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Congregation Beth Shalom

Jewish Community in Bozeman, Montana

Israel Trip – May 13-27, 2013

20 of us are all on board to see the sites, meet fascinating people, and learn for ourselves about the challenges and joys of the Middle East. The itinerary is below.

Itinerary (as of  May 9)

Monday, May 13

The trip officially begins at 6:00 p.m.  However, many of you are arriving the day before. My recommendation for this day are to try to do some of the things in Jerusalem which we will not have time to do. The City of David tour is an excellent idea. You can get there by cab in 15 minutes from the hotel and you can get a guide there. If you would rather shop, check out the main shopping street, on Ben Yehuda Sreet, about 20 minutes by cab from the hotel. Or a stroll in Liberty Bell Park, walkable from the hotel, seeing the windmill and liberty bell, and then walking down the valley through a quaint neighborhood and artist colony at. Another choice is a museum: the Israel Museum or the Museum of the Seam, Socio-Political Art Museum housed in a building which was on the seam line in Jerusalem between 1948-1967

  • 6:00 Meet in the lobby of the hotel, walk to Haas Promenade for Shehechiyanu ceremony
  • 7:30 pm Dinner and evening program at hotel:  Opening conversation: “What do I bring to this experience?”

Overnight, Jerusalem, Little House in Baka.

Tuesday, May 14, Erev Shavuot

Breakfast at the hotel

  • 8:30 Board the bus to drive all around the Old City, passing her various gates, through East Jerusalem, viewing the Mount of Olives beyond the City of David until Zion Gate. As we enter, discuss the Jewish narrative and historical presence in the Old City. Walk along the edge of the Armenian Quarter and into the Jewish Quarter. View the Roman-Byzantine Cardo and on down for a view of the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock. See the exposed area of the Western Wall and then enter what is today called the Western Wall Tunnel (12:00) under the Muslim Quarter. Exit onto the Via Dolorosa and follow along some of the stations until reaching the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
  • 2:00 Over lunch at the Wujoub Center hear the Christian Palestinian narrative about the Old City. Wujoud is a cultural center and museum in a 650 year old building owned by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and donated to the Arab Orthodox Society.
  • 4:00 Pick up from the Jaffa Gate back to the hotel or have some extra time in the Old City. (Be sure to buy food items for tomorrow’s potluck to supplement bagels that we will collectively purchase) (few restaurants will be open on Shavuot)
  • 5:30: Meet at the hotel for an introduction to Shavuot. Tikun Leyl options — all night study sessions, will be offered and restaurant options for dinner will be given. Read about tikun leyl shavuot here:
  • Dinner on our own
  • Leil Tikun, all night study sessions available throughout the city (a list will be provided). Some preliminary options for tikun leyl shavuot:
  • Pardes (very near our hotel):
  • Conservative Yeshiva:
  • Tower of David: (in Hebrew only!)
  • Overnight, Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 15 Shavuot

Breakfast at hotel

  • Early Morning walk to and prayer at Western Wall
  • Late breakfast at hotel
  • 10:30 Depart hotel for Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity with Palestinian tour guide Elias Ghareeb. Together travel to the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour where, divided into groups, we will have the opportunity to talk with people in their homes over tea, coffee, fruit and cookies. Then, at the al-A’yda Refugee Camp near Rachel’s Tomb, visit one of the youth organizations and tour the camp.
  • Lunch in Beit Sachor.
  • Cross back to Jerusalem through the checkpoint and either go directly to the Arnona neighborhood for the next meeting or, if time, retrun to hotel to freshen up
  • 4:00 pm: Meet at home of Dr. Paul Liptz, social historian of Tel Aviv University, for a light meal (collectively purchased bagels and pot luck items purchased by participants) and discussion: “Framing Israel: How to Make Sense of the Middle East”
  • Walk back to hotel via the former home of Shai Agnon, Israel’s first nobel prize winner. Reading texts from his works for an understanding of Jerusalem.
  • Dinner options either before or after our musical evening
  • 8:30 Musical workshop with musicians from Nava Tehila (at Kol Hanishama), in preparation for those who will attend services at Nava Tehila on Friday evening.

