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URJ Kesher – Your Voice in Israel

DESTINATIONS
  • Ancient and modern Jerusalem
  • Negev and Judean Deserts
  • Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights
  • Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Coast
  • The Dead Sea and Masada
  • The mystical city of Tsfat
MOMENTS
  • Watch the sunrise from Masada
  • Gain a new perspective at Yad VaShem
  • Celebrate an Israeli-style Shabbat
  • Be inspired by models of co-existence
  • Experience floating in the Dead Sea
  • Tap into the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv
ACTIVITIES
  • Camel trek and desert tent dinner
  • Raft down the Jordan River (summer)
  • Explore archeological tunnels
  • Beach time and night life in Tel Aviv
  • Browse colorful open-air markets
  • Cool off under a desert oasis waterfall
CONNECTIONS
  • Bond with fellow travelers from home
  • Forge friendships with local Israelis
  • Gain insights from your staff team
  • Discover a rich culture and diverse people
  • Experience current events first hand
  • Develop a deeper sense of perspective

Sample Itinerary

Our specially designed itinerary isn’t just a collection of sites and tours, but a personal journey through the land, people, and history of Israel. We bring you to an array of places and offer diverse perspectives for you to create your own personal connections to the Jewish people and the state of Israel The experience combines hands-on activities, site-based tours, physical exploration of the land, and authentic interaction and relationship-building with local Israelis.

DAY 1 | Sunday
Take Off for Israel – Nesiya Tova!

Meet-up with URJ Kesher staff and your fellow participants at the gateway airport. Check-in your luggage and get on board the plane. Spend the night in the sky en route to the Land of Milk & Honey!


DAY 2 | Monday
Lech Lecha: A Personal Call to Journey (Northen Israel)

Welcome to Israel! After landing at the airport, we will begin our journey by going to overlook point and having an opening ceremony welcoming everyone to Israel and preparing ourselves for the journey ahead. We will then travel to our hotel in the north. After dinner at our hotel, we will have an orientation program and a chance to get acquainted with the members of your group.

  • Opening Ceremony at Ceasera
  • Dinner at Hotel
  • Orientation Program
  • Opportunity to socialize with the members of the group

DAY 3 | Tuesday
Personal Identity and Community Identity (Northern Israel)

This morning we will have the opportunity to explore Tzippori. Following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Tzippori became the capital city of Jewish life in the Galilee. In Tzippori we will be able to see how the conflict of being a minority in a foreign dominant culture has existed throughout Jewish history. We will learn how this city impacts you and your life today. Following a lunch of your choice, we will spend the afternoon in the mystical city of Safed (Tzfat). Wander the alleyways and synagogues, and breathe the mountain air as you explore the ideas of Jewish Mysticism (Kabbalah) and repairing the world (Tikkun Olam). In the middle Ages, the Kabbalists made their way to Safed (Tzfat), eventually establishing a city. The Kabbalists hoped to connect to God and to repair the world (Tikkun Olam). Explore Safed (Tzfat) and its art-lined streets on your own. After this you will have a chance to relax at the Tiberias Hot Springs and Spa. Dinner will be at the hotel and afterwards you will have an evening out to explore local Israeli nightlife.

  • Tzippori
  • Lunch of your choice
  • Safed(Tzfat)
  • Tiberias Hot Springs
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Evening out in Tiberias

DAY 4 | Wednesday
National Identity (Northern Israel to Jerusalem)

This morning, we will pick up our Israeli participants and travel to the observation point at Gadot for some fun games and introductions to welcome our new Israeli participants. Following a lunch of your choice, we will hike through the Nature Reserve at Mount Arbel. After our drive to Jerusalem, we will have dinner at the hotel.

  • Pick up Israeli soldiers/students
  • Gadot Overlook
  • Lunch of your choice
  • Hike at Mount Arbel
  • Drive to Jerusalem
  • Dinner at hotel

DAY 5 | Thursday
Jerusalem as Hub- Past and Present

Our day will begin with an overview of Jerusalem from the neighborhood of Mishkenot Shaananim. Then we will follow in the footsteps of our ancestors as they made their way to Jerusalem, the national, cultural and religious capital of Israel where we will then see archaeological excavations of the Southern Wall of the Temple. We will have some time for lunch and shopping in the Jewish Quarter. We will then visit the Western Wall (Kotel) to view the last remnant of the Second Temple. Afterwards we will drive south to begin our desert adventure.

