Meet your #Bus16 Staff! | Shorashim - Israel with Israelis
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Meet your #Bus16 Staff!

Shorashim

Get ready for an amazing adventure! #Birthright #Shorashim

*All pictures are either from your staff’s first trip to Israel, in general or as a staff person, or one of their favorite places*

Lilach Arad

How long have you been a tour educator?

Five years.

How long have you been working with Shorashim?

Four years.

Why is it important to you to have Israelis on the trip for all 10 days?

 You get different perspective on any issue and get the "real" Israel expirience.

What's a fun fact about yourself?

I can move my ears.

What's your favorite site to go to take participants to and why is it your favorite?

Mount Bental - amazing view and many things that we can talk about while we are there!

What's the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

To be open-minded.

What's your favorite Shorashim memory?

I can't tell because I don't want to ruin your surprise!

What do you love most about Shorashim?

The family feeling!

What's your favorite city in Israel and why?

Jerusalem- the holy city! where I was born and spent all my life! the most beautiful city in the world!

What's your favorite Israeli food and where is your favorite place in Israel to get this dish?

My mother's food! She cooks Persian amazing food! 

What's your favorite thing about Israel?

Israelis!

What's your favorite place that you have ever travelled to and why?

Cuba! Fascinating and mind-blowing!

What are your words of wisdom for your future participants?

Don't bring all of your house - everything that you will need you can get in Israel!

Anything else you want to share?

Use the advice and come open-minded to this trip!

Rachel Barton

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

Originally from San Diego; now I live in DC

What do you do for a living?

I work for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington as a Young Leadership Associate and NEXT DC Coordinator. I coordinate our DC Community Trips with Shorashim and connect people to the community when they come back from Israel!

When did you go to Israel for the first time?

I was twelve when I visited Israel for the first time with my family. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't let five years go by without coming back--and I've been back eleven more times since then!

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel?

I love the beaches of Tel Aviv--especially walking along the tayelet (boardwalk) to the ancient city of Yafo for the incredible views and hummus! I also love the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem; the sights, tastes and smells are incredible, and at night it transforms into a hotspot for nightlife with cafes, bars and live music!

What's a fun fact about yourself?

I was almost named after a TV show--before I was born, my brother (he was three at the time) tried to convince my parents to name me "Jeopardy." Sadly he was outvoted, but he still calls me Jeopardy sometimes to annoy me :)

What's your favorite place that you've ever travelled to and why?

Of course Israel is at the top of my list, but I had the opportunity to go to Croatia over the summer, which is an incredibly beautiful country. 

What's your favorite Israeli food and where is your favorite place in Israel to get this dish?

There's a little hummus bar in Jerusalem on Ben Sira street that has the BEST hummus, and you get fresh hot falafel with every order :)

If there was one aspect of Israel that you could bring back to America with you, what would it be?

The food! Everything tastes so fresh and flavorful there, I wish I could cook with their fresh produce every day!

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Birthright Israel with Shorashim?

Spending the full ten days with Israelis! You can see the sights of Israel on any trip but there aren't many where you come away with a new bi-continental family. Plus, on DC Community trips, you have the chance to make friends who you can continue relationships with when you get back home and explore the local Jewish community together.

What are your words of wisdom for your future participants?

Be open to new experiences--Birthright is a great time to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone and discover new things that maybe you didn't even realize you would discover. And ask lots of questions! It's hard to take everything in that you see, but focus on a few things that interest you and try to learn as much as you can from people around you, especially your Israelis!

Rabbi Aaron Potek

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I'm from Saint Louis Park, MN and I now live in Washington, DC

What do you do for a living?

I am the Rabbi-Educator for Gather the Jews, a local DC organization that engages Jews in their 20s and 30s.

When did you go to Israel for the first time?

I first went to Israel when I was in 8th grade - in 2000.

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel?

I love the desert (the Negev). There's a scene from the Martian, which I just saw, where Matt Damon's character says: "I'm the first person to be alone on an entire planet." I feel this intense solitude and tranquility when I'm hiking there that I've never felt anywhere else.

What's a fun fact about yourself?

I've had 16 teeth pulled!

What's your favorite place that you've ever travelled to and why?

Besides Israel, I'd say Australia. The people are so nice, the hiking is incredible, the weather is always perfect... it's basically paradise.

What's your favorite Israeli food and where is your favorite place in Israel to get this dish?

Well, I only eat meat on Jewish holidays, but when one of those come around, I love a good burger. Burgers Bar has great burgers and you can find them all over the country. Get the spicy burger with pesto & garlic mayo sauce. Yummers.

If there was one aspect of Israel that you could bring back to America with you, what would it be?

The directness - the way people say what they think, feel, and believe.

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Birthright Israel with Shorashim?

If you want to understand your Judaism, you should know its roots and the many ways it is practiced. There is an incredible amount of Jewish history in Israel, and about half of the world's Jewry, from all across the world, now live there.

What /who is your spirit animal and why?

An octopus? Because how crazy are those things?!

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

The best things in life take a lot of time and hard work.

What are your words of wisdom for your future participants?

This can be a vacation, or it can be a journey of self-exploration. Try to make it the latter - you won't regret it.

Anything else you want to share?

I can't wait to go already!

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