By, Arielle Adler, Rosh Machane Bet
I grew up going to camp. I went to Sprout Lake, I did year round Young Judaea, I spent every summer in high school at Tel Yehudah and worked at Sprout Lake all through university. It was at TY, however, that I began to understand the intensity of what it means that Israel is a Jewish state. It was at TY that I learned that Israel was not perfect and that as a Jew, I could have a say in it. It was at TY when I started thinking about making Aliyah.
I went on Machon and Year Course, and the question of Aliyah was always on my mind. In the end, I decided to go back to America and so I attended Boston University for three years. I had been inspired by my Jewish education at camp, and majored in history education, thinking I would be a teacher in a Jewish day school one day. But soon enough I realized that Israel was the place I needed to be.
I graduated in 2011, and three months later I boarded my Aliyah flight. I was 23, and yet I still decided to draft into the IDF where I served for two years as a non-commissioned officer of education in the Israeli Navy. It is now four years later, and I am proud to say I call Jerusalem my home.
Being back at camp this summer is an incredible feeling. It was here that I felt safe to explore my Jewish identity and it was here that I developed the confidence to follow my dreams and move to Israel. I am so happy to be working at TY this summer, and I cannot wait to inspire these amazing teenagers to follow their dreams.