For many young couples, there’s no easy way into Jewish life, especially during those critical years when they’re in committed relationships and deciding how to shape their lives and family.
Honeymoon Israel offers a way in: immersive group travel to Israel that lets couples encounter and explore history, tradition, and identity on their own terms. The trip helps couples engage in an open-ended inquiry into how they connect to Jewish life and how they’ll incorporate Jewish values and traditions into their families.
And the journey doesn’t end after the trip to Israel! Traveling with 20 couples from the same city, the trip is the catalyst to helping these couples create a unique Jewish community at home.
As applications for the Boston Honeymoon Israel trip close on March 13, we talked to recent Boston trip participants Lindsay Roth and Steven Sechoka about their experience.
During the trip, Honeymoon Israel’s trip leaders set aside time for participants to address meaningful topics as couples and as a larger group. These conversations provide the opportunity for couples to discuss their future as a couple and family, and explore these topics with couples in similar life stages.
“This was our first time to Israel both individually and as a couple,” said Lindsay and Steven. “My husband and I never expected the deep knowledge and history that was shared with us, combined with the accommodations and ability to meet and bond with so many new friends at the same time. The conversations were important and thought provoking in the best way.”
Traveling in Israel
Unique among many group Israel trips, Honeymoon Israel highlights sites and speakers from a range of perspectives. On each trip, participants visit non-Jewish religious sites, such as Christian or Islamic sites, and hear stories from speakers representing both Israeli and Palestinian outlooks. Couples are encouraged to ask questions throughout the trip and after as they navigate their personal feelings and thoughts toward the country.
“From a political standpoint, being able to meet with a journalist and discuss the current climate was powerful yet overwhelming. Much of what was discussed left us with more questions than answers, and oftentimes, we felt we were trying to hold space for many emotions at once,” shared Lindsay and Steven. “Being able to learn and explore Israeli politics in a way we hadn’t prior to our trip was important and inspired us to continue to stay engaged through Israel-based news outlets.”
We asked Lindsay and Steven to share their favorite memory from their trip.
“The most special moment was atop Masada…we sang songs and squeezed into a tiny space, which was bursting with joy, love, and compassion,” they shared. “The feeling of Jewish pride was a common thread throughout the trip that will stay with us forever. There was so much Jewish joy within our group and surrounding us throughout the journey. And we still feel it to this day as a couple and as friends bonded through travel and the magic that is an HMI trip.”
The shared experience of travel and the meaningful, intentional conversations on the trip helps to cultivate life-long bonds between the couples that only get stronger when the group returns home. Through cohort reunions, holiday gatherings, milestone celebrations, and more, the hope is that each couple feels a deep sense of community with their group, connected with their local Jewish community, and empowered to incorporate Judaism into their lives in any way they choose.
“Within the first two weeks of returning, we spent time with more than half of our cohort at community gatherings, Shabbat services through The Riverway Project, and casual meetups,” said Lindsay and Steven. “This has continued in the months since our trip—we make plans with HMI friends regularly!”
Honeymoon Israel is designed for couples with at least one Jewish partner that are early in their committed relationships and are looking for a way to bring Judaism into their homes that feels meaningful to them. The program is most powerful and impactful for couples who have yet to find a strong connection to the Jewish community or Jewish life and are searching for the right ways to incorporate Judaism into their relationship, family, and home.
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