The Columns

W&L Students in Israel

— by on January 5th, 2010

The four Washington and Lee students who participated in the 10-day trip to Israel during their December break through Taglit-Birthright Israel returned with glowing descriptions of their experience. Wrote Zach Segall, a senior from Owings Mills, Md.: “I expected to be amazed by the sights, people, culture, food, etc. — such expectations were both met and incredibly exceeded.  What I did not expect, and what truly made this an unforgettable — perhaps, even life-changing — experience, was the connection I now feel to the Israeli state and the Jewish people. The message of Birthright is both subtle and nuanced, allowing for individual participants to answer the ‘big questions’ themselves, such as: Is prayer a requirement to being Jewish? Is it possible to be a Jewish atheist? Or, what is my allegiance to the state of Israel? But, what every participant walks away with is the same: each individual realizes the significance of his or her Jewish identity in a whole new way. One realizes that there is no such thing as Jewish history; rather, we have ‘memories’ — making the pilgrimage to Israel an imperative in any quest for a fuller understanding of one’s heritage.” Below is a photograph of the students taken atop Masada.