Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Chabad at UCF takes its 10th trip to Israel through Birthright

 

Micaela Stone, left, and Monique Cohn with their bat mitzvah certificates.

Biannually, Chabad at UCF brings students to Israel on the Taglit – Birthright Israel: Mayanot program. Every summer and winter break sees hundreds of students travel to Israel with UCF Chabad Rabbi Chaim Lipskier, and this summer marked their 10th trip to Israel with Birthright.

With Lipskier serving as the rabbi and spiritual tour guide, the trip is a high-quality Israel experience that includes 10 days of visiting landmark attractions and participating in cultural activities together with young Israelis and travelers from diverse backgrounds.

Led by passionate Israeli tour guides and educators, participants delve into the historical, political, cultural and spiritual dimensions of Israel. Mayanot makes a point of tapping into contemporary Israeli life and providing participants with the opportunity to make Israeli friends, enjoy the nightlife and visit beaches, museums and cafes. Another highlight of Mayanot is spending Shabbat in Jerusalem and experiencing the evening services at the Kotel.

Mayanot is a provider of Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, and partners with the Chabad on Campus International Foundation through their more than 150 centers across the United States.

Micaela Stone, a participant of Chabad at UCF’s 10th Mayanot Taglit-Birthright trip this year, shares her thoughts: “Before my Birthright adventure, I had some expectations, but they were nothing compared to what I actually experienced on the trip. Not only did this trip open my eyes to my religion and culture, but it gave me another country to call my home, and a new family—or ‘mishpacha’ (which I learned, means family in Hebrew). I enjoyed every aspect of this trip: the hikes, group activities, Jewish learning, as well as touring the various cities.

“I must say,” she continued, “the trip would have not been so amazing without our tour guide, Mark; fantastic group leader, Hagit; and the very knowledgeable and vivacious Rabbi Lipskier, director of Chabad at UCF.

“Part of what made this trip so special was having seven soldiers spend five days with us. It really opened my eyes to how different their lives were to ours, living in America. I think we all learned a lot about each other’s cultures and traditions, and I deeply respect each and every one of them for serving for their country and for having so much pride in Israel. I learned the importance of standing up for Israel and showing pride in Judaism, and to continue to do so as I return to America.

“There was certainly no time for rest on this trip; we were constantly on the move, exploring new places. One of the most rigorous yet exciting days included waking up for an early morning camel ride; hiking up Masada; hiking through the Ein Gedi waterfalls; and finally, making our way to the Dead Sea. Another highlight of the trip for me was the time spent in Jerusalem. Going to the Western Wall for Shabbat is an incredible experience, one that I will never forget. I also had the incredible opportunity of having a bat mitzvah at the Wall, with my best friend, Monique Cohn. I highly encourage everyone who is eligible for this trip to go and experience it for themselves, because as highly as everyone speaks of it, words themselves cannot do the experience any justice.”

For more information about Chabad at UCF, visit http://www.JewishUCF.com. To register for Taglit Birthright Israel: Mayanot through Chabad at UCF visit http://www.mayanotisrael.com.

 

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