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Perform a Jewish Ritual: Put On Tefillin

After attending the recent birthright trip, my sister Gabby and I extended our trip for 6 days and stayed with my American cousin Avi in Givat Sh'muel. During our extended stay Avi wanted take us to the alleged burial grounds of our ancestors, The Cave of the Patriarchs where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob, Leah, and Rachel are said to. We had to travel on a bulletproof-windowed bus to cross into the West Bank and travel to Israeli-controlled Hebron in the middle of a Palestinian-controlled zone. after we looked around inside someone asked me if I wanted to wear tefillin and say a prayer. I told them I've never used one and him and my cousin got really excited and told me its a mitzvah to wear tefillin in the homeland of your ancestors and since it would be my first they gave me a mini-bar mitzvah. I wrapped the tefillin around my arm and chant and began chanting the V'ahavta with a crowd of Israeli soldiers joining in on the celebration and after I was done we danced and sang with the soldiers. I was really happy I could take the opportunity to join in on a true Jewish aspect of our birthright to our ancestral homeland. Putting on the tefillin really helped me realize my commitment to perform mitzvot by supporting Israel and Tikkun Olam.

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David Shaw

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