By Lissie Levitt

Temple Kol Emeth member and Milton High School junior Lissie Levitt spent the fall semester attending the NFTY-Eisendrath International Experience High School in Israel.

When I stepped out of the doors of Ben Gurion Airport, carrying two 50-pound duffels, a guitar, and a couple of carry-on bags, I walked into a land I would call school, synagogue and home for the next four months.

Lissie Levitt lived on Tel Tzuba in the Judean Hills during her four months in Israel.

Lissie Levitt lived on Tel Tzuba in the Judean Hills during her four months in Israel.

One of the very special things about Israel is the many ways you can view it. On our trip, we went on a five-day hike, a journey from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean Sea. Not only did we schlep through Israel, but we saw the stars at night, hiked through some pretty cool places during the day, and in the end entered the Mediterranean with a sense of accomplishment and smiles.

We also got to enjoy a five-day basic training meant for Israeli teens, during which I pushed myself and fell in love with Israel and the people who live there even more.

Our largest trip was a pilgrimage to Poland, where I got the amazing opportunity to see Jewish life in Poland and learned about my own family in different parts of Poland.

On a day-to-day basis, I lived on Kibbutz Tzuba in the Judean Hills outside Jerusalem. Between classes during my very long school days, I got the chance to look out at gorgeous views, learn about myself, and really call Tzuba my home.

We also went on several field trips for Jewish history to places such as the Old City, Tel Aviv and up north around the Sea of Galilee.

Reflecting on my incredible four months, I feel that Israel was more than just my school, synagogue and home. Israel became everything to me that was happening on a daily basis. NFTY-EIE truly changed my life and helped me develop a long-lasting love for Israel.