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CCAR Leadership Travel Series | Start Up Israel

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Tour Highlights

  • Jaffa - A Tapestry of Religions and Ethnicities: Explore churches, mosques, synagogues and the people who frequent them.
  • Dialogue with members of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's (IMPJ) pre-army academy (mechina), a special social justice project in Jaffa.
  • Finding and funding the world's next best thing that will change our lives forever: Israel's Economic and Hi-Tech Revolution: Dialogue with a leading investor in new Israeli start-up companies. 
  • Water from the Rock to Water from the Water: Visit the Shefdan Wastewater Plant, the largest wastewater treatment plant in the Middle East…and the best. See why Israel can recycle 75% of its sewage.
  • The Salad Trail - Zionism in the 21st Century: Meet with Uri Alon, a local expert agronomist, for a unique family program on his farm, located in the Northern Negev, combining agriculture, care for the environment and fun.
  • Visit the Reform Kibbutz Lotan and explore creative Jewish approaches to community life and the environment.


Tour Includes


  • 7 nights' accommodation + late check-out using selected hotels
  • 7 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus with licensed, English speaking tour guide
  • All site entrance fees and program fees as per itinerary
  • Meals: daily breakfast and 5 dinners
  • Portage at the hotels


Tour dates: January 26 - February 4, 2014.

CCAR Leadership Travel Series: Start Up Israel Mission Statement

As Reform Rabbis we strive to understand Israel's narrative and empower others to enrich their lives though a relationship with Israel.  We recognize that connections with Israel are built, not only through history but through an ever deepening knowledge of Israel's present and future.  By traveling to Israel with the CCAR Leadership Travel Series "Start-Up Israel", we will experience Israel's pervasive culture of entrepreneurialism.  We will explore this culture's impact on the Israeli society and the world.  Together we will examine how our understanding of Israel and our own rabbinic leadership can be shaped by this innovative spirit.

NY Times: "This is true. Israel is a miracle of innovation and development.  Tel Aviv, at once sensual and vibrant, is a boom town. Go there and smile."

On January 27 the trip will start at the hotel at 5 p.m. with an orientation meeting and on February 4 the farewell dinner will start at 6 p.m.

Day One: Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • Depart the U.S.A.

Overnight: Flight

Day Two: Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Individual arrivals at Ben Gurion International Airport.
  • Transfer on own to Tel Aviv and check into the hotel.
  • 5:00 p.m. Meet in the lobby for introduction and orientation.
  • 5:30 p.m. Join Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism for an in-depth look at the ground-breaking inroads being made by the IMPJ, which is at the forefront of social, economic and pluralistic religious change in Israel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Three: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 8:00 a.m. Shacharit prayer on the beach.
  • 8:30 a.m. Innovative Spirit Shaping the Way We Think and Feel: Meet with Ms. Joanna Landau, Founder of Kinetis, a nonprofit, apolitical grassroots organization, promoting the recognition of Israel, at home and abroad, as a vibrant source of creativity and innovation.
  • 10:30 a.m. The Reform Movement is Cutting Edge: Depart the hotel for a dialogue with members of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's (IMPJ) pre-army academy (mechina), a special social justice project in Jaffa, including an in-depth look at the innovative power and transformative potential of the Reform Movement in Israel.
  • LaDa'at Ethnic Tasting Tour 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.
  • 1:30 p.m. Local Innovation, World Recognition - The Contemporary Art Scene in Israel: Special gallery tour led by Vardit Gross, one of Israel's leading art critic and curators, known across continents, continuously supporting and promoting, Israeli artists, including a dialogue with gallery owners for a real sense of the ‘pulse' on the street.
  • 4:00 p.m. Meet Reuven Marko and Lior Ben Tzor both IMPJ members and High-tech entrepreneurs and hear about their startups, including NGT3, a Jewish-Arab Technology accelerator in Nazareth.
  • Dinner on your own in the renovated Old Port of Tel Aviv, with its wonderful restaurants, cafés and shops, right on the water's edge;   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; OR in the ancient Jaffa Port. 

Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Four: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • 8:00 a.m. Early Foundations of a Start-Up Nation: Dialogue with Col. (Ret.) Miri Eisin, former advisor to the Prime Minister on foreign media, and former deputy commander of the combat intelligence collection corps.  
  • 10:15 a.m. Change from Within - Identity Building, Heritage Strengthening: Visit Friends by Nature, a community empowerment NGO, founded by a diverse group of Ethiopian-Israelis and veteran Israelis with the goal of creating a strong, self-empowered and successful Ethiopian immigrant community. Gain insight into the unique individuals on both ends of a program created to provide families at risk with a sense of belonging, with their eyes to the future.
  • 12:30 p.m. Lunch on own with MARAM colleagues. 
  • Drive south via the Trans-Israel Highway towards the Negev and to the town of Mitzpeh Ramon.
  • Putting the Pace of Change into Perspective - The Power of the Desert: Afternoon exploration of the geological wonders of the Ramon Crater, with a stop for an opportunity to hike, meditate and do mincha in the desert.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
  • Optional walk to the cliff of the Ramon Crater for an opportunity to stargaze and enjoy the night sky.

