11 days/10 nights
IIsrael, the jewel at the eastern Mediterranean shoreline, is an energetic place easy to discover due to its comfortable size. This tour familiarizes the traveler with historic challenges modern Israel had to overcome, visits ancient places and includes religious experiences for the Jewish- American traveler and others interested in the Holy Land from the Jewish perspective.
In addition to the learning aspects, lots of modern day fun is offered as well. Jeep rides to the Golan Heights and visiting a chocolate factory, kayaking down the Jordan River and floating on the waters of the Dead Sea, this journey offers rich enjoyment and learning for the young and young at heart.
Day 1, Jun 8 - Arrive Tel Aviv
Upon arrival to Tel Aviv, Israel, you will be met by your Tour Director and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 2, Jun 9 - Tel Aviv - City Sightseeing
We start our day with a visit to the Old Port City of Jaffa (Yafo), just south of Tel Aviv for a beautiful panoramic view of Tel Aviv and a sense of the first Jewish city of the modern era, established in 1909. Jaffa is where the Prophet Jonah set out on his ill-fated sea voyage before returning to warn the people of Nineveh. Next we'll enjoy a walking tour of Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv's new hip neighborhood where the intellectual elite lived during Israel's early days. Visit the spiritually moving Independence Hall. We will take a step back in time as we listen to David Ben Gurion's moving Declaration of Independence which ended 2,000 years of Jewish yearning for a return to the land of Israel.
Optional:Take an exciting Bicycle Tour of the Tel Aviv from the promenade to the Port, which is one of the most popular places to relax among the locals
Day 3, Jun 10 - Tel Aviv / Caesarea / Kibbutz / Rosh Hanikrah / Northern Israel
After breakfast, we will leave Tel Aviv and travel north to visit the ancient city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great and once the seat of Roman rule. View the excavated Roman Theater, and aqueduct once used for conveying water to the city. Continue to Kibbutz Ein Shemer for a unique kibbutz experience. Go back in time to the early days of the kibbutz, even before the state of Israel was created. Be part of the daily kibbutz life, see, feel, smell and taste what it means to live on a kibbutz and learn how it changed from the time the kibbutz was established until today. Next we'll drive to Rosh Hanikrah to visit the famous northern border point with the cable car going to the amazing grottos resulted from an ongoing geological process over thousands of years.
Day 4, Jun 11 - Northern Israel - Golan Heights & Jordan River Kayaking
After breakfast we will take an exciting 4x4 jeep ride tour of the Golan Heights, enjoying its physical beauty with its scenic hills, and learn the strategic importance and history of the land. Next we'll head to the Har Bental overlook. From this former military base we can look into Syria and learn about the village of Kunetra and the 1967 & 1973 Wars. Have a sweet visit to De Karina chocolate factory for a special chocolate workshop; learn about chocolate in this small boutique factory of hand made chocolate. We will conclude our day with a "wet and wild" adventure and an exciting kayaking trip down the Jordan River. Sit back and enjoy flowing waters of the river.
Day 5, Jun 12 - Northern Israel / Safed / Jerusalem
We start our day with Fun at the beautiful "Bat Yaar ranch" and set out for fun and adventure! Enjoy unique team games: forest bowling / rope game activities, paintball wars. We'll visit the Mystical City of Safed (the birthplace of Kabbalah) one of the Four Holy Cities according to tradition with its Kabalistic studies. We will stroll through the narrow, winding alley's, visit some of the beautiful synagogues and browse through the artists' workshops and galleries found in the flourishing artists' quarter. We'll ascend up the Judean Mountains and upon arriving in Jerusalem, we will stop at a viewpoint overlooking the Old City where we shall celebrate our arrival with a special She'hecheyanu ceremony, a blessing we use to offer thanks for new and unusual experiences. After checking into the hotel we will enter the Old City and walk to the Western Wall (Kotel), Judaism's Holiest site, for a Shabbat evening service unlike anything you have ever experienced. Afterwards we'll have a special Shabbat Dinner with a local family in one of the neighborhoods of the New City of Jerusalem. Learn about the various traditions and meanings that accompany the festive Shabbat meal.
