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Itinerary 2018

Please note that the itinerary is subject to change based on time, weather, security and other considerations.


DAY ONE:
MONDAY, MARCH 5–ARRIVAL

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport

Group arrivals: our representatives will meet you as you exit the plane and escort you through passport control, baggage claim and customs. Your luggage will be delivered directly to your hotel and will be waiting in your room upon arrival.


Transportation arrangements from the airport will be made for groups of ten participants or more arriving at the same time. Order of days activities may differ based on your group.

  • Visit the British Detention Center for Illegal Immigrants in Atlit

From 1936 until 1948 the British severely curtailed Jewish immigration to the Mandate of Palestine due to Arab pressure. Thousands chose to immigrate illegally by land, air, and especially by sea. Those who were caught were interred by the British. The detention center in Atlit housed thousands of prisoners and was the scene of a daring breakout on October 10, 1945, led by Yitzchak Rabin (who later served as Prime Minister from 1974-1977 and 1992-1995). A tour of the site includes the barracks, a moving audio-visual presentation on the history of the jail, the processing center, and a ritual mikva constructed for inmates.

  • Sit-down lunch at Terra Caesarea
  • Discover the Historic Ruins of Caesarea

Regarded as the jewel of the Mediterranean with its magnificently preserved ruins, Caesarea boasts a rich history and stunning natural setting. Originally a small Phoenician port called Straton’s Tower, the city was propelled to the center of global trade by King Herod. Approximately 22 BCE, he built the second largest harbor in the ancient world, complete with a theater, hippodrome, royal palace, marketplaces, bathhouses, and pagan temples.


Every five years, the city hosted lavish sporting competitions, reminiscent of the Olympic Games and gladiator contests. After Herod’s death, Caesarea served as the capital of the Province of Judea as Rome assumed full control over the country. Tensions between Jews and pagans ran high, and a great revolt broke out in 66 C.E. The revolt eventually led to the destruction of the Second Holy Temple.


Caesarea flourished during the Byzantine period and later served as a strategic fortress for the Crusaders. Following the Mameluk conquest in the 13th century, the city fell into ruin and was eventually covered over by sand. The well-known philanthropist, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, was instrumental in reestablishing the city over a hundred years ago and making it into a modern thriving town.

  • Early dinner in Tel Aviv with guest speaker at Trask Hall, Tel Aviv Port

  • Transfer to the hotel, check-in, unpack
  • Overnight: Tel Aviv
  • Participants who arrive in Israel in the late morning or afternoon will join the rest of the group as per the day’s schedule.


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DAY TWO:
TUESDAY, MARCH 6–OPTIONS DAY

  • Breakfast

Full Israeli breakfast at hotel with guest speaker

Option A - In the Footsteps of the Bible

  • Discover the Ruins of Megiddo, Where the Thousands of Years of Fascinating History Come To Life

Megiddo lies at the Western entrance to the fertile Jezreel Valley, on the crossroads of the ancient trade route, the Via Maris, that stretched from Egypt in the South through Israel to the Northern empires of Syria, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia (modern day Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria). Rulers of Megiddo controlled the passage of merchants and goods, as well as armies, along the Fertile Crescent. Megiddo was a highly fortified city and many battles took place between competing civilizations for its control.

  • Packed lunch
  • Visit the Historic Military Training Ground at Ein Harod

From biblical times to recent history, this strategic spot was where armies-in-the-making trained, armies gathered prior to battle and where great battles were fought.


The Spring of Harod flows from Gideon's Cave, the site where Gideon gathered his men before fighting the Midianites. Judges 7:1 describes the scene: "Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley." It was here that Gideon administered the 'water test' as a way of choosing the warriors for the coming battle (Judges 7:4-7).


Today, Ein Harod is a nature reserve with the second largest pool in Israel, sprawling lawns, a picnic area, and great, looming eucalyptus trees. Aside from Gideon's Cave you'll be able to see some remains of an ancient aqueduct and a memorial to soldiers who died fighting on Mt. Gilboa.


The Harod Spring also served as one the first training bases for the Palmach with the assistance of the British officer Orde Wingate who was sympathetic to the plight of the Jews in Israel. The Palmach was a special strike force within the Haganah, the organized clandestine effort at armed self-defense of the Jewish population of the British Mandate that was the precursor to the IDF.

  • Ascend Mt. Gilboa Where King Saul Fell In Battle Against the Philistines

Mount Gilboa (Hebrew: Har HaGilboa), is a mountain range overlooking the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. The name Gilboa means ”boiling springs,” or ”water bursting from rock.”


On this site, King Saul, facing battle against the Philistines, was told that neither he nor his sons would survive the encounter. He bravely accepted his fate and led his men to war on the mountains of Gilboa. Soon, his army was routed, three sons were killed, and his own capture became imminent. Saul ordered his weapons bearer to strike him dead. The young man could not fulfill the king’s wishes. Rather than cause disgrace to G-d’s name when captured alive by the Philistines, Saul fell on his own sword.

Option B - Classic

  • Experience the Mystical Old City of Tzfat (Safed)

No tour to the North of Israel can be complete without recharging one’s spiritual batteries in the transcendent city of Safed.


Safed, or Tzfat as it is known in Hebrew, is derived from the word tsofeh (scout). It refers to the city’s unique location, perched on a steep slope high in the Galilean hills. One of the four holy cities in Israel, Safed represents the element of air. (Hebron represents earth, Jerusalem represents fire, and Tiberias represents water.) According to the Zohar, its pure mountain air is also the holiest in Israel.


Sources date the city back to the time of Joshua bin Nun (1355–1245 BCE), and archeological findings confirm dwellings dating back to the Second Temple era.


Safed grew with an influx of refugees from the Spanish Inquisition in the late fifteenth century, when it reached its zenith as a center of the study of Torah and Kabbalah. A massive earthquake in 1837 killed thousands of Safed’s inhabitants and destroyed many of the buildings, leaving behind only a small community. But the city was soon rejuvenated by early Chasidim who settled in its holy environs.

  • Packed lunch
  • Optional: Explore Mount Meron, Burial Site of Sages and Mystics

The highest mountain in the Galil at more than 4,000 feet, Meron gets its fame on account of the many great kabbalists and Talmudic sages buried on it. On the mountain are the remains of one of the oldest synagogues in the country, dating back to the time of the Second Temple. It has three entrance gates which all face in the direction of Jerusalem.


The large domed building is the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (second century C.E.) also known by the acronym of his name, Rashbi and his son Rabbi Elazar. Rabbi Shimon is the author of the Zohar, the fundamental text of Kabbalah. Also on the mountain are the gravesites of the great Mishnaic sages Hillel and Shammai, as well as their students. Up to the right is the burial place of Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar, another great sage of the same era as Rashbi.

Option C - Borders & Security

  • Tour the Netiv Ha’asara Moshav in Southern Israel

The Netiv Ha-asara moshav in the Negev desert in Southern Israel was founded in 1982. The moshav was established by seventy families who were residents of the former Israeli settlement of the same name in the Sinai Peninsula, which was disbanded as a result of the Camp David Accords (1978).


A visit to the beleaguered communities in the south of Israel provides an opportunity to hear first-hand from those whose lives are directly affected by the often precarious security situation in the region. Candid conversations with the families who have chosen to settle in these communities shed light on what motivates them, what concerns them, and what gives them and their children the strength to persist in extraordinary circumstances.

