Have you ever had a dream? Maybe your dream is to get that big promotion, or accomplish something that will leave a mark on the world. Well, I had a dream, too. To me, as a Jewish teen who plays sports, it has always been a dream and passion of mine to go to Israel to introduce my sport.
My name is Aliyah Boyle. I am a 16-year-old high school student who started playing lacrosse seriously a few years ago. This past winter, I proudly held the title of goalie and defender on the Israeli National Lacrosse team.
Lacrosse has been a big influence in my life. It has helped me overcome many obstacles, as well as helping me learn the value of teamwork and other skills needed to succeed in life. So, when I received an invitation to play on the Israeli team, I was quick to jump on it!
Each December, the Israeli Lacrosse Association sponsors a trip for teens from across the U.S. to spend 10 days in Israel, bonding over their passion for lacrosse and Judaism. The trip provides an amazing opportunity to spend time in Israel and introduce lacrosse to Israeli teens throughout the country.
The trip was an eye-opener for me. The moment I stepped off the plane and into the land of Israel, I experienced all the sights and sounds and smells I had only been able to imagine until then. I met amazing people, developed new skills for the game, and helped to bring people together – even Arab and Jewish teens – through sports. My pride in Israel grew in ways I can’t describe and my understanding of the country was immensely deepened. I can honestly say that I would not trade the experience for the world.
I had always heard stories of what is happening in the Middle East. I saw the aftermath and learned, firsthand, that it is not at all how it is portrayed in the media. The media leaves people with the impression that nothing good ever happens in Israel. That’s not at all true! I would be the first to admit that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – there are obvious problems that need to be solved – but it’s not always a sob story either.
I met many people, each with their own story. In fact, I still talk to every single one of them through Instagram or Snapchat. One of my new friends is a Christian Arab, who I met in an amazing game where Israelis from different faiths came together because of their love of lacrosse.
Going to Israel enriched my sense of what it means to be Jewish. Amazing things happen there, both on the field and off. I hope to go back again to meet more kind people, experience the sense of community, smell the falafel and have another adventure like the one I was able to live, if only for 10 days. Israel is, and always will be, in my heart.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Aliyah Boyle lives in Tampa, Florida, Where she plays on her high school team and on county teams in the summer. She has been invited to return to Israel this summer to play in the inaugural lacrosse competition at the Maccabbiah Games. She is the great-granddaughter of Harriet Landesberg, who lives at the Phyllis Siperstein Tamarisk Assisted Living Residence, in Warwick. She is the granddaughter of Arlene and Melvin Landesberg, of Del Ray, Florida, formerly of Providence. Her mother, Jill Landesberg Boyle, submitted this article after seeing the story on Israeli lacrosse in a previous Jewish Voice.