Passport + Luck = Reunion

On Sunday, June 6, 2010 of this past year, an estimated 20,000 people gathered at Israel in the Gardens (IIG) to enjoy Israeli music, film, food and to celebrate Israel’s 62 anniversary. Among the thousands, stood Elise Harrington.

Elise Harrington

Elise Harrington

Elise grew up in Berkeley and attended the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. Currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying Architecture and Environmental Studies, she was out enjoying the sunshine among friends. No one could have predicted how a celebration of Israel that day would alter her life. Elise was given an IIG passport and went to check out the various community booths, getting her passport stamped with each visit. At the end of the festivities, she returned the passport as instructed to the Federation/Israel Center booth and in doing so, entered herself into a raffle for a free coach roundtrip EL AL ticket to Israel. It was Elise’s lucky day. Her name, out of thousands, was randomly selected. And to Elise, it held more meaning than just going on a free trip; this gave her the opportunity to see Carl, one of her older twin brothers who is a soldier serving in the IDF.

Elise’s connection to Israel formed early on. In high school Elise was an active member of a teen movement inspiring Jewish experiences (BBYO), which helped develop her connection to Israel and first introduced her to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Since then she has gone to various AIPAC conferences and workshops, and became involved in the Penn Israel Coalition on campus, which helps foster pro-Israel sentiment within the student body. “I first went to Israel during the summer of 2004 with my mom and one of my brothers,” said Elise. “I'm really happy to have this opportunity to go to Israel again. I'm not exactly sure what my plans for my trip will be - some of it will probably depend on what time off my brother can get from training.” After she graduates, Elise plans to study or do humanitarian work in Israel. As an architecture student, she believes in the importance of traveling to visit historical buildings as well as current structures around the world. “I would love to study what Israel has to offer” said Elise, “and to use it as a starting point to learn about and visit other places as well. Again, thank you so much for everything, I am so excited!”

Categories: Israel


September 29, 2010


The Federation