Twelve birthright participants came to volunteer with the weekly tea party for survivors and refugees at Selig court. Three of the birthrighters spoke german so enjoyed speaking with some of the guests in their mother tongue, as dancing took place and plenty of cake was enjoyed.
Every year UJIA Birthright takes groups of young Jews from around the UK (20-26) to Israel. The criteria is that they must have never been on an organised trip to Israel before and they must have at least one Jewish grandparent.
The trip is free and is paid for by UJIA, the Israeli government and private donors.
Most people who go are very unaffiliated and it’s the first experience of Jewish culture and Israel they’ve ever had.
The trip includes a visit to Yad vashem, the holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem.
Many participants are incredibly moved by this visit. Experiences like that inspired them to want to give back and come along yesterday. UJIA Birthright also run busses at March of the Living, where people who came on Birthright can join together and commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz together.
Johanna Moss, who helped organise the event said that “I was a birthright participant and led a trip as a madricha. I will lead a Birthright bus at March of the Living too. I recognised how much my group were moved by Yad Vashem and how much they wanted to give something back to the community they are now developing relationships with. Inspired by Mitzvah Day, i dreamt up the idea of bringing a group of them to Selig Court. The Young energy brought out the twinkle in the eyes of the older guests and the humour and stories of the older people warned the hearts of the Birthright participants! It was very moving, loads of fun and a great success!
Many thanks to Jewish Care for allowing us to come help out!”
UJIA Birthright & Israel Engagement Co-ordinator, David Neifeld added that “it was a very special experience for UJIA Birthright to take time out of our day through the Mitzvah Day project to spend time with people who have been through so much so that we can be here today – a message that must never be forgotten”.