Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim 2022 Alumna
Hometown: Seattle, WA
High School: West Seattle High School
Why did you decide to participate in an Israel experience program during high school?
I’ve always known I wanted to study abroad in Israel, it was only a matter of when I would be able to. I was initially inspired to go since my dad studied there in high school and college and loved it. I had never been before and I wanted to learn more about its history, and what better way than to go there and learn about it in the place where the history took place?
What was the highlight of the experience for you?
Although it may sound cliche, the highlight of the experience was just being there. The moment I got there I immediately felt comfortable even though I was in a place where I knew no one and had never been there before, and I think a big part of that is the way Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY) is run. Learning about the history of the Jewish people while being in the place we had been for centuries was a special in way that you can’t describe. It’s something you have to experience for yourself. It is something I think every Jew should get the opportunity to have at least once in their life.
What was Israel to you before the program, and what does Israel mean to you now?
Truthfully, before going to TRY, Israel didn’t mean a lot to me. I knew it was the home of the Jewish people but never knew more beyond the basic details. Since going and coming home it means more to me than I ever would’ve imagined. It’s become a place where I truly feel at home, and though it’s not without its faults, I’m proud of where it is today.
Do you plan to go to Israel again? If so, when?
I absolutely plan to go to Israel again, though I’m not sure when. I’ve even played around with the idea of taking a gap year to spend on another program.
What advice do you have for other teens interested in Israel experiences?
My advice would be to just do it. I understand that it may be difficult with school and extracurriculars but something like this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you’ll forever be grateful you did it. I would also recommend going in with an open mind. Yes, the programs are super fun, but they’re also extremely educational. You’ll end up learning things you know, but from different angles, and you most definitely will learn something new about yourself.
How are you involved in the Jewish community since coming back to Washington?
I plan to join BBYO with my friend who also went on TRY, which I never would’ve thought of doing before going to Israel.