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Westchester Reform Temple
A Cultural & Culinary Tour of Israel
Led By Rabbi Jonathan E. Blake

Day By Day
What's Included
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  • Flights to and from Tel Aviv as listed in the air section of this program (Taxes and fuel charges are included and are subject to change by the airline).
  • 9 nights' accommodation at selected hotels
  • 8 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus with licensed, English speaking tour guide + walking tour on Shabbat
  • 1 group transfer and assistance from/to the airport
  • All site entrance fees and program fees as per itinerary
  • Meals: breakfast daily, 5 lunces and 7 dinners
  • Portage at the airport and hotels

Day One: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

  • 7:00 p.m. Depart the JFK on ELAL Flight # 002.

Overnight: Flight

Day Two: Thursday, June 30, 2016

  • 12:40 p.m. Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport.
  • Welcome by our representative and assistance with arrival formalities.
  • Transfer to Tel Aviv, known as the “city that never sleeps,” with its centers of culture, recreation and national history, great beaches and fine stores.
  • Check into the hotel and time to freshen up.
  • 6:30 p.m. Meet your Tour Educator, Uri Feinberg in the hotel lobby and walk to dinner.
  • Welcome dinner & tour orientation at Kimmel, offering an eclectic taster's menu in a restored building (once the property of the Turkish Sultan)..

Overnight:  Royal Beach Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Three: Friday, July 1, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Foundations of a City and a State, Ahad Ha'Am to Bialik: Zionist ideology and the revival of the Hebrew language come alive as you walk down Bialik Street.
  • LaDa'at Ethnic Tasting Tour: walk through Tel Aviv's famous Levinsky Market, where you'll find a combination of foods and sweets from all over the Mediterranean and hear the unique stories of the individuals who sell them; lunch on own.
  • Visit the Nachalat Binyamin pedestrian mall, with its bi-weekly crafts fair and eateries; alongside is the colorful Carmel open-air market and across the way Sheinkin Street, with its hip cafés and funky chic shopping.
  • Urban Culture Tours of Tel Aviv, Combining Street Art, Language & Graffiti:, a local resident, to explore the urban culture of the city.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Musical Kabbalat Shabbat service at the Tel Aviv Port with Beit Tifila Israeli, led by Rabbi
  • Esteban Gottfried.
  • Return to the hotel for Shabbat dinner.

Overnight:  Royal Beach Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Four: Saturday July 2, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Art in Tel Aviv: Special gallery tour led by Vardit Gross, a leading art critic, including a dialogue with artists or gallery owners.
  • Visit the Old City of Jaffa, ascend from the old port through the renovated alleyways to the
  • Jaffa Overlook for an introduction to Tel Aviv at the place where it all began.
  • Lunch at Old Man & the  Sea overlooking the Jaffa Port.
  • Free time to explore Tel Aviv on own.
  • Ben Kodesh Lechol: Havdallah on the shores of the Mediterranean.
  • Dinner on own in the renovated Old Port of Tel Aviv, with its wonderful restaurants, cafés and shops, right on the water's edge; OR  at the Tachana, Jaffa's Old Railway Station, renovated and restored as a great pedestrian complex, with restaurants, shops and open spaces for people-watching.
  • Return to Tel Aviv.

Overnight:  Royal Beach Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Five: Sunday, July 3, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel
  • Identity Building, Heritage Strengthening: Drive to the town of Kiryat Gat and meet with members of the Atachlit Farm, a community empowerment helping Ethiopian Israeli youth and families and visit their community farm.
  • Visit the Netafim Drip Irrigation Plant, one of Israel's greatest inventions and meet with Nati Barak, Chief Sustainability Officer.
  • Volunteer at Earth's Promise (Shvuat ha-Adamah). Located in Be'er-Sheva, the capital of the
  • Negev and home to diverse ethnic and religious communities, as well as unique and varied ecologies, Earth's Promise's goal is to build local self-reliance, so that the people of the Negev can satisfy their needs using their skills and resources. The visit will include a traditional North African meal prepared by local women in the neighbourhood. (Lunch on own account.)
    Drive to Sde Boker in the Negev and visit the gravesite of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, overlooking the Wilderness of Zinn.
  • Continue to Mitzpeh Ramon and check into the hotel.
  • Private Moroccan-style dinner at the Orliya Farm.

Overnight: Beresheet Hotel, Mitzpeh Ramon 

Day Six: Monday, July 4, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Take a Jeep Tour to explore the geological wonders of the Ramon Crater, with a stop for a walk to the unique natural phenomenon known as the Carpentry Shop and pita-making workshop.
  • Meet Hadas Meir, founder of Lasha Bakery, a boutique bakery in Mitzpeh Ramon, for a conversation on the historical, spiritual, feminine and Jewish aspects of bread-making. 
  • Lunch at Hadasa'ar, a ‘Natural life' restaurant in Mitzpeh Ramon.
  • Afternoon at leisure with a chance to enjoy the hotel spa facilities (treatments on own account).
  • Dinner in the main dining room at the hotel.

