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EXPLORE ISRAEL with UNITED HEBREW CONGREGATION Led by Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg July 22 – August 3, 2020 | Israel Tour
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Israel Tour / EXPLORE ISRAEL with UNITED HEBREW CONGREGATION Led by Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg July 22 – August 3, 2020

EXPLORE ISRAEL with UNITED HEBREW CONGREGATION Led by Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg July 22 – August 3, 2020

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Wednesday, 22 July

Depart U.S.A.

Thursday, 23 July – When You Come in to the Land (Deut. 26:1)

  • Afternoon arrival in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport to be met and assisted by your ITC representative (today’s program depends on arrival time).
  • Tour Old Jaffa, the charming ancient port city once known as Zion Gate from which Jonah tried to flee and where Solomon brought the Cedars of Lebanon on the way to Jerusalem.  Then hear about Peter’s vision in Jaffa and its deep impact of on Jewish-Christian relations.
  • Shehekhiyanu-Welcome ceremony on top of Tel Jaffa overlooking modern Tel Aviv.
  • Proceed to check-in at the Dan Panorama Hotel on Tel Aviv's Mediterranean Coast.
  • Welcome dinner at Maganda Restaurant in Tel Aviv’s old Yemenite Quarter.
  • Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv

  • Begin with a little spice on a tasting tour of the colorful Levinsky Market.
  • Hear about the establishment of Tel Aviv standing at the Founders' Monument, then Stroll down Rothschild Boulevard to see the Bauhaus architecture for which central Tel Aviv was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit the new Israel Innovation Center, located in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, to learn through its interactive exhibit about new advancements by Israeli Start-Ups in fields such as technology, communications, medicine, security, aero-space and more.
  • Lunch on your own and free time to explore the Nachalat Binyamin Crafts Fair. While there, checkout the nearby Carmel Market and bohemian Sheinkin Street All Three of these Tel Aviv icons meet at the "Magen David Junction".
  • Discover Tel Aviv's remarkable street art on a graffiti tour of the hip Florentine neighborhoodThe Soho of Israel.
  • Free time to get ready for Shabbat.
  • Shabbat Candle Lighting
  • Friday evening servicesIsraeli Kabbalat Shabbat by the sea in Tel Aviv Port. (bus required).
  • Festive Shabbat Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight:  Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv

  • Shabbat morning services: To be determined with Rabbi Rosenberg.
  • Walking tour of the quaint historic quaint Neve Tzedek neighborhood, which eventually gave birth to Tel Aviv, the "first Hebrew city in 2,000 years", once home to Zionist cultural pioneers Eliezer Ben Yehuda, S. Y. Agnon and Rabbi Kook.
  • ITC Touch: Discover City of Sand and Sea, a mosaic fountain created by artist and writer Nachum Gutman portraying scenes from the history of Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
  • Lunch on own
  • Visit the "Aliyah Bet" Memorial in London Square to hear the story of the illegal immigration operations which rescued Jewish refugees before the founding of the State of Israel.
  • Free time to swim (weather permitting), explore on your own and watch the people of Tel Aviv folkdance, play racquetball, walk the promenade and enjoy Shabbat afternoon by the sea.
  • Havdallah with Rabbi Rosenberg
  • Free evening
  • Dinner on own
  • Recommendation for the evening: Check out the Sarona neighborhood, a new restaurant-café and shopping area in the recently restored former German colony.
  • Overnight:  Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv

Sunday, 26 July – Haifa’s Shared Society, Muli-layered Acco and the Grottos of Rosh Hanikra

