(I know that this is kind of self-serving, but I was so moved by the following email from one of the Jewlicious Oranim birthright participants that I had to share…–EDK)

amphitheater I want to personally thank you for all of your help on this trip. Coming from the oldest of the non-staff crew (usually by physical age only on this trip), it must have been quite the boat-load to keep this one from sinking.

This was an absolutely amazing trip, yet sad that just as we all got so close, life dispersed us back to our separate ways. However, I took much more away from this trip than a human bond with college students.

Prior to this trip, I was losing my Jewish identity. I hadn’t been to Synagogue in two years and didn’t really take part in both my religion or activities with other Jewish people. Blame it on the 99% Christian environment with which I grew up; blame it on the pace of life in the City; blame it on general disinterest. This trip changed that. It reconnected me with my Jewish identity and love for Israel. Love enough to risk castigation at work and stay 4 extra days in Israel (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv) to do my own thing and further enrich my educational experience….well, mostly. There was definitely a good amount of Tel Aviv beach lounging and night-life thrown in there. Anyway, thanks again for putting up with us. Know that your efforts are really making differences in people’s lives.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

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


  • I love reading things like this! It is simply hard to describe to non Jews what it is like to go to Israel for the first time and see that these things are real, to hear Hebrew as a live language, to see that your people are alive. Oh yeah and not see a single jesus fish anywhere! Something I was told along my trip that stuck “this heritage is yours, be proud of it.” I am very happy for this author and hope all who have this experience keep this feeling current by activity – desire isnt enough, action is what counts.

  • Most people who go on any similar or longer program have a similar experience and I volunteered at a couple of organizations and so know that they receive MANY emails like this every day! Life is good when u read stuff like this – it doesn’t really matter whether it’s birthright, high school in israel, aish, livnot, vfi, or one of the million other organizations out there – most of them are in the industry for the emails like that that they receive!

    Y’shar koach to you all with our thanks!