Bar / Bat Mitzvah Tours – December 2013

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Day 1Monday December 23
We will arrive at Ben Gurion Airport and will be met by a Gama Tours representative, who will assist us with our luggage, escort us through customs and to our awaiting transfer vehicle.

Transfer to Tel Aviv where we will check-in to our hotel. Then we can enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

We’ll meet in the hotel for an introductory session to meet the other families and our tour guide. Following this we will have a Welcome Dinner at the Yemenite Restaurant Maganda.

Overnight Tel Aviv.
Monday December 23
Day 2Tuesday December 24
After breakfast, we start our day at the "Palmach Museum" where through a modern multi-media presentation; we can watch the history of the Palmach from 1941 to the War of Independence and the establishment of the State of Israel. Follow the lives and experiences of the young men and women who founded Israel’s Defense Forces.

Afterwards we will visit Rabin Square, where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Walk in his final footsteps and discuss the impact of this event on the State of Israel.

We’ll visit Independence Hall where we will listen to an audio presentation including David Ben Gurion’s moving Declaration of Independence establishing the State of Israel.

Stop at Nachalat Binyamin to see the famous open air craft market. We will end our day with a visit to the Old Port City of Jaffa (Yafo), just south of Tel Aviv for a beautiful panoramic view of Tel Aviv and a sense of the first Jewish city of the modern era, established in 1909.

Overnight Tel Aviv.
Tuesday December 24
Day 3Wednesday December 25
After breakfast leave Tel Aviv and head for the ancient city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great and once the seat of Roman rule. View the excavated Roman Theater, with its acoustic and theatrical sound, which was used for many performances throughout the centuries.

Continue to Kibbutz Ein Shemer for a unique kibbutz experience. Go back in time to the early days of the kibbutz, even before the state of Israel was created. Be part of the daily kibbutz life, see, feel, smell and taste what it means to live on a kibbutz and learn how it changed from the time the kibbutz was established until today.

Next we will take a Panoramic view of Haifa Bay and the beautiful Bahai Gardens with it’s impressive Temples. Then cross the Galillee until we reach our Kibbutz Hotel.

Overnight Kibbutz.
Wednesday December 25
Day 4Thursday December 26
After breakfast our first stop will be to the mystical city of Safed one of the Four Holy Cities, according to tradition and its Kabalistic studies (the birthplace of Kabbalah). We will stroll through the narrow, winding alleyways and visit some of the beautiful synagogues, browse through the artist’s workshops and galleries found in the flourishing artists’ quarters. Have a special Candle Making Workshop in Kabbalah Studio.

We will enjoy an exciting Jeep ride tour of the Golan Heights. We will enjoy the scenic hills, and learn about the strategic importance and history of this land and its physical beauty.

Visit the Har Bental overlook. From this former military base we can look into Syria and learn about the village of Kunetra and the 1967 & 1973 Wars.

Conclude our day at the De Karina chocolate factory. Learn about chocolate in this small boutique hand made chocolate factory followed by a special workshop.

Overnight Kibbutz.
Thursday December 26
Day 5Friday December 27
After breakfast, head south to the lakeside city of Tiberias resting on shores of the Sea of Galilee.

We’ll leave the Galilee area drive through the lush Jordan Valley where the desert now blooms with flowers and vegetation of every description.

Stop at the Modern Orthodox Kibbutz of Sde Eliyahu which is pioneering in organic agriculture. Take a unique tour in the clean air and the chemical free environment of organic farming at its best. A small example is the use of birds of prey instead of pesticide to keep pests and rodents at bay.

We’ll ascend up the Judean Mountains and upon arriving in Jerusalem, we will stop at a viewpoint overlooking the Old City where we shall celebrate our arrival with a special She’hecheyanu ceremony, a blessing we use to offer thanks for new and unusual experiences.

After checking into our hotel, we will enter the Old City and walk to the Western Wall (Kotel), Judaism’s Holiest site, for a Shabbat evening service unlike anything you have ever experienced.

Afterwards we’ll have a special Shabbat Dinner with a local family in one of the neighborhoods of the New City of Jerusalem. Learn about the various traditions and meanings that accompany the festive Shabbat meal.

