Sample Jewish Congregational Itinerary

What follows is only a suggested itinerary. We can easily adjust the itinerary to fit your wishes. When determining the length of your trip, keep in mind that the main cost of any trip is the flight; additional days in Israel do not add that much to your cost but will definitely increase what can be accomplished.

Day 1 – Sunday: We depart from our country of origin to the Land of Israel

Day 2 – Monday: Enter the Land
When we arrive at Ben Gurion Airport the Love Israel Tours representative will meet our group near the luggage carousel and assist us through customs. We will drive through Tel Aviv, the first Jewish city in modern times, founded on sand dunes in 1909. We check into our hotel on the Mediterranean Sea, where we can enjoy the beach and the facilities of the hotel. After dinner at a local Tel Aviv restaurant we can stroll down some of the famous streets in Tel Aviv visiting shops and cafes. Overnight in Tel Aviv

Day 3 – Tuesday: Tel Aviv, Rechovot
After a late breakfast we drive to the Independence Museum where David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. We drive south to visit the Ayalon Institute, which was the first clandestine bullet production factory operated by members of the Palmach during the British Mandate rule. We then visit the Weizmann Institute, a major center of scientific research. We will see some of the work that is being done here and tour the home of the first President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann. Our last stop of the day is the Palmach Museum, which tells the story of the Palmach, the precursor to the Israeli Army. Dinner in a local restaurant, overnight in Tel Aviv

Day 4 – Wednesday: Along the Coast
After breakfast and check out we visit the Diaspora Museum, following 2,500 years of Jewish life in the Diaspora. One highlight is a replica collection of miniature synagogues throughout the world, both those destroyed and those still functioning. Another is the computerized genealogy section, where it is possible to look up Jewish family names to determine their origins. Driving north along the coast our next stop is Caesarea built by King Herod and where the first Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire broke out. We will be able to “talk” to some of the personalities connected with Caesarea, sit in the theatre, walk the floor of the great Hippodrome where chariot races were held and get our feet wet in the Mediterranean Sea at the Roman aqueducts. Our next stop is the Atlit Prison camp, which was used by the British as a detention camp for “illegal“ immigrants among whom were Holocaust survivors who found themselves, yet again, incarcerated behind barbed wire, but this time on the soil of Eretz Israel. We drive to Israel’s third largest city, Haifa, the city on the bay. On the slope of Mount Carmel we will stop at the magnificent Baha’i Gardens for a view of one of the wonders of Israel. Dinner in a local restaurant or the hotel, overnight in Haifa

Day 5 – Thursday: Western Galilee, Tzfat
We leave Haifa and stop in Akko (Acre), the ancient port immortalized by the Crusaders, the Turks and the British. We will see the underground Crusader City and the prison where Jews were hanged during the time of the British Mandate. Our next stop of the day is Rosh Hanikra on the extreme northwestern border. We descend by cable car into the magnificent limestone Grottoes. Then, in true biblical fashion, we adorn traditional garb at Kfar Kedem and take a short donkey ride in the scenic hills of the Galilee. From our donkey’s back we will be able to admire the countryside, which has hardly changed since days of old. We now travel to Tzfat (Safed) for dinner and overnight in Tzfat

Day 6 – Friday: Mystical Tzfat
We start our day with an orientation session on our next two days in the mystical city of Tzfat. Tzfat is one of the Four Holy Cities of Israel and is known for its mystical atmosphere and Kabalistic studies. This town was a center of 16th century mysticism and is still a magnet for spiritual ‘searchers’. We will have an in-depth tour of the fascinating synagogues, cobblestone courtyards, ancient cemetery, where many of our holy mystics are buried, and the Mikvah of the holy Ari. There will be time for shopping and browsing through the artists’ workshops and galleries. We walk back to the hotel for candle lighting, the Kabbalat Shabbat service, which was written in Tzfat and dinner. After dinner we’ll have a late night walk – the “Bubemaises Tour” of Tzfat. Traditional Shabbat dinner and overnight in Tzfat

Day 7 – Shabbat: Dimensions of Kabala
After a light breakfast at the hotel we can attend morning prayers in one of the ancient and mystical Tzfat synagogues or participate in a synagogues tour where we can experience a number of interesting communities praying. A lavish Kiddush and luncheon will be served at the hotel. There will be time for rest and relaxation before we meet for a talk about the Zohar, the book of the Kabala. After the traditional third meal of Shabbat, there will be a musical Havdalah and concert for Malava Malka. Light breakfast, Shabbat luncheon, third meal and overnight in Tzfat

