Hey everybody, I (25 M) will be going on Birthright with Mayanot (mixed gender, 22-26) in June, and I’d like some advice from people who went on this age-range trip so I can make the most of it!
For one, I’ve had trouble connecting to other Jews my age range due to being a huge nerd for everything sci-fi/horror etc, and an aspiring animator/creator with a focus on that (I’m teaching myself to draw and to animate etc. so I can make my own insane cool stuff, like The Iron Giant, Bioshock, the Pathologic series, Paranorman, Uzumaki, Shane Acker’s 9, etc). I simply haven’t met very many at all; it’s been ROUGH. Has there been any other nerds like myself on these trips, have friendships or more been made?
The other issue is that while I’m religious/practicing, I’m in no way a fanatic or anything close to that; the only thing I’m concerned about in that regard is ability to have time to put my tefillin on during the trip, or simply davening in a quiet area or so. Knowing Mayanot is affiliated with Chabad, and from reading some trip reports, should I expect a mix of religious/secular, and ability to daven? I don’t really care if I’m the only one in the group who does anything in that regard, so long as I have time and a place to do so, and don’t mind being the only Jew in the group who at least knows of that particular background, so long as I’m not called out or isolated for it.
That brings to mind my last issue: I know of Birthright’s reputation as being a place for Jews to connect in more ways than one, and while I’m not at all shomer negiah, I’m also not silly about it (especially as I’m a virgin and haven’t done anything remotely romantic or sexual in any way). I want to be safe, but also don’t wanna be ignorant to any signs of interest or afraid to initiate or ask someone out. What can I do here, and if it’s ok, can you tell me about your own positive sexual experiences on a 22-26 mayanot trip?
Thx for reading!