The Impact that Livnot has had on me:  Livnot gave me a Jewish Identity, a knowledge of Judaism and Jewish philosophy, and a vision of my Jewish future.  Twelve years after my trip, I am indeed pursuing that Jewish future with a family that has a strong Jewish identity and a connection to Israel.  I have taken ownership over my Judaism and my Jewish learning because of the foundation Livnot provided to me.  I know being Jewish is MUCH more than Hanukkah and the High Holidays.  It’s about tikkun olam, preserving life, and making the mundane holy.  I am forever indebted to Livnot and look forward to paying off that debt (though I can never do that fully).

I had my first Livnot trip in 1999 from August to November.  It was so life altering that I hadto re-set my entire life’s trajectory: changing my relationship status, changing my job, and changing my name (to my father’s original last name).  After re-discovering a balance in my life where my Jewish identity could play its newly found role, I was ready to settle down and focus on a family.  I met my wife through a mutual Jewish friend, although both of us were able to see our J Date profiles.  After our first date, finding our similar connections to Judaism and Israel, I knew we were beshert.  We now have two beautiful daughters: Abigail, 4, and Madeline, 2. Our family has a strong connection to Judaism through our Kosher-style eating habits, our weekly Shabbat rituals of lighting candles, singing songs, saying blessings–and of course, baking challah.  I love teaching Abigail about being Jewish by incorporating aspects of tikkun olam through what we encounter: cleaning up other people’s messes, helping others, learning to read, and trying difficult tasks.  I say “we do it because we are Jewish.”  I look forward to seeing my daughters’ identities to Judaism and Israel develop over time.