Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday, April 16

Morning: Optional tour of Yad Vashem

Afternoon: Jerusalem Neighborhood and Old City Tours (optional)

Get to know Jerusalem, step by step, story by story. With multiple options for outings, you’ll be able to choose your own Jerusalem adventure. (Tours will be offered throughout the afternoon to accommodate arrival times.) Tours will be divided between the Old City and the surrounding neighborhoods such as the lively Musrara and Nevi’im.

Evening: Depart for the official start to our journey: Delicious food and the rich history of Israel await!

COMMUNITY MEGA EVENT: OPENING DINNER 

During a joyful community meal, steep yourself in the pre-State history of Israel. You’ll travel as you dine, taking in essential events of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and discovering the origins of Israel.

Overnight: Jerusalem

  • Dan Panorama (Standard Package/4-Star)
  • Orient (Upgraded Package/5-Star)

Day 2: Monday, April 17

Breakfast at your hotel

Morning: Jerusalem Neighborhood and Old City Tours

Continue your journey through history. See some of the most beautiful and historic neighborhoods of Jerusalem. If you spent Sunday afternoon in the Old City, visit the vibrant surrounding neighborhoods today. If you spent Sunday in the areas outside the Old City, visit the Old City today. 

OR option to visit Yad Vashem (limited availability)

Lunch on your own at Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem’s central market and a must-visit destination, filled with history and culinary delights for you to discover! 

Afternoon: Nachlaot Encounter

Get to know the neighborhood’s original 19th century architecture, and bask in the beauty of cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways, and brilliant pops of color. Take in the unique history of a neighborhood that was home to the Yemenite, Kurdish, Jerusalem Sephardi, Greek, and Galician Jews. Nachlaot was home to synagogues for each unique community, some of which are still standing today! Your path may take you past these historic compounds, each built around a common courtyard, and will immerse you in one of Jerusalem’s most beautiful and unique neighborhoods.

Evening: As the beginning of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) approaches, Jerusalem will begin to quiet down in preparation for this solemn day. We’ll begin the evening with a light picnic dinner at the B’nai Brith Martyr’s Forest

COMMUNITY MEGA EVENT: EREV YOM HASHOAH CEREMONY

In 1952, the Jewish National Fund planted six million trees in the Martyrs’ Forest as a symbolic and physical memorial to the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. It is here, in an intimate salon setting nestled in the forest, where we will commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day together. Guided by community leaders and trip participants, and surrounded by nature, we’ll wrap ourselves in the strength of community for this special and meaningful ceremony.

Special Guest Speaker: Ambassador Dennis Ross

Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Overnight: Jerusalem

  • Dan Panorama (Standard)
  • Orient (Upgraded)

Day 3: Tuesday, April 18

Breakfast at your hotel and checkout

Morning: Begin your morning by supporting Holocaust survivors in Israel. Alongside your trip mates, you’ll prepare food boxes for distribution among local organizations to bring essential help to elderly Holocaust survivors.

Next, join your community and the entire country of Israel in an experience unlike any other. At the sounding of a public siren, all of Israel will come to a stop to observe a moment of silence for Yom HaShoah.

Afternoon: Electives #1

We bid adieu to Jerusalem and head south for our first day of electives. Your custom Israel experience starts now! 

Lodging for tonight will either be desert lodging or at a hotel in Makhtesh Ramon, the unique and beautiful crater of the Negev desert. After checking in at your respective accommodations, take a walk through the quiet of the desert and take in the distinctive atmosphere of the South.

Dinner at your hotel

Evening: Enjoy the desert beauty of your accommodations and available amenities.

Overnight: South

  • Pundak Ramon (Standard)
  • Beresheet (Upgraded)
  • Desert Lodging (Optional)

Day 4: Wednesday, April 19

Breakfast at your hotel

Morning/Afternoon: From sunrise to starry skies, embody the spirit of David Ben Gurion whose dream it was to turn the barren Negev desert into an oasis of green. While not all things must be green to grow, you’ll spend your day being immersed in the desert’s spirit through a number of experiences. Get your hiking boots on and explore Makhtesh Ramon, take a Jeep ride if a car tour is more your speed, or explore some of the innovation inherent in living and working in the desert!