  • View from Mishkenot Sha’ananim Neighborhood
  • Davidson Center/Southern Wall of Temple
  • Lunch and shopping in the Jewish quarter
  • Western Wall – Kotel
  • Drive south to desert

DAY 6 | Friday
Am Yisrael Hai (Negev)

This morning, you will climb up Masada. The ascent up the Roman ramp will lead you to the top of an ancient fortress that was home to the Zealots. After a special moment on top of the fortress, we will explore this spectacular mountain refuge on the Dead Sea for Jews escaping from the Roman legions after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 of the first century. We learn and discuss those last Jewish defenders, whose dedication to Jewish continuity was exemplary. After a lunch of your choice, we will get to float in the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea. After enjoying the healing powers of the dead sea mud and relaxing in the sea, we head further south towards Eilat- the tropical paradise of Israel. In Eilat, we will welcome Shabbat with a festive ceremony, hang out together as a group and relax.

  • Climb Masada
  • Lunch of your choice
  • Float in the Dead Sea
  • Drive to Eilat

DAY 7 | Saturday
Shabbat: Spiritual Identity (Eilat)

Celebrate Shabbat with your new found friends at the hotel. Shabbat is a special time for reflection and relaxation. In the morning, join the group for a Shabbat morning activity. The Israelis will lead us in a fun activity and we will have some time for shabbat reflection and programming as a community. In the afternoon we will relax on the beach in Eilat and soak up the desert sun. We will mark the end of Shabbat with a ceremony separating Shabbat and the rest of the week (Havdalah). Following Havdalah, we will go out for dinner in Eilat to find the best hummus in town.

  • Optional Breakfast
  • Shabbat Morning Activity
  • Activity led by the Israelis
  • Lunch at the hotel
  • Relax on the beach
  • Ceremony marking the end of Shabbat (Havdallah)
  • Dinner out in Eilat

DAY 8 | Sunday
Shabbat: Spiritual Identity (Eilat)

Our day will begin with a hike in the Red Canyon and swimming and snorkeling at Eilat Reef. After a morning and sunshine and swimming, we depart Eilat and drive back through the desert and staying overnight in a Bedouin tent. This afternoon we will ride camels and enjoy traditional Bedouin hospitality and festive dinner.

  • Hike Red Canyon
  • Snorkeling and Swimming in Eilat Reef
  • Lunch of your choice
  • Camel Ride
  • Dinner at Bedouin Tents

DAY 9 | Monday
From Holocaust to Hope (Jerusalem to Tel Aviv)

This morning we will drive north to Jerusalem and visit the national military cemetery of Israel – Har (Mount) Herzl. We will pay tribute to Israel’s fallen soldiers from our many wars. In addition to learning about the soldiers’ lives, we will visit the grave sites of some of Israel’s greatest leaders, including Yitzhak Rabin and Theodore Herzl. After lunch we will visit Israel’s memorial and museum for the Holocaust (Yad Vashem). The impact of the Holocaust (Shoah) on Israeli society will become evident through the development of different elements of this unique memorial since its establishment in the 1950’s. The museum will give a detailed account of the history of the Holocaust (Shoah), ending up in the powerful Hall of Names. After Yad Vashem, we will say a farewell to our Israeli friends at the Rose Garden and then drive to Tel Aviv. We have lesiure evening out in Tel Aviv to explore the city nightlife.

  • Har (Mount) Herzl
  • Choice of lunch
  • Yad Vashem
  • Farewell to Israelis
  • Dinner at Hotel
  • Leisure night out in Tel Aviv

DAY 10 | Tuesday
Tel Aviv: Looking into the Future

This morning we will start our day with fun dance program as we dance our way through Israel’s history. We will then take a tour in Old Jaffa. We will then have the opportunity to explore some of the hip neighborhoods of Tel Aviv and have free time for shopping and lunch. Then we will take a look at Rabin Square and try to understand some of the more modern history of Tel Aviv. We will conclude the trip with a final banquet dinner and summary discussion of the trip.

