Who staffs the tour?
Our experience is led by a licensed Israeli guide who is with the group on a 24/7 basis. Our guides are charismatic educators with an expertise in informal education — many of them also staff our JCC Maccabi teen groups. For groups with at least 25 participants, the program is joined by an Israeli counselor who primarily focuses on the experience of younger participants. Each group is assigned a deluxe touring bus with a dedicated driver.
How active is the touring?
This is an active tour designed for both adults and families. Each day is full of experiences that are designed to provide you with the full flavor of Israel, regardless of age. Although the program does not have any formal age limits, the itinerary involves a good amount of walking and some long days in general. Participants who wish to take a break from the active schedule can opt-out of some experiences
How does the Bnai Mitzvah ceremony work?
A group B’nai Mitzvah ceremony led by a local Rabbi is offered for anyone celebrating this special occasion (adults are welcomed, too) at the egalitarian section of the Western Wall. No advance preparation is needed. Participants wishing to organize a private ceremony can be accommodated with prior coordination.
What’s the age composition of the group?
Groups are comprised of couples traveling without children, solo adults and families traveling with children. Because of the active nature of the program, children traveling with their parents are typically age 8 or older.
How is this a Jewish experience?
This is a pluralistic Jewish travel experience open to all. Group meals are kosher, and there is no bus-based touring on Shabbat. The program is unaffiliated with any specific religious approach – rather it is designed for travelers of all backgrounds seeking a complete first-time experience in Israel through the lens of Jewish history and identity.
How all-inclusive is the experience?
In short, you’re responsible for arranging your own flights to and from Israel, and we take care of most everything else! The program covers two meals a day, all touring, a fantastic staff team, deluxe transportation within Israel and round trip airport transfers on the arrival day and on the last night of the program (see below for details). You’ll be responsible for one meal a day, any hotel gratuities, specialty beverages at group meals and staff gratuities.
What’s the suggested staff gratuities?
It is customary in Israel to tip the Israeli guide and driver at the end of the program. As a rule of thumb, $100 per adult traveler is appropriate – or in the shekel equivalent. We recommend splitting that amount – 1/3 for the driver (~$35) and 2/3 for the guide (~$65). Although not customary, foyou may also provide a gratuity to the Israeli counselor who joins groups of at least 25 travelers. Gratuities for hotel staff and wait staff at group meals are already included in the cost of the program.
How do I get ready for the trip?
Detailed pre-trip material and program luggage tags are distributed approximately three months prior to arrival. You’ll also be invited to a trip Facebook group to connect with fellow travelers before the program and stay in touch afterwards.
How do I plan my travel to/from Israel?
Participants are responsible for arranging their own air travel to/from Israel and are escorted from the airport to our arrival hotel in Tel Aviv at no extra cost. This VIP greeting and transfer service is only available to those scheduled to arrive to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport by 4:15pm on the first day of the program. If you are arriving before the official arrival day, we can book additional night(s) at the hotel in Tel Aviv using our group rates. Contact us for details. At the end of the program, participants will be escorted back to Ben Gurion Airport on the final night in time to catch overnight flights back to North America (departing between 10:30pm and 1:00am. the next day). Participants on return flights outside of this window can be accommodated with an airport transfer by special arrangement, and additional fees will apply. Participants wishing to extend their hotel booking in Jerusalem using our group rates can do so by prior arrangement.
What are the passport and visa rules for Israel?
Check to make sure that you know where your passport is and that it is not expired or about to expire. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you arrive in Israel. If your passport expires within this period, please start the renewal process today. Many airlines will deny you boarding if your passport is not valid according to this policy. If you are traveling to Israel on a USA, Canadian, or European Union member country passport, a visa is not needed to enter Israel. If you are traveling on a passport from another country, you may need a visa to enter Israel. Our office is able to provide you with an official ticket confirmation if needed.