I can’t wait for my 5-month-old granddaughter to go on Birthright Israel!

I want the next generation to have the gift of Israel.

Bonnie Bornstein Fertel (photo credit: PAMELA FERTEL WEINSTEIN)
Bonnie Bornstein Fertel
I grew up in the diaspora of New Jersey in the 1950s, where there was no religion. We never belonged to a synagogue, never had a Seder, and didn’t celebrate the High Holidays. When my husband and I had our first daughter, Pamela, I began to realize how important that missing piece of my heritage was to me. So we sent her, and then our younger daughter, Jill, to Sunday School, Hebrew School and Hebrew high school.
Eventually, I was able to watch both my daughters evolve from teenagers into young women and see the transformation of how they feel toward Israel, our religion and Jewish traditions.
In fact, Pamela went on the very first Birthright Israel trip in 2000. It changed her life. She discovered a new sense of Jewish pride.
And what’s even more extraordinary is that the impact of the trip didn’t end with her… her experience spurred the beginning of my own journey to discover how important Israel was to me personally, and to our people. It truly inspired me… and continues to inspire me.
I realized that, without Birthright Israel, there would be a broken link in the chain. It’s vital for young adults who may not have the opportunity to explore their religion at home or for those who may not understand the Jewish future they could have. Without Birthright Israel, I’d be afraid of our traditions shriveling.
My very first gift to Birthright Israel Foundation was 18 years ago on the day Pamela returned from her trip. And I’ve continued to give ever since. I don’t believe that I can sit back and say, ‘somebody else is going to do this.’ I think the right thing to do is pay it forward. People don’t realize that they don’t have to give thousands of dollars. If thousands of people gave dozens of dollars to Birthright Israel Foundation, the result could be extraordinary.
This past June, Pamela gave birth to a little girl, Janie, and it will be extremely important for my granddaughter to go on Birthright Israel. I want her to feel a love for our people and our homeland. I want her to be able to examine her place among the Jewish people and develop a connection to Israel. And there’s no better way to do that than through Birthright Israel.
I can’t wait for little Janie to go on Birthright Israel in 18 years. And I’m going to do whatever I can to help make sure that she can go, and someday her kids can go, and their kids can go … and that Birthright Israel continues for generations and generations.
Birthright Israel provides this extraordinary trip to each participant as a gift — with help from generous supporters. If you want to help young Jewish adults discover a deeply personal connection with their Jewish heritage and the state of Israel, please make a gift to Birthright Israel Foundation. When you give right now, your support will be TRIPLED thanks to a special matching gift campaign! Visit  here to learn more.