An oldie but a goodie; this was the first movie Shmuel made after standing under the chuppah with yours truly. Yes, we ARE a little biased, I must disclaim from the get-go; Shmuel learned at Mayanot for two years before we got married. And yes, we tend to daven at the Mayanot shul in Nachlaot on Friday nights (we love the Carlebach-style singing and dancing.) And yes, Mayanot is our most loyal and long-term client.
BUT! Mayanot Birthright is the best no matter whom you ask. Why? Because it focuses on Israel’s best asset instead of shying away from it.
What is Israel’s best asset? It’s the Jewish homeland, people! That’s why the trip is called Birthright! And this is why it’s silly for a Birthright group to spend a Shabbat in a not-so-Jewish atmosphere like the nightclubs of Tel Aviv. Mayanot takes Birthright to the kotel for Shabbos, and hooks students up in homes with real religious people (truly national treasures and curiosities in their own right!) For most people we interviewed, that was the best part of the trip. People don’t come to Israel for the nightclubs.
Mayanot Birthright trips give Jewish meaning to traveling the land, and students carry this with them for years afterward. They have awesome guides and soldiers who come along for the ride. It’s kind of a more grounded yet spiritual Magical Mystery Tour.
It was Danny Sack’s idea to make the soldiers the focal point of the video. One week after we released this video on the web, it was on YouTube’s 100 most downloaded videos. In 2007, when we launched this campaign, Mayanot saw an over 100% increase in participants from the year before, making it one of the biggest Birthright providers in Israel.