"I entered into this trip with preconceived ideas of Israel, but it was nothing like I expected. The trip was full of small surprises: like discovering a cool record shop with Israeli rock records or making fast friends out of strangers. More than that, though, Israel instilled in me a new sense of inspiration and drive for my own future through the media connections we made and the experiences that challenged my own creativity every day."
"My trip with The backStorygroup was incredible. I learned so much on this trip and got to meet the most extraordinary people. Every day was a new experience. We got the opportunity to see all the creative and passionate work Israelis were doing as well as visit the most historical and beautiful landmarks. This trip left me feeling so enriched."
"Getting to be a part of The backStorygroup’s trip to Israel this year helped me learn about the nation’s rich history and people, but it also helped expand my own perception of entertainment from my living room to the international scale. I’m very thankful for the opportunity, and would encourage anyone either considering entertainment or interested in Israel to apply!"
"Very few experiences in my life have made as large of an impact as my trip with The backStorygroup did. Be prepared to have your opinions, mindsets, and thoughts shaken. The backStorygroup gave me an incredible opportunity to understand Israel through the lens of media. Not only this, but I was able to make amazing connections with Israeli peers. I will forever be grateful for this experience and hope that others too can have this life-changing opportunity."
"I was honored to have the opportunity to share my work with music students at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Another highlight for me was seeing the short animation films which absolutely blew me away. From meeting filmmaking students, to fellow film composition professionals, I feel blessed to have developed friendships and connections with other artists halfway around the world. I look forward to returning soon and continuing the collaborations."
"This trip was absolutely incredible and truly eye opening. The content being created in Israel is breathtaking and full of important stories that need to be shared with the world. I grew as both a composer and person while there and I can’t wait to go back!"
"What I liked best about Israel was the variety of landscapes and topography throughout the country. It was crazy to be able to go from the desert to the lushness of the North in just a few hours of travel. Additionally, and I think it goes without saying, the rich cultural, historical, and religious significance of Israel was truly a unique and important experience that everyone should have if only to learn more about ourselves as a species and that we are not as different from each other as we think we are. Israelis are warm, welcoming, and just like us but with a little more zest for falafel."
"What I liked best about Israel was the film schools we visited. Their film students are making inspiring works of art and their passion was contagious. I loved seeing the very hands-on teaching style of the instructors and the care that is put into telling Israeli stories. It would be a dream and an honor to study there one day. I did not meet an Israeli that was not intriguing in both personality and background. Each person was kind, intelligent, and proud of where they come from. No better people to have an interesting conversation with."
"I was really surprised about how so many different kinds of people coexist in such close proximities in places like Jerusalem. It was incredible to be able to stroll through the different religious quarters throughout the Old City. The most breathtaking place in Israel was the Dead Sea. I will never forget the view of the sky’s reflection in the water. My favorite place, though, was Jerusalem. There is just something different about the air and as a Christian woman, I had a very emotional experience while walking through the Via Dolorosa."
"Israel and my trip with The backStorygroup was amazing. Israelis are incredibly creative and resourceful; with a comparably smaller budget they create work that is professional, beautiful, and engaging. I liked hiking by the Jordan River and the history and ruins of Masada were also quite intriguing."
"My favorite things about Israel involved making personal connections with fellow artists and creating possibilities for future collaboration. We met Israelis who were leaders in their fields – sciences, the arts, cultural affairs – and of all ages and achievements. The people and the culture are full of passion and vigor – it's contagious and stimulating and follows you all the way home. For an artist in any field, whether film or music or otherwise, that kind of inspiration is invaluable."
Doreen Ringer Ross
"My life has been forever enriched and my perception expanded by this incredible adventure through Israel. The profound history and cultural richness of the land is only outshined by the beautiful spirit and talent of the people there. I look forward to staying connected to some of the incredible artists I met there and seeing where the journey leads us."
"Israel didn’t feel 'under-siege' the way the news depicts it. [It] felt peaceful and safe. The local people were friendly, most were English speaking, and very knowledgable. This country is very diverse and multi-cultural. My favorite things were visiting Masada and the Galilee region- and of course having drinks on the beach in Tel Aviv!"
"What changed for me was in the particularities of meeting specific people in the context of their own work, which usually existed outside the political/historical realm. Meeting musicians and scientists and seeing people going about their business as they do anywhere, but in the unique context of Israeli life was a big eye-opener. I met so many intelligent, engaged, talented, warm people. I felt so welcome and at-home. The level of intelligence and talent was overwhelming."
"Most surprising thing about Israel was the normalcy of life in a thriving country, in contrast to the image portrayed in the media. My favorite place was Jerusalem. So beautiful and infinitely complex. The people were inspiring and admirable. The backStorygroup mission felt adult, professional, and relaxed. Every day we met with interesting people, doing fascinating work, and we were able to relate to them on an individual level...a chance to interact with some of the most impressive parts of modern Israeli society, which it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to access on our own. "
"Most surprising thing about Israel was seeing the geographic realities of this part of the planet that is so steeped in history My favorite place was the he northern region. The people were leaders in their fields and it was a great opportunity exchange ideas. My impression of Israel prior to and following this trip is that it is a tough country that chose to emerge as forward-thinking even in the face of adversity all around. My favorite things in Israel actually had nothing to do with things. Rather, the diversity of extraordinary people we met."
"The backStorygroup trip provided me with introductions to musicians, concert promoters and a host of wonderful future collaborators. I loved working with the Israel Camerata Jerusalem and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and had a great time conducting the first combined concert of these two ensembles. I enjoyed getting to know composition and music students and their instructors, and seeing how the art of film music is growing in Israel. There is so much creativity and energy in this country."
C. Richard Allen
"With thousands of years of contentious history, Israel may have an endless supply of backstories. What Wendy Revel does is peel them back - what are the common elements of culture and history that enable the dynamism of modern Israeli life? What are the stories that equip a small nation with the cohesiveness to defeat all opponents and warmth to welcome all guests? Visit Israel with Backstory and you will see yourself in the story of this small nation."