November 30, 2017 By: Clark O'Bannon, Honeymoon Israel Richmond participant on a November 2017 trip After leaving the Welcome Dinner for our Honeymoon Israel trip, my fiancée Kate and I looked at each other and admitted we were a little uneasy about what we had signed up for. Who were all these new people? Were we really about to spend the better part of 10-days with strangers stuck on a bus or in hotels in a foreign place? I learned that evening I may have been the only non-Jewish significant other that didn’t fast in solidarity with their partner for Yom Kippur...
There were sparks in the air before the first round of speed dating was over. By the end of the night, they were going home together. For Philip Hall, that’s what his first pop-up giving circle felt like—a mad rush of love at first sight with a new way of giving while speed dating with nonprofits. Philip, who also manages a popular blog, took part in his first pop-up giving circle with his husband, Jonathan Kurshan, and 19 other couples while they were on their Honeymoon Israel trip from the SF Bay Area in February 2017. Giving circles exist to allow individuals, couples...
October 30, 2017 By: Gaby Szulzinger, Honeymoon Israel Montreal participant on a November 2017 trip When Darren and I first heard about Honeymoon Israel, we weren’t sure what it was all about. Was there a catch? Who is this organization and what is their mission? We decided to attend an information session on a whim. After the session, we turned to each other and set a goal - “Get on this trip!” Several months later, here we are, preparing to leave for Israel in just a few short days (!!) with the first group of 20 couples from Montreal, Canada. We are so excited...
October 19, 2017 By: Adrea Miller-Vesely, Honeymoon Israel San Diego participant on a September 2017 trip I’ve always had a strange feeling towards the Kotel, or Western Wall as it is often called in the United States. The Kotel is one of the most sacred places in Judaism, but I think it can also be one of the most uncomfortable places for non-Orthodox Jews like myself. While I feel a sense of reverence and awe when I’m there, I also feel ill at ease. When I arrive to the Kotel I’m immediately checked by the “modesty police” to make sure that my head, shoulder and knees...
September 29, 2017 Sermon by Rabbi Aliza Berger of Temple Emanuel in Boston Rosh Hashana 2017 If you’ve read the Pew report on American Jewry, you know that we are living in troubling times.  Young people are increasingly secular and disconnected.  32% of Jews born after 1980 identify as “Jews of no religion” and 67% of those “Jews of no religion” go on to raise children without religion.  Whereas Baby Boomers and Gen Xers often rebelled against the Judaism of their childhood, Millennials are far more likely to have grown up without a Jewish connection.  It makes...
September 5, 2017 By: Colie Weinberger, Honeymoon Israel NYC participant on a May 2017 trip There’s a phrase our (amazing) tour educator used in Israel: "Jews and those who love them.” He used that phrase to address all of the couples on our trip. But for Jared and me, it didn't really resonate... Honeymoon Israel accepts couples of all backgrounds that have at least one Jewish partner. The majority of couples are interfaith, while a few are couples like Jared and me - couples where both partners were born Jewish. The groups are meant to be reflective of what the community...
August 25, 2017 By: Andrew Meyer, Honeymoon Israel SF Bay Area participant on a May 2017 trip Back in Summer of 2016, just a couple months before we got married, my wife made an “amazing” discovery - we could go to Israel with a bunch of other recently married couples, on a heavily subsidized trip, with no strings attached. Now, I say “amazing”, because at this point, the thoughts going through my head were: Wow, she is very excited. “No strings attached” never actually means no strings attached, as proven by both the rom-com of that name, and the N'SYNC album cover (...
July 29, 2017 By: Mallory Schlau, Honeymoon Israel New York City participant on a October 2016 trip After an amazing two weeks on Honeymoon Israel, I returned home to a country about to elect the next president. Two days after the election - feeling both dismayed and energized - I was looking for a way to focus my energies and resources towards something positive and inspiring. At the time, I was working as the Senior Fashion Editor of Harper's Bazaar and surrounded by an industry full of strong female voices. Later that week, at a cocktail party for a new designer, I was...
July 28, 2017 By: Leah Kaplan, Honeymoon Israel DC participant on a October 2015 trip For those of us struggling with questions about fertility, one of the most unexpected and challenging aspects can be a sense of judgement that comes with it. Or maybe worse, self judgement.  When we hit our thirties, that judgmental lens can make us wonder if we didn’t take our fertility clock seriously enough. Or we feel labeled as a “career woman”, as if we’ve valued our careers over family. Or that we’re picky or not taking the right steps. We don’t create these feelings out of nowhere; the...
By: Shanna Katz Kattari, Honeymoon Israel Colorado participant in October 2015 I grew up Jewish, like many young people in the Reform movement. I went to religious school every weekend, skipped Hebrew school since my father was fluent and taught me at home, and prepped for my Bat Mitzvah. After that, I even taught religious school, and when I got to college, despite not going to services regularly, I was the chair of Hillel at my small liberal arts school, setting up monthly Shabbat dinners, organizing Latke Cookoffs, and partnering with the ADL when anti-Semitic events...

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