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After meeting the group at the airport and taking an overnight flight, your guide and IsraelExperts staff will meet you in Tel Aviv and set you off for the biblical landscape park of Neot Kedumim ... and an opportunity to test your sheep herding skills. Later, on your way to the hotel, stop to say shehekhyanu overlooking the city of Jerusalem from the Haas Promenade.
Walk on the Old City ramparts from Tower of David to the Zion Gate and visit the City of David (including Hezekiah’s Water Tunnel). Tour the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Quarters of the Old City, exploring significant sites that are important to people of many religions. Hear a panel discussion with Jews from across the religious and political spectrum. Visit Mount Herzl, the burial place of great Israeli leaders as well as thousands of soldiers killed in the line of duty and experience a powerful visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust.
Visit Bethlehem to see the security barrier from the other side (including the Banksy artwork) and hear from local residents about life in the Palestinian Territories ... then, in the settlement of Tekoa in Western Gush Etzion, hear from religious and secular settlers why they have chosen to live where they do.
On Friday afternoon, visit bustling Machane Yehuda -- Jerusalem's largest shuk (outdoor market). Celebrate kabbalat shabbat at First Station, followed by home hospitality Shabbat dinner. Choose from different shabbat morning prayer opportunities and, after a busy first week, enjoy a relaxing Shabbat in Jerusalem.
Wake up (really!) early to climb to the top of Masada for sunrise. Float in the Dead Sea and walk through the springs of Ein Bokek. Ride a camel, have dinner at a Bedouin tent, and end the night with beautiful stargazing.
Tour the old city of Beersheva. Travel to the Western Negev, hear from local residents about day-to-day life on the border, and look into Gaza from the Assaf Siboni Lookout. Explore Zionism and its relationship with world Jewry at the Ben Gurion Heritage Institute in Sde Boker. Enjoy a North African lunch with the Culinary Queens of Yerucham. Ride a jeep through the Ramon crater and “surf” the dunes.
Participate in an environmental program at Kibbutz Lotan. At shvil ha-salat (“The Salad Path”), cook dinner from juicy tiger tomatoes, purple carrots, edible flowers, and more – all growing in the heart of the desert. Hike the Red Canyon / Har Tzfahot. Swim and snorkel in Eilat. Challenge yourself at Top 94 and spend time hanging out at the beach.
Visit the Joseph Bau Museum and hear his life story. Have lunch in the Carmel Market in central Tel Aviv. Experience kabbalat shabbat with Beit Tefilah Israeli at the Tel Aviv Port. On Saturday, enjoy a day of swimming and relaxing and take a walking tour of the city with an activist in the Tel Aviv LGBTQ community.
Walk the Independence Trail and visit Independence Hall. Run some drills at the home of the Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer team. Walk the streets and alleyways of the ancient, multicultural city of Jaffa. Walk the streets of Neve Tzedek solving riddles and interacting with the actors who are, inconspicuously, all around you. Experience the “Dialogue in the Dark” interactive exhibit at the Holon Children’s Museum. Take part in interactive learning at Bina, the Jewish Movement for Social Change. Spend time with friends and family in Israel.
Explore a different side of Tel Aviv during the Florentine Urban Culture Tour, learning about the neighborhood through its graffiti. Learn about attempts to create a shared society with Jews and Arabs living together at Givat Haviva. See the excavations of the Crusader city, the aqueduct, and the amphitheater in Caesarea. Participate in a medical clowning workshop with Dream Doctors at Rambam Hospital. View the Baha’i Shrine and Gardens and have lunch in Haifa’s colorful and diverse Wadi Nisnas. Visit a mosque in Ahmadia and meet with a local imam. Eat an authentic Druze dinner at Daliyat a Carmel.
Drive to Akko to see the Crusader fortress / British prison, and the remarkable Tunisian synagogue. Meet with Jewish-Arab coexistence activist Mohammed Fahili. Visit local entrepreneurs at Idan Hapri Farm and participate in a fruit-drying workshop. Tour the grottos at Rosh Hanikra and splash through the water in Madjrasa, Israel’s best water hike. Participate in an ongoing archaeological dig at Korazin. Witness the natural beauty and strategic advantage of the Golan Heights from Mount Bental and kayak along the Hatzbani River. Celebrate a relaxing Shabbat on kibbutz.
Tour the mystical city of Tzfat, including an interactive experience in the Tzfat Puzzle Room. Visit Booza Ice Cream Parlor, participate in an ice cream making workshop, and learn about this Arab-Jewish business. Visit Mavrhatey, an Ethiopian hut made of mud and straw, and hear about your host’s personal journey. Participate in an improv workshop at Kibbutz Sasa and enjoy an evening boat ride on the Kinneret.
Walk through the Kotel tunnels and explore the vast network of history below and behind the Western Wall. Meet with representative from Women of the Wall. Visit Kids for Peace, a youth group for Jewish and Palestinian kids. Have a celebratory farewell dinner before heading to the airport for an overnight flight ... and a lifetime of memories.
Please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to last minute program availability, security concerns, and other factors as determined by Havaya Summer Programs and their staff, in consultation with IsraelExperts and the Security Department of the SPNI.
Today was a bit of a quiet day. We said goodbye to the Galilee and had a long bus ride to Jerusalem. After relaxing the hotel for a bit, we went out to a nice dinner and journeyed underground into the Kotel Tunnels. Afterwards a few of us stayed to visit the Kotel one last time while most of the group met Dalak’s grandfather, a Holocaust survivor and very cool man.Continue Reading