By Sydnee Ostrove, Bus 8 Participant
Growing up going to synagogue, Hebrew school, and attending a Jewish overnight camp, I knew I wanted to go to Israel. Ever since I was little, I’ve always had a strong connection to Judaism and I’ve felt as though going to Israel would bring me closer to my religion and my heritage. Originally, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go on this trip. Imagining not being in Israel with all of my best friends for the summer was absolutely devastating, so I couldn’t stop there. I wrote countless essays and constantly spoke about the memories I hoped to make and the life lessons I hoped to gain until finally, I was able to come.
Being with my best friends in this place where everything started is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wouldn’t have traded for the world. Hearing stories and looking at pictures never seemed to be enough for me, and now that I am here, I get to see everything firsthand and with my own two eyes.
Because I grew up going to Camp Harlam for first session, I am also able to make friends with the second session campers from Harlam who I haven’t been with during the summers yet. Making new friends is one of my favorite things and I’m discovering more and more that I’m never afraid to go up to new people and start a conversation. Going out of my comfort zone is another reason why I wanted to go on NFTY in Israel, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to do this for 5 weeks across Europe and Israel and with my chosen family. Although it can be a bit scary at first, I know that with my new and old friends by my side I won’t ever be alone. I hope that over our remaining time together I get to try a lot more new things and accomplish tasks I would have never imagined.
Here’s to the rest of our amazing summer together!