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

By Sara Hoffen

Discovering my Jewish identity through Israel


Israel used to be just another picture in a textbook. It was another set of dates, another long list of names, another world. It was a photograph that was immensely important yet one could never understand why. Until I spent three weeks diving into Israeli culture through a BBYO summer program called Passport, Israel was simply a distant place—one I had not immersed myself in as I had in Florida, my home.

I traveled through BBYO with 44 other teens from 16 different states and Canada. This trip opened my eyes to new perspectives—foods, cultures, people. It allowed me to see the differe...

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