B’nai Shalom of Olney’s Exploring Israel
Led by Rabbi Ari Sunshine
July 23-August 4, 2017
Sunday, 23 July
Monday, 24 July
Going up into the Land
Arrive in Israel to be met and assisted by your ITC representative. Tour the alleys of Old Jaffa, the ancient port city once known as the Gate of Zion. Shehehiyanu-Welcome ceremony on top of Tel Jaffa overlooking modern Tel Aviv. Check-in to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean Coast. Welcome dinner and orientation at Goshen Restaurant.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Tel Aviv
Tuesday, 25 July
The Hebrew City and the Jewish State. Walking tour of historic “Little Tel Aviv”
Discover the quaint Neve Tzeddek neighbourhood that gave birth to the “first Hebrew city in 2,000 years”. Relive David Ben Gurion declaring the new State of Israel at Independence Hall.
Stroll down Rothschild Boulevard to view the Bauhaus architecture for which central Tel Aviv was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lunch on your own and free time to explore the Nahalat Binyamin crafts fair. Visit to Save A Child’s Heart in Holon to see how this unique project is saving the lives of children from developing countries who come to Israel for medical care. Free time to swim in the Mediterranean Sea and enjoy Beachside Promenade. Free evening.
Dinner on own. Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Tel Aviv
Wednesday, 26 July
Cradles of Jewish Civilization in the Galilee
Depart for northern Israel. Explore ancient Tzippori and study Jewish texts in the ruins of the city where Rabbi Judah Hanasi sealed the Mishna. Discover its magnificent mosaics, including Mona Lisa of the Galilee and ponder why an ancient synagogue floor features a wheel of the zodiac. Lunch and encounter with Rabbi Yoav Ende on Kibbutz Hanaton, Israel’s only Masorati kibbutz (Program to be determined by Rabbis Sunshine and Ende). Tour the old synagogues and picturesque alleyways of the mystical city of Tzfat and discover the origins of our Friday night service where Lecha Dodi was written. Visit the studio of a Kabbalistic artist and hear how Jewish spirituality influences his work. Check–in to the Kibbutz Ma‛agan Hotel, Sea of Galilee.
Dinner at hotel. Overnight: Kibbutz Ma’agan
Thursday, 27 July
Ancient and Modern Geopolitics and Israel’s Finest
Walk in the lush Tel Dan Nature Reserve, one of the sources of the Jordan River, where you’ll discover biblical intrigue and one of the oldest arches in the world. Raft or Kayak down the Jordan River – Great way to cool off on a hot day. Lunch on own. Jeep tour to the Golan Heights for a perspective on Israel’s complex geopolitics as we visit former Syrian bunkers overlooking Israel and strategic Mt. Bental. Chocolate making workshop at the De Karina Chocolate Factory.
BBQ dinner on an Israeli army base with young soldiers. Meet the Israeli army’s human side. Overnight: Kibbutz Ma’agan
Friday, 28 July
Across Israel: A Multicultural Jewish Society
Discover Ethiopian Jewish culture at the Germachin Center in Beit Shean. Learn about this community’s modern day Exodus story and the challenges facing the Ethiopian Israeli community today. Continue south through the Jordan Valley and ascend to Jerusalem. Shehehiyanu/Welcome ceremony overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Explore the raucous Machane Yehuda Market and take in a slice of local life as you see Jerusalemites prepare for Shabbat. On the way, see the nearby picturesque Nachalaot neighborhoods. Check-in to Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem. Free time to relax and prepare for Shabbat. Daven Kabbalat Shabbat together as a group overlooking walls of Old City. Festive Shabbat
Dinner at hotel. Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Saturday, 29 July
And on the Seventh Day… in Jerusalem
Shabbat morning services at local synagogues/minyanim (options and walking maps to be provided). Shabbat Lunch at hotel. Shabbat afternoon options: Late afternoon: Optional walking tour to the historic Montefiore Windmill to discover the first neighbourhood built outside the walls of the Old City. AND/OR: Optional walking tour to First Temple period burial site at Ketef Hinnom – Where archaeologists discovered the oldest biblical text ever found. Havdalah with Rabbi Sunshine. Free evening. Dinner on own. Recommendation for the evening: Visit the First Station Compound, Jerusalem’s restored Ottoman railway station turned restaurant – cafe area.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Sunday, 30 July
Masada and the Dead Sea: Freedom Fighters or Fanatics?
