I met for the first time, which will continu that branch of the family tree. Just before diving in to our Passover feast , I Skyped my babushka (grandma) in the states. In Russian she asked me “did they receive you as family?”
Below is a guest post from my brother Josh:
“I’ve been in this position so many times before. After 8 years at summer camp, 2 other youth group summer trips, and life on a Kibbutz, standing in a large group of strangers on the first day of an adventure is nothing new. You make quick judgements, and want to do your best to control other’s snap judgements of you.
The only difference between the last 10 times I’ve been in this position, and this time around, is that I have a serious girlfriend. Continue reading
As long as you have at least one Jewish grandparent, you get ten days in Israel for free. I had already been to Israel twice before, including one experience when I spent two months living in Tel Aviv. Taglit birthright still paid for me to enjoy the gift of a free trip to Israel.
My birthright group lucked out. Seven Israelis joined us for the second half of our trip. Like every Israeli, these men and women had all served in the army. Josh and I roomed with Tolmer for a few days in Jerusalem. Tolmer is only 21 years old. He will marry his girlfriend of three months when he finishes with the army. Tolmer is religious and has never even touched his girlfriend, so he’s pretty anxious to tie the knot.
We stood in a cave at the lowest point in Safed, one of the holiest cities in Israel. The cave was designed to collect natural rain water in a small 6 foot by 6 foot pool called a mikvah. And for the past 500 years, Jewish men from all over the world have skinny dipped in this famous mikvah to cleanse themselves of wrongdoings and to achieve a fresh start. Two days into birthright, I found myself standing naked in a line for this mikvah with the other twelve guys in my group. Continue reading