In 1970, 10-year-old Ellen Berkman came on her first trip to Israel with her parents. She recalls writing to her fourth-grade classmates at Hillel Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that “everyone in Israel is friendly, including the birds, because they eat breadcrumbs from my palm.”

Her father rented a car on that trip and often stopped for hitchhiking soldiers. When Ellen complained about having to share the backseat, he explained that he was setting an example. “One day you may be here, and I want others to pick you or your children up if you need a lift.”


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