  • Travel north to Haifa.
  • Look out from the top of the Bahai Gardens on Mt. Carmel in Haifa.
  • Visit the Beit Hagefen Arab-Jewish Cultural Center, which works to promote shared society and multiculturalism in Haifa.
  • Walking tour of Wadi Nisnas to see art work that has been installed on the walls and streets of this picturesque Arab neighborhood, which symbolizes coexistence in multi-ethnic Haifa. (Haifa tour to be led by Beit Hagefen).
  • Lunch on own
  • Tour of the Old City of Acco:  Visit the Underground Prisoners Museum in Acco Prison, where the British held and even executed Jewish underground fighters.  A daring escape from this prison is featured in the film Exodus.  Then venture beneath the streets of Old Acco to explore the Crusader Knights Halls.
  • Travel to Rosh Hanikra in the northwest corner of Israel.
  • Descend by cable car to explore the Grottos of Rosh Hanikra – Beautiful sea caves formed by the forces of wind and water.
  • Check–in to the Kibbutz Lavi Hotel on Kibbutz Lavi in the Galilee.
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight:  Lavi

Monday, 27 July – Mystical Tzfat and the Strategic Golan Heights

  • Visit the Meiri Dairy in Tzfat where the Meiri family has been producing sheep and goat cheeses since 1840 and sample its gourmet products.
  • Explore mystical Tzfat, cradle of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) in the 16th century.  Visit its old synagogues and picturesque alleyways.  Then discover the origins of our Friday night service in the city where Lecha Dodi was written.
  • Free time to explore shops and galleries on own.
  • Lunch on own
  • Visit the studio of local kabbalistic artist Avraham Lowenthal and hear how Jewish spirituality influences his work.
  • Tour of the Golan Heights for a special perspective on Israel's complex geopolitics as we “look down” at Israel from former Syrian bunkers and then look out at the border region from strategic Bental.
Please choose one of the following two "touring and tasting" options.  Both located on nearby Kibbutz Ein Zivan (Possibility of splitting the group):
  • Chocolate making workshop at the De Karina Chocolate Factory.
  • OR: Wine tasting at the boutique Pelter Winery.
  • BBQ dinner with young Israeli soldiers, who are giving some of the best years of their lives to the defense of Israel - Meet the human face of the Israeli army.
  • Overnight: Lavi

Tuesday, 28 July – Encounters and Partnerships

  • Learn about kibbutz life on walking tour of Lavi led by a local kibbutznik.
  • Encounter with Arab women through a basket weaving or spice making workshop run by the Sindiyana of the Galilee fair trade organization in the village of Kfar Cana.
  • Meaningful visit to Yokneam/Megiddo, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis' Partnership 2000 region (programming arranged by Partnership staff, including an encounter with Yokneam’s Ethiopian-Israeli community.
  • Lunch on own or with Partnership hosts – To be determined.
  • Meet Rabbi Michal Kanto, spiritual leader of the Yokneam-Megiddo region’s Reform community.
  • Shehekhiyanu ceremony to celebrate arriving in Jerusalem overlooking the Old City.
  • Check-in to the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem.
  • Free evening.
  • Dinner on own.
  • Recommendation:  Check out the nearby Ben Yehuda Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Jerusalem and have dinner at one of the restaurants in Music Square while you listen to a live outdoor performance. 
  • Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Wednesday, 29 July – The Old City of Jerusalem: An Ancient Jewish Legacy (Erev Tisha B’Av)

  • Discover the archaeological story of the Western Wall and episodes of Jewish life in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago at Robinson's Arch and the Southern Wall Excavations.
  • Visit the Western Wall to connect to an ancient Jewish legacy.
  • Walk through the Western Wall Tunnels to discover underground Jerusalem
  • Look out from the roof of the Austrian Hospice for an extraordinary panorama of the Old City from within Jerusalem’s Moslem Quarter.
  • Lunch on own
  • Guided tour of the new Hebrew Music Museum in downtown Jerusalem's Nachalat Shiva neighborhood to learn about the history of Jewish music from biblical times and through seven different regions of the Diaspora.
  • Geopolitical tour of Jerusalem – Opportunity to gain a deeper insight into critical issues impacting on the city first hand, including borders, building and settlement (Jewish and Arab) and Israel's security fence.
  • Dinner at hotel (Most restaurants are closed on Erev Tisha B’Av).
  • Tisha B’Av program – TBD with Rabbi Rosenberg.
  • Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Thursday, 30 July – Holocaust, Remembrance and Continuity (Tisha B’Av)

