Price range
From $5200 per person
Upcoming Date
11 Dec 2023 - 17 Dec 2023
Tour Time
7 Days (Inc. Arv./Dpt.)

Join us this Hanukah as we walk in the footsteps of the Maccabees and learn how Jewish heroine extraordinaire, Judith, has captured the imagination of the world’s most famous artists. Sip wine in the Judean Hills, enjoy Hanukah foods from around the Jewish world, and discover secrets of an archeological Israel yet to be experienced.


1 - Monday ( December 11 ) : The Maccabean Victory and its Role in the new Jewish State

Today we will begin our trip with an introduction to two of the themes we will be tracking throughout the week: 1) the Maccabean struggle with Hellenism, and 2) how the Zionist movement embraced the victory of the Maccabees to enhance Jewish self-pride, military prowess, and self-reliance in the early years of the State. Our first stop will be at the Maccabi Sports Museum, where we will see the development of sports clubs in Israel since the 19th century including a multi-media display of the Maccabi games, first held in 192 and named to honor the bravery and victory of the Maccabees.


  • Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport - VIP fast-track assistance and private transfer from the airport are available at an additional cost.

  • Meet your group at the hotel for an opening gathering with Sufganiyot

  • Drive to the Maccabi Sports Museum - The Pierre Gildesgame Maccabi Museum was established in 1982 to present the history of the Maccabi Movement from the end of the 19th century to the present. The exhibition tells the story of Jewish sport through film, pictures, badges, flags, medals and trophies. The top floor is dedicated to Maccabiyot, "the Olympics" of the Jewish people.

  • Candle lighting for the 5th Night of Chanukah

  • Moroccan Hannukah Welcome Dinner at Ewa Safi - Ewa Safi features Moroccan Soul Food

  • Tel Aviv Royal Beach

Overnight: Tel Aviv Royal Beach
Meal Plan: dinner

2 - Tuesday ( December 12 ) : Tel Aviv: The Center of Jewish Liberalism

The establishment of Tel-Aviv was based on the Zionist concept of the “new Jew” with its emphasis on the renaissance of the Hebrew language and culture, and as an open, liberal, modern city. Today we will engage Tel-Aviv from several perspectives. We explore Yitzhak Rabin’s life as an exemplar of the “new Jew” and his tragic assassination as a window into the many fissures in the Israeli body politic. We will also experience first-hand how the city continues to reinvent itself through art, food, and culture to be an international magnet.


  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Begin the day at The Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center - This museum’s riveting exhibit contrasts the life of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated at a Peace Rally in 1995, with the development of the State of Israel.

  • Continue to a Graffiti Tour - Enjoy a creative Graffiti workshop in the trendy neighborhood of Florentin, and experience fun and artistic freedom. Discover new and daring Israeli Graffiti Artists that are gaining recognition around the world.

  • Tasting tour lunch in Levinsky Market - The Levinsky Market specializes in spices and Mediterranean delicacies. It is, in many ways, the best market in Tel Aviv, known for its variety, freshness, and special atmosphere. Tour the market and have "tastings" throughout.

  • Part of the tasting will be Sufganiyot Tasting - Unpack the evolution of the sufganiyah through visiting bakeries. At one of the bakeries, light the Chanukah candles.

  • Free time at Nahalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Market - Visit Nachalat Binyamin, an open-air market in the heart of Tel-Aviv that has become synonymous with quality Israeli crafts and folk art. The market is comprised of over 100 stands representing specialty crafts and folk art.

  • Candle lighting for the 6th Night of Chanukah - At ANU

  • ANU Museum of the Jewish People including Chanukah program and dinner with Foodish - Join a fascinating journey that portrays the story of the Jewish people through the generations and up to the present time. The Museum represents all parts of the Jewish people and highlights the creative works and cultural riches of a variety of communities in different periods of history. Foodish is the new culinary arm of ANU – the largest Jewish Museum in the world, which brings the story of Jewish food to the forefront.

