Israel (1 Viewer)

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dirty_feet

I deleted myself
I have the opportunity to go to Israel this summer for 2 weeks. I have never traveled internationally and right now I'm doing a lot of research, getting my passport, etc. I'm a little nervous of course - any advice or stories you punks can share with me to inspire me to go through with it?
 
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dirty_feet

I deleted myself
*Ahem* WELL - apparently I am a dirty Jew. I have been having Shabbot dinner with a friend and we traced my genealogy and I qualify for a 2 week Birthright trip. It's not until NEXT summer - 2010 - I have to get a visa and passport and stuff. I want to go because well - it's Israel, I have issues but I'm not stupid - but it's a big tour group with a good portion of these people being of a privileged class...so...that's my only deterrent - I picked a bike/hike touring group which I will like - but it's nights in hotels and outings with backpacks and guides and scheduled lunches and whatnot...so...I don't know. It is my first international travel of any kind so the cushion of a big group is a good start....I'm just not your average mid 20's early 30's out of college/in college/college type kid you know? And a big portion of these kids are those types of people - fuck it - I'm worried my punk ass won't fit in!
 

compass

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Once you get there, what are they gonna do really? You'll already have a return flight lined up too. If you don't like the scene, just disappear for a little while and do your own thing. Their tour is probably pretty regemented, but even with the tour, it's probably still an amazing experience.

Regardless of what you think or feel about religion, it's still fascinating as hell that events (possibly) took place there which still drive major political forces/conflicts today. I mean shit, people get caught up in all the other crap, but sometimes lose sight of the fact that Evangelicalism was a central factor in the Bush administration's (neocon) foreign policy (and it's bullshit when they say it isn't a war against Islam). Alot of them believe that when Israel finally gets fully established, the second coming of Jesus will take place. American Christians pour insane amounts of money into Israel, and you'll see a bunch of them there. It would be painful, but I'm the type who likes to jump right into the midst of things I hate, because then I can have a truer and deeper understanding of them.

In my opinion, the opportunity outweighs the possible annoyances, and c'mon, it's only two weeks.

I wish I had heard about the birthright trips before I passed the age limit.

BTW, if you plan on visiting any other mid-east countries at some point, try and get Israeli customs to stamp a seperate piece of paper, not your passport. Most other countries will deny entry if you've been to Israel, sometimes they'll search you for two passports or other evidence of being there. I've heard there a few border crossings with Jordan where you can basically walk into the country without worrying about a passport. I've been thinking about going to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and figuring out a way to do Israel too (probably just save it for last). I wish Iran allowed Americans to visit.
 
I

IBRRHOBO

I deleted myself
Baruch HaShem! :)

I still have family in Tel Aviv. Be advised that there will be an EXTENSIVE background check on you. I was there three years ago for a bat mitvah. Additionally, I would CAUTION you from trying to sneak across the border. The chances are very good that you won't come back. COmpass is correct in the stamping issue. It's going to happen, though. Mossad is VERY thorough.

As you say it was your geneology traced you are apparently not going to stand up to the Orthodox standard. If you leave your group and go a wandering, avoid the Mea Shearim quarter. It is ultra orthodox! Yup, grew up w/the payess and still haunt chabad mitzah tanks every now and then.

If you have any ?'s on customs and the orthodoxy, pm me.
 
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dirty_feet

I deleted myself
Yeah - I was aware of the stamp in the book for sure - what a shame. I had forgotten about a background check - a little blinded by my excitement to be able to go. I can't think of anything that would deter me from going except some debt and a possession charge from when I was like - 19....I had to go through this 'first offenders' program and completed AA classes, community service, ASAP classes and what not and I did it all with flying colors...so...I hope something that simple doesn't hinder a decision.
 

kai

Pilgrim
Joined
May 5, 2007
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i'm not jewish and I've been to israel.

i hear the birthright people are not that rigid so don't worry about that. The tour will be cool cause you'll get to see a lot of the countries highlights and have them explained to you (f yer interested n that shit). It's really expensive there, customs is a breeze (was for me, i'm a canadian though, may be different for you). If you go off alone, Eilat n the south sucks balls, kibbutz samar 20 miles north of eilat is a neat spot. The dead sea is great, there's an info shop in Tel Aviv, the one in Jerusalem is gone, jerusalem is kinda neat. I think the tour would put you in the best position to get a couple weeks worth of trip, israel was kinda boring for me, all the young people are holed up in military positions so it's not like bummin in N.America where you can find people to hang with and send you to cool places. I do recommend swimming in the mediterranean, dead and red sea. Also MURT might be able to give you some good info also.

