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West Bloomfield Israel Family Mission 2024

Led by Rabbi Daniel Schwartz and Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny

Temple Shir Shalom and Temple Israel 

December 22, 2024– January 1, 2025

Day 0: Sunday, December 22 – Arrival in Israel

Welcome to Israel -   ברוכים הבאים

  • Here we are in the Holy Land! Arrive on your own to the Holy Land. Feel free to rest up before the trip or explore the city of Tel Aviv on your own. Make sure to save something for the trip though!

  • We will have several transfers(depending on the flight's arrival time) to our beautiful hotel in the Negev 

  • Dinner at Kedma Hotel 

Overnight: Kedma Hotel, Sde Boker

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Day 1: Monday, December 23 - Exploring the Desert

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • The Salad Trail - We’ll walk through “The Salad Trail”, Shvil Hasalat, a working farm and interactive museum designed to teach visitors what it takes to farm and grow crops in the desert (a window to the Israeli world famous Hi-tech agriculture).

  • Lunch at the Salad Trail

  • Sandboarding – Slide down the stunning Negev dunes, where anyone can be a surfer.

  • Ein Avdat – A shaded canyon in the Negev Desert of Israel. Archaeological evidence shows that Ein Avdat was inhabited by Nabateans and Catholic monks. Numerous springs at the southern opening of the canyon empty into deep pools in a series of waterfalls. The water emerges from the rock layers with salt-tolerant plants like Poplar trees and Atriplexes growing nearby.

  • Dinner at the hotel

Overnight: Kedma Hotel, Sde Boker


Day 2: Tuesday, December 24 - The Ramon Crater- The biggest Maktesh in the world 

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Jeep Ride - We will have an unforgettable 2-hour Jeep ride in the crater, allowing us to explore the crater from a different angle.

  • Rappelling at Mitzpe Ramon, cliff of the Ramon Crater - Descend the cliffs of the Ramon Crater, the world’s largest Makhtesh (crater) in a new fun, exhilarating, and safe way, abseiling down the cliffs of the crater from the town of Mitzpe Ramon, you’ll not only experience something new, but will also have incredible views across the desert landscape and feel the thrill first-hand. 

  • Bedouin Hospitality including lunch: Ride a camel through a desert trail to see the crater view and then back to our tent and we will be served dinner. See how Bedouin bread is made under the fire, how they take out the chicken meat that was cooked few hours in the ground under the fire and we will be served it on rice with few fresh salads that are prepared on the spot. Sit on the ground with pillows while you sip of tea and coffee and enjoy the famous Bedouin hospitality.

  • Optional - Ramon Crater Short Hike / Guides choice

  • Shlufta- An improv workshop that will knock you off your feet! Meaningful group activities for the business, private and therapeutic sectors. The workshops use tools from the theater and improvisation worlds that can be implemented into our daily lives.

  • Dinner at the hotel 

Overnight: Kedma Hotel, Sde Boker

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Day 3: Wednesday, December 25 - Masada & The Dead Sea

NOTE: Christmas Day and First Evening of Hannukah

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out 

  • Masada - Learn about this amazing archeological wonder, where King Herod built his summer palace and the Zealots from the Great Revolt spent their final days. Here we will meet actors around the ancient site who will breathe life into this amazing story and make it come to life before our eyes. 

  • Dead Sea Spa - Have a float at the Dead Sea, use the famous mud or just enjoy the outdoor pool at the Vert Hotel, including lunch 

  • Drive to Jerusalem 

  • Shehechyanu Ceremony: Celebrating your arrival at this holy city 

  • Check in to your hotel 

  • Dinner in Jerusalem on your own

Overnight: Orient Hotel, JLM


Day 4: Thursday, December 26 - Jerusalem of 3 Religions

Note: Second evening of Chanukah 

  • Breakfast at the hotel 

  • City of David – The place where the Jewish nation began their special relationship with the magical city of Jerusalem. Here we will walk in King David’s palace and enter the biblical version of a “water ride” through the pitch-black Hezekiah Tunnels, armed with our flashlights.

  • Davidson Center- Offers the visitor an in-depth archaeological and historical introduction to the Jewish Archeological Park, located 100 meters south of the Temple Mount complex in the recently excavated and restored underground storage complex belonging to a seventh century CE Umayyad Palace.

  • Lunch – on your own in the Jewish quarter

  • The Jewish Quarter – Visit the incredible holy sites like the Western Wall and the Hurva Synagogue as we walk through the narrow alleyways of the quarter. Leave the city through the Jaffa Gate and walk to Ben Yehuda Street.

  • Machne Yehuda Market - At Israel’s most famous outdoor market, Machne Yehuda, where we'll have a chance to taste delicacies of Jewish communities from around the globe! 

