Jewish Childhood & College Experiences: The defining Jewish experience of my youth was a six-week summer teen trip to Europe and Israel in 1997. For 42 days I was surrounded by Jewish friends, who remain some of my closest friends to this day. During the week leading up to Israel, we visited the Theresienstadt concentration camp. I’d grown up hearing Holocaust stories from my grandparents; seeing a camp firsthand and connecting it to my grandparents’ stories deepened my sense of commitment to the Jewish people.