  • Dance Israel
  • Old Jaffa
  • Free time in Tel Aviv for shopping and lunch
  • Rabin Sqaure
  • Festive Dinner
  • Summary Discussion
  • Travel to Airport

About the Itinerary

Mifgash Program with Israeli Peers
Each URJ Kesher trip is joined by a group of Israeli peers for 5 days of the trip. The Israeli peers are chosen from among those currently serving in Israel’s Defense Forces or students at University . The purpose of the mifgash (which loosely translates as “an encounter”) is for Israelis and North Americans to get to know each other on a personal level and to better understand each side’s world view and identity. The only way to understand a country is to understand its people. This is your chance to really get to know Israel through Israelis your age.

Jerusalem Promenade – Panoramic Intro to an Ancient City
Welcome to Jerusalem! The Haas Promenade of Jerusalem offers a sweeping view of the Old City as it opens up across three converging valleys below. From this magnificent viewpoint, we will be introduced to the story of Jerusalem, its topography, major landmarks, and the arc of its history.

Old City & Jewish Quarter Walking Tour
The Jewish Quarter of the Old City sits at the heart of the ancient and modern Jewish World. History comes alive as we walk along rooftops, alleys and tunnel ways. Our experience in the Old City culminates at the Western Wall, which is a treasured relic of the 2nd Temple that once stood in Jerusalem. The Western Wall is a one-of-a-kind symbol that connects the Jewish people back to their history.

Yad Va-Shem Holocaust Memorial
Yad Va-Shem is Israel’s national Holocaust memorial. Situated in wooded hills of Jerusalem, it is a uniquely solemn complex. After walking through the main museum area, we will walk through central shrine area, the Sculpture Garden, the Forest of the Righteous Gentiles, and the especially powerful Children’s Memorial.

Camel Trek & Traditional Bedouin Hafla Feast
No visit to Israel would be complete without a camel ride. These land cruisers of the desert are famous for their hardiness. We’ll have the chance to mount up and go for a spin in the desert. Camel riding is followed by a traditional hafla feast in a Bedouin tent. The Bedouin are famous for their hospitality and truly delicious food. Relax on floor pillows in the tent as we dine in style the Bedouin way.

Sunrise Ascent to Masada via the Snake Path
Masada is a desert fortress built on the heights of a flat-topped mountain that overlooks the Dead Sea. After climbing to its plateau summit along the Snake Path route, we will tour Masada’s ancient ruins and hear the epic famous story of the breakaway band of Jewish rebels that fled from the Roman army to Masada some two thousand years ago for a final stand.

Floating along the Beaches of the Dead Sea
There is possibly no site in Israel as famous as the Dead Sea. This unique body of water occupies the lowest place on the planet earth and is so salty that everything floats. It’s quite a unique phenomenon. The Dead Sea is also famous for its mineral rich mud along the shores. The mud is said to be excellent for the skin. Smear it on!

The Mystical City & Artist Colony of Tzfat
Located in the hills of the Galilee overlooking the Sea of Galilee to the south, Tzfat has long been a center of Jewish mysticism and intrigue. This ancient city is full of stone alleys, rich history, and very colorful personalities. There’s nothing quite like Tzfat. In more recent times, a unique artist colony has found a home in Tzfat. Well worth a stroll.

Nahalat Binyamin: Tel Aviv’s Street Festival
Located in the Yemenite Quarter, one of Tel Aviv’s earliest neighborhoods, Nachalat Binyamin pedestrian mall is a colorful open-air bazaar of handicrafts, street performances, pantomime and live music. Twice a week, the street becomes full of tourists and Israelis alike who wander among the stands, sit at the fashionable outdoor cafes, and simply share the lively atmosphere that is all around. Nahalat Binyamin is trendy Tel Aviv at its finest.

Israel Outdoors is a part of the family of travel experiences.