Hitchhiking is really easy, more so then over here. But no thumb, you extend your index finger and point to the ground beside you, you'll see how the locals do it!
 

compass

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Obviously from my post I'm talking out of my ass, just going off what I've heard and stuff. But what kind of things will they turn you away for if they see it on your background check? Also, I'm sure about the orthodoxy, but in general, do people turn a cold shoulder to those of us who aren't "really" Jews, ie dad is Jewish, mom isn't? How thouroughly do they check your geneology?
 
D

dirty_feet

I deleted myself
Regardless of what you think or feel about religion, it's still fascinating as hell that events (possibly) took place there which still drive major political forces/conflicts today.

Yeah - I think it would be hard not to be intrigued by the history that seems to plague Israel. It's unfortunate that there is such conflict and unrest among people trying to identify their god that is the same. I feel honored to have the opportunity to go.

Heavens_Fall - you little punk. I'm totally down for a political discussion - but maybe on another thread.

My friend Yeshua did Birthright a few years ago (he picked me up hitchiking) and when he picked me up on the side of the road and I told him I had been there for HOURS - he had just returned from his trip...and was telling me all kinds of hitchiking stories from his experience there. That's really interesting with the finger instead of the thumb though.

OH MAN- I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!! I will keep everyone posted on the process, indeed. I have lost touch with Yesh - he was my inspiration to go so many years ago.

According to the itinerary - we will bike the banks of the Jordon river, and tour Tel Aviv and Eilat as well and also some hiking. I'm especially interested in a desert orienteering session with an evening bunking in a Bedouin tent for the night.

This will be so different from anything else I have experienced - of course. It's no dumpster dive in some slack jawed yokel town with an evening train ride - that's for sure. Goodbye Baked Beans - hello Matzo crackers!
 
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dirty_feet

I deleted myself
Obviously from my post I'm talking out of my ass, just going off what I've heard and stuff. But what kind of things will they turn you away for if they see it on your background check? Also, I'm sure about the orthodoxy, but in general, do people turn a cold shoulder to those of us who aren't "really" Jews, ie dad is Jewish, mom isn't? How thouroughly do they check your geneology?

Yeah - this is a point of contention for me - my father is Jewish my mother is not. The information I have says "ONE JEWISH PARENT" but it doesn't address the matriarchal standards, or Orthodox standards as well. I am in contact with a trip organizer waiting to hear back on this question. From a tourism standpoint - I would think they would allow halfbreeds and Jews alike to go since it allows for more people to qualify, more people to spend their money in Israel. As soon as I find out - I'll let you know!
 
I

IBRRHOBO

I deleted myself
Almost anyone can go to Israel. Customs might say that if you had a murder, rape, etc. bit they won't allow you in. Here's the deal and it oughta clear shit up for you and Compass.Tomorrow morning you go down to buy an airline ticket. You HAVE to buy it from El Al. No other flights in or out other than military/diplomatic. Mossad (Israeli intelligence) screens you. They know as much, IF NOT MORE, than the FBI/CIA. Been doing this since the '72 hijacking. Now, they say u are unsavory and El Al calls you back and refunds your money. Period. The next step is that wehn you go to the airport, you're gonna go four to five hours early as their screening has NOTHING to do w/what our clowns in TSA does. They don't like how you look in line, that's it. Then, it's fairly smooth sailing. It's not, like say slipping over the border or getting a legit visa for Canada. It's serious shit; however, you'll never know it as other than the security @ the airport, it's invisible.

As for who's the jew in the family, no one over there really gives a shit. Now, the tour group may have some fine print for you to get the alyiah or free ticket, but that's it. If you want dual citizenship, which is granted if your MOTHER and FATHER are jews, that's another story. By the way, conversion isn't like Christianity or say Islam. The aforementioned require basically an affirmation of faith. Judaism doesn't prosylatize; juxtaposed, this means that the conversion process is generally 3 - 5 years for an orthodox conversion and VERY minute in detail. To me, it's a lot about nothing unless you want the dual citizenship.

In addressing heavens_fall, I really don't take any hurt from his stance. The on-going war is one of politics, not religion. Most of the suras in the Koran are similar to the Tanach. The accouterments are a bit different, but the religions are similar. What I do feel on this point is that Israel was wrong in not allowing for the civilians to be removed. War between nations should be between their militaries and not the civilians. Too much colateral damage. I've been to war on two continents so I feel I can speak to that point.

Kai is astute in the description of Israel. I'm a bit older than most folks and still remember my first tour of duty in the kibbutz. Things were a bit different back then as there wasn't much hitchin' unless you had an IDF uniform. And unless you have proper visas, you can't just go off hitchin' today ... well, you can, but you'll catch heat.