Overnight, Jerusalem

Thursday, May 16

Breakfast at the hotel

  • 8:30 am- 2:00 p.m.: Crossing the Line: Travel to Chevron and the Cave of the Machpelah, accompanied by Avner Gvaryahu from Breaking the Silence. Chevron is the second largest city on the west bank and the only one which has an Israeli settlement inside of it. The tour explores the principle of separation and military control of the city and will finish around 2:00 pm.
  • Travel to Efrat, a Jewish settlement in the Gesh Etzion region of the West Bank
  • Lunch on your own in Efrat.
  • 3:30 pm: Meet with residents and tour Efrat with Ardie Geldman to learn about the history of the area, living in Efrat, relations with neighbors, and hopes for the city.
  • 6:00 p.m.: Return to Jerusalem. Make our own way to 7:30 dinner at the famed Anna Ticho restaurant ($38 pp, courtesy of Rabbi Ed).  If time, stop off for a quick walk-through of the Psalms Museum (located very near to Anna Ticho).
  • Over dinner, there will be a facilitated conversation on “Identity and Putting the Pieces Together” with Noy Mordekovitch from “The Interfaith Encounter Association.” The organization is dedicated to promoting peace in the Middle East through interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural study. They believe that, rather than being a cause of the problem, religion can and should be a source of the solution for conflicts that exist in the region and beyond.

Overnight,  Jerusalem

Friday, May 17

Breakfast at the hotel

  • 8:15 Travel to and visit Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam, an Oasis of Peace between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and close to the Green Line. Meet with a resident of the village to hear about the ideology, challenges and achievements since its establishment. Walk around the village for further discussion on bi-national and bi-lingual education, the community, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
  • Noon: Return to Jerusalem, driving past the Supreme Court, Knesset and Israel Museum
  • Lunch on our own
  • Shopping time at Machane Yehuda, an outdoor market (We may want to buy food items for tomorrow’s seudat shlishit (third meal).) There will be the opportunity for a transfer back to the hotel or stay in town and enjoy the arts and craft fair on Betzalel Street.
  • 3:30 Hear stories about various checkpoints from Hanna Barag of Machsom Watch, at her home near the hotel. She sits on the board of Yesh Din, an organization dealing with land appropriation and will share about their work.
  • 5:00 Open air Friday evening services with Nava Tehilah (at the inauguration of the new railroad station).
  • 7:30 Dinner at the Jerusalem  Hotel in East Jerusalem. Along with dinner will be an Oriental musical evening. Set menu (not included, about $25 pp)

Overnight, Jerusalem

Shabbat, May 18 (Parshat Nasso)

Breakfast at the hotel

  • Meeting over breakfast with Sherrill Birkner-Mack, Board member of of Women of the Wall, a women’s group fighting for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall:
  • Optional services at one of Jerusalem’s many congregations. Rabbi Ed will lead a group to Shira Chadasha, a modern Orthodox synagogue where women have an increasingly expansive role. After services, we will meet with a member of Shira Chadasha congregation and learn about the changing role of women in Orthodox Judaism.
  • For those not wishing to attend services, you will have time on your own to do one of the items on the first day of the itinerary that you did not get to do.
  • Lunch on your own, followed by time on your own. You might want to visit the Israel Museum and/or the Tower of David.,
  • 5:00 p.m.: Meet at hotel to walk to the home of Diane Bloomfield (author of Torah Yoga and teacher of Sfat Emet) Study session with her, including third meal (seudah shlishit) of food that we will collectively purchase, followed by havdallah (ceremony for seperating from shabbat).
  • 8:12 Shabbat ends. Time to see how Jerusalem restaurants and venues open up again.
  • 9:00 p.m.: Dinner on your own or optional dinner at Darna, famous Moroccan restaurant (not included, about $75 pp) (reservation for 15).

Overnight, Jerusalem

Sunday, May 19

Breakfast at the hotel

  • Laundry drop off (at the expense and responsibility of participant)
  • 8:30 our with Rabbi Arik Ascherman from Rabbis for Human Rights to learn about home demolitions in East Jerusalem.
  • 1:30 Lunch on your own at Yad Vashem cafeteria
  • Tour of Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Museum including the Historical Museum, Children Memorial and Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles
  • Yad Vashem.
  • Mt. Herzl, where many of Israel’s former leaders have been laid to rest. How have these leaders shaped the Israel of today?
  • 5:30 Drop off either at the hotel or near Jaffa Gate for time on your own in Mamilla Shopping Arcade, the Old City or the Artist Colony just outside Jaffa Gate before dinner
  • 7:30 Dinner at Eucalyptus and meeting with chef Moshe Basson, a member of Chefs for Peace. Using indigenous ingredients from the Judean Hills, Moshe creates a Biblical meal where none leave hungry (Dinner $50 pp, courtesy of Rabbi Ed).

Overnight Jerusalem

Monday, May 20

Breakfast at the hotel

Overnight, Massada Guest House.