Overnight: Beresheet Hotel, Mitzpe Ramon

Day Seven: Tuesday, July 5, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and drive west.
  • Visit the Lakiya Weaving Project of the Association for the Improvement of Women's Status and dialogue with local women.
  • The Secrets of Beer-Making: Visit the Abeer Haela Brewery, a rustic craft brewery run by
  • Aram Dekel, including beer tasting, a dialogue with Aram, and lunch served with home-made goat cheese.
  • Drive northwards towards Jerusalem stopping for a short hike to the Sataf spring outside of Jerusalem, where ancient methods of terrace farming are being revived.
  • Enter Jerusalem and stop to recite the traditional “shehechiyanu” blessing.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner on own, perhaps at the Old Train Station Plaza, a central neighborhood hub for food, entertainment, culture, and enrichment.

Overnight: Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Eight: Wednesday, July 6, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • The Jerusalem Mosaic - Creating a Multicultural City: Dialogue with Tehila Friedman-Nahalon and Marik Shtern, Jerusalem activists.
  • Tree planting at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, and an insight into the urban wildlife of Jerusalem.
  • Lunch on own en route.
  • Building a Jewish Society in a Modern State: Special study program at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, with a leading scholar.
  • Giving Back with Pantry Packers: Participate in Tikkun Olam by packing commodity food staples for Israel's poorest families. After a brief orientation session, don gloves, aprons and caps in order to fill bags of rice, beans and other commodities.
  • Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Nine: Thursday, July 7, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Cinema as a Window into Daily Life: A Glimpse into Israeli Society through film with the
  • Ma'aleh Film School, with a chance to explore the intersection of Judaism and modern life. Ma'aleh's unique, cutting-edge films attempt to foster deeper understanding and dialogue between religious and secular Jews. While Ma'aleh graduates are shaping the future of the Israeli film and television, they also created a first-of-its-kind video-therapy for at-risk youth, Ethiopian immigrants, terror victims and adults with special needs.
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • Meet with Rabbi Aaron Leibovitz, founder of the movement to detach kashrut licensing by the Rabanut from kosher establishments; meet at his Yeshiva in Nachla'ot and then walk through the neighbourhood where the movement was born. Visit a café/restaurant that runs as a local initiative.
  • Experience the sights, smells, and tastes of Jerusalem while walking through the Machaneh Yehuda open air market, with local chef Tali Friedman, choosing the best and the most fresh the shuk has to offer in order to return to a kitchen in the market for an interactive cooking session, followed by a delicious dinner.

Overnight: Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Ten: Friday, July 8, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Whose House is This Anyway? Archaeology & Politics in Modern Urban Settings: Meet with a representative of Emek Shaveh, an organization which consists of archaeologists and community activists whose focus is on the role of archaeology in Israeli society and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • Multiple Narratives Above and Below Jerusalem: Explore some of the excavations at the City of David, including the recently opened Second Temple-period tunnel under the walls of the Old City, emerging in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, at the foot of the Temple Mount.
  • Stop at the Western Wall.
  • Return to the to freshen up for Shabbat.
  • Kabbalat Shabbat services at Kehillat Yozma in Modi'in, led by Rabbi Kinneret Shirion and Rabbi Nir Barkin, followed by home Hospitality Shabbat dinner/ with local congregants OR Shabbat dinner.

Overnight: Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Eleven: Saturday, July 9, 2016

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Shabbat services at Kehillat Kol Haneshema, led by Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman OR join creative Shabbat services with the Nava Tehila Congregation.
  • Light lunch.
  • LaDa'at Hebrew Writers: Guided walk through the streets of Jerusalem, using the writings of
  • Jerusalem's poets and authors, such as Yehuda Amichai, S.Y. Agnon and others.
  • Afternoon at leisure with a chance to rest or experience Shabbat in Jerusalem on own;


  • Explore Christian East Jerusalem through visits with Christian personalities and institutions with Hana Bendcowsky, Director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish Christian Relations.
  • Depart Jerusalem.
  • Late check-out from the hotel.
  • Ben Kodesh Lechol: Havdallah overlooking the Old City.
  • Festive farewell dinner.
  • 9:00 p.m. Transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport and check in for the departure flight to the U.S.A.

