Hi everyone! smile emoticon My name is Brooke and I am so excited to have been selected to go on this amazing trip! This will be my first time going to Israel, so I cannot wait to experience everything Israel has to offer! I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I love to spend time with my husband Michael (who is going to be on the trip as well!!), family, friends, and my doggies! I work in the fashion manufacturing industry.. my family owns a clothing brand. I can't wait to get to Israel to learn more about my culture/religion/heritage, while having a great time getting to know everyone on the trip. Only 78 more days!!!! smile emoticon smile emoticon smile emoticon
In elementary school, I had a best friend who I absolutely adored. We happened to be in the same class a few years in a row and we lived a few blocks away from one another. One day, when I was outside in the neighborhood with all of my friends, I found out that my best friend was having a birthday party and I was not included. I was absolutely heartbroken and confused as to why I wouldn't be included in her birthday celebration. I went home crying to my mom that evening. My mom told me I should talk to my best friend about this event and question why I wasn't invited. The next day, I asked my best friend why I was not invited to her birthday party. She looked scared that I had found out about her birthday party and looked around her to see who was surrounding us. She whispered in my ear "it's because you're Jewish". I was ten years old and never processed that I was a minority and that people across the world were prejudice. I had no clue and was more confused than ever. I went home and spoke to my mom. She was quite surprised what I had experience, and taught me a great lesson that evening.
I watched "A Beautiful Secret Very Few People Know", found on bringisraelhome.com. Here is the link: http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/just-15-kilometres-north-of-tel-aviv-a-beautiful-secret-very-few-people-know-about/
I chose to watch this video because I was very interested to see what the big secret was that people did not know about. In this view, it gives tons of views of the Apollonia National Park. This park contains the remains of Crusader city which was built in the 1200s. I found the excavation site to be amazingly beautiful and amazing.
I watched the video "This Is Israel: Resilience" found on the bringisreal.com website. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q2nLAWVzU4. I chose to watch this video because I found the message of recovery very rewarding. Asael Lubotski is just one of the 8 million Jews living in Israel who is completely brave and passionate. He was a victim of an Israeli attack and her made the absolute best of it. Not only was he hospitalized for over 8 months and had to learn to walk again, but he took the experience and tried to make it a positive one. At the end of the story, he became a doctor to help the future victims through his experience and brought a child into the world so he is always rooted, despite the attackers wanting to "uproot" him. This story just teaches me further how passionate and strong the people of Israel really are.
After watching the video, I have determined that Tashlich is a ritual in which you free your wrongdoings within a body of water. The Jewish people partcipate in Tashlich for many reasons. For example, they choose to pray next to a body of water because fish never close their eyes, similar to God. God is always watching us, just like the fish. Another reason is because we acknowledge Abraham's sacrificing of his son which was done on Rosh Hashanah next to a body of water as well. We do Tashlich so we can heal our relationship with God to start the process of repenting in the high holidays.
In the future, I would personally like to work on being a better person and living in the present. I think that I can put others first and really try to be kinder. I am always look so much in the future, that I think it is time that I concentrate what is going on in present life, or I will never be appreciative of what I currently have or what is currently happening.
On Friday night, we invited our family over to celebrate Shabbat, as well as Passover. We served briscuit, turkey, potatoes, and vegetables. It was really nice to host both holidays with our family and I would definitely take this opportunity again in the future. My favorite part of the evening was sharing our Jewish traditions and getting to celebrate together as a family.
In honor of Passover, I made matzah pancakes. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom would make this special treat for me during Passover. Matzah pancakes are similar to matzah brie, but instead of being crumbled up and wet, matzah pancakes are more dry and put in a "pancake" shape.
Hosting Shabbat at my house has become a "thing" ever since I accepted this 100-point challenge. This time, I invited four of our good friends over for Shabbat dinner. I served briscuit, broccoli, mashed potatoes, and challah. I really enjoy hosting Shabbat dinner because it brings family/friends closer together while keeping a tradition alive of my ancestors. I would certainly do this again!! My favorite part is getting to see everyone enjoy a meal together that I put together.
I read the article "48 Ways to Wisdom" by Rabbi Noah Weinberg. I found the article on the Bring Israel Home website. Here is the link: http://www.aish.com/sp/48w/. The article teaches self awareness and how to become the best person you could be. The first way of wisdom stuck out the most to me. "Be Aware of Every Moment." This piece of advice is very important for people of my generation. So many times, people are not in the present with the people around them. Instead, they are on their cell phone.. checking text messages, emails, facebook, etc. Although watching people being completely distracted in the present irritates me greatly, I am sometimes guilty of this as well. I hope this article teaches me and everyone else to be present and aware with your surroundings.
I chose to watch "Terror In School" that I found on the Bring Israel Home website. Here is the link: http://www.aish.com/v/is/Terror-in-School.html. I chose this video because it seems like worldwide we have issues with terror in schools. The video turned out to not only be about terror in schools, but also terror in the Middle East. It showed how the Palestinian people are tormenting the Israelis and how the media portrays the violence. Although I knew most of this information, it showed me how strong Israel really is. I'm proud to be pro-Israel/Jewish because Israel seems to be one of the most powerful countries in the country, despite its small size. The video is a good way for people to really see what is going on with terror in the Middle East and how the media takes sides.