Set out across the Judean Desert and ascend Masada by cable car to tour the ruins of Herod’s palace and the last outpost of Jewish independence. Discussion: Which Jewish Legacy – Masada or Yavne?
Swim in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, at a local resort. The resort also has a fresh water pool and spa facilities. Massage and spa treatments available by prior reservation at own expense. Lunch at Dead Sea resort. Time permitting: Walk in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve opportunity to bath in waterfalls and hear how David hid there from King Saul. Stop off at “Abraham’s Tent” for a Camel ride, biblical hospitality and dinner before returning to Jerusalem.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Monday, 31 July
The Old City of Jerusalem
An Ancient Jewish Legacy – Possibility of B’nai Mitzvah Ceremony at the Masorati Kotel to connect a Jewish past with a Jewish future. Discover the archaeological story of the Western Wall and episodes from rabbinic texts while standing where Jewish pilgrims walked 2,000 years ago at Robinson’s Arch and the Southern Wall Excavations. Discover underground Jerusalem in the Western Wall Tunnels. Festive B’nai Mitzvah lunch at Between the Arches restaurant. Explore the City of David using the Bible and archaeology to make Jerusalem’s stones tell the story of the city’s ancient past. Wade through Hezekiah’s Tunnel – A still flowing ancient water system that saved the city of Jerusalem 2,700 years ago (dry option available). Early dinner on own before Tisha B’av. Tisha B’Av service and reading of Scroll of Eicha at Robinson’s Arch or Armon Hanatziv.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Tuesday, 1 August
Holocaust, Remembrance and Continuity
Guided tour of Yad Vashem Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum, including the Historical Museum and Children‛s Memorial. (Children under age 10 are not permitted in Yad Vashem’s historical museum). Alternate program for younger children: Visit Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, where you’ll see animals which lived in Israel during biblical times. (Children must be accompanied by an adult. Zoo visit not included in the tour price). Lunch on own. Meaningful visit to Mt Herzl Cemetery to discover chapters in the history of Israel while visiting the graves of Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, Theordore Herzl and Hannah Senesch. Engage in hands-on tzedakah at Pantry Packers in southern Jerusalem preparing food packages for distribution to some of Israel’s neediest people.
Dinner on own. Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Wednesday, 2 August
Travel across the biblical Elah Valley, where David and Goliath fought to Beit Guvrin in the Judean Foothills to participate in a real archaeological excavation in a cave with Dig for a Day. Lunch on own. Guided tour of the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot – an underground bullet factory used by Jewish forces before the founding of the State of Israel. Return to Jerusalem. Free evening. Dinner on own.
Overnight: Dan Panorama, Jerusalem
Thursday, 3 August
Visit Yad Lakashish, a unique employment project helping Jerusalem’s elderly, including a stop in its shop “where shopping is a mitzvah!” Tour of Jewish Quarter including the Herodian Mansions, Cardo, Broad Wall and Rooftops followed by free time to shop and explore on own. Lunch on own. Remainder of afternoon free to explore on your, relax and get in last minute shopping. Late check out
Farewell. Dinner at Hechatzer Restaurant.
Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport – See you again soon!
Friday, 4 August
Arrive in USA
Begin planning your next Israel trip with Rabbi Sunshine and ITC Tours!
Land Only $3395 Per person in a double room
Land and Air* Package: $5195 Single room supplement $995
Reductions: Third person over 18 in triple room: subtract $350 Child, age 2-12 as third person in a triple room: subtract $600
Child, 14-18 as third person in a triple room: subtract $490
Bar/Bat Mitzvah, age 12-13 as third person in a room: subtract $760
Tour price is based on 20 full paying tour participants
* Air price is estimated and Fuel surcharge and airport tax are subject to change
Added to the above price are tips for the guide, driver, restaurants and porterage. $195 per person