large group of enthusiastic Jewish students from Odessa, Ukraine visited Israel on a Taglit Birthright trip last week. The students, many of whom are the city’s FJC ‘Or Avner ‘ school graduates and active community members, have been looking forward to the trip since the beginning of the summer.
Odessa rabbis and local Israeli guides led the group that toured Tzfat, Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, went for a swim in the Dead and Mediterranean seas, and took camel walks in the Negev desert. And of course spent Shabbat in Jerusalem and prayed at the Western Wall.
“Over the 10 days that we spent in Israel, I fell in love with the country. Together with our friends and great guides we experienced life in Israel and now I want to go back!” says Anna Bondarenko, one of the trip participants.
“The organization of the trip was beyond all expectations, we managed to see the entire country from North to South,” says Tamar Glazov, the trip counsellor, also from Odessa.
The trip agenda was organized by Israel Experts, a company hired by the Odessa community, to tailor the trip and include options not usually offered by Taglit, said rabbanit Chaya Wolf, one of the group organizers.
Taglit Birthright trips are offered free of charge to Jewish youth worldwide, sponsored by philanthropists and the Israeli government.