Mifgash: Encountering Jewish Identity
Since its launch in December 1999, Taglit-Birthright Israel has brought over 260,000 participants, primarily from North America, on a free ten-day educational tour of Israel. It has become one of the most recognizable programs in the Jewish world, yet there are still many misconceptions about it. Mifgash: Encountering Jewish Identity in the 21st Century tells the story of Hillel Bus 740 on their Taglit-Birthright Israel trip and highlights the challenging, enlightening, and ultimately life changing moments as the participants question, reflect, and grapple with their own Jewish identity. Participants share their hopes and concerns for their experience as they explore to the Golan Heights, climb Masada, float in the Dead Sea, excavate ancient ruins, ride camels, and spend Shabbat in Jerusalem. Half way into the trip, eight Israeli soldiers join their Diaspora peers in order for them to learn from each other about what it means to be Jewish today...and what this means for the future of the Jewish people. The film also explores Israeli Knesset Member Yossi Beilin's initial `birthright` idea to bridge the gap between Israeli and Diaspora Jews, and why co-founding philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt embraced it and pushed it forward against the grain of established Jewish community.