Day 8 – Sunday: Golan
Today we travel to the Golan Heights where our first stop is Tel Dan, a beautiful nature reserve with trails leading through a dense forest. This is the site where the tribe of Dan settled and where an altar with a golden calf was established when the Jewish kingdom was divided into two parts. We continue to the observation point on Mount Bental, a former Syrian bunker, overlooking the entire Golan Heights. From here we can see the mountains of the Galil and Lebanon, and eastward into Syria. We will have an understanding of the wars that Israel fought with Syria at a brand new audio-video presentation. On to the “capital” of the Golan, Katzrin where we will tour the ancient reconstructed Talmudic Village and a partially restored 1,500-year-old synagogue, the famous Golan Winery and a fascinating audio-visual presentation describing the history of the Golan throughout the ages. Depending on the season, our next adventure is a rafting trip down the Jordan River. Bring a towel and be prepared to get wet! In Tiberias we can visit the tomb of the Rambam and enjoy a boat ride on the Kineret. Dinner at a local restaurant or the hotel, overnight in Tzfat

Day 9 – Monday: Jordan River Valley, Dead Sea
After checkout we drive to Beit Shean, the largest archeological park in Israel with beautiful excavations from Roman and Byzantine periods. Among the ruins, we will see a 6,000-seat theater and a Roman bathhouse covering one and a half acres of floor space. We travel south along the Jordan Rift passing the Gilboa Mountains where King Saul was killed in the battle against the Philistines; , biblical Gilgal, the crossing point of B’nai Yisroel; and the ancient caves of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We continue along the Dead Sea (the lowest point on earth) to Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul. We’ll stop for a short hike and experience a small slice of heaven as we hike along a waterfall oasis whose beauty exudes vibrant colorful hues. We’ll check into our hotel on the Dead Sea and spend the remainder of the day resting, relaxing, bathing in the Dead Sea and enjoying the spas and facilities of the hotel. Dinner and overnight on the Dead Sea

Day 10 – Tuesday: Dead Sea, Negev Desert
After an early breakfast we’ll take the cable car to the top of Masada, (option of climbing up to see the sunrise) and have a first-hand account of the archeological excavations at Masada. Masada was built and fortified by King Herod and was a stronghold during the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. We’ll descend on foot via the old Roman Ramp and travel to Tel Arad, the only Canaanite city in the world that was not altered by subsequent civilizations. Arad also has an ancient “temple” used by Israelites, indicating a disregard for the ban on worship outside of Jerusalem. Our next stop of the day is a camel ranch where, we’ll ride on camels through the desert passing sand and palm trees and have an early dinner in a Bedouin tent. After our early dinner we will view the spectacular Masada Sound and Light show on the cliffs of Masada. Overnight on the Dead Sea

Day 11 – Wednesday: Negev Desert
In the morning we board jeeps for an off-road adventure. We continue through the Negev Desert to Kibbutz Sde Boker, where David Ben Gurion, who was the first Prime Minister of Israel, made his home in 1953. The kibbutz is his realization of making the desert bloom. Besides seeing the cabin where he lived we will also visit his gravesite, which overlooks Nachal Zin, which the Children of Israel passed through in their 40 years of wandering. We drive to the Ramon Crater, which is the largest geological formation of its kind in the world. At 25 miles in length, this is one of the largest and most spectacular craters in the world. We might see one of the Ibex or wild leopards living in the area. We can have the option of rappelling off one of the crater’s edges. In the early evening we venture into the caves of Mount Sdom where a surprise awaits us. Dinner and overnight in Beersheva

Day 12 – Thursday: Beersheva, Jerusalem
We have the option of a 5:00AM visit to the Bedouin market – an experience not to be missed. After a late breakfast we’ll explore the ancient city where Abraham settled, dug his well and made a covenant with the Philistine king. In Beersheva; Isaac and Jacob grew up and Isaac and Rebecca settled. We’ll drive through the modern city to our next stop, the Israel Air Force Museum an outdoor museum with hundreds of aircraft. We’ll be able to see them up close and even climb on some of them. Our next stop is the Latrun fort. Some of the fiercest fighting of Israel’s War for Independence took place at Latrun. From 1948 to 1967, the Israelis were unable to gain control of the road and had to build a detour to circumvent the Arab legion. On the way to Jerusalem we will stop and plant trees and help reforest the hills of Jerusalem. We arrive in Jerusalem and as we enter the eternal Holy City, we’ll stop for a moment of reflection. We proceed directly to the Kotel (Western Wall) where we can participate in an age-old tradition by saying the Shehecheyanu prayer. Dinner in a local restaurant or the hotel, overnight in Jerusalem

