Meet Your Staff: Jeremy, Micah, and Ori | Shorashim - Israel with Israelis
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Meet Your Staff: Jeremy, Micah, and Ori

Bus 915 Staff

Jeremy Kazzaz

Where are you from originally and where do you live now? From: Bethesda, MD, Now: Ann Arbor, MI Moving in Sept.: San Francisco, CA.

What do you for a living? I just graduated from U Michigan Law and as of the fall I will be an attorney in Silicon Valley. Specifically I will be working exclusively with hi-tech startup companies on corporate matters including financings, mergers and securities. 

When did you go to Israel for the first time? My parents took me and my siblings to Israel the summer after I completed second grade. Between having lunch on my cousin's banana farm near Haifa and riding donkeys and chugging uber sweetened jasmine tea with bedouins I knew I would be coming back often.

What's your favorite Israeli food to eat and favorite place to eat it at? Levavot (chicken hearts) not to be confused with levivot (latkes) - to date my favorite shipudiyah (grill restaurant) is Turki's in Or Yehuda, a predominantly Iraqi suburb of Tel Aviv. The key to a good grill spot isn't how well they cook the meat but how well made their salads are that you eat with the meat (Korean bbq style). 

What's a fun fact about you? A Birthright participant of mine was working on a network TV show and asked me to help as a Hebrew consultant, recording myself saying a few sentences that were in the script. The Hebrew part of the script was nonsensical and I asked if I could just re-write the Hebrew to make more sense in the context of the episode. A few months later I watched the episode and they accepted all of my edits. This, more or less, makes me a network TV show writer all thanks to staffing birthright. 

What's one thing about Israel that you wish you could bring back to America with you? There is a certain familiarity among Israelis. I never have to worry about finding a place to eat for Shabbat in Israel. I did a fair amount of hitchhiking around the north of Israel and whenever I told the Israeli that picked me up that I was moving to Israel to serve as a lone soldier in the army I was instantly offered meals, a place to stay etc. On one ride from the north to Jerusalem we stopped at the driver's family's house and had coffee and snacks. I walked into their house and was greeted with a hug by the driver's mom "Oh you're our American lone soldier - So glad to be able to host you! What can I get for you? Would you like to take some cake to go?"

What is your favorite place to bring Birthright Israel groups? There are two Iraqi lunch restaurants in Machaneh Yehuda with some of the best kibbeh (think Iraqi perogies). It is a great spot to meet some local Jerusalamites and eat some food that is tough to come by outside of the Middle East, but is a staple in my family's diet.

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? The Negev in the spring. There is nothing quite like seeing the expanses of the desert as wild flowers bloom for a rare period of plant life in a normally arid climate. 

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Birthright Israel with Shorashim? Shorashim with its parent non-profit organization are committed to maximizing what participants get on their trips. That includes the lead up to the trip, finding the best staff, the best Israeli participants and tour guides and building the best itinerary. But it also reaches into the post trip - as participants return to their communities-Shorashim is committed to their ongoing involvement with the broader community to ensure that the taglit trip has a lasting impact on the participants.

What is your spirit animal and why? Owl - The owl is a thoughtful and watchful creature. It flies in nearly total silence - tactically without relying on speed to reach its target. Similarly, I like to plan and go after my goals without clueing the world into what I'm doing at every step and without creating much of a wake. I would also like to think that I am a thoughtful dude. 

Anything else you want to share? Last summer, I learned how to windsurf in the chilly but beautiful San Fran bay and this summer I am committing my free time (when not studying for the bar or taking long bike trips) to learning how to kite surf. I'm taking suggestions on the next fun activity to learn after this one. 

Micah Engler

Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Originally from Chicago, currently live in Washington D.C.

What do you do for a living? Attorney - Currently clerking for a federal judge 

When did you go to Israel for the first time? When I was three years old with my family. 

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel?  Jerusalem - Old City.

What's your favorite place to bring groups? Western Wall.

What's a fun fact about yourself? I eat ice cream everyday. 

What's your favorite Israeli food/favorite place in Israel to eat it? Shawarma or schnitzel.

What's your spirit animal? Giant Squid. It is unclear why but I recently took a quiz that told me as much and I believe it. 

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

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Birthright Israel with Shorashim? The best way to see Israel is with Israelis

Ori Adelstein

How long have you been a guide? Five years.

What's your favorite Shorashim memory? I was a participant on Shorashim trip, and that's one of my favorites memories. The whole thing.

What's a fun fact about yourself? I was a weather forcaster in the army.

What's your favorite part about Israel? The atmosphere, the paople, the fact that it's so small, and it has everything! In an hour, you can drive from the center and you can see the sea snow green mountains lakes springs and the desert.

What's your favorite Israeli food? Where's your favorite place in Israel to eat it? My mom's food.

What do you love most about Shorashim? I love that we are like a family. I love that it's a familiar place for me because of all the years. I love the educational and pluralistic approach and, of course, the people!

What's your favorite site to go to take participants to on Birthright Israel? I love the desert experience, but it's hard for me to pick one favorite place...

What's your favorite city in Israel and why? Tev Aviv-it's my home town, this is where I grew up and it's deffinitely the best city in the world!  :)

If you could say one thing to future participants, what would it be? Keep in touch with the friends you made, with people you meet, and with Israel!

Why is it important to you to have Israelis on the trip for all 10 days? It's important to see Israel, to hike, to learn about the history an different sights, but there's nothing more important that meeting other people. We are meeting people all the time - the venders at the shops, people from the hotel and other places, but in order to create real and deep relationships, you need time. This trip is very meaningful and involves alot of different experiences. It's going to be funny and sad and emotional.. and more. Experiencing this together worth more than anything else on this trip! 

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