I Gave a Handjob at Jew Camp

By Rose Surnow

Without question the best thing about being Jewish is the free sex vacation to Israel. Most Jewish youths between the ages of 18 and 26 have taken advantage of this miraculous perk to enjoy a weeklong, all-expenses-paid orgy in the desert. I am, of course, referring to Birthright. The goal of Birthright, which is partially sponsored by the Israeli government, is that young Semites will meet, marry and procreate, yielding little mini Jews. I am not religious but I do love hummus and making out, so obviously I had to go.

As soon as I arrived at the airport, I started on my mission to find a best friend and boyfriend for the week. Unforch, everyone was squaresville. All the guys worked in law and finance and the all girls were in PR. I would have to harness all my powers of creativity to morph a guy wearing a baseball cap and cargo shorts into someone I would want to make latkes with. This trip was going to be a challenge, indeed.

After the first day, I found my bestie. Leah was a punk activist who spent the entire trip in Israel talking about how fucked up Israel is. She had short, messy hair, wore massive hoop earrings and had a bunch of stupid tattoos. I LOVED her. Within 20 minutes of meeting we were “practically sisters.” On Day Two of the trip we discussed our romantic options. I had nothing going but Leah was obsessed with Adam, the perma-stoned Israeli tour guide. He was a soldier in the national army, carried a gun AND played guitar so...duh. I found him too obvious.

By Day Three, I noticed I was being hunted. There were four eyes on me at all times. The predator was a pale, bespeckled law student with allergies. Wherever I turned, there was Matt offering me sunblock or Claritin. He sat next to me on every bus ride and at every meal. It was flattering and sweet, but he had Dave Matthews on his iPod, so I was conflicted. Sure, I was thousands of miles away from home, among strangers and no one had to know what I was up to. But could I even live with myself knowing that I let a DMB fan touch me? I smoked hookah and looked up at the Middle Eastern sky wondering what G-d wanted me to do.

On Day Four, the entire group was frantic. It was the infamous night of the “Bedouin tent.” All 45 of us were going to sleep in one massive tent in the desert, which in our sleazy minds meant HOOK-UP-CITY. Up until that point, we had all been sleeping in same-sex rooms and the heteros were getting randy. No one had done the deed yet, except for Chris and Julie, the super good-looking, tan, blond couple whom no one believed was Jewish. We all needed to catch up. Everyone was plotting who they were going to strategically sleep next to. I was not surprised when I threw my sleeping bag down in the massive tent and Matt laid his right next to mine. Subtle.

That night we had a huge feast with copious glasses of red wine and I was flush with sentimentality. I sat by the campfire while nerds played acoustic guitar and it just felt like one of those moments when you are totally LIVING YOUR LIFE. After hours of storytelling, truth or dare and other rote camp activities, I was ready for bed. It was 1 AM and I was the first person to call it a night.

After a couple hours of sleep I woke up to the most violent sounds I’d ever heard. We were being bombed! Fucking Middle East! I bolted upright expecting to see my friends limbless, covered in blood. But no, everyone was fine, sleeping soundly. It took me a couple of seconds to realise the piercing noise was actually 45 adults snoring with reckless abandon. I was officially in hell. In addition to the irregular chortles of slumber there were also a handful of interspersed moans. The only people who weren’t snoring were having orgasms. It was like a David Lynch nightmare soundscape. On top of the aural assault, Matt was inching towards my sleeping bag trying to force a cuddle. I was exhausted, cranky and I couldn’t take it anymore. I GIVE UP! In life, you can struggle against the tide or you can just make out with Matt in the tent. We smooched for a while and I decided to give him a handy. I mean, I was at Jew camp, what else was I gonna do? It seemed perfectly innocent until he started to unleash a beast within. Even with all the snoring and sighing, Matt’s orgasm grunts were in another league. I was like, “Dude it’s just a hand job, this can’t even feel that good.” It sounded like a bear was eating a wolf. Everyone around us started waking up and the counselor actually screamed, “Shut the hell up!”

After making out, in typical XX fashion, I decided I was in love with Matt and we were going to get married. I hadn’t dated that many Jewish guys and it seemed so perfect. He’d go to law school, we’d have these smart kids with frizzy hair and life would be neurotic and interesting forever after. As fate would have it, we both lived in New York City so we could actually continue dating after the trip. Who knew Birthright really worked?

As soon as we got back from the Holy Land we made a plan to get lunch in SoHo. It was so trippy to see my Birthright boyfriend here in my very own city! As soon as we started talking and catching up, Matt was being awkward. He was so cold that at one point during the meal I just asked him flat-out, “What is going on?” Apparently, he was deeply offended that I had conflicted feelings about Israel. As the tattoo of the Israeli flag on his thigh would indicate, he was pretty hardcore about the issue. He told me he couldn’t date someone who didn’t 100% embrace and support Israel. I told him I couldn’t date someone with a thigh tattoo. Our relationship in New York lasted approximately two lemonades and one salad. I guess once we got back to reality it was clear we actually had nothing in common. Oh well, we’ll always have the Bedouin tent.

@rosesurnow

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