By: Rachel Borgman
Photo Credit: Zach Dalin
Birthright is a great opportunity for Jews of all different denominations to connect with their roots by visiting their homeland. Unfortunately, at schools with smaller numbers of Jewish students, not many Jews are aware of the opportunities that are out there for them. The Hillel at Bradley University is trying to tackle that problem head-on by educating Jewish students at a special "Birthright Shabbat." Last week, Bradley Hillel welcomed students to hear about the wonderful experiences they had on Birthright and how they too could take part in the Birthright experience. Not only did these students talk about how much fun it was to just be on the trip, but a common theme of the discussion was how close they felt to their Jewish roots and their desire to continue to explore their Jewish identity when they returned home.
Zach Dalin, the president of Bradley's Hillel said, "Birthright showed me Israel in a much different way than I had seen it before. We saw the sights and got to bond together, but more importantly, I was inspired to do more with my Judaism." Continuing to express his desire to share his experience with others, Dalin discussed how he planned to bring some of that Israeli culture back home with him. "I want to bring Israeli culture to Hillel programming and I also got inspired to do new songs as the song leader at camp this summer."
Dalin was not the only student to express his delight with his experience. Becca Turoff, a senior at Bradley and former student board member, described the trip as "opening her eyes to our homeland," saying that she immediately "fell in love with Israel." With so much positive response, the new Hillel Director, Rabbi Daniel Bogard is even trying to organize a birthright trip specifically for Bradley students in the near future.