Meet Your Staff: Leah, Brian, and Onit | Shorashim - Israel with Israelis
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Meet Your Staff: Leah, Brian, and Onit

Leah Steinberg

Where are you from originally and where do you live now? From Boston, MA. I live in Chicago, IL now.

What do you for a living? I am the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Jewish Genetics. 

When did you go to Israel for the first time? I went to Israel for the first time in the fall of 2008 with Alexander Muss Trimester in Israel. 

What's a fun fact about yourself? I can quote almost any line from the TV show "Friends."

What's your favorite Israeli food/favorite place in Israel to eat it? Falafel of course, and my favorite place to eat it is the blue falafel stand in Hod HaSharon. 

If you could bring one thing back to America from Israel, what would it be? The history - it is amazing to be standing at a site that our ancestors for generations after generations have longed for, fought for, and told stories about. Seeing sites that are mentioned in the Torah and can also be heard in modern Israeli songs is one of the most spectacular aspects of Israel for me. It makes me feel connected to my history. 

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? My favorite place to visit in Israel is Netanya, but I also have a soft spot for Hod HaSharon, where I lived for a trimester during high school. My favorite site to visit in Israel is Masada.

What's your spirit animal? A puppy - my friends always compare me to a golden retriever puppy because I get really excited really easily and love to be around people. 

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Taglit-Birthright Israel with Shorashim? By spending all 10 days of the trip with the Israelis, Shorashim trips allow participants to connect with Israel in a very unique and real way. 

Anything else you want to share? I am so excited to help others feel as excited and connected to Israel as I do, and I look forward to helping them explore their Jewish identity on and after the trip. 

Brian Freedman

Where are you from originally and where do you live now? From Cleveland, Ohio and currently living in Champaign, IL.

What do you for a living? Program Director at Illini Hillel.

When did you go to Israel for the first time? Birthright in 2007.

What would you like to bring back to America from Israel? Fresh produce and great food.

What's your favorite place to bring Taglit groups? The night hike at the Bedouin tents. It lets us connect with the land in a very unique way.

What's your favorite place to visit in Israel? Jerusalem! I love the city and everything it has to offer.

What's a random fun fact about yourself? I built my own bass guitar!

What's your favorite Israeli food/favorite place in Israel to eat it? Shakshouka is my favorite Israeli food. It's best when found in a small street stand.

What's the #1 reason that you recommend that your friends and family should go on Taglit-Birthright Israel with Shorashim? Ten days with Israeli's makes this trip amazing!

What's your spirit animal and why? The lion because it is a great leader, cunning, and ferocious.

Onit Denemark

How long have you been a guide? Five years

What's your favorite Shorashim memory? My favorite Shorashim memory is the next one to be made.

What's a fun fact about yourself? I used to have bright pink hair!

What's your favorite site to go to take participants to on Taglit? My favorite place to take Taglit participants is Tzfat.

If you could say one thing to future participants, what would it be? When you come on Taglit, come with an open mind and open heart. Allow yourself to be surprised. Be curious and ask as many questions as you can.

Why is it important to you to have Israelis on the trip for all 10 days?  The Israelis participants bring with them the unique perspective of their own day to day lives, having them join the program for the whole 10 days allows the participants to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be an Israeli. Also, they are really fun to be with!!

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