Day 13 – Friday: Jerusalem the Holy
This morning we see how people prepare for Shabbat as we stroll through Machaneh Yehudah, the wonderful outdoor market where native Jerusalemites buy their food. The sights and smells of everything from fish to fresh-baked bread will stir your appetite. Then we explore the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem where David made his capitol 3,000 years ago and where most of the Tanach was written. We will walk upon the area of King David’s palace; then take out our flashlights for a walk through one of the marvels of King Hezekiah’s reign: the Water Tunnel. Leaving the Tunnel, we will walk the short distance to the Pool of Shiloah. We return to the hotel to get ready for Shabbat and then, as the sun sets, we make preparations to welcome the Shabbat with prayers and dancing at the Kotel. As we enter the Old City, look around you and notice how people from all corners of the world enter through the various Gates with one purpose in mind, to welcome the Shabbat Bride at Judaism’s holiest site on earth. Traditional Shabbat dinner and overnight in Jerusalem

Day 14 – Shabbat: In Jerusalem
We will have the opportunity to attend Shabbat Services at the Great Synagogue, the Kotel or one of the local synagogues. Kiddush and Shabbat luncheon will take place at the hotel. After lunch we will have a walking tour of the Old City. We will walk through the “shuk”; we will see the Cardo, the unearthed main Roman thoroughfare and an ancient marketplace lined with shops; Hezikiah’s Broad Wall dating back to the First Temple; and Mount Zion, the traditional site of the Tomb of King David. As Shabbat comes to an end, we will perform the traditional Havdalah service under the stars. As the city becomes active again we can enjoy shopping and dinner on Ben Yehuda Street, the outdoor pedestrian mall. Overnight in Jerusalem

Day 15 – Sunday: Jerusalem the Ancient
We walk through the Jaffa gate to the Old City of Jerusalem, where everyday life and customs within narrow, crooked streets have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. We ascend to the Temple Mount, the holiest spot on earth! In the Kotel Tunnels, one of the most amazing archaeological sites in all Israel, we can walk alongside the Western Wall’s massive foundation stones and stand opposite the place where the Holy of Holies once stood. We will explore the Southern Wall Excavations where we will be able to understand what life was like at the time of the Second Temple. In the restored Jewish Quarter we can visit the Burnt House, which tells the story of the Priest’s house and how it was burned along with the Temple; the Herodian Quarter where we can see the opulence of the Cohanim; and the Temple Institute where Jews are preparing for the Third Temple. We will have the unique privilege of working alongside archaeologists as we sift through soil from beneath the Temple Mount looking for ancient Temple-era artifacts. Dinner in a local restaurant or the hotel, overnight in Jerusalem

Day 16 – Monday: Jerusalem the Modern
We start the day by driving past the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and the Supreme Court building and continue to Mount Herzl for a tour of the Herzl Museum for an understanding of the life of the founder of modern Zionism. We continue to Yad Vashem, the Jewish people’s memorial to the murdered Six Million during the Holocaust. Our next stop is the Hadassah Hospital to see the famous Chagall Stained Glass Windows. The Israel Museum is next. The museum houses the Shrine of the Book, the home of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the miniature model of Jerusalem as it was during the Second Temple period. Before dinner we’ll stop in Mea Shearim where we can shop for Judaic items with exceptional values and learn about the unique lifestyle of this ultra orthodox community. Dinner in a local restaurant or the hotel, overnight in Jerusalem

Day 17 – Tuesday: Jerusalem, Airport
After a late breakfast and checkout, we begin our last day in Israel with a visit to Ammunition Hill which is the main official memorial symbolizing the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem. It was here that many soldiers lost their lives and it was the capture of this hill that made it possible for the Israeli army to forge ahead into the Old City and eventually allow the paratroopers to take the Old City of Jerusalem. Then we go back to the Old City and say our goodbyes to Jerusalem with a walk around the walls ending up at the Kotel for a final prayer. We continue to Yaffo (Jaffa), one of the oldest biblical cities in the world and an important seaport since antiquity. We’ll explore the flea market where we can test our bargaining power and pick up a few souvenirs and presents from the array of old, new, antique and odd objects on sale. Ww will strool the alleys and byways of the artist quarter and the port area where the prophet Jonah set sail. Our farewell dinner will be in a local restaurant and then we proceed to the airport where a representative of Diesenhaus Unitours will assist us with our departure. Say Shalom until the next visit to Eretz Yisroel!

For More Information and Prices Contact

Yossi Kransdorf

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *