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Next year in Jerusalem? Why wait?

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02/16/2010

Next year in Jerusalem? Why wait? photo

Sharna on the Jilabun Hike

The other night I was out and someone said to me, “Hey, you’re the Birthright girl.” So I started talking to him and it turns out he went on a Shorashim trip a couple of years ago. His friend though, hadn’t participated yet. I asked him if he was applying for this summer and he said, “No, this isn’t a good time for me. I need to do an internship and take some classes.”

I’m not someone who is great about hard selling anyone to do anything, but I hear this all the time: “It’s just not a good time for me to go to Israel.”

And I guess there are good times and better times and worse times to do things, but I worry that we are so programmed and sometimes struggle to jump on an unplanned opportunity because it doesn’t fit into our life’s itinerary.

Another friend who is 28 and went on a Birthright trip wanted me to take his 27-year-old wife, even though she is no longer eligible. I asked him if she had applied before and been waitlisted. He said, no, she had just been busy being at the top of her law school class, working in corporations, etc.

Her success is enviable, but I doubt it would have been hampered by a 10-day hiatus. He was super annoyed when I told him I couldn’t get her on a trip. She had opportunities twice a year from the age of 18-26 to apply. But, he argued: It was a never a good time.

Perhaps my upbringing has led me to believe that now is really the best time to take an advantage of an opportunity. I think of my aunt who suffers from severe Multiple Sclerosis—she used to love to travel, and no longer can. She used to be a social butterfly, but now barely leaves her house. Because her cognitive abilities are affected, we have the same conversation every time I see her.

“When is the next time you are going to Israel?”

“In May, Aunt Sharon.”

“I’ve never been to Israel, but I’ve been all over Europe, South Africa and many other places.”

If she had her health, she’d go to Israel. She would love to see our cousins, Jerusalem and she would definitely love all the shuks.

I’m not saying go to Israel because one day you might get a debilitating neurological disease—just don’t wait for the perfect time, because in life, there rarely are perfect times. Sometimes, you just have to take a risk and know that it will work out.

Next year in Jerusalem? Why wait? photo 2

Registration for Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim trips opens at http://israelwithisraelis Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. for previous applicants and on Wednesday, Feb. 17 for new registrants.

I hope to see you in Israel this summer—be sure to interrupt me when I’m on my cell phone talking in terribly accented Hebrew to say hello and introduce yourself.

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