Meet Your Staff: David, Michael, and Shany
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Originally from Baltimore, but I moved to Chicago after I graduated graduate school so I could pursue a career singing opera.
What do you for a living? I'm an educator, primarily. I teach high school art, high school chorus, elementary school Hebrew, and I teach regularly at a yoga studio. I also perform in professional theater.
When did you go to Israel for the first time? My first time in Israel was for my own Birthright experience in 2004.
What's your favorite Israeli food to eat and favorite place to eat it at? This is going to sound strange, but their mint tea. Where ever I went, they had the most amazing mint tea! Also, since I'm vegan, their produce is amazingly fresh. I would bring all that here.
What's a fun fact about you? I am a full-fledged, convention-going Star Trek fanatic maniac.
What's one thing about Israel that you wish you could bring back to America with you? I would bring to America the straight-forward, no-nonsense part of the culture. In Israel, everyone talks to you like you're family and doesn't dance around a lot of pleasantries. It's refreshing!
What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? Call me unoriginal, but there's nothing quite like Jerusalem. Seeing that Jerusalem stone, the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, going to the Shtuk, and experiencing Jerusalem during Shabbat... it all awakens something deeply visceral and spiritual in me in a very meaningful way. I truly feel like there is real religious energy just floating around, waiting for us to feel it. One becomes part of something much bigger when I step into the air of Jerusalem. Being a yoga teacher, I'm looking forward to seeing how it feels to practice yoga on Shabbat morning in that amazing city!
What's the #1 reason that you recommend that others go on Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim? Shorashim's trips are rooted in the experiential and participative educational experience. The staff is trained extensively to give participants an experience that is positive, enlightening, and eye-opening. Instead of this being Americans touring through Israel, this is going to be Americans LIVING Israel!
Where are you most looking forward to taking your participants to on Taglit? Jerusalem! However, I would like to talk about Kabbalah when we get to Tsfat.
Who is your spirit animal? I am an owl. I listen to my intuition (my gut feelings). I often have the ability to see what other do not see. I have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most and I'd like to think I have a fair amount of wisdom.
Anything else that you want to share? I'm planning on applying to Hebrew Union College to become an ordained Cantor
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Holmdel, NJ and Jersey City, NJ.
What do you for a living? I am a Campaign Executive at Jewish National Fund
When did you go to Israel for the first time? 2010.
What's your favorite Israeli food to eat and favorite place to eat it at? I love the marzipan from Mahane Yehuda.
What's a fun fact about you? I can wiggle my ears in clockwise and counter clockwise circles.
What's one thing about Israel that you wish you could bring back to America with you? The food.
What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? Old City in Jerusalem.
What's the #1 reason that you recommend that others go on Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim? It's an incredible opportunity to see Israel, get a taste of the culture, walk through history, meet Israelis, and make a connection to the land.
Where are you most looking forward to taking your participants to on Taglit? Masada.
Anything else that you want to share?Ramat Rachel Kibbutz has the most spectacular views of Jerusalem and the Herodian where King Herold may be buried.
How long have you been a tour educator? Four years.
What's your favorite Shorashim memory? I have too many to count.
What's a fun fact about yourself? I`m a cool nerd.
What's your favorite part about Israel? That when i think of an answer to this question, I have no idea where to begin.
What's your favorite Israeli food? Where's your favorite place in Israel to eat it? Knafe - only in Majdel Shams
What do you love most about Shorashim? It's home!
What's your favorite site to go to take participants to on Taglit? Tel Dan.
What's your favorite city in Israel and why? Tel Aviv - in my eyes it`s the best city in the world.
If you could say one thing to future participants, what would it be? Leave your comfort zone home and be free to experience.
Why is it important to you to have Israelis on the trip for all 10 days? I think there is no better way to understand a country - being with locals is the best way to travel - you`re not a tourist any more.