(This was posted as a comment earlier and considering all the hard work Dave (ck) and Laya put into their various activities in the world of young Jewish men and women, I think it’s important people read about the positive and real impact they have).

Hi, I just got back from the Jewlicious trip to Israel where Dave and Laya were our guides. This has been quite a debate! Dave and Laya were fantastic leaders and in case anyone is worried, they never made us feel bad about our Judaism. They really made our trip the amazing experience that it was. Neither hid the fact that they were Orthodox and they spoke frankly about what that meant without alienating any of us. In fact I’d have to say that Friday night at the western wall and Saturday lunch with Orthodox families were highlights of the trip.

Just as they were frank with us, I guess I can be frank on Jewlicious. Most of us on the trip had pretty typical backgrounds. Whether we were raised Conservative or Reform, very few of us actually do anything Jewish. Many of us belong to Jewish sororities or fraternities, we’ve gone to Jewish camps and most of our friends are Jewish but we don’t keep kosher and we don’t do anything special friday night. In that respect I guess I’d have to say that we’re not very religious at all. We attend services when we’re home on holidays, but that’s pretty much it.

That Cohen guy sounded mean, but the truth is I had to look up what a mikva was. Most of us are far more familiar with a Baptism than we are with Jewish ritual immersion. I guess one of the things I’m coming away from the trip with is that maybe I should do more and learn more about the Judaism that I am so proud of. I know a few of us are going to start lighting candles and maybe have a nice dinner together on friday nights. Also we totally love Israel and are definitely coming back. I have to add that 10 days with Dave and Laya has been more inspiring than all my bat mitzva lessons and all my synagogue services to date. This is one Conservative Jewish gal who totally appreciates your perspective!

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  • 1. awesome
    2. Dave? (sorry, for some reason, I assumed you would be “ck” on the trip as well) 🙂
    3. Doesn’t this kind of post, no matter what issues people have with particular aspects of the trip, demonstrate the importance of Jewish outreach to young Jews to get them to identify with Jewish activity and have pride in Judaism instead of pride in being Jew-ish?

  • Yeah that would go down real well, especially since some of these kids had a Christian parent (“Dave, where can I get a really nice King James Bible for my Dad?” – turns out the Cardo has ’em…)

    “Kids? Hi! My name is ck and I’ll be your madrich for the next 10 days.”

    “ck? What does ck stand for?”

    “That would be ck for Christ Killer.”

    — Horrified silence —

  • Yes, probably “ck” wouldn’t work because of the possibility of negative interpretations….um, certainty of negative interpretations. However…there might be a “teachable moment” about stereotypes and negative language. Hmmm, naaaah, “Dave” is probably the way to go.

    I’m glad the students (or at least this one) got so much out of the program (and am back to lamenting the lack of goto-Israel-free programs for the aged set in their thirties). Good job!

  • I thought you might be interested in this article:

    Already the letters section is booming with colourful (not especially well-written or argued) results – I figured Jewlicious readers and writers (especially ones who have led birthright trips themselves) might want to weigh in (or at least see what the fuss is all about).

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