Tuesday, May 21

Breakfast at the hotel

Overnight, Nofei Gonen. 

Wednesday, May 22

Breakfast at the hotel

Overnight, Nofei Gonen,

Thursday, May 23

Breakfast at the hotel

  • 8:00 Load the bus and drive to Tzfat, the city of Jewish Mysticism.  Meet with artist David Friedman for an understanding of kabbalistic art.  Then plenty of time to stroll through the synagogues and galleries of Tzfat or soak up the atmosphere of this 16th century city where “L’cha Dodi” was written. Those who want a longer walk can descend to the ancient cemetery where Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Ari, is buried and see the mikve still being used. Time for lunch on your own.
  • Meet with Eliyahu McLean in Tzfat to hear about his work with Jerusalem Peacemakers and sulcha then travel together to the town of Rame. There we will meet with Arab Peacemaker Deacon Jiries Mansour, principal of the interfaith school where Druze, Muslims and Christians study together.
  • Travel to Tel Aviv along the Trans-Israel highway where along the way we will pass sections of the Security/Separation Barrier
  • 8:00 Check into hotel
  • Dinner on your own

Overnight, Tel Aviv, Prima Tel Aviv.

Friday, May 24

Breakfast at the hotel

  • 8:00 am: Jaffa of then and now, a walking tour of Jaffa.
  • 10:00 Independence Hall where Ben Gurion declared the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Study session on the Declaration: The Complexities of Israel Today.
  • Program: A Picture Tells a Thousand Words. Using a map and your camera discover the diversity of Tel Aviv. Stroll along Rothschild Blvd viewing the Bauhaus architecture that has given Tel Aviv the name, The White City and over to the arts and crafts market of Nachalat Binyamin for lunch on your own and then to Shuk HaCarmel where you can shop for snacks to be shared tomorrow.
  • Kabbalat Shabbat services with Jewish renewal congregation Kehilat HaLev with Rabbi Ori Zohar, followed by optional dinner (at our expense).
  • 7:15 Candle lighting
  • Overnight, Tel Aviv

Shabbat, May 25 (Parshat Bahalechtacha)

Breakfast at the hotel

  • Shabbat morning and lunch on your own with a chance to rest, enjoy the beach, walk the promenade, visit Dizengoff Square, play the classic game “matkot” (a version of pingpong but without a table), or stroll the Tel Aviv Port.
  • 6:00 pm: Seudat Shlishit (Third meal of Shabbat). A chance to share our day and the tasty food purchased at yesterday’s market. Learning session with Baruch Kraus of the Reform Movement’s EIE Program.
  • 8:20 Havdalah on the beach and evening out to explore Tel Aviv with dinner on your own, optional dinner at Cafe Kapish at the Naga’alat center, a theater with deaf waiters: (not included)

Overnight, Tel Aviv

Sunday, May 26

Breakfast at the hotel

  • 9:00 am Depart for the Rechovot area where we will participate in Leket Israel, Israel’s National Food Bank, which helps rescue produce and in the process offers food to Israel’s poor
  • Drive to Ramla to see the kindergarten which was the home mentioned in Sandy Tolan’s book, The Lemon Tree. Lunch on your own along the main street of Ramla.
  • Back to the hotel to pack and organize, lunch on your own
  • 3:30-5:00 Meeting with Parents Circle – Families Forum at the hotel. Discussion and dialogue with an Israeli and Palestinian member of PCFF.
  • 5:00  Summary discussion: “What am I taking home?”
  • 6:30 Load the bus and drive to the Yemenite Quarter for our final dinner at  Maganda, a classic Middle East restaurant.
  • Time back at the hotel to pack and last minute shopping before final dinner
  • 8:00Transfer to airport for either midnight or 1am flights

Cost: Price for person in a double room based on the following number of participants:

  • $2,450 for 20-24 participants 
  • $800 single supplement

Trip package includes:

  • Hotels: 13 nights including late check out May 15 (three star hotels and /or Guest Hostels, 3 TA, 2 north, 1 Dead Sea, 7 Jerusalem
  • Meals: all breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 6 dinners (italic in itinerary)
  • Transportation: 12 days Midi Van, including transfer to and from airport for a consolidated group flight (different arrival and departure times do not have transfer included)
  • Meetings and Sites: included in price as listed in this itinerary
  • Guide/Program Coordinator: 12 days, Shari Robins

Not included:

  • Tips of any kind to driver, guides, hotel staff
  • Travel insurance
  • Airfare to and from Israel
  • Please be aware that price may increase 5-10% depending on hotels and bus companies.