December 7, 2018 By: Gabby Markowitz Grubbs, Honeymoon Israel Atlanta, May 2016 My mother would plotz. My father would roll over in his grave. If only they knew that my two year old son and I were “making merry” decorating the house for Chanukah.  I grew up in a Jewish household where “Christmas” was virtually a dirty word. We would usually travel to our winter vacation spot on Christmas Day because: a) the lines were shorter and, b) so that we would not develop any Christmas traditions other than commercial air travel. Christmas music would come on the radio,...
November 6, 2018 By: Jeffrey Albertson, Honeymoon Israel Atlanta, July 2018 “May there always be heard in the cities of Israel and in the streets of Jerusalem: the sounds of joy and happiness, the voice of loving couples, the shouts of young people celebrating, and the songs of children at play."  This was a line cited during my ceremony to my wife, Amy. At the time, that was one of the few connections I shared with the country. Amy recalled her travels on Birthright, but it was still a struggle for me to relate and understand her connection with Israel. Prior to...
September 28, 2018 By: Alex Whitaker, Honeymoon Israel Colorado, February 2018 By the time we sank into our seats on our flight to Israel last February, it had been a long year for us. My wife, Jodie, and I had moved across the country in May, got married in September, and both of us had started new jobs since moving to Denver. And while we loved the pace and quality of life in Denver after years of work in DC, we were exhausted. We needed a vacation. Exhaustion aside, we were pretty excited for this trip. We’d both been to Israel before and had seen the big sights, but we hadn’t been...
July 13, 2018 By: Susie Siegel, Honeymoon Israel Boston, January 2018 When asked prior to my Honeymoon Israel experience what I was looking to get out of the trip, my answer was “meeting awesome new people, drinking great wine and eating better food in a country I’ve never been to before.”   My answer was much simpler post-trip: “It was absolutely life changing.” So how did I go from casually drinking wine with cool new friends halfway around the world to having my life changed in a matter of 10 days? I’m so glad you asked. Let me start at the beginning. I am not...
June 22, 2018 By: Teresa Jusino, Honeymoon Israel Los Angeles December 2017 I wasn’t expecting tears. I wasn’t expecting to feel the weight of family and memory and responsibility. Not there. Not at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Not at this pilgrimage site for a community and religion I thought I’d left behind. But the things that shape you are always a part of your foundation, and that foundation remains, no matter what newness is built on top. Going to Israel with Honeymoon Israel in December of 2017 taught me just how much my past still meant to me. I wasn...
May 18, 2018 By: Sarah Gwilliam, HMI NYC alumna and trip staff When it comes to faith, we’re pushed as a society to find a way to define ourselves. Many times we’re given a box and we have to figure out how to fit in it. In some ways, I think it’s so we can more easily describe who we are to everyone else. The challenge is that we’re all a lot of things. For me personally, it’s always taken me one sentence to describe my faith identity. I’m Hispanic, baptized Catholic, practiced protestant-light as a child and grew up in the Middle East. And then I met my Jewish husband, and...
May 4, 2018 By: Brianne Cohen, Honeymoon Israel Los Angeles January 2017 participant Growing up, I had no religious memories. I always said “I was baptized Catholic”, but I had never been to church on Sunday, had never taken Communion, and had no funny Confession stories.  To this day, I am quite sure that the only times I had ever been in a Catholic church were for weddings or funerals. Religion, and to an extent, God, was not a part of my life. I met my husband in 2005 just after finishing college.  We met and fell in love while spending time in Venice, CA. I...
March 18, 2018 By: Marty Shankle, Honeymoon Israel Cleveland September 2017 participant My wife Haleigh and I moved back to our hometown of Cleveland a little over one year ago. Knowing where we were going to live and raise our family was a huge life decision for us, but after getting married, we realized that was one of many questions we wanted to find an answer to as we began our lives together. We’re an interfaith couple that has decided to raise a Jewish family. But, we think to ourselves - what does raising a child Jewish truly mean for us? Our days are busy with work,...
January 24, 2018 By: Caroline Freiberg, Honeymoon Israel San Diego September 2017 participant It’s been 5 months since we’ve returned home and I can say with total confidence that the Honeymoon Israel San Diego in September 2017 shattered all expectations. While I was preparing to leave for the trip, there were so many thoughts and questions racing through my head. The most daunting of these questions was, “Why the heck am I traveling across the world on a 16 hour flight, to a country I have been raised to be terrified of with a totally different language and culture, with my new...
January 5, 2018 By: Kendra Rubinfeld, Honeymoon Israel DC January 2018 participant Originally posted on Jewish Federation of Greater Washington website On January 11, twenty couples from the Washington, DC area will embark on a trip to Israel. My husband, Travis Hare, and I will be one of them. This special opportunity comes by way of a national organization called Honeymoon Israel, which is supported locally by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington in partnership with Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. DC-area couples, like ourselves, are selected from a pool of...

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