Deb Weiner traveled to Israel on her Birthright Israel trip back in 2010, like many young Jewish adults. Except she had Crohn’s disease. The Birthright trip is an important milestone for many young Jewish adults, unfortunately her inflammatory bowel disease created many obstacles. Despite making life-long friendships and memories, she felt the challenges of her dietary restrictions, and couldn’t take in all the monumental experiences like her peers.
This is where a trip for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Colitis), Irritable Bowel Syndrome and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity comes in. It’s a time for young adults to discover new meaning in their personal Jewish identity and connection to Jewish history and culture. IBD is most commonly present in people of Caucasian and Ashkenazic Jewish origin.
I’m so excited to announce that registration for this once in a lifetime trip opens TOMORROW (Jan. 30, 2018)!
Here are some key details:
o Dates: August 6 – August 17, 2018 (10) day trip
o Open to residents in the United States and Canada
o Medical staff will be traveling with participants throughout the trip
o Refrigeration is available for all injectable medications (including sharps containers)
o Meals that cater appropriately for all participants
o More scheduled bathroom breaks
o Travel accommodations that take additional restrictions (chronic fatigue, joint pain) into consideration
Wonder if you’re eligible to attend? Here are the requirements:
o Must have at least one parent of recognized Jewish decent
o Age 18-26 (post-high school)
o Have not traveled to Israel before on a peer education trip or study program after turning 18
o Have not lived in Israel after age 12
“A Birthright Israel trip includes airfare from major cities, hotels, meals, transportation within Israel, and costs associated with touring the country,” said Deb, who as a Crohn’s patient herself, is helping with the coordination of this program for Israel Outdoors.
Deb remembers wanting to climb to the top of Masada, an ancient fortress that overlooks the Dead Sea, but the climb took place after a very strenuous day, and she didn’t feel well enough for the climb.
“With this trip, no one has to miss out on anything. Accommodations are offered that I would have loved to have benefited from. For instance, for those who aren’t up for the hike, a cable car will take the group to the top of Masada. When it comes to sharing a room, there are less people per room than on a typical Birthright Israel trip, making it easier to maneuver, and taking bathroom turns and whatnot. Participants will be staying with peers who understand what they are going through,” said Deb.
The Birthright Israel trip is considered the most successful Jewish initiative in the world, with more than 600,000 young adults participating. Deb has truly seen her personal experience come full circle. She’s been the young 20-something on the trip, feeling isolated and concerned. Now, nearly eight years later, Deb has the foresight and the knowledge about what young adults just like her need, to make the experience one that is enjoyable and comfortable.
“We want to share an experience and create lasting memories and friendships. There shouldn’t be a reason not to go on this trip, so we are bridging the gap. We want those with IBD, IBS, and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity to have the same great experiences as those who go on Israel Outdoors’ classic Birthright Israel trip,” said Nate Edelstein, North American Director for Israel Outdoors.
Click here to register. You are encouraged to apply within the first week of open registration to secure a spot. The maximum trip number is 40 people and applications are accepted via email on a rolling basis. Israel Outdoors hopes to offer this trip every summer and possibly twice a year (summer and winter) if there is enough interest and demand.