Overnight: flight

Day Twelve: Sunday, July 10, 2016 

  • 12:45 a.m.  Depart Israel on ELAL Flight # 001.
  • 5:50am. Arrive back at JFK

Need to Know

  • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 40 full paying participants per bus. Should the number of participants drop below the minimum listed above, we will adjust the cost of the trip to reflect the additional expense of operating the program.
  • Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services of local guides, drivers, and the tour guide/educator are included.
  • Airport Taxes & Fuel Surcharges are estimated and subject to change at any time.
    Airport Taxes & Fuel Surcharges are not guaranteed unless the group air tickets have been issued. Group air tickets are issued approximately 35 days prior to departure. Group air tickets are only issued upon receipt of full payment from all of the trip participants.
  • Air and land packages are open for registration until March 15, 2016 (based on availability), thereafter the tour will be available for land-only services. Cancellation of group air reservations after March 15, 2016 (and before the group flight tickets are issued) will entail a penalty of $100 per ticket.
  • Hotel Accommodations: The tour price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private baths. Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of the accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort. Two-bed rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are two-bed rooms with a rollaway cot where available and are not recommended when considering the comfort of those in the room. King-size beds are not available in most hotels; what is considered king-size usually consists of two single beds pushed together and made up separately, but with one headboard. Some two-bed rooms may have two twin - not full- or queen-size - beds.
  • Meals are included as specified in the itinerary.
  • Expedition Director / Tour Educator or Guide: All trips are conducted by our tour educators or local guides who remain with the group throughout the tour.
  • Gratuities Included: All gratuities for restaurant staff are included.
  • Baggage: All tour packages / group tours allow one piece of luggage per person and one carry-on bag. Excess luggage will be subject to charge of up to $100 per piece. The Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator, shall not be held responsible for any damage to or loss of luggage/personal items. All damage/loss must be reported at time of incident and documented in writing by local authorities for submission to the insurance company. With regard to airline baggage allowance, different carriers have different regulations for business and coach, please check with your individual carrier with regard to permitted number of pieces, weights and dimensions. The tour operator is not responsible for fees levied by any air carrier for the transport of personal belongings of any kind.


Not Included


  • Airfare to the tour departure point and from the tour ending point is not included. Airfare may be purchased from us for travel originating in the United States. Please see Flights tab in the right-side toolbar.
  • Personal Expenses: All personal expenses such as: laundry, valet service, cables, telephone calls and postage are not included.
  • Guide and Driver Gratuities:
    In keeping with normal standards in international tourism, we recommend the following for tipping:
    • 10-19 passengers: Guide $10, driver $5 - per participant per day
    • 20 passengers and more: Guide $8, driver $4 - per participant per day


Additional Information


  • Airline Security Measures: In the U.S., you must provide identification in the form of a passport at the time of airport check-in for travel to international destinations. Your passport name must match the name on your tour reservation and airline ticket or you may be denied boarding.
  • If you are traveling from an airport outside the jurisdiction of the U.S, you will need to determine what travel documentation and identification is required for that particular airport.
  • Due to heightened security regulations, certain items such as a metal nail file, pocketknife, cigarette lighter or tweezers, and some liquid, gel, or aerosol items may not be permitted in your carry-on luggage. Please call your airline prior to departure to obtain current information on non-permissible carry-on items and recommended airport check-in times. You may also wish to visit the Transportation Security Administration website at www.tsa.gov to obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
  • Air Services: Once issued, tickets are non-refundable. Airline schedules and flights are subject to change without notice. We will not be responsible for penalties incurred for tickets, international or domestic, not issued by us due to schedule and/or flight changes. Airlines reserve the right to demand immediate issuance of tickets whenever they determine that specific flights are heavily booked even when normal ticketing rules do not require tickets to be issued until a later date. In this instance, we will require immediate and full payment of the airfare and airport taxes and fees as itemized on the invoice. This situation overrides invoice terms and conditions and payment due dates. If full payment is not received, seats will be cancelled by the airline and may not be available to be rebooked on the same flights or at the same airfare. Any replacement air arrangements and airfare will be the sole responsibility of the passenger. We suggest you contact your travel agent or the carrier several weeks prior to departure for seat assignments. Passengers are responsible to reconfirm their flights 72 hours prior to departure for all flights. Package is based on discount fares for group travel. Group members deviating from group dates will be charged a $75 deviation fee per person.
  • Holidays and Museum Closures - Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays locally observed in the destinations being visited
  • Photography During Tours: We will occasionally use photographs taken by fellow guests or your trip director for promotional purposes. If you prefer that your photo not be used in any marketing activities, please notify us at the start of your tour.


Three simple ways to book ARZA World tours!

1. ARZA World customer service center is open Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30 pm EST. Call 888-811-2812.
2. Booking with us is easy! Register online by simply finding the right program for you and clicking 'Register now.'
3. We are proud to work with the Travel Agent community. Simply contact your favored travel agent and ask them to handle your booking; restrictions apply.

Important to Know
  • Land-only price does not include arrival/departure transfers unless otherwise indicated.
  • By paying a deposit upon registration, you are agreeing to ARZA World terms.
  • We highly recommend carefully reviewing those terms for full details about conditions and penalties.
from $5,550
land + air
from $3,900
land only
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