[Author’s spelling disclaimer: I didn’t forget to capitalize “birthright”–that’s just the annoying style choice the organization made. And frankly, that’s one of the major reasons I vote for Hebrew over English, generally speaking, so I don’t have to deal with crap like this.. I’m moving on.]

So, this week’s Jewish Week has an article by Gabi Birkner about couples who met on birthright trips and who are now getting married. (Mazal tov, G-d willing by you in the right hour.)

Rachel Gray, now 28 and a program director for a health and fitness center, heard that matchmaking was “part of the underlying plan.” But when she went on a birthright trip in 2000, she was not looking for a boyfriend. “I had just gotten out of a relationship, and decided before I went that I wasn’t going to worry about meeting anybody,” said Gray, who at the time was a student at the University of Maryland. Yet by the end of the trip, she had fallen in love with a fellow birthright participant David Mintz, to whom she is now engaged. The two live in Lyndhurst, N.J.

On the night before Gray’s plane was to leave Israel, she and Mintz, who is now 27 and works in events department at the National Basketball Association, [began their life of crime with theft as they] took a blanket from the Tel Aviv hotel where their birthright groups were staying, and headed to a nearby beach. There, they stayed until dawn, trading stories about their lives, recounting the memories they had made over the past 10 days, and vowing to make their relationship work even though they attended college 400 miles apart.

“That night, I looked into his eyes, and thought, ‘This is the guy I’m going to marry,’” Gray recalled.

[…] Mintz and Gray […] agreed that birthright provides a decidedly germane atmosphere in which to meet one’s soul mate. “It’s not like you’re in a bar,” Gray said. “It’s more spiritual, more meaningful. On birthright, you get to know people on a much deeper level — and that can emotionally draw you to them.”

Hey, did any of you people from the Jewlicious birthright trip get engaged to each other? Don’t let us be the last to know, for publicity’s Heaven’s sake.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.


  • Esther –

    No engagements that I know of… in fact, while there were several temporary relationships I haven’t heard of any lasting ones from our summer trip. Sorry to disappoint! Maybe they’ll have better luck making matches on the Winter trip.

    And maybe those on the winter trip will have better luck in getting to see all those pictures that CK has…

  • Maybe the reason the one featured in the article worked because they were far away. They developed a friendship. They took time because they were far away from one another. Romance is wonderful, but without friendship, its just a flash in the pan.

    But then again, I am not sure that birthright is promoting long term relationships. They promote the program with a saucy slogan : you never forget your first time” which seems to imply there will be other times. Which seems to endorse, or nod to, or dare i say promote, birthright hookups. But not birthright engagements, met the person of my dreams, build a Jewish home together kind of stuff.

  • The lower-case b in “birthright” was forced on them by another organization that already was using the name Birthright with a capital B. They are not using this lower-case b spelling by choice. It does not seem to matter.

  • I second Stacey. As far as I know, there are no long term relationships in the mix- but there were some good short term ones, and there is always the possibility of more budding up in the winter group. But if you are really pining for one, I can’t think of a better setting to meet a nice Jewish guy/lady anywhere else. On a side note- please put up our pictures!

  • JM, thanks for that little tidbit of info, but clearly, it is bothering someone who doesn’t deal with the “other organization” in question–only with the one with the errant lowercase. But I’m ill, I know…

    Hey Stacy and Amy, welcome (back)…glad you loved the birthright (grrr) trip. Maybe now that CK’s back in the Holy Land and preparing for the next Jewlicious trip, he’ll have a few moments to think about your pictures.

    Shabbat shalom, y’all!

  • Funny, cause I thought leaving your group at any time during the trip is strictly forbidden. On my trip, we were warned that leaving the group at any time would result in getting immediately sent home.

    This article makes me confused and upset.

  • Alon, most birthright groups when in Tel Aviv stay at a hotel that is right next to the beach. Most groups will allow their charges to go to the beach as long as they don’t stray too far away. What they won’t let you do is hop into a cab and get a tattoo or something at a shady part of town unaccompanied. Also, if its the last night and someone sneaks away, what can you do, you know?

  • Is no one perturbed by the young lovers purloining towels from said hotel? 😉

    As towels go, so goes society.

  • You know, on the Frank Zappa album/movie 200 Motels, a bizarre testament to the travails of Life on the Road for the Working Musician, there is a long suite, starring the bass player, former Turtle (yes, the “Happy Together” guys) Jeff Pons, in small animated form, debating about whether or not to steal the hotel towels, assisted by an angel and devil.

    Not that that has anything to do with Birthright (although I’ll say for the record that I left the group and wandered off on my own on the very first day with no repercussions), but you know…towel stealing. Which reminds me, I’ve always wanted to steal an El Al blanket.