  • Packed lunch
  • Security Briefing at Gaza Border Lookout

A lookout over the border into the self-governing Palestinian territory of Gaza grants a perspective that cannot be gained from media coverage of the Middle East. Since the 2005 disengagement of the Gaza Strip, it has become a hotbed of terrorist activity. Gaza is ruled by the militant Hamas party and is a stronghold of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group.

  • Visit Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Site of An Important Battle In Israel’s War of Independence

The Kibbutz was founded in 1943 and named after Mordechai Anilewicz, the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. A giant statue of the hero overlooks the community, behind it is the Kibbutz's original water tower that was shelled by the Egyptians during the 1948 War.


The Kibbutz’s heroic defenders managed to stem the onslaught of the Egyptian Army during the War of Independence, allowing the Israeli forces time to regroup and, ultimately, block the enemy from capturing the coastal region. The kibbutz has reconstructed a scene from the war with life-size cut-outs with rifles and helmets representing the Egyptians.

Option D - Israel Encounters

  • Tour the Ancient Port of Akko (Acre)

The city of Akko (Acre in English) is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the region. The first settlement at the site of ancient Akko can be traced to about 3000 BCE. Akko is mentioned In the Tanach (Judges 1:31) when the verse lists the places from which the Israelites did not initially drive out the Canaanites. It's mentioned again later as part of the territory of the tribe of Asher.


At the time of the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE), Akko was on the northern border of the Land of Israel. Akko is mentioned in the Talmud as it tells how the sages kissed the soil upon arriving in Akko. The Talmud also describes how those forced to leave Israel for Babylon wept bitterly upon crossing the border at this place.


Many of the ruins found in Akko date to the Crusader (1095-1291) and Ottoman (1517-1917) Periods, and help trace the tumultuous history of the Jewish people who lived in the region during those trying eras. The great scholar Nachmanides (1194–1270) and other leading rabbis and scholars spent time in Akko. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte was unable to break the fortified walls of the city and eventually was forced to retreat back to Egypt.


During the time of the British Mandate, fighters of the Haganah, Irgun, and Lehi underground movements were incarcerated in the old Turkish prison in Akko, the “Alcatraz” of the Middle East. They managed to stage a successful breakout in May 1947 and twenty-eight fighters escaped.

  • Packed lunch
  • Explore the Spectacular Rosh Hanikra Grottoes

Known by the Sages as the “Ladder of Tyre,” the towering white cliffs of Rosh Hanikra lie on the northwestern tip of Israel. Over the ages, the pounding waves of the Mediterranean Sea have created a series of stunning grottoes where the azure waters meet the bone-white rock. Since time immemorial, Rosh Hanikra has served as the passage point for traders and merchants, and soldiers and mercenaries making their way between Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. In 1946, the Haganah carried out a daring series of offensives to bring transportation in and out of Palestine to a halt by blowing up all bridges linking the country to the outside world. The bridge at Rosh Hanikra was destroyed with no injuries or loss of life.

  • Lebanon Border Security Briefing

Hear a security briefing at the border with Lebanon and meet with residents of border cities and towns.

Option E - Israel in Depth

  • Study the Mishnah in Tzippori, the city of its birth.

Tzippori (Sepphoris in Ancient Greek) is a village and an archeological site located in the central Galilee region of Israel. The site holds a rich and diverse historical and architectural legacy that includes Jewish as well as Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Crusader, Arabic, and Ottoman influences.


It was in Tzippori, early in the third century CE, that Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi (Rabbi Judah the Prince), scion of the Royal House of David, presided over the Sanhedrin and edited and codified the Mishnah. This monumental task ensured the continuity of the Jewish Oral Law which had been transmitted through the generations as an oral tradition, from Moses until that time.

  • Packed lunch
  • Discover Beit Shearim, Home of the Jewish High Court

Beit She'arim, the current name for the ancient Jewish town of Bet She'arāyim, is a partially excavated archaeological site. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sanhedrin (Jewish legislature and supreme council) moved to Beit She'arayim. The town is mentioned rabbinical literature as an important center of Jewish learning during the 2nd century.


Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi lived there before moving for health reasons to Tzippori for the last seventeen years of his life. He is buried in Beit She'arim as he had planned before transferring to Tzippori. The fact that Rabbi Judah was buried there is believed to be a major reason for the popularity of the necropolis in Late Antiquity when Jews were barred from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the most preferred Jewish burial place.


An earthquake in 386 CE caused some damage, but the town recovered and enjoyed prosperity during the era of Byzantine rule.

Option F - Food & Wine

  • Visit Morad where Exotic Liqueurs are Produced

At the foot of Israel's Carmel Mountains and amid the beauty of the fertile Galilee, the Morad Winery in Yokneam transforms nature’s harvest into the finest of kosher wines and liqueurs. Made exclusively from fruits, vegetables and herbs, the winery produces a large selection of flavorful and exotic “wines” – from passion fruit to pomegranate. Recently, the winery has opened a boutique winery creating traditional wines as well. At Morad, you will learn about the process and experience a taste of their unique product.

  • Packed lunch
  • Visit De-Beer Chocolate Factory

Enjoy a sweet, and unforgettable experience. Feel, create, taste, indulge and enjoy every moment at an interactive workshop on chocolate and truffles led by De-Beer’s chocolatiers. Each participant will design and create a variety of chocolate pieces.

  • Tour and Wine Tasting the historic Binyamina Winery

Binyamina Winery was founded in 1952 by Joseph Zeltzer. He immigrated to Israel from Hungary with a passion for being a winemaker, as he’d been in his country of birth. Zeltzer originally named the winery Eliaz, after his son who fell in battle during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. He soon began making wine in the center of what was then considered Israel’s official wine region.


In August 2008, the winery was purchased by private investors who recognized the winery’s immense potential and sought to continue its role as a leader in Israel’s wine sector. To this day, they continue to invest regularly and unsparingly in the vineyards, premises, equipment and human resources.


  • Dinner on your own in Tel Aviv
  • Overnight: Tel Aviv

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DAY THREE:
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7–OPTIONS DAY

  • Breakfast

Full Israeli breakfast at hotel with guest speaker

Option A - In the Footsteps of the Bible

  • Explore the Ancient Ruins of Tel Be’er Sheva

Tel Sheva, the archeological mound of biblical Beersheba, is located in the northern Negev, several kilometers east of the present-day city of Be'er Sheva. Beersheba is first mentioned in the biblical account of God's revelation to the patriarchs (Gen. 26:23-25; 46:1).


The ancient town was built on a low hill on the bank of a wadi (dry riverbed), which carries floodwater during the winter months. A close-to-the-surface aquifer along the wadi ensured the year-round supply of water.


A large area of the site was excavated producing several layers of remains of settlements from many eras, including fortified towns of the early Israelite period and the monarchic period of Judah. These ancient settlements are covered by remnants of small fortresses dated from the Persian to the Roman periods.

  • Packed lunch
  • Mishkan HaTchelet Factory

Visit the Mishkan HaTchelet factory in Be'er Sheva for a behind-the-scenes view of the production Prayer Shawls (Talleitim), Tzitzit & Tefillin. You will be able to see how ancient hand-craftsmanship, modern technology, details in Jewish law and painstaking care come together to create beautiful Judaica that have a central place in daily Jewish observance.

  • Look Out Over the Valley of Ayalon, Location of Joshua’s Historic Battle

The Ayalon Valley is where Joshua and the Children of Israel fought a fateful battle against the Canaanites over 3000 years ago. The Bible recounts how Joshua Bin Nun saw victory slipping away as the darkness of night approached. He prayed: “O sun! Stand still over Givon; and moon, over the Valley of Ayalon.” Miraculously, the sun stood still, allowing for Joshua’s forces to complete their rout of the enemy.

