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Meet Alumnus Marissa Freeman

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M. Freeman


When did you go on a Birthright Israel trip and with which organizer? How was it?: My Birthright journey was provided by Shorashim in Winter 2016. People have been asking me how the trip was since I've gotten back and I'm having a hard time articulating the incredible journey that was Birthright. At moments we were laughing so hard our stomachs hurt and at others our whole group experienced waves of heavy emotion and tears. The adventure was fast, meaningful, and educational. I have not only taken away so many incredible friends but also a new understanding for life in Israel and my relationship to my Judaism.

Why did you decide to go to Israel: I went to Israel when I was in my teenage years with Camp Ramah in California but I knew it was time to revisit and establish a relationship with Israel that is more mature, educated, and meaningful. Birthright was just what I needed - a spark to launch my adult relationship with Israeli culture, society, and people. Walking away with shared experiences with my bus group, which included the seven Israelis that were on the trip, means that I have a newfound understand for living as a Jew in the diaspora. I feel a sense of responsibility to educate myself continuously on Israeli society, policy and narrative.

What is your favorite trip memory/funniest story:
Being a member of the Shabbat committee was a trip highlight! Our group was fortunate enough to have two Shabbatot in Israel, one in the North and one in Jerusalem. The first Shabbat was a chance for us to get to know each other, the second was a week later when we had all bonded through laughs and tears on the trip. To help lead the conversations and plan the events for Kabbalat Shabbat with some of my new friends meant that I was witnessing the growth of our group and I will cherish that as a peer for a long time. On the funny side, we had a situation at Ein Avdat where one of the girls on our trip lost her sunglasses in the stream we were hiking along. Without hesitation, one of the mensches on our bus dove in to save them, almost sacrificing his own glasses and phone. It made for an incredible photo opp as well as a chance for us to applaud one of our own. 

You are from: Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii (#808bornandraised)

Where are you living now: Wrigleyville, Chicago, IL (moved in right before the big W, so I'll take a little bit of credit for their championship)

How do you pay the bills: I'm LOVING my job/passion as the Chicago Hub Manager for OneTable. OneTable helps you host and attend unique Shabbat dinners so you can make the most of your Friday night. Whether it’s dinner in your home or on a blanket under the stars, OneTable helps you Shabbat your way: We're a new way to Friday.

Favorite food from Israel: I had the best falafel of my life in Tzfat. I also find serious joy in Shoko B'sakit, or chocolate milk in a bag - genius.

Your claim to fame/fun fact: If I'm not eating the free food at my WeWork office or working on my #InstaCaption game, you'll find me taking classes at The Bar Method in Lakeview and Gold Coast. Claim to fame? Belting out Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry with my best friend from Camp Ramah. We owned the karaoke stage in Tel Aviv while extending my Birthright trip by four days. #bestever 


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