I chose to like this organization because I think it is a great cause and will perpetuate the many things I enjoyed about the birth right experience.
I've been watching all of the reports on Israel about what is happening.
Thought that this was really a great idea and so good to see people and hear about what is going on in everyone's lives. We had a phenomenal group of people on our trip, had very meaningful experiences together and formed strong connections. As life goes on and time passes, hopefully our connections will continue to get stronger.
I read this article and thought about the tips and their relation to my experience during the Rosh Hashanah synogogue service. The first tip that really resonates with me is tip 1 - that five minutes of prayer said with understanding, feeling, and a personal connection to the words and their significance means far more than five hours of lip service. It is difficult for me to really feel connected and comprehend the meaning of some of the prayers and a lot of them seem so repetitive. However, I make an effort to really identify with and understand a few prayers and feel spiritually connected, which contributes to an overall meaningful spiritual experience. The second tip that resonated with me is tip 6 - "As you sit in your synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur you are joined by millions of Jews in synagogues all over the world. You are a Jew and you are making a powerful statement about your commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people". The idea of unity is a very powerful concept and I really appreciated it during my birthright trip in Israel. It is incredible to think that Jews from all over the world are united by this. I also have an appreciation for tip 5 - "You’re not that proficient in Hebrew? Don’t worry, G-d understands whatever language you speak. And, like a loving parent, He can discern what’s in your heart even if you can’t quite express it the way you would like." This resonates with me because I know how to read hebrew and would make an effort to read in hebrew in synogogue, but I then switched to reading the english so I can actually understand what I am saying, which adds more meaning.
A tip that I would suggest to make someone's synogogue experience more meaningful would be to read commentary and insights about the prayers if they are available in the prayer book. The book I used in synogogue had alot of fascinating commentary from different rabbis explaining the meaning/ history of certain prayers and I found it to be very interesting and it certainly added meaning.
As I think about the upcoming year, the three things I would ask for would be health, peace and success. It is easy to take our health for granted, but it is obviously extremely important to appreciate our health, take care of ourselves and do our best to help others who are not as healthy. I ask for world peace so everyone can live in safety and have real opportunities to make progress. Lastly I wish for success to achieve personal goals but to also have a positive impact on others and my community.
I would identify as spriritual person. I am not religious or observant but I have a deep appreciation for the history and the traditions and celebrate some of the holidays. I would like to grow spritiually by reading more and learning more about jewish history and philosophies. Also to engage in more active support for Israel.
On Sunday night I attended a Sukkot dinner at my uncle and aunt's Sukkah. They built a very large Sukkah on their deck and had about 20 people over. We ate turkey, chicken soup, and alot of other side dishes. We also made the blessings over the challah with honey and the kiddush. It was a really great experience to spend time with family and celebrate a jewish holiday together.
After getting back from Israel, I decided to host my very first Shabbat dinner. I invited my close friends (Isabella, Kevin, Lindsay, Gabby, and Joan) and told them to be patient with me since this was my first time hosting. I even purchased a Torah so I could say a prayer and really embrace what Shabbat is all about. I purchased food from a local Jewish deli (Challah, Kugel, Chicken, and Cholent Stew). We sat around the table and discussed our work week and I was able to tell them about Israel. I purchased Kosher Red Wine to serve with our meal. It was a very interesting dinner and I enjoyed being able to host it. I think I may try to do this every couple of months so I can get a bunch of people together. I used to go to Hebrew School so my Hebrew is still pretty good, which is great for when I am reading from the Torah
I was tol to watch this video by a couple people. They informed me that it was interesting and not what I would expect it to be. I decided to invite some of my friends (Leah, Sarah, Lauren, Kevin, Isabella, and Gabby) over to watch it with me, even though it is not a long video. They brought some wine. We all talked about it afterwards and our views on what we believe true happiness it. The video brings up that happiness is built by what we feel about ourselves and setting goals that we achieve and reaching them. Happiness is not about material objects such as being able to afford a nice car, but instead, more about landing a position in a job that you've been working hard to get. Tying it back to Judaism, I realized that many Jews try to find the good in their lives. While on Birthright, being around those amazing people, showed me what inner happiness is all about. I was able to stop and put away my phone and daily stressors and really enjoy everything Israel had to offer. This video was very insightful and brought a lot of new concepts to my attention that I do not think about daily. It is something that I believe a lot of people, including myself, need to work on doing.
