During this past winter break, Wheaton College students Kyle McNicoll ’17 and Asher Trout ’17, along with several Brown University students, embarked on a birthright trip to Jerusalem, a program that allows Jews from all around the world to visit Israel.
Trout heard about the birthright program through family and friends who had previously partaken in it. This led him to apply to Shorashim via an online application so that he too could travel to, learn about, and experience Israel through his own eyes.
“For a long time Jews have been defined as a wandering people who are the religious minority everywhere, but Israel gives a new dimension to Jewish identity because it is the only nation that accommodates Jews as a majority,” said Trout. “Birthright gives Jews an opportunity to travel to Israel and experience a Jewish state as well as explore our own identity within this unique context.”
While searching within the Greater Boston area, Trout succeeded in finding a Brown University trip. McNicoll and Trout spent ten days with Brown students as well as seven Israelis. Together, the group explored many places in Israel, including but not limited to the Golan Heights, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Masada, and the Negev. With regard to his overall experience in Israel, Trout said he had “a ton of fun” and that he “really enjoyed the opportunity.”
“I definitely have a changed perspective on Israel,” said Trout. “Now that I’ve befriended Israelis and have a taste of the country, the conflicts involving Israel feel more personal.” Trout said that he intends to visit Israel again on his own. “This trip was amazing but I could only see what I was shown,” Trout commented.