Israel, the Holy Land, Zion. This is the land that features so prominently in Jewish literature, ideology and heritage. From the yearly prayer on the Passover Seder, “next year in Jerusalem”, to the smashing of a glass at every Jewish wedding ceremony to commemorate Jerusalem’s destruction, it is impossible to disentangle Israel from Jewish tradition.
Jewish pilgrimage sites
A Jewish heritage tour to Israel is the perfect way to engage with this rich tradition and heritage. It is the stories of the Bible are brought to life, where you can explore the stories of ancient Jewish heroes, and be inspired by the success story that is the modern State of Israel. Whether you are traveling to Israel on a first trip, or you’ve been here many times before, we at Pomegranate Travel promise you a meaningful and inspirational Jewish experience tour in Israel.Where are the best places to visit in Israel on a Jewish heritage tour? The obvious starting point is Jerusalem
, the capital of King David’s ancient state, and today’s modern state of Israel. Travel back in time to the period of the biblical kings in the City of David where you can see the ruins of King David’s palace and walk through an ancient water tunnel built by King Hezekiah. Ascend into the Old City to place a note in the Western Wall, the ruins of the Second Temple that are closest to the Holy of Holies, the ancient Temple’s most important site. Explore the beautiful Ashkenazi and Sephardi synagogues in the Jewish Quarter, each replete with their own legends.The modern city of Jerusalem also has much to offer by way of inspiration. A visit to Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust memorial, is a sobering but powerful experience. Next to it lies Mount Herzl, the memorial site for many of the great modern Jewish leaders without whom Israel would never have existed. Here your tour guide can relate the stories behind such great figures as Theodore Herzl, Yitzchak Rabin and Golda Meir, an inspirational group of individuals who dreamed a dream, and made possible the impossible.A lesser known fact is that following the destruction of the Second Temple 2000 years ago, the centre of Judaism in the Promised Land moved to the north. A visit to the areas of the Galilee
and the Golan
reveals a plethora of impressive ancient synagogues, many replete with beautiful mosaics. It is almost possible to feel the presence of the ancient communities, praying for a return to Jerusalem.Also in the north is the city of Tzfat, home of Jewish mysticism, known as the Kabbalah. The city is replete with legends, and a visit to its many synagogues is a real treat. The artists’ quarter is home to artists who draw on the Kabbalah for inspiration, leading to some remarkable creations. We are well acquainted with local artists and scholars, and can arrange private meetings for anyone looking to delve a little deeper into the subject.
Recent history of Israel
Jewish heritage in Israel is focused not only on ancient history, but also to a large extent on more recent history. The birth of the modern state of Israel after the Second World War, and the remarkable survival and growth of the modern tiny state is a huge topic – obviously there is nowhere else in the world better suited to exploring this topic than the land of Israel itself. Our specialist tours will allow you to explore and engage with this period of history and Israel’s current geo-politics
. Start with a Kibbutz tour to understand this radical movement – a revolutionary blueprint for socialist farming settlements developed around 100 years ago and which founded the backbone for the modern State of Israel. Visiting a kibbutz and meeting with the local members is a fascinating experience which transports you to a different world. Explore the British mandate period and learn about the various Jewish resistance movements at musuems such as the Ayalon Institute where you can visit a secret, underground bullet factory; the Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv which is an interactive experience which places you in the shoes of a young Palmach member; the Begin museum in Jerusalem through which you can explore the Irgune (or Etzel) movement including the infamous bombing of the King David Hotel; the Underground Prisoners museum in Akko where the British imprisoned and ultimately hung captured Jewish resistance fighters, and many more. Today the best places to explore this ongoing history is up in the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee where specialist jeep rides will take you off road to the borders with Syria and Lebanon where you can fully understand how Israel’s Northern borders were former, and the current day challenges of the region; and also down in the ‘Gaza Envelope’ where you can visit communities on the border with Gaza and understand the long and complex history of this small but troubled piece of land.No Jewish heritage tour is complete without some time in Tel Aviv
, the first Hebrew city. The incredible story of the founding pioneers is truly inspirational, and a visit to Independence Hall, where the State of Israel was declared into existence by David Ben Gurion can be very moving. Tel Aviv is the centre of modern Hebrew culture today, from theatre to music to art, and we can tailor your Tel Aviv experience to meet your interests in any of these fields with specialist guided tours.We also very much recommend a Shabbat experience during your trip in Israel. We can facilitate home hospitality with families from a variety of Jewish denominations – a wonderful way to engage with the local Jewish experience and hang out with some real Israelis.
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