The Birthright Taglit Program doesn't give the participants much in terms of free time. It's intensely scheduled and very restricted. A different cousin's daughter was on it a few years ago and we never got to see her.
This week's Birthright participant is my Uncle Izzy's granddaughter. Uncle Izzy was known as "the doctor" on the ships which brought illegal immigrants during the pre-state struggle. According to family legend, Uncle Izzy was on the Exodus, most probably because it's the only ship the family ever heard of. We're not a Zionist family. I'm the only Israeli Zionist and only Torah-Jew who emerged from that typical Brooklyn, NY Jewish family.
Most of Uncle Izzy's stories died with him. His two sons weren't told any and his granddaughters even less. I once asked Uncle Izzy if he had been on the Exodus. His answer really shook me up:
"No, but if I had, it may have turned out differently."After Yitzchak Rabin's assassination his response shocked those who heard him:
"He was nice, but I couldn't stand his wife."So, G-d willing, I'll see the granddaughter tonight and try to fill her in on her very special heritage.