“I was in a slump in my life; I was a confused about how I wanted to move forward in my future. Some of my friends who are part of the community kept pushing me to go on Birthright Israel. To be very honest, it was never something that I had thought about. I was not brought up in a Jewish household; I didn’t go to Hebrew school. But my friends kept telling me, ‘it’s not necessarily just a religious thing. You’re going to see where you come from and what your history is. You’re going to feel a part of something.’
I went, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. For the first time, I felt like I belonged somewhere. The most emotional part for me was when I went to the Western Wall. Seeing everybody together and chanting and hugging—the energy of it all—was incredible to me. It’s something I can’t even explain. Even so many years later, I get emotional thinking about the feeling that I had there. I’ll never forget it.
I wrote my little note and I put it in the wall, and I really feel that it came true. It had a lot to do with family and my grandfather, who was diagnosed with cancer. I wished that he didn’t go through a very hard time and enjoyed the rest of his time with his family. I don’t think he suffered. We were all there for him. I think he lived a very happy life. I think there’s a small part of it that had to do with my wish at the wall.”