Pack Your Bags, We’re Heading to Israel!

Photograph by Robert Bye

Each year, tens of thousands of young adults embark on a trip commonly known as birthright. These trips serve as an educational experience to promote heritage discovery and teach young adults about current issues, such as geopolitics, identity, religion and Jewish life. According to Birthright Israel, “Our mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the less connected, the opportunity to visit Israel on an educational trip.” It’s a trip about identity, the past and the future, as this travel opportunity breaks down the barriers between young Jewish adults and the state of Israel. It shows them why Israel needs them and how they could donate to israel and help it. With so much turmoil and the ongoing conflict, there was much concern that the Jewish community would lose a connection with Israel, and so, birthright was born.

This summer, specifically two days from now, I am incredibly lucky to say I will be midair, awaiting my arrival in Jerusalem. While the main purpose of this trip is obviously to think hard about current issues and my own Jewish identity and heritage, you can’t help it that this PATTERN intern is already thinking about what to pack, right?!

August in Israel is extremely hot, so shorts and dresses are a must. When I travel, I’m all about outfits that are quick and easy so that I can get out and go. Basics that you can mix and match are always a go-to, especially when I’m going to be walking all over town. If you’re going to Israel, it’s also important to remember to bring at least one maxi dress or skirt that will cover your knees and either a light t-shirt or scarf to go around your shoulders for when you visit the Western Wall. While packing for any trip is an exciting part of the process, it’s extremely important to be aware of the culture you are about to experience and bring pieces that will be respectful of local culture and tradition. When visiting many religious sites and historical landmarks, especially in a religious state, it is important to bring modest clothing. In a place with temperatures as hot as Israel, maxi dresses or skirts are always a good way to go.

Some other necessities on my packing list:

  • Hiking boots/ comfortable waterproof sandals!! – During my time in Israel I will be embarking on many hikes and outdoor activities. Hiking up Masada, floating down the Jordan river, spending a day at the Dead Sea and so much more. These are the times when function might take over fashion, but not for me. Chaco’s are my go-to outdoor sandals and every season they come out with new prints.
  • Herschel and Fjallraven are two brands that always have cute travel accessories. They also have great camera bags, so you don’t miss out on any good shots.
  • Water bottle: Israel in the summer gets crazy hot, so it’s important to keep hydrated.
  • Light sweater. Nights in Israel can get chilly, especially when you’re camping outside in the Negev Desert. Light open-knit sweaters are the perfect thing to throw over any layered outfit.
  • A fun dress/jumpsuit – Part of the birthright experience is getting to experience a Shabbat celebration with the locals. Wherever I go, I always make sure I’ve got a fun summer dress or romper to bring out for nicer days.
  • Shorts, shorts, shorts. – Did I mention it’s going to be crazy hot? Packing cute might be part of the fun, but packing smart is just as important.
  • Sunglasses & sunhat– Perfect way to make a casual outfit a little more fun. Go for a shape you might not wear all the time to spruce up any look. Plus, a hat will keep those cheeks from getting too pink.

And there you have it! My bags are packed, and I’ll be running around Israel soon enough. All thanks to PATTERN for helping me get my mood board down.