I was born seven years after the establishment of Israel, so the reality of her existence is all I have ever known. Still, I am profoundly moved, grateful and humbled to be living in this special time when the deepest hopes, dreams and prayers of my ancestors have been fulfilled.

Doug Ross, shown during an appearance at the Jewish Breakfast Club in April 2016, says many of the Jewish community’s future leaders and benefactors will be Birthright alumni.

I feel a sacred obligation to do everything in my power to protect Israel and strengthen the ties between her and the Jewish people. These powerful impulses inform my daily commitment to Birthright Israel and AIPAC. This is not just an obligation or a responsibility, however; it is an honor and a privilege.

Israel is my heart and soul, my passion, and my compass. She is a jewel and a blessing to the Jewish people and the entire world. Nothing expresses my feelings better than the words of her national anthem, Hatikvah (The Hope).

See all the reflections on Israel’s meaning on this special anniversary.