Our Birthright Israel trip begins today. Here’s what we’ve got planned for our time on the bus.
An aerial photo taken on May 13, 2008, shows the ancient hilltop fortress of Masada.(Menhame Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)
Welcome to the Roll, where we’ll be bringing you news, in real-time, of what really goes down on a Birthright trip to Israel. And you won’t just be hearing from Tablet Magazine staffers. Our goal is to get you as close to the action as possible, so we plan on letting our fellow travelers speak for themselves—in blog posts, photos, and videos.
We’ve been told that we might be asked to withhold the names of some of the active-duty soldiers who travel with us—a condition to which we agreed because it was grounded in security and not central to our mission. Beyond that, everything is fair game.
Meantime, on our sister site Jewcy, we hope to bring you more news in something we’re calling Birthright After Dark. Try to resist the natural urge to only read that.
As you read this, we are probably at Newark Liberty International Airport, to which we’ve been asked to arrive a full four (4!) hours before our flight. If all goes according to plan, we will take off in the early afternoon and land extremely early tomorrow morning, Israel-time. Whether it’s so early that passengers will forgo the traditional applause is just one of the many hard-news events we’re likely to report.
So, want a preview of our trip? Here are some highlights.
Wednesday June 13: We’ll visit Ben-Gurion’s grave, ride camels, and spend the night in a Bedouin tent.
Thursday June 14: Masada! We will be hiking both up and down. No cable-cars for us.
Friday, June 15: We’ll meet the soldiers that will be traveling with us. We’ll also spend sundown at the Western Wall. Why sundown? Do we really have to spell this out?
Monday, June 18: Rafting on the Jordan River, or the River Jordan if you prefer to be all biblical about it.
Tuesday, June 19: We will tour Tsfat and receive a lesson in Jewish mysticism. While there, we will lament missing Madonna’s Israel concerts by less than a month.
Thursday, June 21: Tel Aviv and tearful goodbyes.