DATES 9 Days, 8 Nights
DESTINATIONS Jerusalem (4 nights), Mitzpe Ramon (2 nights), Tel Aviv (2 nights)
ACCOMMODATION Mid-range and boutique hotels/5 star
*Based on a minimum of 8 participants sharing double rooms
We hope you had a good flight. On arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, you will be met by your guide for this special celebratory trip. You will be driven to Jerusalem in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for luggage. A stop will be made en route to your hotel for an awe inspiring viewpoint over the City. “The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven”.
Mamilla Hotel Shlomo ha-Melekh St 11, Jerusalem, 94182
DAY 2 JERUSALEM Explore Masada, Hike Ein Gedi, and Float on the Dead Sea
Masada, Ein Gedi, the Dead Sea
This morning your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. Arguably Israel’s most dramatic site, Masada’s mountaintop ruins, set against the extraordinary backdrop of the Judean desert, are but a stage for the retelling of an heroic and ancient tale, now engrained in national mythology. With your expert guide as storyteller, you will hear about the lives of the final Jewish resisters to Roman rule, relive their struggle against the mighty Roman army and wonder at their heroic end. Masada is a totally unique site, well deserving of its UNESCO world heritage status.
Cool off from the desert heat at Ein Gedi, this glorious, green oasis in the middle of the Judean desert, significant as David’s hiding place from King Saul. Natural spring water cascades over a series of ledges in the desert rock, creating waterfalls and freshwater pools, perfect for hiking and swimming through. The springs give life to palm trees, bulrushes, and tropical and Mediterranean plant life which together produce the sweetest of scents. Watch out for the hyraxes, ibexes, and many native bird species as your guide leads you along the family-friendly Nahale Davide trail. The waters of the Dead Sea shimmer like nowhere else on earth. Best of all, here you really will float! Full of good-for-you minerals and surrounded by air which is naturally rich in oxygen, the Dead Sea should leave you feeling full of energy. If you’d like a more active Dead Sea experience we offer kayaking on the calm waters which allows you to reach areas where you can explore the huge salt crystals. We also suggest a private desert lunch today for your family!
DAY 3 Jerusalem Visit Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum, the Kotel Tunnels
Yad Vashem brings a weighty, but meaningful note to today’s touring. Yad Vashem is Israel’s official monument to the Holocaust located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. The museum has justifiably achieved international acclaim for its in-depth and powerful portrayal of extremely challenging material. In order to truly personalize the visit for the Bar/ Bat Mitzvah, they might choose to be ‘twinned’ with a victim of the Shoah.
The Israel Museum is surely one of Jerusalem’s treasures. Following a multi-million dollar renovation, the museum has received international acclaim and has been named one of the ten most impressive museums in the world. The Israel Museum is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Shrine of the Book) – the oldest known copy of the Bible. You will learn about the remarkable story of these manuscripts, the sect who most likely wrote them, and how they were discovered. You will also visit the celebrated model of the second temple Jerusalem.
This evening your guide will take you to the Old City of Jerusalem and provide an overview before you tour the Kotel Tunnels. The Western Wall, or Kotel, is one of the most visited sites in Jerusalem. However, the open-air portion of the wall is only about 60 meters long, whereas the majority of this ancient wall is hidden away underground. This tunnel tour allows access to an additional 485 meters of the wall. The tour is complete with stories of ancient Jerusalem and the longing of the Jewish people for this symbolic place. The tour will also expose you to many archaeological finds along the way including discoveries from the Herodian, Umayyad, and Hasmonean periods.
DAY 4 JERUSALEM Mazel tov on your Bat/ Bar Mitzvah day! Explore Jerusalem’s Old City, engage with a Mitzvah Project, enjoy a Celebratory Culinary Experience Today’s ceremony and reading from the Torah will take place at the Kotel (you can choose between the Orthodox or Conservative/Reform areas). Following the ceremony, you will tour the Old City of Jerusalem as it relates to the chain of Jewish history which the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child has just joined. The Old City of Jerusalem has played a central role in Jewish thought and act throughout the ages, as will be evident on your tour. Jewish history is everywhere, from the First Temple period remains in the shape of the fascinating ‘Broad Wall, to Second Temple times and the Kotel (Western Wall) and Cardo (the main street during Roman times), to the Hurva Synagogue first built in the eighteenth century, all the way through to the 1967 war and beyond. Together with your guide, you will discuss the place of Jerusalem in Jewish history, identity and practice, and what it means for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. This afternoon you will get hands-on with an inspiring ‘Mitzvah Project’ which rescues Jerusalem street children and engages them through creative processes. This evening you will enjoy a celebratory market tour and private dinner with a local celebrity chef. Visiting Machane Yehuda market you will find yourself surrounded by a plethora of sights, smells, and tastes and the colorful hustle and bustle of Jerusalem life.
Your expert culinary guide will show you little-known, hidden-away gems and will also explain how Mahane Yehuda serves as a symbol of Israel’s immigrant culture. Following your tour of the market, you will continue to your celebrity chef’s close-by atelier where she will prepare a wonderful celebratory meal which you will enjoy together as a family. This will be a very special experience providing memories to last a lifetime. We highly recommend including a photographer in order to capture this special day.