Overnight Jerusalem.
Friday December 27
Day 6Saturday December 28
After breakfast, you can either participate in services at one of the many synagogues in Jerusalem or just relax at the hotel. Feel the special atmosphere of Jerusalem on Shabbat.

Afternoon walking tour of the neighborhoods of Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha’ananim These were the first neighborhoods built outside the Walls of the Old City and therefore they were open to Bedouin raids, pillage and general banditry that was rampant in the region at the time, the Jews were reluctant to move in, even though the housing was luxurious compared to the derelict and overcrowded houses in the Old City.

At night we will have a light dinner before entering into Migdal David to see the world famous Sound and Light Show which displays the history of the city of Jerusalem along the ancient stones.

Overnight Jerusalem.
Saturday December 28
Day 7Sunday December 29
After breakfast, we will drive around the new city of Jerusalem to see the modern capital of Israel. At our first stop, Yad Vashem. It is considered the first and most famous memorial to mankind’s darkest period. In the Hall of Names a victim who perished in the Holocaust will be chosen for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah youths as part of a “Twinning Program.” This may be a child with the same name or birthday as the child celebrating, or someone who came from the same town or area where their family originated.

We will continue to the Herzl Vision Experience, to witness “Herzl’s Dream”, an interactive tour though the life and times of Zionism’s founder.

We will also visit Har Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery where we can visit the gravesites of Israel’s greatest political leaders and military heroes, including Theodore Herzl, Ze’ev Jabotinski, and Yitzhak Rabin. Buried alongside these giants are the real heroes, the common soldiers who gave their lives for the Jewish State.

Overnight Jerusalem.
Sunday December 29
Day 8Monday December 30
After an early breakfast, we will depart to the Dead Sea area. Traveling south through the Judean Wilderness, we will arrive at the shores of the Dead Sea, as we descend to the lowest point on earth at 1388 feet (423m) below sea level.

We will ascend by cable car to the ancient synagogue of Massada and explore the ancient fortress. Here, was the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their struggle against the Romans. On Massada we will meet our Rabbi, and celebrate the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies!! Celebrate the exciting Jewish right of passage in a historic location.

Lunch N’ Swim at one the Hotels on the shores of the Dead Sea. Cover yourselves with mud and enjoy the buoyant therapeutic waters of this mineral-rich Sea. Relax by the pool or take a spa treatment!

Visit the beautiful Ein Gedi reserve. See the waterfalls at this oasis in the desert, which is mentioned several times in the Book of Psalms, the place where King David hid from King Saul.

Drive through the hills of Judea to the "Land of Genesis". Here, "Abraham" and his family who will host us for a biblical-style dinner in their tent, This unusual location will appeal to both adults and children alike as they reenact their favorite characters from the Bible.

Overnight Jerusalem.
Monday December 30
Day 9Tuesday December 31
After breakfast drive to Emek Tzurim where we’ll spend a couple of hours taking part in an archaeological dig working with the actual debris of the Temple Mount. This is the area in which discoveries and finds are being made daily shedding light on the early periods of Jerusalem’s history.

Afterwards will go to the City of David and see the newest and exciting excavations of Jerusalem during the time of the first Temple period. Here we’ll also walk through the New Herodian Road recently discovered. We’ll then proceed to the holiest place in Judaism today, the Western Wall - "Kotel". The Kotel is part of the few remaining structures of the Temple Complex built by Herod the Great.

Next we begin to descend through the many layers of Jerusalem’s past at the time of the Temple through the Western Wall Tunnels. Inside, a most interesting model shows the different dwelling periods and history of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Stand on the site believed to be the nearest spot to the "Holy of Holies".

We’ll then walk through the Jewish Quarter, which was reconstructed after the city was unified after the Six-Day War in 1967. A special point of interest in the restored Jewish Quarter is the "Cardo", meaning the "heart" of this ancient Byzantine City. View the unearthed main Roman thoroughfare and ancient marketplace lined with columns.

In the evening have a farewell dinner in the famed Beit Anna Ticho restaurant.

Overnight Jerusalem.
Tuesday December 31
Day 10Wednesday January 1
After breakfast depart for the Ben Gurion Airport for our international flight with everlasting memories of Israel! Wednesday January 1

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