Absolute Israel for First-Timers


An unforgettable trip for adults aimed at highlighting the wonders of Israel for those visiting for the first time, or who have not visited in over a decade.

Day 1: Sunday, July 7th – ON THE WAY

  • Depart on your overnight flight to Israel.
  • Overnight: Flight

Day 2: Monday, July 8th – THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport.
  • Group transfer to Tel Aviv, also known as “the city that never sleeps.” A place of sun and fun, its centers of culture and history are complimented by great beaches, stores, and entertainment.
  • Check in to your hotel.
  • Opening session & welcome dinner with the tour educator & leaders.
  • Overnight: Hilton Tel Aviv; Meals: Welcome Dinner

Day 3: Tuesday, July 9th – THE MANY LAYERS OF TEL AVIV

  • Breakfast at an Israeli hotel is an experience in itself. Start the day with a bounteous buffet.
  • Stop at the Jaffa Overlook for an introduction to Tel Aviv and to our journey in Israel.
  • Walk along the Independence Trail and embark on a remarkable journey that begins with the founding of Tel Aviv in 1909 and ends with the establishment of Israel in 1948.
  • Browse your way through Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv’s arts and crafts market.
  • Carmel Market is where Tel Aviv comes to shop and to eat. This tasting tour will prove that, when it comes to food in Israel, variety is the spice of life. We’ll sample the tastes of the Middle East and Mediterranean, wander the market’s hidden alleyways and surprising stores, and feel the hustle and bustle of the shuk.
  • Experience the dynamism of Jewish life at the newly-opened ANU Museum of the Jewish People, which showcases the diversity of Jews across the globe and highlights the creative works and cultural riches of a variety of communities in different periods of history until the present day.
  • Enjoy dinner together with everyone on the Cincinnati Community Mission.
  • Overnight: Hilton Tel Aviv; Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Community Dinner Event

Day 4: Wednesday, July 10th – VOYAGE AND DISCOVERY

  • Visit the Ayalon Institute near Rehovot and uncover its role in the establishment of the state of Israel. This secret ammunition factory produced millions of bullets for Jewish forces fighting for a Jewish state and the end of British rule over Palestine.
  • Embark on a jeep ride in the Judean Hills along the famous Burma Road, which was hastily constructed during the War of Independence (1948) in an attempt to break the siege of Jerusalem.
  • Wine tasting at a local boutique winery.
  • Pay tribute to the men and women of Israel’s armored division at the Armored Corps Memorial and Museum in Latrun, located atop a militarily strategic hill on the main route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  • Enjoy Tel Aviv at night and check out the city’s nightlife, world-class restaurants, and club and café culture.
  • Overnight: Hilton Tel Aviv; Meals: Breakfast

Day 5: Thursday, July 11th – GLORY OF JERUSALEM

  • Check out of the hotel and depart for Jerusalem.
  • Take a walking tour through Jerusalem’s Old City and the Jewish Quarter and experience the center of Jewish life, history, and holiness. Among the highlights will be:
    • A climb to the rooftops to see and discuss the ties and tensions between the different faith groups and communities of the Old City. From this one spot, we’ll look out over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, venerated by Christian groups as the burial place of Jesus; the golden Dome of the Rock, which is sacred to Islam; and the Jewish Quarter’s famous Hurva Synagogue.
    • The Cardo, the main street of Roman-controlled Jerusalem and its spectacular Byzantine-era columns.
    • King Hezekiah’s “Broad Wall,” a massive wall built to protect Jerusalem from invasion 2,700 years ago.
    • Hurva Square, the center of modern-day life in the Jewish Quarter.
    • The Jerusalem Archaeological Park is a large-scale excavation that has uncovered vital parts of ancient Jerusalem.
  • No visit to Israel is complete without experiencing the Kotel (Western Wall), widely considered Judaism’s holiest site. Each year, over one million notes containing prayers and wishes are placed in the cracks of the wall. We’ll discuss the wall’s historical and contemporary importance and experience its unique atmosphere.
  • Explore the Western Wall Tunnel, the underground continuation of the Kotel, and examine important archaeological discoveries that are revising our understanding of daily life in ancient Jerusalem.
  • Check in to your hotel in Jerusalem.
  • Overnight: The Inbal Jerusalem; Meals: Breakfast