Day 6, Jun 13 - Jerusalem
After breakfast at the Hotel we'll have the day at leisure to rest or walk around the quiet city of Jerusalem during Shabbat. Enjoy Shabbat services at one of Jerusalem's fabulous synagogues!
Day 7, Jun 14 - Jerusalem - Dead Sea, Ein Gedi & Massada
After an early breakfast, we will depart to the Dead Sea area. Traveling south we will arrive at the shores of the Dead Sea and descend to the lowest land point on earth at 1388 feet (423m) below sea level. We will visit the beautiful Ein Gedi Reserve. See the waterfalls at this Oasis in the desert, which is mentioned several times in
the Book of Psalms, waterfalls, and discuss the biblical stories of King David hiding from King Saul. The combination of Ein Gedi's abundance of water and tropical climate provides the ability for wonderful exotic plant and animal life to flourish. We will continue south to the legendary mountaintop plateau of Massada and ascend by cable car to the ancient fortress. Explore the site with its synagogue and bathhouse. Here, was the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their struggle against the Romans. Lunch N' Swim at one the Hotels on the shores of the Dead Sea. Cover yourselves with mud and enjoy the buoyant therapeutic waters of this mineral-rich Sea. Relax by the pool or take a spa treatment.
Day 8, Jun 15 - Jerusalem - Bar and Bat
Mitzvah Ceremonies & City Sightseeing This morning we will enter the Old City and proceed to the Southern Wall excavations. Here we will meet our Rabbi, and celebrate the Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies. Then we'll head to holy Western Wall - the "Kotel". We begin at the passageways descending through the many layers of Jerusalem's past at the time of the Temple through the Western Wall Tunnels. Inside, a most interesting model shows the different dwelling periods and history of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Stand on the site believed to be the nearest spot to the "Holy of Holies". We then proceed to the Jewish Quarter, which was reconstructed after the city was unified after the Six-Day War in 1967. We'll then walk through the Jewish Quarter, which was reconstructed after the city was unified after the Six-Day War in 1967. A special point of interest in the restored Jewish Quarter is the "Cardo", meaning the "heart" of this ancient Byzantine City. At the end the day we will visit at the City of David and see the newest and exciting excavations of Jerusalem during the time of the first Temple period. Here we'll also walk through Hezekiah's Tunnel which still flows with water. Dinner will be in the hills of Judea at the "Land of Genesis". Here, after a desert camel ride, "Abraham" and his family will host us for a biblical-style dinner in their tent.
Day 9, Jun 16 - Jerusalem - City Sightseeing
After breakfast, we will drive around the new city of Jerusalem to see the modern capital of Israel. At our first stop we will have the opportunity to 'give something back' to Israel by volunteering at Pantry Packers, packing healthy food bags with your own label to go out country-wide to needy families identified by the Israeli Government. Then we will visit Yad Vashem. It is considered the first and most famous memorial to mankind's darkest period. We will visit the very moving exhibit at the Children's Pavilion. We will continue to the Herzl Vision Museum, where we will visit Herzl's Dream, an interactive tour though the life and times of Zionism's founder. We will also visit Har Herzl, Israel's national cemetery, where we can visit the gravesites of Israel's greatest leaders and heroes, including Theodore Herzl, Ze'ev Jabotinski, and Yitzchak Rabin. We will return to our hotel and enjoy a free evening on your own to explore Jerusalem and Ben-Yehuda Street and experience the night life of a modern and young Jerusalem.
Day 10, Jun 17 - Jerusalem - Agriculture & Archaeology Exploration
We'll drive south and head towards the Negev to visit the salad trail. We will observe the most up to date agricultural technologies- the "high tech" of agriculture. At every stop of the tour you will receive an explanation followed by you actually picking and eating your fruit right away! Prepare to 'get dirty' as you participate in an archaeological dig under Tel Maresha at Beit Guvrin. You'll discover pottery from the time of the Maccabees and get an appreciation for the tedious work of archaeologists! On the way back drive through the Valley of Ella, best known as the place where the Israelites were encamped when David fought Goliath. Pick a stone from the same stream that David used in his battle against the Philistine giant.
Day 11, Jun 18 - Jerusalem / Depart Tel Aviv
Transfer to the airport for your departing flight. Leave Israel with everlasting memories….