Having just come back from our first Onward group trip, I feel the exact right kind of tired. Imagine 36 hours of almost nonstop fun and learning. Friends, food, sun, and scenery. I may have missed my chance to go on Birthright because of how everything worked out with the pandemic, but I got a great taste of what Birthright is, even though I don’t think Birthright would have been this fun. We went on a very, very scenic tour of the northern parts of the country, going as far as the place where King Saul died and all the way to the borders of Syria and Jordan. Everything I saw was a far cry from the New England landscapes I have known all my life, with mountains that rose far above my head, valleys that ran far below my feet, and temperatures that hit the triple digits at times. The number of times I heard someone tell us to drink water! But at the end of the day, the views, learning, and experiences we gained were life-changing. I don’t think I will forget this day-and-a-half for as long as I live.

Harrison Rosengard Jordan River kayaking
Kayaking at the Jordan River (Courtesy photo)

But this hockey-playing New Englander is getting used to the temperature, the public transportation, the requirements for work, and the language of the people. I never before understood the almost millennial-long longing of the Jewish people for their homeland, but between gift shopping for my brothers and my quest to find the best falafel in Jerusalem, I think I am starting to get it. I think I won’t want to leave once my time here is up.

Harrison Rosengard, Brandeis University ’22, is a psychology major interning at the Jaffa Institute nonprofit through the Boston Onward Israel program. 125 students from Massachusetts colleges have professional internships in their fields of interest in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa this summer. Visit onwardboston.com for more info.

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