After watching "Coming Clean" by Charlie Harary, it became obvious that the message was to let G-d take care of you fully. We are incapable of completely cleaning ourselves and we need G-d to clean the rest of us that we cannot get to. Charlie Harary uses the analogy of his young son. One day while his son was playing in the dirt (his favorite activity), Charlie told him that he needed to be ready within 20 minutes so they could walk to shul. When he had about 5 minutes remaining, his father said it was too late and that he would have to stay home. The son said that he could not do it all and that the father needed to assist him. After processing what was going on, the father realized that his son needed him, just like he needed G-d to help fully clear him on Yom Kippur.
I thought that this story had a powerful message. On Yom Kippur, we try to clear ourselves to start fresh for the new year, but that is not possible on our own. We need to have our trust in G-d to forgive us for all of our wrongs and realize the kind of people we really are, despite some bad. This story inspired me to be a better person and to always know I can always fall back on G-d. On Yom Kippur, I will try to remember this story so I can become a better person.
I watched the video "Hope for Heroism" that was posted on the Bring Israel Home website. Here is the link: http://www.aish.com/v/is/Hope-for-Heroism.html. I chose to watch this video because so many people I know that have been to Israel are VERY compassionate about the Israeli Army. In fact, one of the most exciting parts about getting to Israel in June is that I can see the Israeli Army first hand. In "Hope For Heroism" is impossible to not see how supportive and caring the Israeli people are. I learned that Israel sticks together and does anything and everything for one another. No one person is alone and even at your worst, you have an army of people willing to help and support you.
"The Human Touch" by Dr. Jackie Yaris is all about compassion and self-awareness. Dr. Jackie Yaris reflects on Rosh Hashanah about how some in her medical industry become dehumanized in their professional life. She witnesses her peers putting up a wall with patients and not caring as much as they should, mainly because they don't want to get emotionally attached. Dr. Jackie Yaris does not want to be this way, she wants to be "human" in her career and have compassion for everyone around her. She will do as much as possible for any of her patients, simply because she really cares about each and every one of them. At the end of the article, she finally finds Dr. Rosen's compassion. He was able to take down the wall when his sister passed away. Although it was a sad time in his life, Dr. Yaris was able to see him in a "human" form, rather than his normal robot-like way.
I enjoyed reading this story because I too can relate to becoming "unattached" to things in life. I find myself constantly putting up walls and not experiencing life to the fullest. This story reminds me to always be compassionate.
When I was a young girl, religion was not important to me. I was irritated at the thought of going to Hebrew school, did not want to be forced to become a Bat Mitzvah, and definitely did not like to advertise that I was Jewish. After years went by and I met my husband who was more religious than myself, it became important for me to embrace who I am and where I come from. I took down my guarded wall and now celebrate all aspects of myself, especially religion. I learn new things every day and I am so excited to finally be able to go to Israel for my first time. At first, I was similar to the surgeon, I was guarded and not myself, and now I have become compassionate and embrace who I am.
Thank You :)
This year during Sukkot, while at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center, I observed the Sukkah that the students built. Although I did not personally build the Sukkah, it was nice to see the children enjoying it. I also got the opportunity to watch the children shake the Lulav and Etrog, which I had never seen before. Witnessing the Sukkah/Lulav and Etrog was meaningful because I got to see young children having a part in a special day in our religion. It was a nice time of reflection.
I attended services at Boca Raton Synagogue located in Boca Raton, Florida. Although generally the temple is a bit more religious than I am used to, I really enjoyed my time there. Rabbi Josh Broide is wonderful at making everyone feel welcomed and does an explanation service that is simple to understand.
I had previously baked Challah before, but this was my first time making Challah for my own Shabbat dinner that I hosted. This task was so much fun and I would definitely do it again!
This was the recipe that I used. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-challah-bread-181004
It was so much fun hosting Shabbat! My husband and I invited our moms/stepdads over, along with our grandparents. We served steak, potatoes, brocolli, and challah for Shabbat dinner. It felt really nice engaging in a tradition from our ancestors. I would definitely like to do this again, I enjoy cooking for a group of people. The best part of Shabbat was getting to enjoy the company of our family.
On my bedroom door, I have attached this mezuzah that was given to me as a gift from my sister. She purchased this mezuzah while she was on her Birthright trip.
Last weekend, I went to Pita Star, a local kosher restaurant in Hollywood, Florida. This was my first experience eating at a kosher restaurant. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone. The food was delicious and the owner/employees were more than helpful to somebody who was unfamiliar with Mediterranean cuisine.
Although I don't observe Shabbat weekly, it is actually very important to me. I think that it is a great opportunity to be with friends and family. I look forward to one day having children and observing Shabbat more often. Shabbat is a great way to reflect on what is important in life.
My husband and I have started a new tradition for Yom Kippur. Since we have been married, we have gone to my mother-in-law's house and have spent the entire holiday in her home. This year, we went to temple the night and morning of Yom Kippur. When we got home, we took a nap (fasting is exhausting!) and then prepared a traditional meal for breaking the fast. This has become a great tradition that I now look forward to. The most meaningful part of this holiday besides getting to spend the day with my family, is that I evaluate how I can become a better person all around. It is nice to be able to reflect to improve myself.
I spent Rosh Hashanah this year with my family. We all went to my grandmother's where we had apples dipped in honey and other traditional food. To me, the most meaningful part of any holiday is spending it with the people that you love and support the most. I look forward to many more years of Rosh Hashanah with my beautiful family.
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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