What do y’all think? Jews are allowed this thing called Birthright where they get a free trip to Israel and get to stay in hotel with other Jewz and meet religious leaders and do sort of a camping-type thing. I’m not doing much over the summer anyway so if it’s completely free, I guess there’s no reason not to, right?

Plus it all fits in with my plan to branch out a bit, although it’s not really being on a trip as an individual. (Although I hear I can extend my stay in Israel after the trip is over for a relatively small fee. Sup Shiranne!) Also who knows even though there’s no God I might come back brainwashed and trying to convert everyone around me after I undergo a profound mystical experience.

Anyone been on Birthright before? Opinions? Thoughts?

32 thoughts on “Birthright”

    1. Oh shut up dude. I’ve got relatives who have recently gone there and friends who currently live there and they haven’t been in any danger. They, and the trip, stay away from historically harmful locations.
      And besides if anything does happen, who really gives a shit? Let the cards fall where they may.

  1. I don’t know what they do to you over there, but there is this really creepy trend of people coming back and being all like “YAY JEW YAY JEW JOIN US JOIN US JOIN US”
    It was so creepy I’ve totally stopped doing anything Hillel-related.
    But still, free vacation to a place that’s pretty and has interesting historical stuff.

    1. Yeah. It’s still Israel and it’s still free, regardless as to whether I have to be in a happy fun Jew Jew Jew camp. If I’m converted into a fundie, c’est la vie. :(

      1. “If I’m converted into a fundie, c’est la vie. :(”
        chas v’shalom! ;-)
        eh, its a free trip, i say to just go, have a good time, and just remember that you are being fed a tremendously feel-good sugar-coated-cherry-on-top of what it means to be a Jew… keep your skeptic sense still turned on, and you’ll be fine…
        Eve & Co.

    2. and have you noticed that it seems like the less obervant a person was *before* the trip, the more likely they were to come back all bearded, shaved head, kippot & tallis and baal teshuva to the max?…
      that is IF they bothered coming back at all!… i have two gfs who would have described themselves as unaffiliated if not “secular” and after birthright they stayed behind to yeshiva in Jerusualem…
      more power to them, i guess, but it was really creepy to read their emails…. can’t explain it.
      Eve & Co.

      1. I think that’s good for them. I don’t really think non-observance can be quantified like people do with observance, but I don’t mind either way when atheists, agnostics, or whatever end up becoming spiritual. It’s all a personal choice.
        That’s why when I said “c’est la vie” if I become a “fundie,” I meant it – at this point in my life I say that there is no God, but it’s all up to my personal experience as to whether I continue to hold this to be true in the future.

          1. I’m a Jew, I have a Jewish history and a Jewish heritage. I’m not spiritually Jewish. I don’t think they really expect you to go totally 180 on this 10-day excursion. This is not a cult like you showed me in the video. I think you should probably do more research about this whole thing in general.

            1. Oh of course. I was just trying to give an alternative opinion – I wasn’t judging, and I don’t know crap about the Israeli thing… but I don’t believe in a free lunch, even less a holiday.

        1. (yeah, its taken me forever to reply back to you, sorry) ;-)
          seriously, i say more-power-to-ya to anyone who wants to become more in touch with their spirituality, but i am cautious about wishing anyone into becoming a charedi…
          there is a huge gap between secular and charedi, in the sphere of Jewish “affiliations”.. lots of room for self-discovery, and not a need to choose only one or the other..
          all said though, i still hope you find what you’re looking for (no matter where it is) and have fun in eretz Israel, should you decide to go..
          Eve & Co.

  2. I’m more for the separation of religion and government. Can I adopt Judaism and get the same benefit? I’m just trying to understand how it all works…

    1. Israel was formed with the intent to have a Jewish homeland, so I don’t really think the separation of church and state applies there. The Birthright trip is pretty much one of the basic tenets of Israel’s purpose, from what I can tell.
      You bring up a good question but I’m pretty sure you need to have been at least brought up going to a temple, with a rabbi writing a letter of consent.

  3. The fact that it’s called Birthright does indeed creep me out. Birthright = zionism. Since I don’t think Israel had a right to take over in the first place, it’s hard for me to support…

    1. I don’t support it either. And part of the program is to meet with “experts” on the Arab-Israeli conflict – if they don’t provide both sides of the issue I’m not really inclined to listen.
      But man, free trip to Israel.

  4. DUDE – free trip! Sounds like a must! Especially if you’re gonna visit somewhere that is simultaneously as gorgeous and fascinating and Israel. Definite rowdy funtime possibilities, and that shoulde be well worth the risk of religious contamination. :)

  5. I’ve researched it a lot, cos I want to go on one. There are Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox trips, trips where it’s focused on Zionist activism, trips where you build houses for poor people, all sorts of stuff. I’m hoping to go do one this summer. Basically, you pick what package you want. And while I know they have a certain perspective about Judaism and Israel, I highly doubt they’re going to brainwash you, as all these replies seem to indicate. You’re not an idiot.

  6. Take more risks. Go to Israel on your own. Or go over there with the Birthright crew, then ditch them and explore on your own. It sounds like the Birthright trips may be designed to provide the experience of freedom and exploration without actually offering the same. Guided tours of only the prettiest things can be fun, but are basically empty spectacle. You deserve better.
    The world is large, intense, and fascinating, and seeing it on someone else’s terms, especially if the location in question is very nearly a war zone and your tour guides have a political agenda, may be seriously sub-awesome.

    1. Which is why I plan on staying afterwards. I just have to pay the flight rescheduling fee. By going with Birthright I save over a thousand dollars – and I can imagine that’s why the majority of people go on this program.

  7. The thing is, I think birthright is pretty creepy. But it’s free. So I don’t know…
    As long as you know that Israel isn’t the fluffy crap they feed you then it doesn’t really matter what they say. Obviously you shouldn’t go on the trip with a zionism-destroying agenda, but I mean, you probably can take advantage of the trip, appreciate the country for the beautiful things it has and still be aware that there are lots of things you aren’t seeing.
    In terms of the brainwashing thing, that’s half the reason why I think it’s kinda creepy. Some of the kids in my Garin only decided they wanted to join the army after a birthright trip and I think that’s pretty crazy, especially since I’m Israeli and I had been planning to move back and go to the army for years and even I had some difficulty with my decision to move back.
    My concerns about the trip are, in order of importance:
    -the people who go on these trips
    -the lack of freedom (you could be here for 10 whole days and I might not even get to see you until, like, after.. D:)
    -the intensity of a 10 day trip with all of the same people
    -the one-sidedness in lectures and things (not really relevant to the places you’re going to since it’s not really safe to go visiting non-Jewish areas so I mean, the places you visit on the trip are the same places you’d want to visit if you traveled on your own)
    But like you said, you don’t have to listen to them if they go off and try to brainwash you. And like you said, worst case scenario you decide you like the place, which, you know, is not that horrible. :D You can like the place and still worry about what’s right and wrong.
    Oh ps. Israel is great and you should totally come visit, okay!!! :) Thanks.

  8. We’s going to Los Angeles for the Khmer Fusion Project show (with Dengue Fever) at the Knitting Factory (this is, in fact, a big deal) on the 14th. You should comming. There’s also the beach on the 9th (remember we went last year and played Mario Kart?).

  9. I’ve enjoyed reading your answers in the computer help community and thought I would drop by and say hello.
    so.. hello :-)

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