Totally agree w/the fact that other than the Mea Quarter, Israel is fairly inclusive and laid back. Hell, you have homeless, drugs, mob (go no further than Miram Lansky in Las Vegas before you gasp). The big facade that people look to ... G-d's land and blah, blah. Nah, Israel has all the same shit as everywhere else! About the only thing you'll key on is that on Shabbat, virtually nothing moves! Nothing that violates Rambam's Top 39! Check out www.chabad.org if you want some in depth background on everything orthodox. Decent site, no strings attached.
 
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dirty_feet

I deleted myself
Yeah - in order to get all of the flight stuff situated I have to apply for the trip a season in advance. I'm going in the winter or spring/summer of 2010 (i am obligated to my employer this season) As far as eligibility - taken directly from the website -

Eligibility
Q. Who is eligible?


A. The Taglit-Birthright Israel gift is open to all Jewish young adults, ages 18 to 26, post high-school, who have neither traveled to Israel before on a peer educational trip or study program nor have lived in Israel past the age of 12. Eligible individuals are those recognized as Jewish by the Jewish community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism; or if either parent is Jewish AND the applicant does not actively practice another religion.

And so I wonder if a letter from the Rabbi will suffice. The application process is going to take this whole next year to go through so I have a lot of time to get my things in order and complete some Hebrew studies I started almost a year ago and half assed until now.

Oh man - how do you think dreads and piercings and tattoos (especially the ones on my hands) are going to be received as far as security is concerned? Oh god - I really don't want to come off as offensive - the tattoo on my hand straight up says 'fuck you'. EeeeK! Oh this international-travel-gotta-look-simple-and-plain stuff has a hold of me now!

Now onto chabad.org....
 
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IBRRHOBO

I deleted myself
You won't have any issues on how you look. Now, if you have any swazis or racial shit (stuff like squatter's rights sign, anarchy, etc. are fine) you might not want to consider the voyage. Bear in mind any piercings should be removed prior to the airport unless you wanna have an impromtu strip tease wherein u'll be the performer! :)

Looks like u qualify. Have your rabbi from your shul that your father is duly on the rolls so to speak, that you are his daughter (if you're adopted or he is a step-father it becomes complicated) and you should be saying mazal tov soon!
 
D

dirty_feet

I deleted myself
OH MY GOD I'M PISSING ON MY OWN FACE EXCITED!!!!!!! MEELLTTING MEELLTtiiNgG!!!! Arrow - I'll bring you back some goodies FOR SURE. Oh my gosh - thanks everyone so much! I'll post back with updates as this process goes on.
 

veggieguy12

The Captain
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around the USA
My two cents:

Brithright is a recruiting arm of the Israeli colonist government; the govt. needs more immigrants so they can justify their expansion onto Palestinian lands. Incoming residents are the bread on which Israel's ethnic cleansing is buttered.

So, taking a Birthright trip is a good opportunity to educate some folks on why they shouldn't move to a gov't-subsidized home in a tract-housing neighborhood with military "protection".

As it happens, CBS's "60 Minutes" had surprisingly a good report tonight about the religious "settlers" in the West Bank, and the increased rate of colonization underway.

Oh!, I strongly recommend Anna Baltzer's book Eyewitness in Palestine (Barnes & Noble carries it, occasionally). She was an irreligious Jew who went to Israel, saw all the good stuff, then got curious about Palestine and visited, saw the dirty dark side of Israel's glamour, started exposing it. Her book is loaded with pictures; she also has some videos on YouTube.
 
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dirty_feet

I deleted myself
That sounds awesome - I appreciate it. I'm aware that trips like that would certainly feed you a bias view in order to promote their own agenda - that's...well...the world at at hand it would seem. Thanks for the recommendation on the book! I'll be spending this next year in study at a local shul before going over there all wide-eyed in a candy store. My mother's partner is a history teacher as well - so he is helping to make this trip interesting....and make me...aware. I will pick up the book - thanks!
 

finn

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Joined
May 15, 2007
Messages
1,193
If I could get on a free trip there, I would, there are some neat historical stuff there (and for the agriculture nerds, they are the foremost experts on drip irrigation) but avoid the religious extremists, they are insane- they get upset at women for wearing pants instead of skirts. Anyway, hopefully by the time you get there it won't be a huge mess. I'm embarassed to admit that my parents fed me gefiltefish (if you don't know what it is, don't ask) when I was little, though I'm not even jewish by any definition (unless you count the foods I ate).
 
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dirty_feet

I deleted myself
HMMMMMMMMmmmmmmMmm...geeeffiilltte fish!

Your agriculture comment reminds me -there are several WOOF-ing farms in Israel, mostly dealing with olives and goat cheese.
 

compass

Lost
Joined
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Gefilte fish is great! Put a chunk on a piece of matzo and throw a little horseradish on top, mmm mmm mmm.

A while ago I read about a really old (can't remember the age) Israeli man who was in great health, and all he ate for pretty much his whole life was yogurt, fresh fruit and olives.
 

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