Cultural Experience | Israel

13 Photos Every Birthright Participant Knows All Too Well

Because Birthright is one of the best travel journeys of a lifetime.

For a young Jewish adult, going on Birthright is one of those milestones you cannot wait to come. And by the time you’re boarding your flight from the airport in Tel Aviv following your ten-day trip, you return with a new group of friends so close it’s more like a family, a better insight into your own identity and a plethora of photos filling your camera roll.

A “just casually overlooking Syria from Israel” view


Israel looks over Syria, and one of the first stops in the northern part of the country is an overlook spot, where you’ll take several photos of the sign pointing in the directions of Jerusalem, Amman, Bagdad, Haifi and Damascus and photos of the Syrian landscape from your viewpoint in Israel. It’s such a unique opportunity to stand in one country and can look off in the distance at another, and you won’t to miss the view.

One of the oldest Ashkenazi synagogues in Safed


Also in the north part of the country, is the town of Safed with cobblestone streets, art stalls, a really long set of stairs and one of the oldest synagogues nearby. This is an adorable small town you’ll love spending time exploring and photos of the town are never excluded from the almost-required Facebook photo album of the trip.

Meeting new Israeli BFFS, IDF soldiers, a.k.a. the reason your Facebook timeline is mostly in Hebrew now…


Definitely a highlight for Birthright participants are first meeting, and getting to know, a group of seven-to-eight Israeli Defense Force soldiers of the same age who take time off to join us for a few days. You get to learn how you all my be cultures apart, but they are just young adults like you. One of my favorite memories was when our IDF buddies led an entire bus singalong coming back from our night out.

Camel rides in the desert at sundown


It’s time to leave the cities behind for the southern desert. And what’s more quintessential than a camel ride at sunset? (Except when there’s so many of you that you have to switch halfway through between camel and donkey rides.) Still unique. Nothing compares to seeing the Israeli sunset while riding on a camel.

Dinner in a Bedouin tent- on the floor; without utensils or plates


A Birthright staple activity. You eat in a large, open room with all the other trips there at the same time, experiencing Bedouin customs and dining traditions. It’s a meal unlike any other, and that’s what makes it so unique and unable to forget.

A “I hiked Masada at 4 a.m. just to see the most beautiful sunrise ever” snapshot


Hiking to the mountain Masada is one of the quintessential Israeli activities for any tourist, especially hiking early to see an incredible sunrise and its bright, rich colors. As you make your way to the top and see the bright colors as they start to peek over the horizon, it’s a truly unforgettable sight.

A “Look at me atop Masada at sunrise” shot


But as young adults, you totally need proof you hiked up the tall mountain before sunrise. And photographic evidence is must for you and all your friends, and it’s preferred to get the sun coming up behind you in the shot. Now, you’ll never forget how you hiked upon an entire mountain at five in the morning and saw the most magnificent sunrise of your life.

Seeing the very blue Mediterranean Sea and the Tel Aviv skyline behind it


Whether you have time to swim in the Sea or just observe it, how could you not take a #nofilter image of the clear, bright blue water and towering skyline of Tel Aviv behind it. It’s a breathtaking sight to see and explore.

Too many group photos to count


It’s a Birthright trip– there’s never a moment when you aren’t taking a group photo. ‘Gather and take a group photo,’ seemed to always be spewing out of someone’s mouth, regardless of if it was everyone, a bus selfie or just a few people in a shot. But those gatherings of constant group photos are a great reminder of the new, close friendships you made on your travel journey.

Walking around and playing in the cities


During free periods, Birthright participants have the chance to walk around, eat lunch and shop. So, there’s plenty of photos of everyone acting goofy, exploring and playing around. One of my favorite moments was getting to explore new cities towns and their local delicacies and my bus group had fun, and many photos, playing at local playgrounds and parks. Fun times!

The most meaningful visit to the Old City and the Western Wall


I don think anyone can argue with that fact that visiting the Old City in Jerusalem is one of the most anticipated and amazing to see, how preserved everything has remained. It’s an incredible sight to see and incredibly moving and meaningful.

“I made it to the Western Wall” photo


One of the major-known sites of Israel: praying at the Western Wall is definitely a must spiritually, and getting a photo of the wall or yet another group photo in front of it, is definitely sitting in everyone’s photo albums.

And the quintessential family photo on our last day in Israel, so sad to leave each other:


The last day is heart-wrenching, having to say goodbye to all your new friends, and so you’ll need one last photo to commemorate the end of a journey of a lifetime. And oftentimes, this photo is the quintessential Facebook/Instagram post to say “Thanks Israel for the best trip ever” type of caption.

It’s one of the most meaningful trips I’ve ever experienced, and I’m sure everyone else who’ve gone, can attest to that. And for everyone preparing for their trip, have fun– it will change your life and be one of the most rewarding travel experiences.

Birthright Pics

Miranda Siwak

Elon University | 6 stories

I'm currently a junior at Elon University in North Carolina, majoring in Journalism. I recently returned from studying abroad in London, England this past fall where I adored exploring all over the city, the country and Europe. In my free time, I enjoy curling up with a good book, writing, volunteering and, of course, traveling.

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