I am thrilled to be able to offer you the words of one of our community’s greatest students, Ben Lutz. Ben is more than a good student or a sweet kid, he is a decent, kind and compassionate young man. He takes serious issues to heart and strives, as the Mishnah instructs, to be a real, authentic human being…a mensch.

Friends, meet Benjamin Lutz, our Guest Blogger

Israel, the country that continues to inspire.

My name is Benjamin Lutz and I am a 17-year-old rising senior in Marietta, GA. I go to Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell, GA with Rabbi Fred Greene. I’ve always wanted to go to Israel so I asked my Rabbi about options and he told me about NFTY in Israel (NFTY is the North American Federation for Temple Youth) I signed up for the four-week session in Israel and then I went! I was with 50 other teens from all around the country, none of whom I’ve ever met before.

As an American Jew, I always felt a connection to Israel but I never knew why. Once we landed and seeing the Jewish majority all in the streets, everything suddenly touched me that after the long struggle, Jews finally have a homeland.

Throughout the four weeks my group travelled all around Israel learning the history, seeing the beauty, visiting the holy sites. Everything about my trip to Israel was truly amazing (yes even the 11 hour plan ride) because of the strong sense of Judaism I felt wherever we went. I will always be truly inspired by how the Jewish people were persecuted for so long and to be able to survive and keep their traditions, which were evident all throughout Israel.

Visiting the Kotel (Western Wall) touched me the most. The physical reminder of the temple and that fact that Jews from ALL-AROUND the world come to this same spot really shows how Judaism still continues strong today.

If you are a Jewish Teen reading this and have not had the amazing opportunity to travel, experience, enjoy, and fall in love with Israel then stop everything and book that flight. It’s so important to show the next generation of Jews (the current teenager population) the country dedicated to a Jewish future, as well as our history of overcoming obstacles that stand in our way.

Israel is a very inspiring place and it has made me a stronger Jew. Knowing more about Israel’s past and seeing the areas where these events occurred truly connected me deeper to my faith and of course, to Israel!

Thank you Rabbi Greene for telling me about this wonderful experience, I am so beyond glad to have shared a summer in Israel!