  • Tel Aviv Royal Beach

Overnight: Tel Aviv Royal Beach
Meal Plan: lunch, dinner

3 - Wednesday ( December 13 ) : The Maccabees: Fanatics or Heroes?

Today we will do a deep dive into the history of the Maccabees, who became the founders of the Hasmonean Dynasty that ruled Israel for nearly 80 years. We will visit the ancient sites. Emmaus & Ma’ale Beit Horon where Judah the Maccabee won his greatest military victory over the Hellenized Syrians. At Beit Guvrin National Park, famous for its many caves, we will stop at Tel Maresha where a Hasmonean king forcibly converted an entire ethnic community to Judaism, the great exception in Jewish history.


  • Breakfast at the hotel - Check out of the hotel

  • Depart Tel Aviv for Tel Lachish - Tel Lachish is located in the shfelah, the lowlands, of the area of Judea Situated on a 150-foot mound, it provided a panoramic view of the lower Shephelah region below. The city was known as the defense center and fortress that monitored entrance into the Judean Hill Country from the west and southwest. Lachish is a very important archaeological site.

  • Continue to Beit Guvrin - To really dig deep into the past, head to Beit Guvrin, where thousands of underground caves date back to the time of the Phoenicians. In total there are at least 800 bell-shaped caves in the park, some of which are linked by underground tunnels. These caves were quarried during the 4th to 9th-century when the chalk was used to make roads, plaster, and mortar. Stop at Tel Maresha.

  • At Tzora Vineyards learn the story of Judith as you taste wine and enjoy a light cheese lunch - Visit Tzora Winery, a small boutique winery located on Kibbutz Tzora near Beit Shemesh.

  • Continue to Emmaus Nicopolis - Emmaus, also known as Hammat or Nikopolis (Nicopolis), was a large city from the Hellenistic period through the Byzantine period. It is strategically located on the main road from the plains to Jerusalem, near Latrun, and served as an administrative, military and economic center. It was also a source of warm spring waters.

  • Ma'ale Beit Horon - The Battle of Beit Horon was fought during the Maccabean Revolt when the small band of Maccabees defeated the large enemy army, as recorded in the First Book of Maccabees.

  • Drive to Jerusalem and check into your hotel

  • Candle lighting for the 7th Night of Chanukah

  • Dinner on your own - Reservations and suggestions can be made

  • Jerusalem Orient Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Orient Hotel
Meal Plan: lunch

4 - Thursday ( December 14 ) : Life in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt

The liberation and purification of Jerusalem and its Temple was the main goal of the Maccabean revolt and the core narrative that informs the celebration of Hannukah. We will visit the Temple Mount and wrap our heads around the cardinal importance of this site to Jews from antiquity to today. The City of David, the Kidron Valley graves, and the Hasmonean aqueduct will give us an additional window into the challenges and triumphs facing the Maccabees during and after their successful revolt.


  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Begin the day at the City of David - Visit the excavation of the City of David where King David captured a Jebusite citadel to build his capital. The city was well fortified with its own water source and Jerusalem was a perfect site for the new kind of national state that David envisaged.

  • Continue to The Temple Mount - Also known to Muslims as the Haram ek-Sharif and the Al Aqsa Compound, this hill located in the Old City has, for thousands of years, been venerated as a holy site in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike.

  • Lunch will be provided

  • The Hasmonean Aqueduct - The Hasmonean aqueduct brought water into the city from pools located in the area.and was cut into the bedrock in 150 BC. It is located north of the northwest corner of the Temple Mount. Herod expanded the Temple Mount northward to include this area. At that time, the aqueduct was cut into, and the water was redirected.

  • See the Kidron Tombs - The Jewish Aristocracy goes rogue: Monumental Hasmonean Tombs in the "Greek" style: We were taught the the Maccabees staved off Hellenization. Their burial caves appear to tell a different story. Let's do a deep-dive into what actually transpired after the miracle of Channukah began to wane.