DAY 5 JERUSALEM /MITZPE RAMON Journey from Jerusalem to the Negev desert & Enjoy a night safari
You will be transferred from Jerusalem to the desert in a comfortable private vehicle stopping en route at Sde Boker, the final resting place of David Ben Gurion and his wife Paula. This is perhaps one of the most scenic locations in the entire country, and one can well understand why they chose to be buried here. After checking into your hotel and enjoying the afternoon at leisure, this evening you will venture out to meet some of the creatures who live in the wilderness. Many desert animals and insects are nocturnal and although finding them can be challenging you will try your best … In the summer months, you will certainly find scorpions which glow luminously in special UV flashlights. If we are lucky, with the aid of powerful spotlights you may see some of the larger mammals – foxes, hyenas, or wolves. Following our ‘scorpion safari,’ we will use a telescope and binoculars to look up at the starry skies for a guided ‘tour’ of the heavens high above. We will also see some of the intriguing stone etchings left on the rocks eons ago by ancient peoples who once roamed the area as well as the burrows of different rodents with interesting habits.
Beresheet דרך בראשית 1, Mitzpe Ramon, 80600, Israel
DAY 6 MITZPE RAMON Take a jeep ride in the Ramon Crater, before Rappelling down its side and enjoying a wilderness lunch!
This morning your expert guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. You will board your jeep and your first stop will be on the edge of the Ramon Machtesh at the top of the Atzmaut Ascent. Following a short explanation at the viewpoint, you will descend into the Machtesh itself and cross half its width to Wadi Ramon where you will stop to explain what a Machtesh is and how it was formed. You will continue across the floor of the Machtesh to the summit of Mt. Gvanim which offers a stunning view of the entire Machtesh and from there along Wadi Gvanim stopping in the shade of an Acacia tree to explain about the flora and fauna. A roller coaster ride along the old oil pipeline with its fascinating history will take you back towards the main road and Mitzpe Ramon where your experienced rappelling instructor will show you the ropes for an invigorating adrenalin full experience. And now for something special … you will enjoy a beautifully set private lunch with stunning desert scenery all around. A private table will be laid for you, with shade provided in case it’s a hot day. You will enjoy a variety of delicious foods and refreshing drinks in the quiet desert setting.
DAY 7 MITZPE/RAMON/TEL AVIV Transfer (or Heli!) from the Negev desert to Tel Aviv via the Ayalon Institute
This morning you will be transferred from the desert to Tel Aviv in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. Alternatively, you may choose to fly from Mitzpe Ramon to Tel Aviv in a private helicopter. The route is extremely scenic and dramatic as you will witness the arid and then semi-arid desert blossom into the green and fertile landscape of central Israel.
En route stop at the inspiring Ayalon institute, an underground bullet factory built by the Palmach during the period of the British Mandate. This interactive museum demonstrates the ingenuity, determination, and courage of the early Zionists. This is an inspiring story of creativity and innovation and of thinking outside of the box. You will find the story as moving as it is ingenious.
Royal Beach Tel Aviv Ha-Yarkon St 19, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
DAY 8 TEL AVIV Explore ancient Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv including Mystery Tour Ancient Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv are wonderful to tour together because of their contrasts. In Jaffa, you will explore one of the most ancient ports in the world, replete with history from Biblical, ancient Egyptian, Roman, Napoleonic eras, and more. Visiting Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s prettiest and oldest neighborhood, you will hear the story of the city’s beginnings – how the first modern Hebrew city was molded out of the barren sand dunes in an out-pouring of ideological vision and determination. You will make your way through the colorful and bustling Carmel Market, full of additional tasty treats! The very great variety of foods reflects the fact that Israel is an immigrant society with citizens who have come here from the four corners of the earth (please note the market is closed Friday afternoons and Saturdays). Continuing into more central Tel Aviv you will visit Rothschild Boulevard and Independence Hall (from the outside) where David Ben Gurion famously declared the independence of the modern State of Israel. You will note the various architectural styles of the buildings from eclectic to Bauhaus, and hear stories about the waves of immigration who designed and created these remarkable buildings. The Bauhaus buildings are internationally significant and Tel Aviv’s UNESCO world heritage status is thanks to them. To spice up today’s tour we have included a mystery experience for which everyone will get into character, learn to navigate the city streets, and talk to plenty of locals!
DAY 9 TEL AVIV/HOME Private transfer to airport
Today is your final day in Israel. Check out of your hotel and enjoy your remaining time in this extraordinary country, before your flight home. You will be transferred from your hotel in Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport in good time for your flight, in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. We hope that you will be leaving Israel with many special memories.
Stay longer – This itinerary can be extended with extra nights in the North of Israel or a visit to Petra.
Your land arrangements include
Private transfer on arrival and departure (from/to Ben Gurion Airport)
8 nights accommodation based on double rooms at hotels indicated or similar
Meals as specified
Touring days as per itinerary with English speaking guide
Entrance fees to the sites visited as per itinerary
Special visits as outlined
The hotels might be replaced with similar ones
Your land arrangements do not include
Airfare to and from Tel Aviv
Departure taxes, fuel surcharges, or airport improvement fees
Porterage at the airport or hotels
Insurance highly recommended – premium is nonrefundable
Early check-in/late check out
Single room supplement a limited number of single rooms available on payment of supplement
Meals and beverages not mentioned
Jordanian visa charge/border taxes
Gratuities for individual services, laundry and valet service, and any other items of a purely personal nature
Tipping to guide, driver, hotel, or restaurant staff
E. & O.E.
B = breakfast L= lunch D= dinner
For information and reservations contact, Janice Snider