Day 6: Friday, July 12th – BEYOND THE SURFACE

  • Plant a tree at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory and gain insight into the urban wildlife of Jerusalem through bird-watching and bird-banding.
  • Enjoy a tour of the grounds of Israel’s “Capitol Hill”: The Rose Garden, featuring more than 400 species of roses imported from all around the world; The Knesset – Israel’s Parliament building and its famous Menorah – Israel’s symbol monument built from bronze; The Supreme Court – designed to reflect Jewish and democratic values of justice.
  • Visit Mount Herzl.
  • Return to the hotel to prepare for Shabbat.
  • Celebrate Shabbat together at the Blaustein Hall.
  • Enjoy a festive Shabbat dinner and celebrate the holy day in song.
  • Walk to the Western Wall (Kottel) for a quiet late night visit.
  • Overnight: The Inbal Jerusalem; Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Shabbat Dinner

Day 7: Saturday, July 13th – SHABBAT IN JERUSALEM OR DEAD SEA

  • OPTION 1:
    • Spend the day at the Dead Sea Basin. Take the cable car to the top of Masada, where Jewish rebels are believed to have made their final attempt to resist Roman invaders (c 74 CE).
  • OPTION 2:
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the Tower of David Museum where the story of Jerusalem is told with exciting exhibitions and in an amazing location.
    • Visit some Christian sites, including the Pool of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Crusader Church, followed by a walk along the Via Dolorosa, passing by the Ecce Homo Arch and the Sisters of Zion Convent, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
  • OPTION 3:
    • Stretch your legs with a hike that will take you from the tree-laden beauty of the Jerusalem Hills down to the Sataf Springs. Along the way, witness how ancient methods of agricultural cultivation are being revived in modern Israel.
  • Join a communal Havdalah service overlooking the Old City.
  • Overnight: The Inbal Jerusalem; Meals: Breakfast
Wise Temple at Masada

Day 8: Sunday, July 14th – MEMORY AND RENEWAL

  • Prepare for your visit to Yad Vashem with a renowned Holocaust educator and scholar.
  • Head to Yad Vashem, the national memorial to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, an essential emotional and educational experience. Your tour will include:
    • The  Avenue of the Righteous, where trees symbolic of the renewal of life have been planted along with plaques honoring brave non-Jews who saved Jews during the Shoah.
    • The  Historical Museum, a state-of-the-art interactive display reflecting decades of research and educational expertise. The story of the Holocaust, with an emphasis on individual victims, is told through survivor testimonies, original artifacts, and personal possessions saved from the ghettos and camps.
    • The  Children’s Memorial, commemorating the 1.5 million children lost during the Holocaust.
    • A memorial service where we will pay tribute to those who were lost. It will include the opportunity to talk about family members and loved ones who died during the Shoah.
  • Experience the vibrancy and energy of Mahane Yehuda’s open-air market and enjoy a tasty lunch.
  • Enjoy dinner together with everyone on the Cincinnati Community Mission.
  • Overnight: The Inbal Jerusalem; Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Community Dinner Event


  • Where are we and where are we going? A conversation with Ambassador of the United States to Israel – Thomas R. Nides.
  • Meet with President of Israel Isaac Herzog at his official residence.
  • Choose from some Tikkun Olam projects:
    • OPTION 1:
      • Join Keren BeKavod, the Center for Social and Communal Activity of Israel’s Reform Movement, and pack boxes of food to be sent to residents in need.
    • OPTION 2:
      • Meet elderly, often impoverished, immigrants who are finding a sense of purpose and creating beautiful artwork at Yad LaKashish (Lifeline for the Elderly). We’ll hear personal stories and see the aging artisans in action, talk with those running this inspirational organization, and check out the fabulous gift shop that supports this endeavor.
    • OPTION 3:
      • Visit Susan’s house, an art center and meeting place for youth at risk, which provides an opportunity of learning a craft and skill in order for them to become a productive part of Israeli society.
  • Enjoy some free time.
  • Consider your experience on this journey and what you are taking back home with you in a closing circle.
  • Enjoy a festive farewell dinner.
  • Group transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport to check in for your departure flight to the US.
  • Overnight: Flight; Meals: Breakfast & Farewell Dinner

Day 10: Tuesday, July 16th – UNTIL THE NEXT TIME

  • Return to the USA

*Please note that itineraries are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, circumstances beyond the control of the tour company, and to accommodate the specific needs and make up of participants on each bus.