Birthright-Israel, by Jacob

By April 12, 2022 NVLD Bloggers

Hello my name is Jacob Babbin.
I have Non Verbal Learning Difference.

When I was 23 I signed up to go on a Birthright trip and I cancelled. When I was 31 I re-signed up on my birthday and it was the best thing I ever did.

Over the last few years I have been in a rut as I was working towards a goal to work for a company that wound up going out of business. It was tough and to a degree I turned off a part of myself once the company shut down.

I started preparing for my trip in September doing cardio and creating packing lists to make sure I had everything for my trip.

Prior to the trip I caught covid, Russia Invaded Ukraine, my house lost power on the day I was leaving (luckily I packed a week early). Then once I was at a family members house in New York, I needed to print extra paperwork. When printing important documents I make sure to have two sets of copies. Then prior to boarding I got flagged and that was very confusing and nerve racking. They brought me to a room and went through my stuff but they put everything back and didn’t rip my bag. Finally I had to board last as they didn’t give me a proper boarding pass until they were almost done boarding. Group leader Lauren checked on me before boarding and group leader Jonah stayed with me the whole time until I boarded.

The good thing is I now know and understand the routine for when I go back!
(My younger self would have most likely walked out or said I am never going back)

During the trip our trip leaders (Jonah, Lauren) as well as the tour guide Rachel were checking on us every step of the way.

As far as myself, I used to try to be an inward person. Over the past few years I have opened up a bit but by the end of my Birthright trip I opened up to every person.

I have problems with death. And the most important thing I took away was when Group leader Lauren stated that during death “we want to naturally turn inward which is the wrong reaction” which I did when I was six and my grandfather on my fathers side died, and again when I was 9 when my grandmother on my Mothers side died. When I was 21 in 2011 a big death occurred and it was confusing and a little hard to deal with. I believe I was less inward then but still not as open as I am today.

Group leader Lauren stated it is important to allow others in and so that we can grieve together and to not lock doors while grieving. That is what stuck with me from group leader Lauren.

What stuck with me from group leader Jonah was that everywhere we went group leader Jonah was the last one double checking everyone got to where they needed to be.

Both group leaders were unselfish in the way they executed their positions.

I have overcome a lot of obstacles in my life and going on and participating on a Birthright MAYANOT trip is my triumph story. The song that I attached this to was When You Believe from the Prince of Egypt the original song version by Michelle Pfeiffer & Sally Dworsky. I was listening to this song prior to catching Covid but once I caught Covid I was listening to it and leaning on my faith more each day.

I also do plan to convert to Judaism but this is not something I thought of lightly. This is something I thought about then discussed with my family and am about to look into. All in all it is a sixth month journey so far. I have not reached out to a Rabbi yet but I will very soon. I believe It is important to make big decisions in a methodical way.

This is my Birthright story and I thank you for reading it. If you have any complexities and are nervous you should go on a Birthright trip, you will make friends that will last a lifetime!


I used to fight change and now I find myself constantly changing.

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