You just got back from going on a Birthright trip to Israel. You're excited, exhausted, and feeling major love for Israel. But now comes the sad part: you can't do it again. You can go back to Israel, but not on that same trip. So what do you do now?
That's where Aleza Alpert comes in. As the Birthright Israel NEXT Chicago Campus Coordinator, she works to set up events to help Birthright alumni in the Chicago area keep in touch with not only their own bus mates, but also to meet other alumni in the area. She is the one working to keep that Birthright spirit alive, post-trip.
And if anyone knows how to keep Israeli spirit alive, it's Aleza. She has been to Israel 10 times so far, and five of those times have been to staff a Birthright trip. She also loves hearing stories from other peoples' trips to Israel, so if you're looking to exchange travel stories, search for some funny YouTube clips, or spend a day in the sunshine, Aleza Alpert is a Jew You Should Know:
1. What is your favorite blog or website?
Definitely YouTube! I love watching just random clips, they're always so funny. The animal ones, they're always so cute, or the bloopers. Those are hilarious. This is one of my current favorites. If you ever need suggestions for funny clips let me know. I've got tons!
2. If time and money were limitless, where would you travel?
Clearly, I love to travel. My goal is to live on six continents: visit Antarctica and live on the others. I think that you can't really get to know a place without actually living there—going to the grocery store, taking the bus, hanging out at the local bar. So I definitely need to go to South America, live there for a few months, Asia...yeah, there are a lot of places I would go if time and money were limitless. Can you let me know when that happens?
3. If a movie was made about your life, who would play you?
Well I want to say Anne Hathaway because people tell me I look like her all the time. But I don't want to be that girl that says, "Oh, I look like Anne Hathaway!" So maybe Tina Fey. Her comedy is so quick and clever.
4. If you could have a meal with any two people, living or dead, famous or not, who would they be?
Well my sister passed away two years ago, so I would definitely eat with her. I mean, who wouldn't want to see their sister for a meal? And the second person would have to be Zach Galifinakis. Do you know who he is? Yeah. He's so funny in the movie The Hangover, he's just hilarious. And ever since that movie came outâ€"what was it, a year ago, I've been saying that if anyone asked me this question I'd say him. So I'm saying him. I think the three of us would have the greatest time together, me, my sister, and Zach.
5. What's your idea of the perfect day?
It would involve being outside in the sun, a lot of ice cream, and sleeping in (but not too much because then you're not productive). But yeah, that first day of spring in Chicago is always the greatest because everyone's walking around in skirts, everyone's happier. I just love being outside in the sun. So that would be a perfect day for me.
6. What do you love about what you do?
My favorite part is definitely the fact that I'm helping college-age kids find their own Jewish community, their own little niche. Like for example, I'll never forget when one guy on one of my Birthright trips came up to me and told me that this was the first real Jewish community he had ever really had. And that's why I'm here doing what I do, for that experience.
7. What job would you have had if not the one you have now?
Well when I was younger I wanted to be a dancer in a Disney parade. But I don't think I'd be able to still do that. The other, obvious answer is that I would be teaching.
8. What's your favorite Jewish thing to do in Chicago?
Oh, that's a hard question. I don't really need a structured Jewish night to feel Jewish. I don't know, I love when Shabbat dinner turns into a game night or something. I just love being around other Jewish people.