I was a participant on Taglit-Birthright Israel in late Spring of 2008. For me, the highlight of the trip was the Mega Event with thousands of Jewish young adults gathered together. It was amazing to see such a large group of Jews from around the world all together in Israel. I recall stepping back for a moment and thinking about the magnitude of this group of people, all singing in unison, from so many different countries and it happened because of Birthright Israel.

Being in Israel for the first time, what struck me most was how green everything was, particularly in the north. I was shocked to see how much was actually grown in Israel. As a student in Jewish day school, I always had an image of Israel just being a desert. The trip, which covers so much ground geographically, historically and culturally, gave us an opportunity to see how vibrant and diverse the country truly is.

I am involved with the Young Leadership Council to help pay Birthright Israel forward and to make sure that future generations of Jewish young adults can have the same experience I did, going to Israel for my first time. Having since returned to Israel three times, I appreciate the power of the program in creating a lasting connection and how important this is in maintaining and supporting a vibrant State of Israel.