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Winter Birthright 2016! Bus #1378

Dec 24, 2016
›Tomorrow is the day! Can't believe it's here!! This time tomorrow we will be a few hours into our flight to Israel. 

I can't begin to describe how excited I am to be leading this Birthright trip. This will be the first trip I lead and my first time back to Israel since I went on my Birthright trip in February of 2004. I looked hard for a picture of me in Israel in 2004 but can't find any. I didn't have a digital camera and smartphones weren't around yet either. Crazy huh!? 

A lot has changed not only in Israel but in my life since that trip. My Birthright trip changed my life in so many ways. It changed my outlook on life, my Jewish identity and what I would study not only for undergrad but now in grad school. It also led me to this job, at Oregon Hillel. You never know how an experience can change your life.

This trip will hopefully be the first of many trips as a Birthright staff for me, but I also hope that it will be the first of many trips/interactions with Israel for our students. There are multiple ways for the students to stay connected to Israel when they get back and I am always here and happy to help them in any way possible. I have had a long, tough, fun, yet amazing journey with Israel and Judaism, I hope that I will be able to help our students with their own Jewish and Israel journeys and that this trip to Israel will be the catalyst for that. 

I have been with the students every step of the way in preparation for this trip and I am so excited about our 15 students. We have a group that will contribute in so many ways! The conversations, interactions, experiences and adventures are going to be insane! There will definitely be stories told for years to come and friendships made that will last a lifetime. 

Look out for future posts over the next 10 days and watch out Israel! Bus #1378 is coming for you!!

- Nathan Blocker 
  Israel Engagement Fellow, Oregon Hillel Foundation

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