  • Candle lighting for the 8th Night of Chanukah andChanukiot Tour in Geula or other neighborhood - One the last night of Chanukah walk through the Jerusalem streets and gaze upon the chanukiyot fully lit, illuminating the cold and darkness of winter.

  • Dinner at Azura - Azura is a family-run institution in the Iraqi section of the market.

  • Machane Yehuda Market Nightlife - In the heart of Jerusalem Machane Yehuda is a bustling multi-ethnic market bursting with life, art, and flavor. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the hottest nightlife scene in the city.

  • Jerusalem Orient Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Orient Hotel
Meal Plan: lunch, dinner

5 - Friday ( December 15 ) : The Role of the Temple in the Second Temple Period

Continuing the theme of the centrality of the Temple in the Second Temple Period, we will tour the Western Wall Tunnels – particularly the newly discovered and restored sections that have changed our perception of the site and its chronology dramatically in the past five years. For lunch, we will enjoy a tour of the largest open air food market in Israel with an emphasis on the variety of Jewish culinary creativity. Get your taste buds ready for Middle Eastern treats!


  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Enter the Jewish Quarter - The Jewish Quarter is best known for the Western Wall, but there’s a lot more to see and do here. See archaeological finds from the First and Second Temple periods, Roman ruins, vibrant synagogues, and learning institutions, all jostling for space in these busy stone streets.

  • The Western Wall Tunnels - Explore what’s under the Muslim Quarter through the Kotel Tunnels Tour. The Western Wall is impressive, but its greatness is truly discovered when you descend underground to the Western Wall Tunnels. The tunnels run along approximately 488 meters (1601ft) of the Western Wall, giving visitors a taste of the challenge that stood before Herod the Great during the biggest of all his immense building projects - the expansion of the Temple Mount.

  • Meet the Jerusalem Scribe - Kalman Gavriel Delmoor is a traditional Scribe with a modern lens. Through his unique perspectives and expertise in the ancient craft, Kalman brings the Torah to life in his art. Discover the fusion of artwork and tradition below. Meet Kalman, see him work, and learn about his mission.

  • Machane Yehuda Self-guided Tasting Tour - In the heart of the city sits a bustling multi-ethnic market bursting with life, art, and flavor. A tasting tour through Machane Yehuda Market is an adventure for your taste buds! Enjoy the hustle and bustle with all the rich fragrances, colors, and sounds this iconic Jerusalem market offers.

  • Free time

  • Kabbalat Shabbat - With the group or at local synagogues

  • Shabbat Dinner at the hotel

  • Jerusalem Orient Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Orient Hotel
Meal Plan: dinner

6 - Saturday ( December 16 ) : Shabbat in Jerusalem

On Shabbat we will have an optional tour of the Israel Museum to explore the archaeological and Judaic wings. We will see how the story of Hannukah is reflected in its artifacts and exhibits. Extra time will be allotted to explore the other areas in the Museum. We will also have the option of visiting a less-known Jewish Priestly tomb from the period of the Hasmoneans, embedded in the heart of the Rehavia neighborhood.


  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Optional tour of The Israel museum - Visit the unique collections and expansive grounds of the Israel Museum, the country’s national museum. Linger over the renowned international and Israeli art, the world’s most complete Judaica collections and the charming Billy Rose Sculpture Garden. You can also visit the Shrine of the Book, home to the exceptional archaeological finds of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other rare ancient manuscripts.

  • Shabbat lunch at the home of Shana and Yonatan Neril - Yonatan is the founder and director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Hear about Yonatan’s work in sustainability and enjoy lunch with his lovely family. Rabbi Yonatan Neril founded and directs The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Raised in California, Yonatan completed an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University with a focus on global environmental issues, and received rabbinical ordination in Israel. Yonatan is coauthor of the bestselling book Eco Bible, published by ICSD, which shines new light on how the Hebrew Bible and great religious thinkers have urged human care and stewardship of nature for thousands of years as a central message of spiritual wisdom.