Looking for insight into the culture and flavors of Israel? Join us for a tour of the ancient Nabatean Spice Route at Avdat, a site over 2,000 years old. Later, we’ll experience the technique of baking bread in the desert and feast on our baking accomplishments.

Want a more adrenaline-filled desert experience? Additional sport adventures are available by private booking, including rappelling and off-road biking. 

Evening: Depart for our evening event where we will enjoy a starry, starry night in the Negev.

COMMUNITY MEGA EVENT: DESERT DINNER

It’s not a mirage! Your evening awaits under the stars—wine, spirits, desert music, star gazing, and the most magical dinner you’ve ever had. Meet the people of the area who will join us to showcase and sell the products they make in the desert. Join together in ‘shira b’tzibur’—communal singing, meet winemakers who produce desert wines and partake in an indulgent wine-tasting.

Overnight: South

  • Pundak Ramon (Standard)
  • Beresheet (Upgraded)
  • Desert Lodging (Optional)

Day 5: Thursday, April 20

Breakfast at your hotel, checkout       

Morning: Electives #2 (including lunch)

Afternoon: Rehovot

COMMUNITY MEGA EVENT

We’ll connect with our Israeli counterparts today as our caravan of buses makes its way to Rehovot, our sister city through Partnership2Gether. Connect with fellow Minnesotans and Rehovotans alike as we explore the City of Science and Culture, and end the day with a mega event celebrating the meeting of two incredible communities.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

  • Dan Panorama (Standard)
  • Royal Beach (Upgraded)

Day 6: Friday, April 21

Breakfast at the hotel                    

Morning: Welcome to Tel Aviv! Get a behind the scenes tour of this vibrant, artistic, and historic city. You’ll spend the morning exploring Tel Aviv’s lesser-known streets and stories – the best under-the-radar spots – visiting neighborhoods like the unique American Colony, the complex Ajami, trendy Lev Ha’ir, and more. Lunch and afternoon at leisure.

Afternoon: Spend your Friday afternoon like an Israeli–checking out local haunts, grabbing a drink in a bustling bar, or walking or scootering along the beach.                          

Evening: Community Kabbalat Shabbat   

As the sun slips closer to the horizon, you find yourself standing on the warm golden sands of a Tel Aviv beach, surrounded by your community. The glow of the Shabbat candles shines even brighter. Above the rolling waves, you hear the familiar sound of Shalom Aleichem starting up. You’re content, connected, and celebrating a Shabbat unlike any other in the midst of your Jewish community.              

Shabbat dinner at your hotel         

Overnight: Tel Aviv

  • Dan Panorama (Standard)
  • Royal Beach (Upgraded)

Day 7: Saturday, April 22

Morning/Afternoon: Customize your Shabbat experience. There’s a way for everyone to spend the day. Whether you’re looking for mindfulness options with yoga and meditation, a Shabbat service at a local synagogue, a chance to tour the famous art scenes of Tel Aviv, or simply a day to yourself, there’s a perfect Shabbat experience waiting for you. Sample the local Shabbat flavors with a flavorful brunch, and later, join your community for an inspiring and meaningful Havdalah ceremony.

COMMUNITY MEGA EVENT: TORCH LIGHTING CEREMONY 

We will come together as a community to recognize Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days, and for a sweet dessert reception as we wrap up our time together.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

  • Dan Panorama (Standard)
  • Royal Beach (Upgraded)

Day 8: Sunday, April 23

Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Electives #3

Innovation is an integral part of Israel’s character as a country. If you’re interested in entrepreneurship and big ideas, join us for a sneak peek into the many exciting ways Israel is leading the globe in digital, technological, and social innovation. We will address innovation in the broadest sense and see how it plays out across cultural, social, economic, health, and agricultural areas.

The Experience Israel 2023 program concludes at 1pm. 

Onto the Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly! L’hitraot! See you later!

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