ITINERARY

WEST BLOOMFIELD FAMILY MISSION

Led by Rabbi Josh Bennett, Rabbi Michael Moskowitz, Cantor Michael Smolash and joined by Rabbi Harold Loss and his family

December 22nd – 31st, 2020

Day 0: Monday, December 21st – 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!

Overnight: Royal Beach, Tel Aviv

Day 1: Tuesday, December 22nd - Welcome to the Non-stop City!

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

  • Carmel Market – 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Dinner – at the hotel/local restaurant

Overnight: Royal Beach, Tel Aviv

Day 2: Wednesday, December 23rd - Innovation Central

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • 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.

  • Ayalon Institute - Located in Rechovot. 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.

  • Lunch – on your own at Sarona Market

  • Israel Defense Academy – In this immersive IDA program we will learn from former special operative officers about the great lengths IDF soldiers go to train and be ready for anything and everything. Krav Maga, weapons training, urban combat, and more.

  • Shlufta – An improv workshop that will knock you off your feet!

  • Dinner – on your own

Overnight: Royal Beach, Tel Aviv

Day 3: Thursday, December 24th - Partnership Day

  • Tzfat – The colorful city of Tzfat, visiting the old city, the famous Kabbalah synagogues and the artist quarter.

  • 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 say that the Jewish community here was very advanced for the time almost like the reform movement of those times.

  • Partnership Day – to be determined

  • Dinner – Home Hospitality

Overnight: Royal Beach, Tel Aviv

Day 4: Friday, December 25th - Dig for a Day

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • 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.

  • 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! Either sit down for a great lunch or snack around. Among the hustle and bustle, we shall see how the many residents of Jerusalem prepare for Shabbat, each in their own way.

  • Kabbalat Shabbat – celebrate Shabbat and your arrival to the Holy City.

  • Separate rooms will be provided so that each congregation can welcome Shabbat in its own unique way.

  • Dinner – Communal Shabbat Dinner at the hotel

Overnight: Orient, Jerusalem

Day 5: Saturday, December 26th - Shabbat in Jerusalem

  •  Breakfast at the hotel

  • Bnei Mitzvah Ceremony – Beit Shmuel

  • Lunch - Bourghoulji

  • 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 Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa

  • Havdallah

  • Dinner - on your own in Jerusalem

Optional:

  • Light Show - The walls of the Citadel serve as a stage for a nighttime show which is a celebration of sight and sound. Amidst the archaeological remains in the Citadel’s courtyard and to the sound of original music, the story of Jerusalem unfolds through giant breathtaking, virtual reality images.

Overnight: Orient, Jerusalem

 

 

Day 6: Sunday, December 27th - The Ancient City of Jerusalem

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • City of David – The place where the Jewish nation began its 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.

  • Ben Yehuda Street – free time for shopping

  • Dinner - on your own in Jerusalem

Overnight: Orient, Jerusalem

Day 7: Monday, December 28th - The New City of Jerusalem

  • 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

  • Younger Children:

Visit the Biblical Zoo, a beautifully landscaped habitat with a special focus on preserving Biblical fauna, geared toward children of all ages.

Afterward:

  • Falafel Lunch – Your guides will take you to the best out-of-the-way places to get this famous street-food.

  • Geopolitical Tour - We will drive around in our bus and do a tour of Jerusalem - overlooking the Eastern side and the Separation Wall, and try to understand the old famous conflict and why the wall is there.

  • Guest Speaker – Kahled Abu Toameh - an Israeli Arab journalist, lecturer and documentary filmmaker. Abu Toameh writes for The Jerusalem Post and for the New York-based Gatestone Institute, where he is a senior distinguished fellow.

  • Dinner - on your own in Jerusalem

Overnight: Orient, Jerusalem

Day 8: Tuesday, December 29th - Masada and the Dead Sea

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • 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 Crowne Plaza Hotel.

  • Mt Sodom/Ein Bokek – Each bus will choose their adventure on the way to Eilat.

  • Dinner - at the hotel

Overnight: Royal Beach, Eilat

Day 9: Wednesday, December 30th - Red Sea Adventures

  • Breakfast at the hotel

Choose between:

  • Mt Shlomo Sunrise Hike - The most famous and hardest hike in Eilat. We will start the day with a climb up Mt. Shlomo to see the sunrise. From the top, we will watch the sunrise over the Red Sea and will have an opportunity to have an overlook of 4 countries; Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. An adventure for the fit!

Or:

  • Mt Tzfahot Hike -  a relatively easy hike to the peak where we see the spectacular views of the borders

Or:

  • Underwater Observatory - Located on Coral Beach, in the Red Sea, this underwater observatory is one of a kind: 6 meters underwater, where the fish look at you, you have the opportunity to really see the heart of the Red Sea. The park displays the richest presentation of Red Sea animal life, including fish, coral, and other living creatures of this enchanting underwater world.

For Everyone:

  • Lunch – on your own on the Eilat Boardwalk

  • Jeep Ride - Explore the dramatic desert landscape as the sun sets in a blaze of color across the mountains. This 4x4 adventure follows ancient pilgrim and merchant routes. It ascends the highest summit in the area, part of the Great Rift Valley and includes the breathtaking views spanning the whole of the bay of Eilat, as well as Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

  • Celebratory Dinner with surprises

Overnight: Royal Beach, Eilat

Day 10: Thursday, December 31st - Farewell to Israel

  • Breakfast at the hotel

After breakfast, we will say our goodbyes and split into two groups.

1. Those who chose extensions will be picked up at the hotel at 8:00

2. Those who didn't choose extensions and fly back home tonight or wish to celebrate the New Year in Tel Aviv will continue with the Rabbis as follows:

  • Timna Park – We’ll reach Timna Park, a geological wonderland where we’ll walk around the park and visit Solomon’s Pillars, towering sandstone columns so perfectly formed that you might really think they were a gargantuan public works project initiated by the biblical king for whom they are named. But like all the other formations in the 23-square-mile park, they are nature’s handiwork. So are stripes of magma frozen in geological time in the cliffs, and the sandstone, in its soft palette of pastels, shaped by wind and water into strange shapes like “the mushroom” and “the sphinx".

Options in Mitzpe Ramon for:

  • Mitzpe Ramon Visitor's Center - Opened in 2013, the new Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center, is set on the northern cliffs of the Ramon Crater, the world’s largest Machtesh, and tells the geological story behind this unique and amazing work of nature. Aside from the Machtesh, the Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center also serves as a museum and memorial for Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who died in 2003 when the Shuttle Columbia disintegrated when re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.

  • Rappelling - Descend the cliffs of the Ramon 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.

Then:

  •  Drop off at Ben Gurion Airport – Farewell to Israel!

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