  • Jason's Tomb - Jason's Tomb is a rock-cut tomb dating to the first century BCE of the Hasmonean period, discovered in the Rehavia neighborhood in 1956 when a charge was detonated in order to clear away rocks for a new apartment building. Jason was a High Priest in the Second Temple during the second century BC. He was instated in 175 BC by Antiochus Epiphanes.

  • Torah Study of Miketz - Family relationships and Leadership

  • Havdalah as a group to end Shabbat

  • Dinner on your own

  • Jerusalem Orient Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Orient Hotel
Meal Plan: lunch

7 - Sunday ( December 17 ) : Modi'in: The Maccabees' Hometown

On this final day of we will visit ground zero of the Maccabean revolt; the city of Modi'in and its surrounding communities and settlements. We will conclude at Latrun, Israel’s National Memorial to the Armored Corps.


  • Breakfast at the hotel - Check out of the hotel

  • Creative program on Chanukah themes with Kol Ha-Ot - Kol HaOt imparts Jewish values, texts and history through a creative synthesis of the visual and performing arts. Explore the themes of the trip through an artistic lense with a local artist and creative activity.

  • Lunch on your own at Ishpro Center

  • The Room Where it Happened- Explore Modiin

  • Conclude your program at Latrun - One of the fiercest and most important battles of the War of Independence was the fight for the fortress of Latrun, which commanded the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

  • Final Dinner at Alaesh or Jems in Modiin

  • Transfer to the airport

Meal Plan: dinner


What documents do I need to travel to Israel?

US and Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa for travel to Israel. Citizens from all other countries will need to check with their respective embassies/consulates or visa agency to determine if a visa is required. You can also check here. Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months from the date you leave Israel after your trip. Other documentation, such as that which relates to COVID-19 (for example) may be required. We will update this section with all relevant information as it becomes available.

Are medical and travel insurance necessary? Where can I purchase it?

Health Insurance It is a condition of your booking through Via Sabra / Israel4All, as well as the State of Israel, that you obtain travel health insurance which includes coverage for COVID-19.

Travel Insurance We strongly recommend that you purchase full travel insurance which includes coverage for ‘cancellation under any circumstances and for any reason’. It is recommended to purchase insurance as soon as the booking is made, as this cover is often dependent on purchasing as close to the time of booking.

You can purchase both health and travel insurance through our partner, Travel Insured, an experienced company and one of the largest in the industry through this link.

Terms of Payment

Cancellation Policy

Bookings can be cancelled within 48 hours, with a full refund.

For cancellations made:

  • Up to 60 days prior to departure, any payments made above the deposit towards the tour will be refunded. The deposit is non-refundable
  • 60 to 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the total tour cost per person will be refunded
  • 29 to 8 days prior to departure, 25% of the total tour cost per person will be refunded
  • 7 to 0 days prior to departure, the client will incur 100% of the cost of the tour

Should members of a group booking cancel their participation, their deposits cannot be applied to the balance payment of other group members.

All cancellation requests must be made in writing.

What’s Included
Private licensed Tour Educator for duration of trip v
Bottles of water, as needed, and snacks v
Fees for sites and activities listed v
Group transfer to the airport on departure v
Hotel accommodation v
Meals as listed in the meal plan at the end of each day v
Tips for tour guides and drivers v
Transportation throughout the trip to all programmed activities v
Transfer to the airport upon departure if not departing after the final dinner v
Airfare v
Optional and suggested activities v
Transfer from the airport on arrival - contact us to arrange [email protected] v
Travel Insurance (recommended) v
VIP services upon arrival & departure v

Would you like to stay in touch?

Early bird special - $200 off per person.

Available only between October 1-10, 2021!!

Registration for the trip will open on October 1. Fill out this form to be notified when registration for the trip opens, so you can take advantage of early bird special pricing!

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