For the whole of her young life, Rachel Abitan dreamed of visiting Israel. Growing up in an observant Jewish family in Toronto, Abitan, 18, had always been fervent and faithful in her beliefs, keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath and celebrating the high holidays. All of which meant that a small Middle Eastern nation halfway around the world has always played some sort of role in her life. So, very soon after her 18th birthday – the moment she became eligible – Abitan applied to Taglit-Birthright Israel (commonly referred to as Birthright), a program created with the purpose of sending every Jewish young person in the world on a free trip to Israel.

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