The Cultural Trip Of A Lifetime This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 22, 2009
By , York, PA
Culture has always existed in my life, but the effects never really hit me until two summers ago. Judaism has always held a special place in my heart due to growing up familiar to only that specific religion. I’d found out that summer before that I was going to Israel. Running through my teenage mind was “Oh great, two weeks of my summer vacation completely demolished due to an educational family trip.” As the school year was coming to a closing, I dreaded that 14-hour plane ride and every other bit of that “vacation.” It sure wasn’t considered a vacation in my mind. There was obviously nothing I could do in my power to avoid this educational experience, so I thought that I might as well embrace it.

It turns out that embracing it was the easy part. The hard part, was absorbing every piece of information I learned, and seeing how it tied into my life. Although it wasn’t the most epic of vacations, it was the most striking. It started off by welcoming that roasting Israeli air, and letting it run through my veins. We’d met our tour guide and right off the bat, knew she was senseless and quite nutty, if you will. It was rather uncomfortable entering a different country that was altogether opposite of the United States. As the trip continued, we adventured to some exquisite sites, seeing exactly how diverse Israel was. The most impacting experience had to be Yad Vashem, or the Holocaust Memorial Museum of Israel. I wasn’t sure if it was the time, or it happened to be the lay of the museum but it admittedly stirred my emotions.

I remembered entering the museum feeling as though it was superior to me. I felt not worthy, and beneath the crowd, unsure why I was reacting in this sort of manner. The museum was breath-taking, especially because of the structure. The start of the building spilled with sunlight, lighting up every ounce of the room. As the holocaust story grew dreary, the lights became dim, overwhelmed with dark thoughts. The exit of the museum was overlooking the view of Israel, everything from the mountains to the beautiful architecture. No other exhibition could trigger my inner thoughts like Yad Vashem had the ability to do. I went through a series of underground caves and sights to learn more about my ancient ancestry.

That trip was everything I didn’t expect. It goes to show not to judge a book by its cover, or a vacation by things you assume. Not everything is what it is drawn up to be, whether happy or sad. My Israel trip was so memorable that it will remain with me forever. Although I may be too young to get the full effects of the trip, it still touched my deepest emotions. Some parts of the vacation were a bit miserable, knowing I had no access to technology or friends back in the United States. Throughout the trip, I had an unexplainable time and it will continue to be significant for my entire life.

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This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

zozoe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 10, 2013 at 11:56 am
This is a really good peice. As someone who has moved from the US to Israel I know about the special feeling there is when you first arrive in Israel. I'm glad you enjoyed your time here. :)
JAE221 said...
Nov. 17, 2009 at 6:50 am
Great article Jayme! Very informative and insightful explanation of your detailed appreciation for your cultural background. Kuddos to you!
colie said...
Nov. 16, 2009 at 3:02 pm
Wow! What an amazingly genuine story. I am proud to say that I once read stories to you as a child...look at you write with such ease and passion. You have my vote Girl!
vonkorn said...
Nov. 16, 2009 at 11:18 am
Great article Jayme...
You are lucky to have gone... I'm still waiting for my Israel Experience!
Looks like your going to have to start writing some articles for BBYO!!!
Susan said...
Nov. 16, 2009 at 9:35 am
Jayme, what a credible and insightful article you wrote with such depth and perception. You had me captivated from the very first word. I absolutely loved it and you have my vote
SEisenberg said...
Nov. 16, 2009 at 8:19 am
What a fabulous article with such honest and descriptive insight...thanks for sharing and this article has my vote!!
AKierce said...
Nov. 16, 2009 at 5:39 am
Wonderful article Jayme!
snowwhite said...
Nov. 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm
Wow, this is quite a purview of Israel. Never having been, I am waiting to be ignited with the same enthusiasm as this writer. Guessing from her comments she is young, however, her insight and feelings are that of a well polished and insightful, not to mention sensitive young lady. She was precise and defined without being overbearing or pompous of "teenagerish." I would definitely love to see this young writer in print. Easy to say she has my vote.
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