A Bat Mitzvah, Israeli Soldiers and Jewish Identity: A letter from Rachel

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Hi Jenny,

Today is the day that we sadly have to go back and leave this beautiful country. This trip has taught me a lot, both about history and about myself. This entire experience was life changing to me. The views were unbelievable, looking over Masada at sunrise to being at the top of the Golan Heights. The activities we did brought us together as a group and I can honestly say that I have 44 new best friends including Israeli soldiers. The soldiers surprised me the most because of how close we got despite the differences in our lives. I really became close with one of the soldiers, Adi, and I had the opportunity to meet her family and get a tour of her house as well as getting a nice Israeli home-cooked meal. The energy here is obvious as soon as you walk out the airport. You think to yourself “I have made it to the Holy Land.” For the past thousands of years, our ancestors have been praying for this. I also was lucky enough to become Bat Mitzvah while in Jerusalem. Throughout my life I felt like there was something missing when I thought about my Jewish Identity. I also feel a lot more connected to Israel. I always supported Israel because it was the land of my ancestors. Now that I have friends fighting in the IDF, I am more worried about what is going on in Israel that could seriously effect Adi, Raz, Raz, Shahar, Shay, Omer, and Nof. This experience truly effected me and I will never forget it. When I go home, I want to learn more about our ancestors and the history of our people. I also want to do what I can to help my Jewish community for the present and for the future. Thank you to the donators that allow me and my peers to come to Israel and have this amazing experience. I cannot wait to come back.

Rachel Sausner