  • Tour of Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial and museum, including the Historical Museum and Children’s Memorial.
  • Lunch on own.
  • Meaningful visit to Mt Herzl Cemetery to discover chapters in the history of Israel at the graves of Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, Theodore Herzl and Hannah Senesh.
  • Visit to the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Shrine of the Book and the Model of Jerusalem in the first century.  Free time to explore additional exhibitions on own.  Recommendations:  Modern Israeli art, Synagogue interiors in the Judaica section and the Archaeology Wing (Possibility of tour with emphasis on Tisha B’Av).
  • Dinner on own
  • Watch the Night Spectacular – Sound and light show at the Tower of David.
  • Overnight:  Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Friday, 31 July – Masada and the Dead Sea: Freedom Fighters or Fanatics?

  • Set out early across the Judean Desert and ascend Masada by cable car to tour the ruins of Herod's palace and the last outpost of Jewish independence.  Discussion: Which decision did our ancestors make?  Masada or Yavne? What does that mean?
  • Swim in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, at a local resort.  The resort also has a fresh water pool and spa facilities.  Massage and spa treatments available by prior reservation at own expense.
  • Lunch at Dead Sea resort.
  • Tour the ruins of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and hear about the ascetic sect which lived there 2,000 years ago.
  • Free time to relax and prepare for Shabbat.
Friday/Shabbat evening options:
  • Attend Friday night services at a local Reform synagogue (bus available).
  • OR: Join hundreds of other Jews from around the world to Greet the Sabbath at the Western Wall. Option to join the new egalitarian Kabbalat Shabbat minyan at the Masorti Kotel, where men and women can pray together (begins at 6:00 pm).
  • OR: Attend musical Israeli Kabbalat Shabbat at Jerusalem’s First Station Compound.
  • Festive Shabbat Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Saturday, 1 August – And on the Seventh Day… in Jerusalem

  • Walking tour to Jaffa Gate and the Christian Quarter, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a section of the Via Dolorosa and Deir Es-Sultan (the Ethiopian Christian compound on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher's roof).
  • Traditional Shabbat Lunch at hotel.
  • Free time to relax, enjoy hotel pool or explore on your own.
  • Walking tour to the historic Montefiore Windmill to discover the first neighborhood built outside the walls of the Old City.  Then continue to nearby Ketef Hinnom, a First Temple period burial site where archaeologists discovered the oldest biblical text ever found.
  • Briefing on Israeli and Middle East Politics by Steve Linde, editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Report (and former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post).
  • Havdallah with Rabbi Rosenberg
  • Free evening
  • Dinner on own
  • Recommendation for the evening:  Check out the First Station Compound – Jerusalem's old Ottoman Train Station which has been converted into a restaurant- café area - Just a short walk from your hotel.
  • Overnight:  Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Sunday, 2 August – Modern Israel's Realities and Wrapping Up

  • Check out of hotel.
  • Visit Yad Lakashish, a unique employment program for Jerusalem's elderly citizens and meet its senior Visit its gift shop where "shopping is a mitzvah".
  • Engage in hands on tzedakah preparing food packages for distribution to some of Israel's neediest people at Pantry Packers in southern Jerusalem.
  • Tasting tour of the bustling Machane Yehuda Market to discover Jerusalem's many flavors from East and West.
  • Lunch on own, if still hungry
  • Tour of the Jewish Quarter including the Broad Wall, 4 Sephardic synagogues, Rooftops and Cardo, followed by free time to shop and explore on own.
  • Visit King David’s Tomb and the Cenacle (Upper Room of the Last Supper) on Mt. Zion, both in the same building crowned by an Islamic minaret.
  • Free time to explore on own and to get in last minute shopping.
  • Plant a tree at Neot Kedumim, Israel’s biblical landscapes reserve and learn about nature and agricultural in the Bible.
  • Farewell dinner at Neot Kedumim.
  • Late night transfer to Ben Gurion Airport – See you again soon!

Monday, 3 August – Arrive in USA

  • Begin planning your next Israel trip with Rabbi Rosenberg and ITC Tours!