Inside Israel For Returnees


For those who have visited Israel, a unique, deeper look at life in the Jewish state through a focus on culture, cuisine, and geo-political complexities.

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.
  • South Tel Aviv is now “home” to thousands of migrant workers, asylum seekers, and refugees from war-torn and impoverished African countries. BINA, the Jewish Movement for Social Change, will lead us on a tour of the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood as we explore what life is like for non-Jews seeking a new start in the Jewish state. The tour will include:
    • Talking with African migrants about their experiences in Israel and what brought them here.
    • Meeting a veteran Jewish resident of the neighborhood to learn about their connections with, and attitudes to, the refugees.
  • Eat, drink, and learn at the Levinsky Market, where we’ll sample food and sweets from all over the Mediterranean and the Middle East. This multicultural tasting tour will double as a delicious lunch.
  • 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

  • Talk with technology journalist Viva Sarah Press about how tiny Israel is playing a giant role in hi-tech. We’ll hear the personal stories behind the start-up nation and find out why Israeli innovation (and chutzpah) is changing the hi-tech world and our lives.
  • Visit the Peres Peace Center, created by the late Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister and President of Israel, to develop peace building programs based on innovation and optimism. We will be given a tour of the Israeli Innovation Center, which celebrates the people and companies that are making Israel the “innovation nation.” The center includes continually updated, high-tech exhibits on everything from artificial intelligence to the latest developments in water use.
  • Join the chefs at Tel Aviv’s Cooking Studio for a Middle Eastern cooking workshop.
  • Join an expert on Tel Aviv’s alternative scene for an urban adventure and graffiti tour. Explore the latest street art and find out what it reveals about life, ideas, and ideology in Israel’s cultural capital.
  • 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.
  • Visit Shaar Hanegev, located on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip and meet with the local Reform community.
  • Wine tasting at a local boutique winery.
  • Stop at the Haas Promenade for a traditional “shehechiyanu” blessing of thanksgiving upon entering Jerusalem.
  • Glide along the promenades of Jerusalem’s Old City on a Segway.
  • Check in to your hotel in Jerusalem.
  • Overnight: The Inbal Jerusalem; Meals: Breakfast

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

  • Explore the issues of the day by joining an IRAC (Israel Reform Action Center) staff for an open dialogue.
  • Go beyond the Green Line to meet with Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger/ Rabbi Shaul Judelman from Shorashim (Roots), a program bringing West Bank Palestinians and their Jewish neighbors together despite their fears and suspicions.
  • Engage in a dialogue with Oded Ravivi, Mayor of Efrat.
  • Take a ride on Jerusalem’s light rail and experience the mosaic of the Jerusalem population. As we travel through Jerusalem’s diverse neighborhoods, including those populated by Haredim and Arabs, we’ll note the difference between East and West Jerusalem and the ongoing struggles between the city’s different communities.
  • 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

  • Enjoy a customized program that is geared to the personal history of your family at Yad Vashem.
  • Experience the vibrancy and energy of Mahane Yehuda’s open-air market and enjoy a tasty lunch.
  • 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.
  • 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.