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...
December 21, 2017 By: Gaby Szulzinger, Honeymoon Israel Montreal participant on a November 2017 trip We're back! We've now been home for a month and our lives have been forever changed by Honeymoon Israel.  For those of you who have been on Honeymoon Israel, I imagine that you understand what I’m about to say; in just 10 short days, Israel grabbed our hearts, enthralled our eyes, taught us so many things and ultimately left a mark for years to come.  Some say that when people travel to Israel, they return home with what they describe as a “...
November 30, 2017 By: Clark O'Bannon, Honeymoon Israel Richmond participant on a November 2017 trip After leaving the Welcome Dinner for our Honeymoon Israel trip, my fiancée Kate and I looked at each other and admitted we were a little uneasy about what we had signed up for. Who were all these new people? Were we really about to spend the better part of 10-days with strangers stuck on a bus or in hotels in a foreign place? I learned that evening I may have been the only non-Jewish significant other that didn’t fast in solidarity with their partner for Yom Kippur...
There were sparks in the air before the first round of speed dating was over. By the end of the night, they were going home together. For Philip Hall, that’s what his first pop-up giving circle felt like—a mad rush of love at first sight with a new way of giving while speed dating with nonprofits. Philip, who also manages a popular blog, took part in his first pop-up giving circle with his husband, Jonathan Kurshan, and 19 other couples while they were on their Honeymoon Israel trip from the SF Bay Area in February 2017. Giving circles exist to allow individuals, couples...
October 30, 2017 By: Gaby Szulzinger, Honeymoon Israel Montreal participant on a November 2017 trip When Darren and I first heard about Honeymoon Israel, we weren’t sure what it was all about. Was there a catch? Who is this organization and what is their mission? We decided to attend an information session on a whim. After the session, we turned to each other and set a goal - “Get on this trip!” Several months later, here we are, preparing to leave for Israel in just a few short days (!!) with the first group of 20 couples from Montreal, Canada. We are so excited...
October 19, 2017 By: Adrea Miller-Vesely, Honeymoon Israel San Diego participant on a September 2017 trip I’ve always had a strange feeling towards the Kotel, or Western Wall as it is often called in the United States. The Kotel is one of the most sacred places in Judaism, but I think it can also be one of the most uncomfortable places for non-Orthodox Jews like myself. While I feel a sense of reverence and awe when I’m there, I also feel ill at ease. When I arrive to the Kotel I’m immediately checked by the “modesty police” to make sure that my head, shoulder and knees...

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