  • Dinner in Jerusalem on your own


Overnight: Orient Hotel, JLM

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Day 5: Friday, December 27 - Yad Vashem & Shabbat in Jerusalem

Note: Third evening of Chanukah

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Visit the Yad Vashem complex, the Jewish National Memorial to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

  • Bnei Mitzvah- Twinning Program – A meaningful program for children celebrating their Bar/Bat Mitzvah where they will be paired with a child who never lived through the Holocaust to celebrate their own Bar/Bat Mitzvah 

    • Aquarium for Younger Children: The Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium, Jerusalem is a public aquarium in Israel inaugurated on 19.6.2017. The aquarium focuses on Israel's marine environment - the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea as well as on the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea

  • Lunch on your own in Jerusalem

  • Hike / Overlook – Guide Choice

  • Kabbalat Shabbat – At the hotel / Western Wall

  • Shabbat Dinner at the hotel


Overnight: Orient Hotel, JLM


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Day 6: Saturday, December 28 - Shabbat in Jerusalem& Bnei Mitzvah

Note: Fourth evening of Chanukah

  • Breakfast at the hotel 

  • Bnei Mitzvah ceremony in Beit Shmuel 

  • Lunch in Beit Shmuel 

  • Old City Walking Tour - Discovering the significant sites at each quarter, including the Muslim Quarter (security permits) with the colorful Arab market, the Christian Quarter with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Via Dolorosa 

  • Havdalah 

  • Dinner on your own – Time for shopping on Ben Yehuda Street


Overnight: Orient Hotel, JLM


Day 7: Sunday, December 29 - Digging Into The Past

Note: Fifth evening of Chanukah 


  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out 

  • Tel Maresha - Beit Guvrin National Park - Visit and learn about this unique area where people lived 2000 years ago, and under their houses they had a whole underground world where every family had their own business. 

  • Archaeological Dig - Here, we will have a "Dig-for-a-Day" activity – an archeological seminar, in which we will join the archeologists for a real dig opportunity to learn about the community who lived underground in these beautiful caves. 

  • Lunch on your own on the way 

  • Ayalon Institute - Located in Rehovot. This place was originally created to fool the British into thinking it was a kibbutz during the British Mandate. In fact, it was a secret ammunition factory set up by the Jewish underground. 

  • Check in to your hotel 

  • Dinner on your own in Tel Aviv


Overnight: Royal Beach Hotel, TLV


Day 8: Monday, December 30 - Partnership Day in the Galilee

Note: Sixth evening of Chanukah 


  • Breakfast at the hotel 

  • Tzfat The Kabalistic city, where we'll do a walking tour, visiting the ancient synagogues as well as the art galleries. 

  • Lunch on your own in Tzfat 

  • Tzippori - The home of "Mishna" and Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, a fascinating city which once was occupied with a mix of Jews, Christians, Pagans and Samaritans. Some of the most beautiful ancient mosaics ever discovered can be seen here, some apply that the Jewish community here was very advanced for the time almost like the reform movement of those times.

  • Partnership day TBD 

  • Dinner- home hospitality 

  • Drive back to Tel Aviv


Overnight: Royal Beach Hotel, TLV

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Day 9: Tuesday, December 31- Tel Aviv on Market Day

Note: Seventh evening of Chanukah 


  • Breakfast at the hotel 

  • Jaffa – The ancient port city was the gateway to the Holy Land. We will walk through the ancient port, down the small alleyways visiting the artist colony and all the beautiful galleries. We’ll visit the enchanting flea market, where we might find a few bargains and have an amazing overlook of the first Hebrew city of Israel: Tel Aviv.

  • Flea Market – Visit the colorful Shuk Hapishpeshim, or Flea Market, where you never know what kind of great bargain you might find. Here we will play "speed scavenger hunt" (divide into groups – each gets a list of missions and needs to come back with as many completed as possible in 20min). The family that will get the most points from all buses will be trip royalty (we'll let you know what this means later)! Rules on how to treat royalty will be determined by the Rabbis.

  • Independence Hall - Where Ben Gurion declared the establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948. A story worth hearing as we visit this iconic building and see it from the outside!

  • Carmel Market Including time for lunch on your own-  The most colorful food market of Tel Aviv, where we will have the chance to walk around and enjoy the smells and the colors of this special market. The best place for an authentic Tel Aviv lunch!

  • Outdoor Artist Market - Nahalat Binyamin Street becomes a showplace for young artists to display their works, a great place for unique and not too expensive souvenirs.

  • Farewell dinner and Party TBD


Overnight: Royal Beach Hotel, TLV


Day 10: Wednesday, January 1- Tel Aviv & Departure Day

Note: Eighth evening of Chanukah 

  • Breakfast at the hotel and late check out 

  • Choose one of the following options: 

    • Bicycle tour 

    • Graffiti tour 

    • Vegan Culinary Tour 

    • Market Culinary Tour 

    • Whisky Distillery Tour (Milk and Honey)

  • Lunch on your own 

  • Peres Center for peace and innovation: The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, founded in 1996 by the late President of Israel, Shimon Peres, develops and implements impactful and meaningful programs with a focus on promoting a prosperous Israel, nurturing and highlighting Israeli innovation, and paving the way for shared-living between all of Israel's citizens and lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors

  • Early dinner on your own in Sarona market 

  • Time for closure 

  • Drive to the airport

  • Departure

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