Spring Break Israel: History, Culture & Adventure at BoothRight

By Brian Gracia, Class of 2017

By Brian Gracia, Class of 2017

This Spring Break, over 130 second-year Booth students, from 19 countries, experienced the culture, history, and nightlife of Israel on what has become an annual student-led trip nicknamed BoothRight.

The journey began in the holy city of Jerusalem. There, the group was greeted by the Mayor of Jerusalem who discussed a wide range of topics including movement of the US embassy, the Palestinian conflict, and decriminalization of cannabis. After, small tour groups experienced some of the world’s most important religious sites including the “Wailing” Wall, Temple Mount, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre while others took a trip to Jerusalem’s Western Market. Daniel Ochoterena (Class of 2017) described the old city as “awe-inspiring: ancient, thriving and majestic.” The group wrapped up their Jerusalem experience at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The next stop of the journey was a luxurious day floating in the Dead Sea with spa-like mud treatments. Unfortunately, the group could not stay forever and soon departed for an evening with the nomadic Bedouin people. Participants Andrew and Liz Ward found the Bedouin tent party to be one of the highlights of their trip, where “they had belly dancers who pulled each of us out of the crowd to shake it in front of our fellow BoothRighters!” The visit included a sunrise at Herod’s palace-like fortress Masada.

Boothies stop to take a cheery photo during a sunrise visit to Masada

Boothies stop to take a cheery photo during a sunrise visit to Masada

A special treat was an Air Force Base tour organized by trip co-leader and former fighter pilot Lior Sahaf. The group learned about Israel’s air capabilities in addition to watching F-16’s take-off up-close on the runway. Next, the group transitioned to the Golan Heights to take an ATV tour to a former Syrian base. The remainder of the trip included stops at the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth before two days of shopping, relaxation, and beach time in beautiful Tel Aviv.

Other highlights included “Bus Fun”, “Wakey-Wakey”, ladies favorite ‘Steve’, and “Thank You for Your Service.” Student leaders Lily Rapaport, Itai Koren, Lior Sahaf, Eran Lewis and Maayan Aharon did an amazing job leading a transformative experience on Booth’s largest annual second year trip and have earned lifelong appreciation from the participants. Class of 2017’s Rikki Singh put it best: “Israel provides the perfect background for honest conversations and getting to know 130 friends better without being overwhelmed!”

The group returns to the US with a new affinity for hummus and pita.