Option B - Classic

  • Explore the Old Port of Jaffa—Ancient Gateway to the Land of Israel

Jaffa Port is an ancient port on the Mediterranean Sea, located in the Old City of Jaffa (Hebrew: Yaffo), with a history spanning over three millennia. The port is mentioned in the book of Jonah of the Tanach. It is where the prophet set sail for Tarshish in an attempt to avoid his mission to inspire repentance in the population of Ninveh. Jonah was famously swallowed by a giant fish after the vessel he traveled on was shipwrecked during a storm.


Josephus mentions Jaffa in his description of first Jewish revolt (66–73 AD) against Rome.


For centuries, Jaffa was the entry–point for Jews who sought to settle in or visit the Land of Israel. Its relative proximity to Jerusalem, a mere three-day journey by donkey, made it the obvious docking point for those who traveled by ship to fulfill their life-long dream of reaching the holy city.


In 1917, during World War I, Britain’s General Allenby defeated the Ottomans, and Jaffa became part of the British-administered Palestine Mandate. In 1947 and 1948 harsh fighting ensued between Jaffa which was largely inhabited by Arabs, and the adjoining Jewish city of Tel Aviv. On May 13, 1948, (one day before the proclamation of the State of Israel), the Arab forces in Jaffa were finally defeated by the Haganah and Irgun Zva’i Leumi underground forces. Since 1950, the Jewish city of Tel Aviv and the mostly Arab city of Jaffa are unified as the Tel Aviv-Yaffo municipality.


Still functional as a small fishing port with modern docks, today the port is primarily a recreational zone featuring restaurants, cafés, art galleries, and shops. A lighthouse, Jaffa Light, is located above the port.

  • Visit the New Six Day War Exhibit at the Rabin Center

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, The Rabin Center installed a new exhibit on the seminal war in Israel’s history. The exhibit features rare documents, photographs, films, memorabilia, as well as 3D computer simulations and dynamic maps.

  • Packed lunch
  • Experience the Underground Bullet Factory at Machon Ayalon Kibbutz

On the surface, Machon Ayalon trained young people for pastoral life on a fully functioning kibbutz. Underground, out of sight from the British, the Ayalon Institute was the largest underground IMI (Israel Military Industries) factory. From 1946 to 1948 it produced the 9mm bullets used by pioneer groups including the Palmach, Hagana and Hatzofim in the Israeli War of Independence.


The museum today features a film on the history and a tour of the site including the Kibbutz laundry which ran 24 hours a day to conceal the noise of the factory below. The bakery provided clean air to the factory through pipes attached to its furnace.

  • OR

(due to spatial constraints, this activity slot will be predetermined by trip organizers based on bus assignment)

  • Dialogue in the Dark, Invitation to Silence and Dialogue through Time

Learn to appreciate your senses in a unique experience for all ages.


During a tour of Dialogue in the Dark, guides who are visually-impaired lead visitors through a variety of environments in pitch darkness. The experience provides an opportunity to re-examine our senses of hearing, smell, touch and taste, and our ability to rely completely on these senses. A role reversal is created in the exhibit, when the person with the "impairment” is the leader and demonstrates how his or her world is not poorer, merely different.


Led by deaf guides for whom sign language is their primary and sometimes only channel of communication, Invitation to Silence is an exhibit that gives a stage to the non-verbal communication skills hidden in each of us. In this unconventional exhibit, you neither hear nor speak to discover an alternative communication of hand movements and body language.


Dialogue with Time stimulates our curiosity about history and the experiences of previous generations to encourage an exploration of our own family history.

  • Tour the impressive Armored Corps Memorial and Tank Museum at Latrun

Latrun was the key in the battle for Jerusalem as the road from the coast to the capital was controlled by whoever occupied the ridge. The Jordanian Legion held Jerusalem under siege in 1948 during the War of Independence and the city was under imminent danger of starvation and surrender. Israeli leader David Ben Gurion ordered the formation of the first armored battalion and ordered them to take Latrun at all costs. The plan was called Operation Bin Nun in memory of Joshua, but the Israelis were outgunned, outnumbered, and outmaneuvered by the Jordanians. Over and over the Israeli forces regrouped and attacked but stood no chance against the withering fire of the enemy.


It was in this battle that an injured Ariel Sharon was saved from certain death, an experience that shaped the doctrine of the IDF: never to abandon a soldier in the field. Eventually, the Israelis were forced to construct a bypass route, called the Burma Road, which was used to transfer essential supplies to Jerusalem, thus breaking the siege and saving the city. Only in 1967 did the IDF manage to capture Latrun. Today it serves as a memorial site for the Armored Corps, and it has the largest tank museum in the Middle East, boasting small tanks from the War of Independence alongside the newest Israeli-designed and produced Merkava.


Also on display are tanks captured from the Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians—relics of Israel’s battle for survival.

Option C - Borders & Security

  • Visit Bet HaLochem, the IDF’s Disabled Veteran’s Association

Meet with wounded IDF veterans, members at Bet HaLochem who were wounded while fighting in defense of the State of Israel, a heavy price the nation has had to pay for its independence and survival.


The facility at Bet haLochem serves 14,000 members including wounded veterans and their families with facilities to provide ongoing medical care as well as culture and recreation.

  • Visit the Castel, site of a key battle in the War of Independence

Castel National Park is an Israeli national park which consists of a fortified summit located in the Judean Mountains, at the site of the former Arab village of Al-Qastal. The site is mostly known as the place of key, fierce battles of Operation Nachshon which took place there in April 1948. Arabs and Jews fought for control of the site, which overlooked the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. The Castel exchanged hands several times in the course of the fighting. The tides turned when the Arab commander, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, was killed and many of the Arabs left their positions to attend al-Husayni's funeral.

  • Packed lunch
  • Har Adar - Lookout over the “Green Line”

The “Green Line” or “pre-1967 border” is the demarcation line set in the 1949 Armistice Agreements that served as the de facto border of the State of Israel from 1949 until the Six-Day War in 1967. Har Adar is an Israeli settlement located very close to the Green Line. Its location falls in the “Seam Zone” of the West Bank, an area east of the Green Line but West of Israel’s protective security barrier surrounding the West Bank. The lookout provides a great vantage point to clarify the security challenges Israel faces in the area.

  • Tour the impressive Armored Corps Memorial and Tank Museum at Latrun

Latrun was the key in the battle for Jerusalem as the road from the coast to the capital was controlled by whoever occupied the ridge. The Jordanian Legion held Jerusalem under siege in 1948 during the War of Independence and the city was under imminent danger of starvation and surrender. Israeli leader David Ben Gurion ordered the formation of the first armored battalion and ordered them to take Latrun at all costs. The plan was called Operation Bin Nun in memory of Joshua, but the Israelis were outgunned, outnumbered, and outmaneuvered by the Jordanians. Over and over the Israeli forces regrouped and attacked but stood no chance against the withering fire of the enemy.


It was in this battle that an injured Ariel Sharon was saved from certain death, an experience that shaped the doctrine of the IDF: never to abandon a soldier in the field. Eventually, the Israelis were forced to construct a bypass route, called the Burma Road, which was used to transfer essential supplies to Jerusalem, thus breaking the siege and saving the city. Only in 1967 did the IDF manage to capture Latrun. Today it serves as a memorial site for the Armored Corps, and it has the largest tank museum in the Middle East, boasting small tanks from the War of Independence alongside the newest Israeli-designed and produced Merkava.


