Meet Your Staff: Allie, Max, and Shira | Shorashim - Israel with Israelis
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Meet Your Staff: Allie, Max, and Shira

Bus 568 Staff

Allie Cossman

Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Originally from Potomac, MD and now live 25 minutes away in Washington, DC.

What do you for a living? I am a Marketing Executive for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

When did you go to Israel for the first time? When I was 10 years with my family, in celebration of my sister's Bat Mitzvah and as a big, extended family vacation.

What's a fun fact about you? I love to imitate Will Ferrell SNL sketches..."That's why I come out here, NATURE, Goulet." Never gets old.

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? The last time I was there was on a Birthright Trip in 2009, but my most vividly wonderful memory was in Jerusalem, having a low-key, guitar led Shabbat experience on the rooftop of our hotel. I could feel the spirituality, the holiness and the history of the Old City throughout the services. The beauty of watching the sunset across Jerusalem, knowing we are in unison with so many others singing the same songs to greet the Sabbath was truly a magical experience I will never forget. So, basically, I like Jerusalem. 

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Birthright Israel with Shorashim? Make new friends! Sharing in the unforgettable history, culture and beauty of Israel with peers can be the start of life-long friendships with people you connect with on a really deep level (at least it was for me!).

What is your spirit animal and why? Otter! I am zestful, outgoing and try to live each day to the very fullest with the people I love. I am very close with my family and friends I have and would love to spend my days floating on the water.

Max Bluestein

Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Atlanta, now in DC.

What do you do for a living? I am the Director of Research and State Relations for a small national security think tank. 

When did you go to Israel for the first time? When I was 18 years old after graduating high school in 2003. 

What's your favorite food in Israel and place to eat it? There was a falafel stand in Haifa that I happened upon 7 years ago while wondering around the German quarter that absolutely changed my world. Apparently, food without dead animals in them can taste good, too. 

What's a fun fact about yourself? I have won four pickle-eating championships.

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? Mitzpe Ramon during a meteor shower.

If there was one aspect of Israel that you could bring back to America with you, what would it be? The often-termed "blunt" personalities. I see it as openness - that when something is bothering an Israeli, they let you know. It creates a more sincere culture life that I would like to see in America. 

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family go on Birthright Israel with Shorashim? Israel was always a place on the map to me, a place I learned about in Hebrew school and watched on CNN reports. A place some of my friends and family had been to and tremendously enjoyed, but seemed too geographically far and too socially distant for a boy who only ever left Georgia for football games to ever consider visiting. Israel had a lot of problems, I knew. Terrorism, civil strife, poverty, and war among them. Israel was a land of Jews and I am Jewish - but it was a land of "those" Jews, "over there" and those problems didn't concern a kid who popped into synagogue twice a year. Birthright Israel changed all of that. Seeing the land with my own eyes, hearing the people with my own ears, and feeling the connection with my own soul, I knew it was no longer a land of "those Jews, over there". I was the one that was "over there" - in America - and Israelis were at home. I want my friends to feel that same inspiration and connection to their people and their incredible history .Birthright Israel changed me. It evolved me, more than a decade of Sunday school ever could. I look at the person I am today versus the person I was before that special trip and I attribute it to my involvement in the community, political activism, intellectual curiosity, passion for the Jewish people today. 

What's your spirit animal? Honeybadger. 

Shira Boso

How long have you been a guide? Two years

What's your favorite Shorashim memory? Sing along in the Bedouin tent, guitar, bonfire, great people, great night.

What's a fun fact about yourself? Im obsessed with sweets.

What's your favorite part about Israel? I guess it will be the warmth between everybody. Its like a big family where people care about each other, its really amazing to see how people will open up and take care of one another in case of need.

What's your favorite Israeli food? Where's your favorite place in Israel to eat it? Shakshuka! There's this amazing place in the market in Jerusalem where they cook home made food called Azura. simply the best :)

What do you love most about Shorashim? The Israelis for the whole journey. 

What's your favorite site to go to take participants to on Birthright Israel? Jerusalem- full of magic!

What's your favorite city in Israel and why? Jerusalem- because its home. 

If you could say one thing to future participants, what would it be? This is the experience of a lifetime. Doesn't matter with which background you are coming from- this is something that touches everyone with their own personal life.

Why is it important to you to have Israelis on the trip for all 10 days? I think that the connection with the Israelis is one of the most important things in this journey and with everyday that goes by the relationships are getting deeper and stronger. Without a doubt, five days are not enough time to experience the depth of this journey and the fact that the Israelis are going through everything together with the Americans makes it a big family to begin with. 

Anything else you want to share? I feel so lucky to have the chance of going through this journey in Israel and being able to experience this with people.

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