November 2, 2006 / 11 Cheshvan 5767
“I grew up in the Beitar Youth Movement in Brazil. However, I couldn’t afford a trip to Israel. At the age of 22, I came on a birthright Israel trip. Nothing could have prepared me for this experience. Israel just took my breath away.”
Rinat Malkes (26) is a woman determined to make her mark in Israel. Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Rinat always wanted to make the trip to Israel. However, money was tight and she was busy advancing her career as a journalist.
When she heard about birthright israel, she immediately signed up. This ten-day experience made a deep impact on her life. She stayed an additional two weeks touring on her own and getting the feel of the people and the land of Israel. “I think that birthright is the most amazing thing to happen to the Jewish community in Brazil. Hundreds of young adults like myself are now able to come to Israel and explore their Jewish roots.”
Rinat, however, did more than just explore: she decided to stay. In July 2002, Rinat made aliyah without family or friends. She went directly to the Jewish Agency’s Ulpan Etzion where she lived and learned Hebrew with other young professionals from around the world. She flourished in the ulpan but when it was over she did not know what she would do next.
It took Rinat more than one year to find work in her profession. But when Channel two offered her a job working for their Knesset channel she jumped at the opportunity. “Just when I was beginning to think that maybe I wasn’t meant to be here, I got this fantastic job. Finding employment in my profession was so important to me.”
Rinat is now working the Knesset beat and is meeting all the country’s movers and shakers. Rinat also writes a webblog on the internet exploring her different perceptions about living in Israel. “I don’t believe how well things worked out for me here,” says Rinat. “Wonderful things always seem to happen at the last minute.”
“I think that birthright is the most amazing thing to happen to the Jewish community in Brazil. Hundreds of young adults like myself are now able to come to Israel and explore their Jewish roots.”