I remember being perplexed at how people could eat so many vegetables for breakfast. I remember hiking in the hills outside of Jerusalem and knowing that at some point I would live at least a fraction of my life in Israel. I remember my best friend Sara turning the most ungodly shade of grey after a long night of drinking and a particularly windy bus ride. I remember seeing the security fence and marveling at how close the cities on either side were to eachother. I remember Noam, the foxy guard. I remember visiting the kotel when it was hailing. I remember Joe Perlov’s amazing map exercise. I remember wading out into the Kinneret among the reeds as the sun set. I remember South Americans and French birthrighters gathering around a fire with us Americans and all of us, while unable to chit chat in any common language, singing Jewish songs together. I remember the breathtaking dome of stars out in the Negev. I remember the Israelis who spent a few days with us and how open and enthusiastic they were. I remember holding my scarf in the wind at the top of Massada and watching it flap like a flag as the sun rose in the distance. I remember Yad Vashem. I remember the Arab boys leading our camels, checking their cellphones every 2 minutes. I remember discussions about intermarriage that brought some to tears. I remember a beautiful Shabbat service on a balcony overlooking Jerusalem. I remember an incredible sense of gratitude to the people who made the gift of birthright israel possible for me – it changed my life.

What do you remember?

Jacob Shwirtz, the tireless head of the BRI Alumni Association in Israel (among other things), announced that a full-length documentary movie is being produced for Israeli TV about Taglit-birthright israel. Jacob is looking for people with cool, funny, quirky, inspirational,or interesting stories to share in the film. Mildly interesting might work, too. They’d like to see the whole spectrum of alumni activities in Israel (work, school, army, volunteering, etc.). If you live in Israel and have stories to tell, please email him a short overview to share with the director at Jacob@JacobShwirtz.com.

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