Rabbi Doug Sagal and Cantor Martha Novick

Join Temple Emanu-El of Westfield’s Exploring Israel Tour Led by Rabbi Doug Sagal and Cantor Martha Novick December 21 – 31, 2017

Thursday, 21 December

Depart USA on an overnight flight to Tel Aviv

Friday, 22 December

Going up into the Land

The Hebrew City and the Jewish State – Early morning arrival in Israel to be met and assisted by your ITC representative. Guided tour of the Ayalon Institute – An underground bullet factory in Rehovot used by Jewish forces before the founding of the State of Israel. Travel to Tel Aviv. Tour the alleys of Old Jaffa, the ancient port city once known as the Gate of Zion. Shekhiyanu-Welcome ceremony on top of Tel Jaffa overlooking modern Tel Aviv. Relive David Ben Gurion declaring the new State of Israel at Independence Hall, then hear about the establishment of Tel Aviv standing at the Founders’ Monument on Rothschild Boulevard and see 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 Nachalat Binyamin crafts fair. While there checkout the nearby Carmel Market and bohemian Sheinkin Street – All Three of these Tel Aviv icons meet at the “Magen David Junction”. Check-in to the Dan Panorama Hotel on Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean Coast. Free time to get ready for Shabbat. Welcoming Shabbat – Friday evening options to be determined with Rabbi Sagal. Festive Shabbat Dinner at hotel. Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv

Shabbat/Saturday, 23 December

And on the Seventh Day…in Tel Aviv

Optional Shabbat morning services at a local synagogue or morning at leisure. Visit the “Aliyah Bet” Memorial in London Square to hear the story of the illegal immigration operations which rescued Jewish refugees before the founding of the State of Israel. Traditional Shabbat Lunch at Hotel. Walking tour of the quaint Neve Tzeddek neighborhood that gave birth to the “first Hebrew city in 2,000 years”. Havdallah with Rabbi Sagal. Free evening. Dinner on own Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv

Sunday, 24 December

Cradles of Jewish Civilization in the Galilee.

Depart for northern Israel. Explore Tzippori and study a Jewish text 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’s floor features a wheel of the zodiac. Lunch on own. Tour the old synagogues and picturesque alleys of Tzfat, cradle of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) in the 16th century. Discover the origins of our Friday night service where Lecha Dodi was written. Visit a local glassblower and hear how Jewish spirituality influences her art. Check–in to the Lavi Hotel on Kibbutz Lavi in the Galilee. Dinner at hotel. Overnight: Kibbutz Lavi

Monday, 25 December

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. Lunch on own. Jeep tour of the Golan Heights for a special perspective on Israel’s complex geopolitics as we visit former Syrian bunkers overlooking Israel and then look out from the peak of strategic Mt. Bental. Chocolate making workshop at the De Karina Chocolate Factory on nearby Kibbutz Ein Zivan.

BBQ dinner with young Israeli soldiers who are giving some of the best years of their lives in defense of Israel. Overnight: Kibbutz Lavi

Tuesday, 26 December

Across Israel: A Multicultural Jewish Society

Hear about kibbutz life on walking tour of Lavi led by a local resident. 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. Lunch on own. Continue south through the Jordan Valley and ascend to Jerusalem. Enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Zion Gate. Tour of the Jewish Quarter including the Cardo, Broad Wall and Rooftops followed by free time to shop and explore on your own. Check-in to the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem. Dinner on own.  Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Wednesday, 27 December

Masada and the Dead Sea: Freedom Fighters or Fanatics?

Set out early 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? Visit Arad – One of Metrowest Federations P2K Partnership communities (Program to be determined with P2K staff). Lunch on own (Lunch may be included in Partnership visit to Arad, depending on program offered by Metrowest Federation Partnership staff). Swim in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, at a local resort. Return to Jerusalem. Free evening. Dinner on own. Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Thursday, 28 December

The Old City of Jerusalem: An Ancient Jewish Legacy

B’nai Mitzvah Ceremony at the Egalitarian Kotel (near Robinson’s Arch) to connect a Jewish past with a Jewish future. Discover the archaeological story of the Western Wall and episodes of Jewish life 2,000 years ago at Robinson’s Arch and the Southern Wall Excavations. Hear about a new archaeological discovery connected to the Chanukah story. Discover underground Jerusalem in the Western Wall Tunnels. Lunch on own. Discover the story of Zionism’s founding father Theodore Herzl at the multimedia Herzl Museum, followed by a meaningful visit to the Mt. Herzl Cemetery to discover chapters in the history of Israel at the graves of Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, Theordore Herzl and Hannah Senesch. Engage in hands on tzedakah preparing food packages for distribution to some of Israel’s neediest people at Pantry Packers in southern Jerusalem.

Dinner on own in Jerusalem’s Mamilla Quarter. Watch the Night Spectacular – Sound and light show at the Tower of David. Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Friday, 29 December

Holocaust, Remembrance and Continuity. 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). Lunch on own and free time to explore the raucous Machane Yehuda Market – Take in a slice of local life as you see Jerusalemites getting ready for Shabbat. Free time to relax and prepare for Shabbat. Shabbat candle lighting together as a community. Friday/Shabbat evenings options: Join hundreds of other Jews from around the world to Greet the Sabbath at the Western Wall. Option to pray together as a congregation at the “Egalitarian Kotel”, where men and women can pray together. OR:Attend Friday night services at a local synagogue. Festive Shabbat Dinner at hotel. Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Shabbat/Saturday, 30 December

And on the Seventh Day… in Jerusalem

Optional Shabbat morning services at a local Reform synagogue. Traditional Shabbat Lunch at hotel. Shabbat afternoon options: Late afternoon walking tour to the historic Montefiore Windmill to discover the first neighbourhood built outside the walls of the Old City. AND/OR: Walking tour to the First Temple period Jewish burial site at Ketef Hinnom – Where archaeologists found the oldest biblical text ever discovered. Havdalah with Rabbi Sagal. Late Check out. Farewell Dinner at Medita Restaurant. Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport – See you again soon!

Sunday, 31 December

Arrive in USA

Begin planning your next Israel trip with Rabbi Sagal and ITC Tours!

Tour Rates

Full Cost (credit Card payment)

Land only $3385 Single room supplement $1378

Discounted cost (check payment)

$3255 per person in double room


Third person in a triple room: subtract $600
Child up to 12 as third in a triple room subtract $650
Bar or Bat Mitzvah Child as 3rd in a room Subtract $760
Reduction for 3rd and 4th child sharing in a quad room $215
Added to the above costs are tips for guide, driver resturants and portage $190

Round trip ELAL Group Flights from Newark NJ $1850

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