What We Brought Back

Jewish Life After Birthright

  • Overview
  • Videos
  • News and Reviews


Dozens of contributors share personal essays, poems, and photographs from their unique Jewish journeys. Some tales are eye-opening, others are heart-breaking. Couples fall in love, friendships fall apart. Profound adventures enlighten; hilarious misadventures do, too. Welcome to the liner notes for the latest album of Jewish life in America.

News and Reviews

Early word on What We Brought Back

"Whether you're looking for the complex, living Israel behind the headlines, or an antidote to facile stories about kabbalah and JDate, here's the volume for you." Continue reading

Paul Zakrzewski, editor of Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction from the Edge

What We Brought Back reveals “moving transformations”

“Birthright’s alumni reveal the high and low points of their sojourns abroad, and examine their religio-Zionist identities before and after. Men and women, straight and gay: Most came home reinvigorated as Jews…there are moving transformations.” Continue reading

What We Brought Back celebrates first decade of Birthright

"As a whole, the reflections in this compilation are insightful, tender, thought-provoking, clever and funny." Continue reading

Meredith Patrick’s essay from What We Brought Back appears online

"The 10 days I spent in Israel were 10 of the best days of my life. I became close to several of my fellow students, who were all very welcoming and made me feel a part of the Jewish community." Continue reading

“Varied and Deep” Accounts in What We Brought Back Worth the Read

"These stories paint a more complex, nuanced and ultimately humane image of life and travel in this nook of the Middle East." Continue reading

What We Brought Back is “pure fun”

"This latest addition to the growing genre of Birthright literature is pure fun. Billed as "liner notes for the latest album of Jewish life in America," it's a collection of college application-length personal essays by twenty-somethings who participated in Birthright Israel within the last five years." Continue reading

Jewish Book Council

What We Brought Back an Ecclectic Read

"It is a charming little anthology that gives testimony to Birthright's power to enrich and even change individual lives." Continue reading

About the Author

Wayne Hoffman

Wayne Hoffman

WAYNE HOFFMAN is deputy editor of Nextbook Press. He edited What We Brought Back: Jewish Life After Birthright, as well as Taglit-Birthright Israel’s Traveling Companion and Birthright Israel NEXT’s Literary Companion to Shabbat. He has written two novels—Hard and Sweet … Continue reading