My Livnot Experience: Keren Gordon
The old Yiddish proverb, “Man plans and God laughs” applies to the wondrous path that led me to Livnot U’Lehibanot. When I arrived in Israel in the summer of 2012, attending the Galilee Fellowship program was not part of my plans. But, thankfully, my path led me to this amazing life-changing experience. Participating on Livnot was most definitely one of the best times of my life!
After attending Birthright Israel as a freshman, then returning the following summer with friends, I fell in love with Israel and knew that I wanted to come back after graduating from UC Berkeley. I signed up for WUJS Intern Tel Aviv, an outstanding 5-month Masa post-college program. I arrived in Israel in June 2012, three months before the program began. I was eager to have a variety of experiences so I would learn about different aspects of Israeli life and culture. I first participated on a fabulous MEOR program which was based in Jerusalem, and then my adventures continued when I volunteered on a lovely kibbutz in northern Israel.
Livnot Provides an Abundance of Exciting Opportunities
Then, I longed to further my knowledge and connection to Judaism and began to explore alternative programs. I searched for a program that would be fun, interactive, relaxing yet challenging, spiritual, and educational. I thought it would be difficult to find a program that had all of these qualities, until I learned about Livnot. I heard wonderful and positive things about Livnot from a number of people, so I decided to sign up for the one-month Galilee Fellowship program. Consequently, it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life! Also, since my father grew up in Tzfat, I knew that it would be a rare opportunity to explore my roots and learn more about my heritage.
Just as Judaism provides a road map to a rewarding and meaningful life, Livnot provides a key to unlocking deep and spiritual aspects of Judaism. Discoveries are made every day in the most unexpected ways. And that is the magical quality of a Livnot experience.
Little did I know how big of an impact Livnot would have on me. I woke up every morning with a burst of energy, looking forward to what the day would bring. There was never a dull moment, and each day was full of fun and rewarding activities. These included: gorgeous hikes to waterfalls, painting elementary schools, singing to residents of a senior citizen home, visiting many art galleries, going wine tasting, exploring caves, and engaging in unforgettable Shabbat celebrations. I loved how the daily activities brought out the spiritual and creative side of me, helping me discover different aspects of myself.
Tzfat is known to be one of Judaism’s four holy cities, and I can testify to that after spending one month there. Walking along the stone pathways and seeing the exquisite architecture, I felt so alive and inspired. A sense of community, history and spirituality is deeply felt in this in this beautiful, mystical city.
From Participant to Intern
When I look back upon this magical time, I am so grateful for the life-long friendships I made and the incredible memories that will last a lifetime. All of the wonderful Livnot staff members are sincerely committed to ensuring a positive experience for the participants. As a Livnot alumna, I highly recommend Livnot to anyone who is looking for a unique and extraordinary Israel program. I promise that your life will never be the same!
At the conclusion of my WUJS program, I made Aliyah and currently reside in the Tel Aviv area. And now, one year later, my journey continues when I return to Livnot as an Intern in August 2013 and gain valuable work experience. Livnot is a second home for me, and I look forward to continue growing both personally and professionally with my Livnot family.
-Keren Tamara Gordon, 254