Also on display are tanks captured from the Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians—relics of Israel’s battle for survival.

Option D - Israel Encounters

  • Presentation by some of Israeli’s Incredible New Technologies and Promising Start-ups

A showcase of some of Israel’s incredible new technologies at “Silicon Wadi” in Herzlia. Israel’s Silicon Wadi is an area in the coastal plain of Israel where business people and scientists work, developing breakthrough technologies, from cybersecurity and agricultural solutions to world hunger solutions. “Wadi” is the Arabic word for a valley or dry river bed, also commonly used in colloquial Hebrew. Silicon Wadi is a pun based on the Californian region of Silicon Valley.


Israel boasts many high-technology companies in a wide range of fields such as telecommunications equipment, software, semiconductors, biotechnology, and medical electronics. The majority of these companies are start-ups, with the most successful becoming world leaders in their respective fields. High technology and technology-rich products account for some 70 percent of Israeli exports. Multinational corporations have come to recognize Israel’s technology abilities: leading global companies like Intel, Motorola, IBM, Microsoft, Alcatel, and 3Com all have research and development facilities in Israel. Intel and Motorola also manufacture advanced products in Israel, and many other multinationals have purchased local companies, buying their patents and acquiring their human talent.

  • Tour the Bustling Levinsky Market

The Levinsky market, which extends into numerous side streets, is a colorful market brimming with spices, herbs, and teas. Founded by Jews from Thessalonica, Greece, over 80 years ago, the Levinsky market is tucked under and between derelict three-story buildings. The Greek Jews were followed by an influx of Iranian Jews and immigrants from other countries where herbal remedies and spicy foods are common.

  • Packed lunch
  • Tour a Shmura Matza Bakery, Esrog Orchard, and a Children’s Home on a visit to Kfar Chabad

Our trip to Kfar Chabad will include a tour of the Shmura Matza Bakery where Pesach matzot are made by hand, an Etrog orchard and visit the Ohr Simcha Children’s Home, a nurturing environment for three hundred boys.


The Chabad-Lubavitch village in Israel, Kfar Chabad, was founded by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, in 1949. The first settlers were recent immigrants from the Soviet Union who had survived World War II and Stalinist oppression who worked the farms of the agricultural settlement located five miles south of Tel Aviv. Today Kfar Chabad is home to more than 6,000 Chabad residents and serves as Chabad’s headquarters in Israel. A full scale-replica of ‘770’ houses the operation offices.

  • Tour the impressive Armored Corps Memorial and Tank Museum at Latrun

Latrun was the key in the battle for Jerusalem as the road from the coast to the capital was controlled by whoever occupied the ridge. The Jordanian Legion held Jerusalem under siege in 1948 during the War of Independence and the city was under imminent danger of starvation and surrender. Israeli leader David Ben Gurion ordered the formation of the first armored battalion and ordered them to take Latrun at all costs. The plan was called Operation Bin Nun in memory of Joshua, but the Israelis were outgunned, outnumbered, and outmaneuvered by the Jordanians. Over and over the Israeli forces regrouped and attacked but stood no chance against the withering fire of the enemy.


It was in this battle that an injured Ariel Sharon was saved from certain death, an experience that shaped the doctrine of the IDF: never to abandon a soldier in the field. Eventually, the Israelis were forced to construct a bypass route, called the Burma Road, which was used to transfer essential supplies to Jerusalem, thus breaking the siege and saving the city. Only in 1967 did the IDF manage to capture Latrun. Today it serves as a memorial site for the Armored Corps, and it has the largest tank museum in the Middle East, boasting small tanks from the War of Independence alongside the newest Israeli-designed and produced Merkava.


Also on display are tanks captured from the Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians—relics of Israel’s battle for survival.

Option E - Israel in Depth

  • Visit Biblical Bet Shemesh and Samson’s Resting Place

The history of Beit Shemesh goes back to pre-biblical times. The ruins of the ancient biblical city can still be seen at Tel Beth-Shemesh near the modern city. In Joshua 21:16, this city was set aside as one of the thirteen cities for Kohanim. The city is mentioned in 1 Samuel as the first city encountered by the Ark of the Covenant on its way back to Jerusalem after having been captured by the Philistines in battle. In 2 Kings, Beit Shemesh is again mentioned as being the site of the battle between Amaziah king of Judea and Jehoash king of Israel.


Tel Tzor’a the likely location of the biblical village of Tzora, the city of Samson’s birth, is believed to be Samson’s burial site. Kibbutz Tzor’a nearby was founded in December 1948 by former Palmach members.

  • Packed lunch
  • Relive David’s Battle Against Goliath in Emek HaElah

Emek HaElah or "the valley of the terebinth" is called after the large and shady terebinth trees which are indigenous to its parts. It is best known as the place described in the Bible where the Israelites were encamped when David fought Goliath in one of the most famous and compelling battles in recorded history. Looking out today over the Valley of Elah, it is easy to visualize the stone flung from David’s slingshot hurtling through the air, slaying Goliath.

  • Look Out Over the Valley of Ayalon, Location of Joshua’s Historic Battle

The Ayalon Valley is where Joshua and the Children of Israel fought a fateful battle against the Canaanites over 3000 years ago. The Bible recounts how Joshua Bin Nun saw victory slipping away as the darkness of night approached. He prayed: “O sun! Stand still over Givon; and moon, over the Valley of Ayalon.” Miraculously, the sun stood still, allowing for Joshua’s forces to complete their rout of the enemy.

Option F - Food & Wine

  • Visit Shvil Izim Farm, Makers of Artisan Goat Cheese in Tal Shachar

Located in the serene rolling hills of Moshav Tal Shachar, this wonderful family-run goat farm specializes in its own preservative-free artisan goat cheeses, including a Gouda, a well-reviewed Manchego and their own Soreq, named for the region in which they’re located. The farm also produces a soft feta, labneh or yogurt cheese, Camembert and yogurts, all produced from milk from their own 100-goat herd.

  • Packed lunch
  • Visit the Award-Winning Barkan Winery

Between the Hulda Forest and Kibbutz Hulda, at the heart of 500 acres of vineyards, resides Barkan Wine Cellars' visitor center. Barkan Wine Cellars is the second largest Israeli winery and its leading exporter, producing five to nine million bottles a year. Expect a unique experience around the theme of "from land to bottle". Visit the largest barrel hall in Israel, with over 5,000 barrels, watch an educational film about their grape-growing methods and the wine's manufacturing.

  • Learn the Art of (Hard) Apple Cider at Buster’s Cider

Not to be confused with the beverage called Apple Cider in the United States and Canada (an unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples), “Apple Cider” around the world refers to an alcoholic, carbonated apple “wine,” known in the U.S. as Hard Cider. Denny he proprietor of Buster’s Cider in Beit Shemesh, will walk us through the cider-making process and the story of how he introduced hard apple cider to the Israeli market. With an alcohol content similar to beer, wine and beer aficionados in Israel have discovered the crisp, refreshing taste of Apple Cider. It is particularly enjoyed on Pesach when beer containing fermented grain is avoided and by those looking for a gluten-free beer alternative.

Option G

This tour is available for an additional cost.

  • Take in the View from the Sky Aerial Tour

Take to the skies with experienced pilots in a helicopter or small aircraft to see Israel as never before. Choice of destinations include flights over the coast, Masada, the Negev desert or the Golan Heights.

  • Packed lunch
  • Participate in Anti-terror Training at Shooting Range

Former IDF commando soldiers will put you through some of the paces of anti-terror training at the Caliber 3 Shooting Range.