Overnight: Ramon Inn hotel, Mitzpeh Ramon

Day Five: Thursday, January 30, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 8:00 a.m. Check out of the hotel and drive north through the Negev.
  • 8:30 a.m. Start-Up in the Desert: Visit a lone farm and learn about the challenges of farming in the desert.
  • 10:00 a.m. Societal Innovation: Visit the student village (Ayalim) in the city of Be'er Sheva. Meet student leaders who have taken upon themselves to live within the heart of this socio-economically challenged city, dedicated to improving the life of its residents.
  • Continue north towards the Judean Hills.
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • 2:00 p.m. When the Progressive Movement and Progressive Thinking Meet: Visit Qualcomm offices in Beit Shemesh. Meet with company officers and leaders for insight into what drove this wireless technology giant to create its R&D center in Israel and focus its purchasing power on Israeli start-up companies.
  • 3:30 p.m. Visit the award-winning Tzora Winery in the Judean Hills, established by Ronnie James the Israel pioneer of terroir, with wine tasting.
  • Ascend to Jerusalem.
  • Old Overview, New Horizon: Stop at the Haas Promenade for an overlook of the Old and New City of Jerusalem and the traditional “shehechiyanu” blessing followed by Maariv. 
  • Dinner on your own in Jerusalem.

Overnight: Leonardo Plaza, Jerusalem

Day Six: Friday, January 31, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Drive towards the Old City.
  • 7:00 a.m. Celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar at the Kotel with Women of the Wall.
  • Light breakfast on own.
  • 9:30 a.m. Old City, New Tricks: VIP visit through 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 under Robinson's Arch.
  • Ascend to the Jewish Quarter for lunch on own.
  • Depart the Old City and return to the hotel to relax and prepare for Shabbat.


  • Stop at Machaneh Yehudah open-air market for the opposite of leisure (but a lot of fun) before returning to the hotel.
  • Depart in small groups to various Reform Synagogues in and around Jerusalem for Kabbalat Shabbat service.
  • Home hospitality Shabbat dinner with families in Jerusalem.

Overnight: Leonardo Plaza, Jerusalem

Day Seven: Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 9:30 a.m. Shabbat morning service at HUC, followed conversation with Rabbi Michael Marmur and Rabbi Naama Kelman.
  • Shabbat lunch at Beit Shmuel.


  • National Museum, Outward and Inward View: Visit to the renewed Israel Museum, one of the most creative and innovative museums in the world, for a look at the changes, expansion and streamlined vision incorporated since the museum's re-opening and for a close look at contemporary Israeli art for further insight into the way we see ourselves and the way we share ourselves with the world.
  • LaDa'at Hebrew Writers: Old Voices and New Perspectives: 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.
  • Ben Kodesh Lechol: Havdallah overlooking the Old City.

Overnight: Leonardo Plaza, Jerusalem

Day Eight: Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 9:00 a.m. Israeli Film, and a Window In: Meet with students and teachers from the Ma'ale Film School for a screening and discussion, exploring 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 program for at-risk youth, Ethiopian immigrants, terror victims and adults with special needs.
  • Meet the Author: Dialogue with Saul Singer, co-author of Start-up Nation and co-founder of the Startup Nation Central.
  • 12:30 p.m. Visit Hadassah Hospital for an in-depth look at this cutting-edge medical facility, how it has adapted to ever-changing needs, and how it has become a world leader in many fields.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • LaDa'at The Geopolitics of Jerusalem - Travel through the city of Jerusalem, exploring some of its political and diplomatic complexities - including the ‘Security Barrier' - to gain a behind-the-headlines insight into current developments.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Leonardo Plaza, Jerusalem

Day Nine: Monday, February 3, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Opening session by Felice and Michael Friedson, Founders of Media Line.
  • Depart the hotel for Ramallah.
  • Dialogue with a Palestinian politician on advancements and resources in the realm of science and technology.
  • Breaking Stigmas, Changing Perception: Lunch at ZAMN Restaurant, the flagship location of the ZAMN chain of coffee shop/restaurants, an outstanding example of Palestinian private sector entrepreneurialism, including a dialogue with founder and leading business figure, Ms. Huda el Jack.
  • Field trip to the new Palestinian city Rawabi, and meet with Bashar Al-Masri, CEO of Massar International, and visionary behind Rawabi.
  • Return to Jerusalem.
  • Dinner on own.

Overnight: Leonardo Plaza, Jerusalem

Day Ten: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 9:00 a.m. Finding Common Ground: Meet with representatives of MEET (Middle East Education through Technology). MEET is an innovative educational initiative aimed at creating a common professional language between Israeli and Palestinian young leaders. Working together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MEET enables its participants to acquire advanced technological and leadership tools while empowering them to create positive social change within their own communities.
  • National Memory, Revisited: Visit the National Military Cemetery on Mt. Herzl for insight into the lives of those who are buried there. Visit the graves of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin in the adjacent section for Leaders of the Nation.
  • 1:45 p.m. Visit Mobileye Vision Technologies and OrCam and meet the CEO and Co-founder Professor Amnon Shasua. Amnon is also one of the Founders and member of Kehilat Mevaseret Zion.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Return to the hotel to pack, stroll, shop or just relax.
  • Late check-out from the hotel.
  • 5:30 p.m. Innovative Spirit: Opportunity for final group conversation on experiences, emotions and thoughts for the future.
  • 6:00 p.m. Festive farewell dinner at Olive & Fish, a meat and fish restaurant located across from the Liberty Bell Gardens.
  • Transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport for return flight to the U.S.A.

Overnight: Flight

Day Eleven: Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Arrive in the U.S.A.

Need to Know

  • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 15 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.
  • 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.

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 atwww.tsa.govto 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.


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Important to Know
  • Land-only price does not include arrival/departure transfers unless otherwise indicated.
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  • We highly recommend carefully reviewing those terms for full details about conditions and penalties.
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