Meet Your Staff: Eyal, Anna, and Liat
Eyal Ben Zeev
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Originally from Jerusalem area, now live in Chicago.
What do you for a living? I am a Shaliach, the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Metro Chicago Hillel. I deal with Israel programming and education on our Hillel campuses, among them: Loyola, DePaul, Columbia College, UIC, and more.
What's your favorite Israeli food to eat and favorite place to eat it at? I love Israeli food, all of it. But my favorite food, something I cannot do without, is Tahini (Tchina). My favorite place to eat is Abu-Hassan hummus place in Yafo (Jaffa).
What's a fun fact about you? Before I became an Israel Fellow (Shaliach), I worked as a journalist, TV content editor, producer, researcher and Arabic, and Middle East History teacher.
What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? Tel Aviv: my city for the past 10 years and the place I call home - my coffeeshops, my bars and my family and friends.
What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Taglit-Birthright Israel with Shorashim? Because in the end of the day, Israel is about the people, and with Shorashim you get to be with Israelis your age the whole 10 days.
Anything else you want to share? I am looking forward to leading this trip, together with Anna Weinstein and the Israeli Tour Educator Liat! See you soon!
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Chicago-born, raised, and still in Chicago!
What do you do for a living? I work for Metro Chicago Hillel!
When did you go to Israel for the first time? I was six years old when I went to Israel for the first time. I was there with my family, for my brother's bar mitzvah. What I remember the most from that first trip was petting the wandering cats in Akko, going to a crime lab with our family friend in Tel Aviv, and buying my first pair of Naot shoes in a store that had a mini merry-go-round (and my parents bargaining with the shopkeeper).
What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? In my opinion, the most beautiful place in Israel is Sde Boker at sunset. Nothing feels more holy, majestical, and awe-inspiring to me. My other favorite Israel location is Rosh Hanikra.
What's a fun fact about yourself? I love singing and playing guitar!
What's your favorite Israeli food? Schnitzel!
What's your favorite spirit animal? My spirit animal is a lion. There are two lions guarding the Torah and I always feel that I am a "guard" or protector of Judaism and Jewish life.
Where is your favorite place to take groups on Taglit? Yad Vashem, hands-down.
If there was one aspect of Israel that you could bring back to America with you, what would it be? An appreciation for holiness (for example, developing the ability to make a trivial situation into something meaningful and holy-like).
What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Taglit-Birthright Israel with Shorashim? It is a mitzvah (and just overall really amazing and rewarding experience) to teach others. "And you shall teach unto your children..." While the participants of the bus are not "my children," I do feel an obligation to teach them as if they were my own family members about the importance of Judaism, Israel, and Jewish identity exploration.
What's your favorite part about Shorashim? Nine years.
What is your favorite Shorashim memory? Talking about education issues for hours.
What is a fun fact about yourself? I love singing a specially Israeli songs, but the old ones. How old? I'm the only person below 70 year old who know them in the crowd.
What is your favorite city in Israel and why? Jerusalem because this is my amazing hometown.
What's your favorite place to take participants on Taglit and why? Machne Yehuda' market in Jerusalem. This is THE place to meet all different aspects of the present Israeli culture.
What's your favorite Israeli food? Where's your favorite place in Israel to eat it?
What's your favorite thing about Israel? The people.
What do you love most about Shorashim? The people in Shorashim are full with passion and energy about educational work.
Why is it important to you to have Israelis on the trip for all 10 days? When I visit a new country, I want more then most to get to know the local people, so when people come to Israel I think the most interesting and powerful experience is making Israeli friends, that help us understand and know Israel in the very authentic way.
If you could say one thing to future participants, what would it be? When you come to Israel in the first time of your life, please forget about what you have heard about Israel from the media and other people. Come with open heart and attitude to experience what that country has to offer you, by yourself. High chance you will be surprised!
Anything else that you want to share? We are so lucky to have the opportunity to explore Israel together. See your soon :)