All Groups

  • Dinner at Latrun with music & entertainment
  • Check in to your hotel
  • Overnight: Jerusalem

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DAY FOUR:
THURSDAY, MARCH 8 – BINYAMIN & SHOMRON

  • Optional Early Morning Visit to Rachel’s Tomb

Our Matriarch Rachel (Rachel Imeinu) (1585–1553 BCE) passed away outside of Bethlehem (Beit Lechem) soon after giving birth to Benjamin. Her husband Jacob buried her there “on the way to Efrat” (Genesis 35). Rashi explains that when Jacob buried her there he knew that in future times the Jewish people would pass this place on their journey to Babylonian exile, and that compassionate Rachel would come to plead for Divine mercy for them.


The Midrash says Rachel’s prayers at that time elicited Gd’s promise to her that the Jewish people would ultimately be redeemed: “Your children shall return to their own border” (Jeremiah 31:16).


Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) has always been an important location where Jews engage in heartfelt prayer. It draws tens of thousands of visitors every year who come to visit the resting place of “Mama Rochel.” Some people have the custom to wear red thread that has been wound around Rachel’s Tomb, as an amulet to protect against misfortune.

  • Breakfast

Full Israeli breakfast at hotel with guest speaker

  • Visit an Archeological Site in Shiloh, Home of the Tabernacle

Jewish history will come alive at the fascinating archeological site of Tel Shiloh where the Tabernacle stood for 369 years. When the Children of Israel arrived in the land, they set up the Tabernacle (Ohel-Mo'ed) in Shiloh. There Joshua and Eleazar divided the land among the tribes who had not yet received their allocation and dealt with the allocation of cities to the Levites.


Because of the presence of the Tabernacle and within it the Ark of the Covenant, Shiloh then became the center for worship, a status it held until shortly before David's elevation of Jerusalem. The Jewish people made pilgrimages there three times annually for the major holidays of Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot.


Samuel relates that the sanctuary at Shiloh was administered by the priest Eili. The young Samuel was dedicated by his mother Chanah there, to be raised at the shrine by the high priest. Samuel’s ascension as a prophet began there.

  • Sit-down lunch in Shilo with live music & entertainment
  • Off-road Jeeping to explore the Biblical Heartland

Enjoy an off-road adventure as you discover the Samarian hill-country near Shilo where prophets and kings roamed and many of the stories of the Bible took place. You will also be able to see first-hand the reality of the modern-day Jewish residents in the area who have chosen to live in the land of their ancestors.

  • Peek at Life in the West Bank

Meet with residents of the West Bank communities and settlements to hear firsthand about life in the West Bank today.

  • Western Wall Experience with JLI

Join all JLI Land and Spirit participants for a special program at the Southern Excavations and Western Wall.


The Western Wall, Wailing Wall, or Kottel is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known also in its entirety as the "Western Wall". The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple begun by Herod, which resulted in the enclosure of the top of Mount Moriah, known as the Temple Mount.


The Western Wall is considered holy due to its connection to the Temple Mount, the holiest place on earth in the Jewish faith, where the Holy Temples stood. Because of entry restrictions to the Temple Mount in Jewish Laws of Purity, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray today.

  • Optional tours of the Western Wall Tunnels to learn about Temple-era Jerusalem

Starting with its entrance under arches that held up the Great Bridge that led to the Temple Mount, the Western Wall Tunnels offer an up-close look at some of the most amazing archeological finds from the Temple era. A glass floor in the bridge allows visitors to see the two-thousand-year-old stairs of a large ritual bath used by our ancestors during the Second Temple period before approaching this holiest place.


Underground, one can see the Western Wall stones, enormous squared-off boulders, with chiseled edges in their full glory. Many stop to pray at the stone closest to the Temple’s “Holy of Holies,” the center of a synagogue that existed in the Middle Ages and was recently rebuilt. Also in the tunnels is the remains of an underground passageway used by King David to approach the Temple Mount from his palace located on the current site of the Tower of David. A three-dimensional model of the Temple Mount and educational film complete the fascinating tour.

  • Dinner on your own in Jerusalem
  • Overnight: Jerusalem

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DAY FIVE:
FRIDAY, MARCH 9– OPTIONS DAY

  • Breakfast

Full Israeli breakfast at hotel with guest speaker

Option A - In the Footsteps of the Bible

  • Observe the Jerusalem Marathon in the Old City

Walk to the Old City of Jerusalem to cheer on runners in the eighth Jerusalem Marathon as they pass historic sites. 30,000 participants including elite runners and runners from abroad participate in several tracks of the Jerusalem Marathon.

  • Walk in the Footsteps of Prophets And Kings In the City of David

The Bible recounts how Yoav ben Zeruaya, King David’s fearless general, led a small band of men secretly into the strongly fortified Jebusite city, thereby leading to its capture. King David renamed the city Jerusalem and designated it as his new capital in place of Hebron. He also purchased the threshing floor of Arnava on Mount Moriah, site of the Temple to be built by his son Solomon, and brought up the Ark of the Covenant to the city, establishing it for all time as the spiritual and political capital of the Jewish people. It is in the City of David where the kings of Judah reigned, where Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied, and where Hezekiah, all alone, faced the mighty wrath of Assyria. There is archeological evidence as well of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians 2500 years ago. Not to be missed are the Palace of the Davidic Dynasty, the lookout over the Kidron Valley and Silwan, Canaanite fortifications, Warren’s Pier, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Pool of Shiloach.

Option B – Classic

  • Observe the Jerusalem Marathon in the Old City

Walk to the Old City of Jerusalem to cheer on runners in the eighth Jerusalem Marathon as they pass historic sites. 30,000 participants including elite runners and runners from abroad participate in several tracks of the Jerusalem Marathon.

  • Explore the Ancient Cardo and the Broad Wall

Ancient columns of the main north-south artery of Roman-Byzantine Jerusalem (146 BCE–1453 CE), which also served as a market place, have been unearthed in recent years. Each civilization that came to Jerusalem in the course of more than 1,300 years reused the remains and ruins of their predecessors. In the covered section, visitors can see a wall comprised of many different levels of stones from different periods.


With a turn from HaYehudim Street toward Plugat HaKottel Street, and observers may look down upon the “Broad Wall” an ancient section of wall. Some archeological scholars date the wall to the late first Temple period when King Hezekiah (587–533 BCE) strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem. According to others, it dates to the early second Temple period. The maps on the wall explain it all.

  • Tour Batei Machase, Remains of a Jewish Public Housing Project From the 1800’s

Batei Machase is an apartment compound constructed in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem between 1860 and 1890. It was essentially the first 'public housing' project built in the Mandate of Palestine, and was designed to provide shelter for the city's destitute population. The project was initiated by several Jewish organizations from the Netherlands and Germany, who took it upon themselves to care for the Jews of Jerusalem.


During the war of independence in 1948, the compound was the last stronghold for Jewish defenders of the city, until it was conquered by the Jordanian Legion. During the battle, the Batei Machase compound was partially destroyed, and its synagogue was demolished.

Option C – Borders & Security

  • Observe the Jerusalem Marathon in the Old City

Walk to Mt. Zion to cheer on runners in the eighth Jerusalem Marathon as they pass historic sites. 30,000 participants including elite runners and runners from abroad participate in several tracks of the Jerusalem Marathon.