I watched a Charlie Harary video called How Do I Unblock Myself? http://charlieharary.com/theaskcharlieshow-episode-8-how-do-i-unblock-myself/
The video discusses how one can "unblock" themselves in the business world and drive performance to the next level. The key concepts that really resonated with me was 1) the importance of time management and the value of time and 2) that in order to grow and achieve great things that we must step out of our comfort zone and try new things or ways. I do not think that this video directly changed my Jewish identity, but I think that it provided some interesting food for thought and some perspective into how to achieve at the next level.
I watch the Project Sinai Rosh Hashanah video. http://www.projectsinai.org/index.php/en/video/109/rosh-hashanah
The video discussed how the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah is called "Elul" in hebrew, which is a time of spiritual preparation and reflection as we are judged for our actions on Rosh Hashanah. The video explains that we should not dread or fear the holiday, but rather embrace it and be mindful of living well and doing good things. I find this concept very applicable and interesting as I believe that 1) it is important to take time out, reflect and assess ourselves and how we can improve 2) improvement / change takes time and should not be rushed or feared, the same way that we should not cram or fear Rosh Hashanah.
I attended a Shabbat meal at my Aunt and Uncle's home. They host a Shabbat meal every Friday night. During our birthright trip we had two Friday night Shabbat dinners both of which were alot of fun and very spirited with singing and thoughtful conversation. I thought it was great how Jews from all over the world celebrate the same way. It was really nice to unplug from a busy week, and experience a Shabbat dinner again.
I watched a video about Israel called "A Beautiful Secret Very Few People Know". The source was provided by the Israel Video Network through the following link http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/just-15-kilometres-north-of-tel-aviv-a-beautiful-secret-very-few-people-know-about/
I chose this particular subject because the title of a "beautiful secret" is quite enticing and I had to know what it was! It is a beautiful site of Apollonia National park which is the location of an impressive Crusader fortress that was built in the 13th century. This video showcases both Israel's remarkable landscape and very rich history. I did a quick search to learn more about the site and the location was settled by the Phoenicians in the 5th or 6th century BC and existed through many eras and peoples including the Hellenistic period, the Romans and the Byzantines, to name a few.
The subject of this post is the article Interfaith Respect Is Vital by Rabbi Sacks.
Link to the article as follows:
I found this article thought provoking for a variety of reasons. Firstly, having just returned from the birth right trip in Israel where our group visited ancient biblical ruins such as the city of David and Masada, it is interesting to see another example of how history and ancient ruins are supportive and can provide a deeper understanding of what is written in the Bible. Additionally, the lesson that Rabbi Sacks draws from the story of Babel - of acceptance and respect of others' beliefs, resonates with me. Throughout history, Judaism is the only major religion that has never tried to make others convert. If all people embraced this ideal of cultural diversity - to live and let live - the world would certainly be a more peaceful place.
AboutThe 100 Point Challenge is an opportunity for returning Taglit-Birthright participants to TRY a variety of Jewish activities, find those activities that they LOVE and want to continue to LIVE. Bring Israel Home participants can choose to complete any Jewish activity that speaks to them to earn 100 points. 75% or more of the American participants in a participating Taglit-Birthright bus must earn 100 points on the Bring Israel Home website within three months after returning from their Taglit-Birthright experience to earn a Bring Israel Home weekend reunion. All those participants who earn 100 points of Jewish activity are eligible for the weekend reunion. The Bring Israel Home 100 Point Challenge is divided into two milestones. Participants must earn 50 points within the first month of returning from their Taglit-Birthright experience to qualify for the following milestone. After achieving the first milestone, participants have two months to earn their final 50 points of Jewish activity. The milestones are clearly outlines below:MilestonesMilestone 1: 75% of a Taglit-Birthright bus must complete 50 points of Jewish activity in the first month after returning from their Taglit-Birthright experience. Milestone 2: 75% of a Taglit-Birthright bus must complete 100 points of Jewish activity in the two months after achieving Milestone 1. Please Note: Israeli participants should be completing 100 points of Jewish activity with their fellow American participants to be eligible to be flown in to the United States for the Bring Israel Home weekend. However, Israeli participants are not included as part of the 75% participation needed to achieve a milestone.
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