Hike Israel LivnotMy name is Jared and, like many other young Jews, I initially came to Israel on Birthright intending to seek something more meaningful than what I was getting from back in South Florida. Birthright was a great experience. It got me motivated and in touch with Israel. However, after it ended I wasn’t prepared  for continuing my journey without any guidance.

I spent a week on the beach of Tel Aviv soaking up the sunshine, but not soaking up any fulfillment. Plus I live on the beach in South Florida so sandy beaches and sunshine weren’t on my priority list. I heard how beautiful Greece and its islands are so I went there next. I spent a month and a half backpacking the Greek islands and Italy.  Feeling less fulfilled and more in debt I decided to come back to the only place that had given me any sense of fulfillment.  Unfortunately my trip back didn’t start off any different than my Italy/Greece experience.  Most of time I was sitting around or wandering around all day trying to figure out what to do next.

Volunteer Israel LivnotEventually I came across someone who just finished a program in Tzfat called Livnot. It sound like everything I was  looking for: affordable, spiritual but not too religious, offering myself through volunteering in the community, and experiencing Israel and Judaism in nature by unforgettable hikes. The staff were so incredible; I had a hard time believing they were actually real people. The week flew by! After finishing the program my only regret was that I hadn’t heard of Livnot sooner. I was able to find that spark that Taglit initially gave me and keep it going. I now feel I am on a path to further explore myself and my Judaism.  I am forever grateful for the experience Livnot gave me and wish anyone else the same opportunity.

-Jared Solomon (NE94)