Led by Rabbi Aaron Starr

December 22nd – 31st, 2020

Day 1: Tuesday, December 22nd – Arrival + Desert Caravan

Day depends on arrival time

Welcome to Israel -   ברוכים הבאים

  • Pick-up points to be determined

  • Lunch on your own - Sderot

  • Gaza Overlook – Set your eyes on the Gaza strip and Sderot, one of the most bombed cities in recent years, from a hill used by the press, and understand the political situation of the area and the sensitivity of the citizens living around Gaza strip.

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

  • Drive to Mitzpe Ramon

  • Dinner at the hotel

Overnight: Beresheet, Mitzpe Ramon


Day 2: Wednesday, December 23rd – Exploring the Crater

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Hike on the rim of the crater - We will do a short hike around the machtesh, where we will have a window into the earth.

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

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

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Options for:

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


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

For Everyone:

  • Dinner at the hotel

  • Star Gazing - At night, we'll have a mesmerizing experience – watching the stars at the desert with a telescope, with an astronomy expert, while we sit around a bonfire and drink coffee and tea.


Overnight: Beresheet, Mitzpe Ramon

Day 3: Thursday, December 24th – Blazing a Trail

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Sand Boarding - Slide down the stunning Negev dunes, where anyone can be a surfer. No need for previous experience, suitable for anyone aged over 2

  • Lunch on your own – on the way

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

  • Sde Boker - The graves of David and Paula Ben-Gurion overlook a breath-taking view of the Tsin canyon and the Avdat highlands in the heart of the Negev. The path from the parking lot to the tranquil gravesite goes through a garden of carefully nurtured local flora that can thrive in the arid climate and saline conditions of the local soil.

  • Dinner at the hotel


Overnight: Beresheet, Mitzpe Ramon

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Day 4: Friday, December 25th – Masada and the Dead Sea

  • Early Start

  • Breakfast at the hotel

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

  • Lunch on your own - Masada

  • Floating Time in the Dead Sea

  • Check-in and freshen up for Shabbat

  • Shabbat Enters 16:02

  • Kabbalat Shabbat and Shehecheyanu at the Davidson Center/Egalitarian Section

  • Shabbat Dinner at the hotel

Overnight: Herbert Samuel, Jerusalem

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Day 5: Saturday, December 26th – Shabbat in the Holy City

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Bnei Mitzvah Ceremony – Beit Shmuel

  • Lunch at Beit Shmuel

  • Option for:

  • Relaxed Shabbat on your own

  • Or:

  • Exploring the Christian and Muslim Quarters - Discovering the significant sites at each quarter, including the Muslim Quarter with the colorful Arab market, the Christian Quarter with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa.

  • Ramparts Walk - View the city of Jerusalem from atop of the Old City walls via a Ramparts Walk whereby you walk on most of the ancient city’s walls.

  • For Everyone:

  • Havdallah – Shabbat Ends 17:22

  • Dinner on your own

  • Optional addition of:

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

Overnight: Herbert Samuel, Jerusalem

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Day 6: Sunday, December 27th – Jerusalem the Ancient

  • Breakfast at the hotel

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

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

  • Lunch on your own – The Jewish Quarter

  • The Jewish Quarter – Explore the narrow alleyways of this ancient neighborhood and discover little-known secrets and revisit impressive sites like the Cardo and the Western Wall

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

  • Dinner on your own

Overnight: Herbert Samuel, Jerusalem

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Day 7: Monday, December 28th – Jerusalem the New

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Yad Va'Shem –Visit the Jewish National Memorial to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust

    • Bnei Mitzvah:

    • A special Twinning Program celebrating the triumph of the Jewish people in a special ceremony where Bnei Mitzvhah are paired with a child who didn't survive the holocaust to the age of Mitzvot.

    • Younger Children:

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

  • Lunch on your own – Machane Yehuda Market

  • Options for:

  • Sataf Hike – A short hike through the terraces of the Judean mountains

  • Or:

  • Free time for shopping

  • For Everyone:

  • Drive to Tel Aviv

  • Dinner on your own

Overnight: Hilton,Tel Aviv

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Day 8: Tuesday, December 29th – Israel's Heartland + Partnership Evening

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Emek Hefer - Have a taste of Beni's shopping route in the Valley of Emek Hefer and meet the local people and learn about their businesses of olive oil productions, cheese farms, organic farming, bakeries, coffee shops and much more. We will take a tour through Emek Hefer, the most developed area in Israel of farm to table. This incredible valley is close to the sea and is full of farm to table local, independent families and businesses that support the economy.

  • Picnic Lunch  

  • Partnership Evening – to be determined

  • Home Hospitality Dinner

Overnight: Hilton, Tel Aviv

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Day 9: Wednesday, December 30th – The Nonstop City

  • Breakfast at the hotel

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

  • Independence Hall – where Ben Gurion declared the independence of Israel in 1948- a story worth hearing. A Tel Aviv landmark which we will view from the outside.

  • Lunch on your own – Rothschild Avenue

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

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

  • Final Dinner and Farewell to Israel Party

Overnight: Hilton, Tel Aviv

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Day 10: Thursday, December 31st – From Independence to Innovation

  • Breakfast at the hotel

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

  • Lunch on your own - Carmel Market

  • Graffiti Art Tour - Tel Aviv is a melting pot of different people and cultures, diverse forms of expressions and characters that make the urban scene what it is today – a magnificent variety of contemporary art, street art, graffiti and much more.

  • Dinner on your own

  • Departure

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