  • Visit the Tomb of King David

Between 1948 and 1967 the eastern part of the Old City was occupied by Jordan, which barred entry to Jews even for the purpose of praying at Jewish holy sites. However, the southern part of Mount Zion where the Tomb of David was controlled by Israel and Jewish pilgrims from around the country and the world went to pray at David's Tomb where a climb to the rooftop, provided a glimpse of the Western Wall.


The tomb provides an excellent lookout point to trace the heroic battle for control of the Jewish Quarter in 1948 and its ultimate surrender to the Jordanian Legion.

  • Tour Batei Machase, Remains of a Jewish Public Housing Project From the 1800’s

Batei Machase is an apartment compound constructed in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem between 1860 and 1890. It was essentially the first 'public housing' project built in the Mandate of Palestine, and was designed to provide shelter for the city's destitute population. The project was initiated by several Jewish organizations from the Netherlands and Germany, who took it upon themselves to care for the Jews of Jerusalem.


During the war of independence in 1948, the compound was the last stronghold for Jewish defenders of the city, until it was conquered by the Jordanian Legion. During the battle, the Batei Machase compound was partially destroyed, and its synagogue was demolished.

Option D - Israel Encounters

  • Observe the Jerusalem Marathon in the Old City

Walk to the Old City of Jerusalem to cheer on runners in the eighth Jerusalem Marathon as they pass historic sites. 30,000 participants including elite runners and runners from abroad participate in several tracks of the Jerusalem Marathon.

  • Tour the Moslem Quarter with Ateret Cohanim and meet with the local Jewish residents

Of the four quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem (Armenian, Jewish, Christian, and Moslem), the Moslem quarter is the largest and most populous. Until 1929, many Jews lived in the Moslem Quarter, but with the outbreak of the violent pogroms by local Arab inhabitants at that time, they were forced to relocate.


In 1948, the Jordanian Legion succeeded in capturing the entire Old City of Jerusalem and forced the remaining Jewish inhabitants into exile. It was not until the Six-Day War, when the city was liberated, that Jews were able to return. Over the years, house by house, courtyard by courtyard, Jewish properties are being repurchased at great cost by various organizations, most notably Ateret Kohanim. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon purchased an apartment overlooking the main street in the Moslem Quarter. Although he had no plans to live there himself, he hoped that the security of Jews in the quarter would improve as a result of his acquisition.


Other Jewish sites in the Moslem Quarter include Kottel HaKattan, Bet HaTzalam, and the Gates of the Temple Mount.

Option E - Israel in Depth

  • Morning Classes to Prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem

Join morning Torah classes with (English-speaking) Jerusalem scholars in the beautifully restored Center for North African Jewry adjacent to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel

  • Walking Tour of King David Street and Alrov Mamilla Promenade

Optional walking tour along King David Street & the Mamilla Alrov Promenade telling the story of the first Jewish neighborhoods beyond the Old City.


King David Street is one of Jerusalem’s most prestigious addresses combining tourism, luxury residences, high commerce, galleries and shops in distinctive Jerusalem architectural style. A highlight is the stately King David Hotel, built in 1934. The hotel quickly became one of the leading hotels in the Middle East, hosting presidents, kings, diplomats, and celebrities. Pre-1948, the British Mandatory authorities rented the right wing and used it as the center of the administration in Palestine.


Opened in 2007, Mamilla Mall, also known as Alrov Mamilla Avenue, is an upscale shopping street, and the only open-air mall in Jerusalem. Located northwest of Jaffa Gate, the mall consists of a 2,000-foot pedestrian promenade lined by 140 stores, restaurants, and cafes.



All Groups

  • Lunch on your own in the Jewish Quarter
  • Prepare for Shabbat, candle-lighting at the hotel
  • Welcome the Shabbat with thousands of Jews from around the globe at the Kottel
  • Friday night dinner at the hotel together with Lone Soldiers
  • Overnight: Jerusalem

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DAY SIX:
SHABBAT, MARCH 10

  • Breakfast

Full Israeli breakfast at hotel

  • Joint JLI Morning Service
  • Full course Shabbat Lunch at the hotel
  • Take some time for yourself to rest, relax and rejuvenate

Optional Walking Tours

  • 1. Walking tour of the beautiful Yemin Moshe Neighborhood and Montefiore’s Windmill

Yemin Moshe was established in 1892–1894 by the Montefiore Welfare Fund which was dedicated to continuing the work done by British Jewish banker Moses Montefiore. The project marked the seventh year after the philanthropist's death and was named to commemorate Montefiore's first name and a verse from the Book of Isaiah. The neighborhood was built on land purchased by Montifiore in 1855, just outside Mishkenot Sha'ananim, a housing project he had built in 1866.


The landmark windmill, the famous symbol of the neighborhood and Montifiore’s enduring stamp on the Jerusalem landscape, was part of the financial infrastructure he had built to provide residents with a source of livelihood. Yemin Moshe is now an upscale neighborhood surrounded by gardens with a panoramic view of the Old City walls.

  • 2. Hanevi-im Street

Hanevi-im Street or “Street of the Prophets” is an east-west axis road in Jerusalem beginning outside Damascus Gate and ending at Davidka Square. Located to the north of Jaffa Road, it bisects the neighborhood of Musrara. During its heyday in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Street of the Prophets was a favorite address for hospitals, hospices, government offices, foreign consulates, monasteries and wealthy residents. A tour of the street, its historic buildings and Beit HaRav Kook will introduce you to some of the Jerusalem personalities of the last century who have left an indelible mark on Jewish life.

  • 3. Talbiya

Talbiya is an upscale neighborhood in Jerusalem, located between Rehavia and Katamon built in the 1920s and 1930s. The neighborhood's official name Komemiyut, introduced after the establishment of the state, never caught on, and it is still known as Talbiya, the pre-1948 name. Some of Jerusalem's important cultural institutions are located in Talbiya, among them the Jerusalem Theater, the Van Leer Institute and Beit HaNassi, the official residence of the President of Israel.

  • Havdalah

Bring out Shabbat with a Musical Havdala and a mini-concert overlooking the Old City Walls. Chassidic melodies played by local musicians will carry the inspiration of Shabbat to the days to come.

  • Dinner on your own
  • Overnight: Jerusalem

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DAY SEVEN:
SUNDAY, MARCH 11 – OPTIONS DAY

  • Optional Early Morning Visit to Rachel’s Tomb

Our Matriarch Rachel (Rachel Imeinu) (1585–1553 BCE) passed away outside of Bethlehem (Beit Lechem) soon after giving birth to Benjamin. Her husband Jacob buried her there “on the way to Efrat” (Genesis 35). Rashi explains that when Jacob buried her there he knew that in future times the Jewish people would pass this place on their journey to Babylonian exile, and that compassionate Rachel would come to plead for Divine mercy for them.


The Midrash says Rachel’s prayers at that time elicited Gd’s promise to her that the Jewish people would ultimately be redeemed: “Your children shall return to their own border” (Jeremiah 31:16).


Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) has always been an important location where Jews engage in heartfelt prayer. It draws tens of thousands of visitors every year who come to visit the resting place of “Mama Rochel.” Some people have the custom to wear red thread that has been wound around Rachel’s Tomb, as an amulet to protect against misfortune.

