Trip of a Lifetime

I would like to tell you about a trip that was a gift, a miracle. Our July Taglit Trip. Before I went on the Nevada Community Delegation Birthright Israel trip this past summer my Jewish identity consisted of high holidays. I was a Jewish American princess. A jeweler. I was part of a typical Jewish family. As a reformed, secular Jew in America - I was surprised to find that I knew very little about my Jewish roots, but that was all about to change.

Once I arrived in Israel, I knew that the next 10 days would be filled with opportunities to discover my Jewish heart. There was a moment in the trip, after visiting both Masada and Ben Gurion’s Grave, that I realized - there are things I am - strong, stubborn, proud, patient, ultimately forgiving - that have been passed down in my Jewish blood. This realization was a meaningful moment for me about what it meant to be Jewish. In Israel, I developed a new family, a new sense of identity, or self knowledge, a full heart, so much gratitude for the brilliant gift I’d been given that gave me the opportunity to fall in love with Israel and my identity.

I was lucky enough to extend my trip for another 18 days in a country that, just by birth, belongs to me. I experienced plenty of sirens and shelters and booms after my mishpacha left but I did not feel scared in a traditional sense. It wasn’t until I returned back to Las Vegas that I felt the effects. My trip to Israel gave me an overwhelming sense of purpose, belonging, gratitude, perspective, an education, and a full heart. I have to thank the donors in our community and around the world who contribute to Taglit, to the Jewish community that makes sure young Jews like me get the chance to experience our homeland.

I have a renewed spirit thanks to the trip and I look forward to getting more involved in our local Jewish Community and helping The Jewish Federation and JewEL send many more young Jews to Israel!

-Polly Weinstein

The Jewelers Daughter


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