Ben Wildman-Tobriner in Israel

Ben Wildman-Tobriner, an Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter freestyle relay team, traveled to Israel with Birthright Israel. Here’s what he told the NY Times about his experience:

WERE YOU FEARFUL GIVEN WHAT WAS GOING ON IN GAZA WHILE YOU WERE THERE? My mom was less than thrilled, but we had Israeli security police accompanying us and we were fine. It was an incredible trip, just as good as advertised. I was far away from Gaza. Days earlier, I was in northern Israel right near where those random rockets got fired from Lebanon and landed in Nahariya. When you’ve been there and have seen these places, it really does change the way you view events. It’s no longer an abstract event.

WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP? One thing that comes to mind was getting to float in the Dead Sea. You really have to float. From a distance, it looks like a normal body of water, but up close, you realize there’s no way you can swim in it. You don’t want to be getting that salt in your mouth or eyes.

WHAT PLACE DID RELIGION OCCUPY IN YOUR LIFE BEFORE THIS? I think a lot of Jews who are in my generation have become a little disconnected from their roots. I’d put myself in that category.

Sounds like Birthright Israel can count Ben as another success story – a Jew who will be a little more connected to Israel and Judaism as a result of the 10 day trip.

HT Mixed Multitudes.

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