Israel Free Spirit
Bus 541

Aboard Abroad, Seven Days to Israel Free Spirit Bus 541

The Bus 541 itinerary was delivered via email on August 1st. With that, although we’re a week away from lift off to Israel, we’ve begun.

Monitoring the Facebook feed, group members are asking all sorts of questions about quirky topics from camels to water shoes, contemplating the itinerary for better or worse. Here are a few things we have planned for the beginning of the trip:

  • Hatzbani hike
  • Golan winery
  • Raft down Jordan River
  • Climb Masada
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies

The agenda touches on a mix of cultural, adventure, religious and social activities, doing well to give the group a wholesome snapshot of the homeland.

With the itinerary set, I still get an overall sense of uncertainty from the crew – unclear whether those are feelings of nervous excitement about traveling, confusion on what to pack, or if it stems from the safety concerns that dominated the Q&A segment of our orientation (we’ll have armed guides with us at all times).

I saw my Jewish mother, like most Jewish mothers would, shed tears that mixed fear and joy as I left the house this past weekend, the last time I’d see her before the trip. But she cries when I go to the grocery store so we won’t look into it too much.

For some context, my name is Jason Silva, a 25-year old public relations guy, ‘outdoorist’ and artist from Salem, MA. My father is catholic and my mother Jewish. I practiced quite a bit when I was young but shifted my focus to family, athletics and my education and career in the latter half of those 25 years. Simply put, I’m here to gain some background.

Like most of the group – from what we can assume at least – I’ve joined Birthright to learn, to experience, and to meet new people. I’ll be covering the trip via this blog, reporting through the lens of the diverse group of young people Bus 541 brings together, a group that represents east coast cities from Philadelphia, PA to Fort Lauderdale, FL to West Orange, NJ to Boston, MA.

One week from today, we’re knee deep in free spirit falafel.

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– JS