  • Breakfast

Full Israeli breakfast at hotel with guest speaker

Option A: In the Footsteps of the Bible

  • Enjoy a Stunning Lookout over the Temple Mount atop the Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives towers high above the Kidron Valley on the northeastern edge of Jerusalem, and serves as the barrier between the fertile areas of the city and the barren Judean Desert. On the slopes of the mountain is the oldest Jewish cemetery still in use today, with tombs dating back to the First Temple Period over 2500 years ago. Former Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, chose to be buried here as well, instead of on Mount Herzl. Under the Roman and Byzantine rule, Jews were not permitted to enter Jerusalem and so the Mount of Olives became a place of pilgrimage, in memory of Temple times. Here too, Jews would gather on Tisha B’Av and mourn the destruction of the Temple while looking down onto the Temple Mount. In modern times, the Mount of Olives was under Jordanian rule from 1948–1967, during which time widespread desecration of the Jewish cemetery took place. According to Jewish tradition, the Mount of Olives plays a central role in the coming of the Messiah, and it is from here that the resurrection of the dead will begin.

  • Take Part In A Real-Life Archeological Excavation. Sift Through Rubble from the Temple Mount at Emek Zurim

Situated on the slopes of the Mount of Olives in the northeastern corner of Jerusalem, the Zurim Valley is the site of a unique archeological project. In 1999, the Muslim Waqf conducted a large-scale removal of earth from the Temple Mount, in order to build a huge underground mosque in the area known as Solomon’s Stables. The work was carried out without any government permits or supervision, and hundreds of tons of rubble were simply dumped in the nearby Kidron Valley. After a prolonged battle, archeologist Gabu Barkai received permission from the government to transfer the rubble to the Zurim Valley, and—with the help of volunteers—sift through bucketful by bucketful, discovering the treasures of the past that had been hidden. The project continues today, and to date, volunteers have found rare coins, arrowheads, mosaic stones, bones, figurines, and many other artifacts that shed light on some 3000 years of history.

  • Packed lunch
  • Visit the Bible Lands Museum

The museum's artifacts represent many different periods in ancient Israel. The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Egyptian empires are also depicted within the museum's vast collection. The museum also displays the traditions of other peoples mentioned in the Bible such as the Philistines, Arameans, Hittites, Elamites, Phoenicians, and the Persians.


Daily life in the Biblical periods is also described. Artifacts originate from various areas of ancient life. Transportation, religious worship, trade, agriculture, and communication devices have all been amazingly preserved and tell the story of the realities of ancient life in Israel and its surrounding areas.

Option B: Classic

  • Ascend the Famous Desert Fortress of Masada

One and a quarter miles west of the Dead Sea, rising 1443 feet above sea level, is Masada. With its wide, flat summit, it was the perfect place for military defenses. The first fortifications built on Masada were constructed by the Hasmoneans in 42 CE. Twenty years later, Herod added a wall, water storage cisterns, and a beautiful palace.


Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Jewish Zealots continued their Great Revolt against the Roman Empire from the Masada fortress. They appropriated the luxurious palaces and bathhouses that King Herod had built for himself a century earlier and lived off the water cisterns and vast stores of food that he had put in place. It was not long before the crack Roman Tenth Legion, under Flavius Silva, arrived to quell the rebellion with thousands of troops and auxiliaries. While the Zealots were hopelessly outnumbered, they managed to keep the Romans at bay due to the cunning fortifications and the sheer difficulty of ascent. Not to be deterred, the Romans built a massive ramp and a siege tower with a huge battering ram. On the eve of Passover 72 CE, the defensive wall was breached, leaving the path open for the legions to ascend and conquer the mountain. The Zealots chose to end their own lives rather than be subjected to the tyranny of the Romans, and when Flavius ascended Masada the next morning, he was met with a silence that continues to reverberate today.


Signs of Jewish religious life on the mountain include a mikva (ritual pool), and a synagogue that faces in the direction of Jerusalem.

  • Packed lunch
  • Float in the Dead Sea

Measuring 309 square miles, the mineral-rich Dead Sea and nearby springs are known for their curative qualities. Its waters are 35 percent salt, which is ten times saltier than the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the Judean desert at 1,401 feet below sea level, it is the lowest spot on earth, and is a stark contrast to the not-too-distant Judean hills.


Due to the extremely high mineral content of the water, it has been renowned for centuries as a place of healing for a variety of ailments and skin conditions.


The sharp smell emanating from sulfur deposits close by reminds one of the destruction of nearby Sodom and Gomorah, when “G‑d rained down…sulfur and fire” (Genesis 19).

Option C: Borders & Security

  • Pay Tribute to the Fallen Heroes at the IDF Military Cemetery

The main Israel Defense Forces cemetery is located on the northern slope of Mt. Herzl. It was established in November 1949, when soldiers who fell in the Jerusalem area were buried here. In 1949, the government decided to turn the site into the main cemetery for IDF members who have fallen in the line of duty.

  • Packed lunch
  • Visit Ammunition Hill and the Jerusalem Neighborhood of Abu Tor

Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet), situated between the modern neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol and French Hill, was the site of one of the 1967 Six-Day War’s bloodiest and most important battles. A contingent of Israeli paratroopers vied to oust entrenched Jordanian legionnaires who were preventing Israeli access to Mount Scopus and the Jerusalem-Ramallah road. Thirty-seven Israeli troops lost their lives.


Today, Ammunition Hill houses the main Jerusalem induction center for new IDF recruits, an extensive museum, and the trenches and fortifications from the battle. The museum covers the events surrounding the battle in depth, including a rousing documentary film and exhibits on armed Jewish resistance to Nazi oppression in Europe. There are several memorials to the young men who died during the campaign for Jerusalem in 1967.

  • Visit East Jerusalem

From 1948 to 1967, Jerusalem was a city divided. The Jordanians controlled the East and Israel the West, with an ugly border running through from North to South. Following the Six-Day War, the city was united, yet many of the neighborhoods remain predominantly Jewish or Arab. In recent years, many Jews have chosen to make their homes in East Jerusalem. But the prevailing political and security climate has made this anything but simple. We will tour some of these neighborhoods and meet with the local Jewish residents.

Option D: Israel Encounters

  • Visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Children’s Memorial

Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust memorial museum and archive, is situated on the green slopes of Har HaZikaron (Mount of Remembrance) in Jerusalem. Israel’s Holocaust commemoration project began in 1953 with the task of perpetuating the memory of Holocaust victims and documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, to ensure that the Holocaust will be remembered by future generations. The new Yad Vashem museum, opened to the public in 2005, is designed in the shape of a prism penetrating the mountain.


The museum is divided into nine galleries that relate the stories of the Jewish communities before World War II, and the series of events that include the rise of the Nazis to power, the pursuit of the Jews, their eviction to the ghettos, and “the Final Solution” and mass genocide.


The personal experiences and feelings of the victims of the Holocaust constitute the groundwork for the museum’s exhibits of photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos, as well as excerpts from children’s diaries.

  • Packed lunch
  • Visit Shalem College for Leadership Development

Visit Shalem College, Israel’s groundbreaking college for leadership development. Meet the up-and-coming brilliant students who are already making a difference.

  • Visit the Shalva Children's Center

Shalva, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is dedicated to providing transformative care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families and promoting social inclusion.

Option E: Israel in Depth

  • Ride a Camel at Genesis Land

Genesis Land is situated in the heart of the Judean desert, on the way to the Dead Sea, in the land where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs lived. A magical place, it enables visitors to experience life as it was in biblical times.


Visitors to Genesis Land are greeted by Abraham’s manservant Eliezer, and by a train of camels which lead guests down to Abraham’s tent, where they experience his legendary hospitality.

  • Explore Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Qumran is an archaeological site best known as the settlement nearest to the Qumran Caves, a series of eleven caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden located around the settlement caves in the sheer desert cliffs and beneath, in the marl terrace.


Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947–1956, extensive excavations have taken place in Qumran. Nearly 900 scrolls were discovered. Most were written on parchment and some on papyrus. Cisterns, Jewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining or assembly room and debris from an upper story alleged by some to have been a scriptorium as well as pottery kilns and a tower. According to Dead Seas Scrolls Scholar Professor Lawrence Schiffman, the rules of the community, its heavy stress on the Zadokite legacy, and other details indicate the artifacts are of a Sadducean-oriented sect from the end of the 2nd Temple era.

  • Packed lunch
  • Visit Site of the Crossing the Jordan

Kasr el-Yahud ("Castle of the Jews" in Arabic) is traditionally considered to be the place where the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Holy Land after wandering in the desert for forty years.

  • Learn about Joshua at a Jericho Lookout

Visit a lookout over the city of Jericho from Mizpe Yericho and delve into the story of the miraculous conquest of the city by Joshua and the Children of Israel.


Mizpe Yericho is religious Israeli settlement in the Judean Desert lies on one of the last cliffs marking the edge of the Judean highlands, and overlooks the Jordan Rift Valley, the Dead Sea, and the ancient city of Jericho.


According to the Book of Joshua, the Battle of Jericho was the first battle of the Children of Israel in their conquest of Canaan. It is related that Joshua 6:1-27, the walls of Jericho miraculously fell after Joshua's Israelite army marched around the city blowing their trumpets.

Option F: Food & Wine

  • Enjoy a culinary tour of the colorful Machane Yehudah Outdoor Market

The Machane Yehudah outdoor market, or “Shuk” as it is affectionately known, is one of Jerusalem’s most popular sites for a taste of local culture. Established under Ottoman Rule in 1887 along the Jaffa Road artery, the Shuk served the growing Jewish population who lived outside of the Old City. Over the years, Jerusalem saw an influx of new immigrants from all over Europe, Russia, and the Middle East—each group bringing with it its ethnic foods, creating a melting pot of cultures. Today, the Shuk is a blaze of color, a cacophony of sounds and a blend of tantalizing aromas as vendors call attention to their freshly baked goods, fruit, vegetables, and delicacies. You can also enjoy a delicious meal at a wide range of restaurants and hole-in-the-wall eateries.

  • Participate in a Coffee Tasting Workshop

Participate in a coffee-tasting workshop at Power Coffeeworks café in Jerusalem featuring beans, roasts and flavors from around the world.

  • Packed lunch
  • Bread Baking Workshop

Pat BeMelach (Bread in Salt) in Rosh Zurim is a unique artisan bread bakery in the heart of Gush Etzion, a cluster of Jewish settlements located in the Judaean Mountains.


Pat BaMelach offers hands-on workshops, giving participants historical, educational, cultural and tasty bread-making activities. Led by David Katz, a Cleveland, Ohio native who has lived in Israel for the past 20 years. David is a formal and informal educator, who discovered his talent for sourdough after spending years baking Pesach matzot.



All Groups

  • Gala Banquet at Binyanei HaUma, Jerusalem’s Iconic International Convention Center

During the Gala Banquet, participants of the Land and the Spirit trip will gather to celebrate the Land of Israel that they have come to know and love during their journey. After traveling her length and breadth, uncovering her secrets, discovering her history, sharing her hopes and fears, we made our eternal heritage a part of us forever.


At the banquet, we will commemorate our journey with an evening of entertainment and inspiration in the company of all 2018 JLI Land & Spirit participants and leading Israeli dignitaries. The banquet meal will be accompanied by stirring addresses, video tributes, and live musical entertainment.

  • Overnight: Jerusalem

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DAY EIGHT:
MONDAY, MARCH 12– HEVRON

  • Breakfast

Full Israeli breakfast at hotel with guest speaker

Option 1

  • Visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Children’s Memorial

Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust memorial museum and archive, is situated on the green slopes of Har HaZikaron (Mount of Remembrance) in Jerusalem. Israel’s Holocaust commemoration project began in 1953 with the task of perpetuating the memory of Holocaust victims and documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, to ensure that the Holocaust will be remembered by future generations. The new Yad Vashem museum, opened to the public in 2005, is designed in the shape of a prism penetrating the mountain.


The museum is divided into nine galleries that relate the stories of the Jewish communities before World War II, and the series of events that include the rise of the Nazis to power, the pursuit of the Jews, their eviction to the ghettos, and “the Final Solution” and mass genocide.


The personal experiences and feelings of the victims of the Holocaust constitute the groundwork for the museum’s exhibits of photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos, as well as excerpts from children’s diaries.

Option 2

  • Discover the Fascinating Israel Museum, Israel’s Foremost Cultural institution

The museum is Israel’s largest and most prominent cultural institution, housing the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls in the uniquely sculpted Shrine of the Book. Visitors to the newly renovated campus can also view the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period, the Sculpture Garden, Youth Wing, Archeology Wing, Judaica Wing, and Fine Arts Wing.

Option 3

  • Visit Rachel’s Tomb

Our Matriarch Rachel (Rachel Imeinu) (1585–1553 BCE) passed away outside of Bethlehem (Beit Lechem) soon after giving birth to Benjamin. Her husband Jacob buried her there “on the way to Efrat” (Genesis 35). Rashi explains that when Jacob buried her there he knew that in future times the Jewish people would pass this place on their journey to Babylonian exile, and that compassionate Rachel would come to plead for Divine mercy for them.


The Midrash says Rachel’s prayers at that time elicited Gd’s promise to her that the Jewish people would ultimately be redeemed: “Your children shall return to their own border” (Jeremiah 31:16).


Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) has always been an important location where Jews engage in heartfelt prayer. It draws tens of thousands of visitors every year who come to visit the resting place of “Mama Rochel.” Some people have the custom to wear red thread that has been wound around Rachel’s Tomb, as an amulet to protect against misfortune.

Option 4

  • Pantry Packers

Volunteer at Colel Chabad's Pantry Packers packaging food for the needy. Colel Chabad, Chabad was established in 1788 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and has operated without interruption ever since. Colel Chabad goal since its founding is to provide material help - especially food - to the poorest Jews in the Holy Land, without compromising their pride and dignity.


Colel Chabad operates a unique facility where visitors can assist needy families by contributing an hour of their time. Many of the food staples, such as rice, beans, and grains, are purchased in bulk and need to be repacked to be put in food baskets and delivered in the necessary quantities to needy families. Here is your chance to don a cap, apron, and gloves, and have fun while making a difference.

Option 5

  • Morning at Leisure

Enjoy some free time in Jerusalem to shop, sightsee, visit family and friends or simply relax.



All Groups

  • Lunch on your own in Jerusalem
  • Explore Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs including tour of Jewish neighborhoods of Avraham Avinu and Bet Hadassah

Hevron is one of the four Holy Cities in the Land of Israel and is the place where our Patriarchs and Matriarchs lived, raised their families and spread the message about the existence of the Creator. Upon Sarah’s death, Abraham purchased a burial plot, the Cave of Machpela, from the local population for an exorbitant price. The negotiation concerning the sale and Abraham’s refusal to accept it as a gift are recorded in meticulous detail in the Book of Genesis. In later years, Abraham, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah were all interred in the Cave of Machpela, and so it is no wonder that the Jewish connection to Hevron has remained strong for millennia, despite its turbulent history. Our tour will take through the Jewish neighborhoods of where we will encounter the complexities of life in the city today, meet with local residents and connect with our heritage. The highlight is, of course, a visit to the Cave of Machpela itself.

  • Dinner outside the Cave of Machpela
  • Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport and Depart from Israel

This year in Jerusalem!



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