Bar Mitzvah North

This tour is designed as both an unforgettable family vacation, and a relationship building educational experience in which the Bar/ Bat Mitzvah boy/ girl comes to feel their place in Jewish history.
Bar Mitzvah North

Indicative price guide

from $ 3,500 per person

For mid-range and boutique hotels and $4,999 per person for 5 star accommodation, based on minimum of eight participants sharing double rooms.

Itinerary

This tour covers the vast majority of Israel’s top heritage sites and many memorable, interactive experiences.

Day 1

Arrival and private transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Ben Gurion International Airport

Ben Gurion International Airport

We hope you had a good flight. Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport where you will be met by your guide for this special celebratory trip. You will be driven to Jerusalem in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for luggage. You will stop en route to your hotel for an awe inspiring viewpoint over the City.

“The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven”

Day 2

Explore the Old City of Jerusalem including a Kotel Tunnels tour, and the City of David including Hezekiah’s water tunnel

Old City of Jerusalem

A full tour of the Old City of Jerusalem will introduce you to this place of intense sanctity to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where holy sites tumble over each other. Your expert guide will unpeel layers of history and provide an overview of what Jerusalem means to the three monotheistic religions. You will visit the sites most holy to the non- Jewish faiths, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, for Christianity and you will visit or view the Dome of the Rock for Islam. You will then explore the Jewish heritage of the Old City in more detail, from First Temple period remains in the shape of the fascinating ‘Broad Wall, to Second Temple times and the Kotel (Western Wall) and Cardo (the main street during Roman times), to the Hurva Synagogue first built in the eighteenth century, all the way through to the 1967 war and beyond. Together with your guide you will discuss the place of Jerusalem in Jewish history, identity and practice, and what it means for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

You will also visit the City of David, the heart of ancient Jerusalem, the city of kings and prophets, where books of the Bible were written. Together with your guide you will travel through underground tunnels and hidden springs of the ancient city, where kings were crowned and residents fled from conquerors. You will walk in illuminated darkness through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, where water has flowed since the time of the prophets.

Day 3

Visit Yad Vashem, Mahane Yehuda Market and the Israel Museum

Jerusalem

Yad Vashem brings a weighty but meaningful note to today’s touring. Yad Vashem is Israel’s official monument to the Holocaust, located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. The museum has justifiably achieved international acclaim for its in depth and powerful portrayal of extremely challenging material. In order to truly personalize the visit for the Bar/ Bat Mitzvah, they might choose to be ‘twinned’ with a victim of the Shoah.

Special Expert Led Tour

Visiting Mahane Yehuda market you will find yourself surrounded by a plethora of sights, smells and tastes, and the colourful hustle and bustle of Jerusalem life. Your expert culinary guide will show you little known, hidden away gems, and will also explain how Mahane Yehuda serves as a symbol of Israel’s immigrant culture. You will see foods from all parts of the world, and will understand how culinary trends have mixed and influenced each other – just as immigrants from the four corners of the world have preserved their own traditions, and yet integrated to create a unified Israeli culture. The tour lasts for about two hours and includes plenty of tastings. Lunch is included so fear not – you will not be left hungry!

The Israel Museum is surely one of Jerusalem’s treasures. Following a multi-million dollar renovation the museum has received international acclaim and has been named one of the ten most impressive museums in the world. The Israel Museum is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Shrine of the Book) – the oldest known copy of the Bible. You will learn about the remarkable story of these manuscripts, the sect who most likely wrote them, and how they were discovered. You will also visit the celebrated model of second temple Jerusalem.

Day 4

Mazel tov – today is the Bat/ Bar Mitzvah day

Jerusalem

Today’s ceremony and reading from the Torah will take place at the Kotel (you can choose between the Orthodox or Conservative/ Reform areas). Following the ceremony you will enjoy a celebratory lunch personalised to your preferences. This afternoon you will get hands on with an inspiring ‘Mitzvah Project’ which rescues Jerusalem street children and engages them through creative processes. This evening you will enjoy the sound and light show at the Tower of David. We highly recommend including a photographer in order to capture this special day.

Day 5

Today you will learn about the IDF, perform a tree planting, dig for ancient artefacts and welcome Shabbat into the Holy City

Jerusalem

Ready for some adventure!? Today you will learn about the strategies of the IDF through a unique interactive experience. This two hour activity will teach you about the values around the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), and about IDF shooting and combat approaches. You will learn from experts about how to handle weapons and about counter terror tactics. You will also have the opportunity to take part in the tradition of planting a tree in memory of Israel’s fallen soldiers.

This afternoon is another opportunity to get your hands dirty by taking part in an archaeological dig. This is a great activity for the whole family, with kids and adults each taking their own lessons away from the experience. Based at Beit Guvrin, this activity lasts for about three hours and includes digging, sifting, pottery examination and touring the National Park of Beit Guvrin with an exciting crawl through unexcavated cave systems.

This evening you will enjoy a special Kotel Shabbat experience followed by a private Shabbat dinner where you will host a lone soldier and will be joined by a leading journalist who will brief you on current affairs in Israel today.

Day 6

Highlights of the Judean Desert

Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea

This morning your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. Arguably Israel’s most dramatic site, Masada’s mountain top ruins, set against the extraordinary backdrop of the Judean desert, are but a stage for the retelling of an heroic and ancient tale, now engrained in national mythology. With your expert guide as storyteller, you will hear about the lives of the final Jewish resisters to Roman rule, relive their struggle against the mighty Roman army, and wonder at their heroic end. Masada is a totally unique site, well deserving of its UNESCO world heritage status.

Cool off from the desert heat at Ein Gedi, this glorious, green oasis in the middle of the Judean desert, significant as David’s hiding place from King Saul. Natural spring water cascades over a series of ledges in the desert rock, creating waterfalls and fresh water pools, perfect for hiking and swimming through. The springs give life to palm trees, bulrushes, and tropical and Mediterranean plant life, which together produce the sweetest of scents. Watch out for the hyraxes, ibexes, and many native bird species as your guide leads you along the family-friendly Nahale Davide trail.

The waters of the Dead Sea shimmer like nowhere else on earth. Best of all, here you really will float! Full of good-for-you minerals and surrounded by air which is naturally rich in oxygen, the Dead Sea should leave you feeling full of energy.

Day 7

Transfer North from Jerusalem stopping en route at the Roman ruins at Caesarea and at Acre, including the Crusader ruins and the British Mandate period Underground Prisoners Museum

Caesarea and Acre

Caesarea was King Herod the Great’s imposing port town, where Rome was honoured with temples, gladiators fought each other to the last, and games were played in celebration of the King and the empire. Later, Caesarea became a thriving Byzantine town, and then a Crusader conquest, each civilisation leaving its archaeological gems. For Christians Caesarea is of significance because of the stone tablet found near the amphitheater which is inscribed with the name Pontius Pilate, and dedicated to Tiberius Caesar who nominated him as procurator. Caesarea is also the place where the Apostle Paul was sent to stand trial, and as a Roman citizen demanded judgment in front of the Emperor. Your expert guide will tell the tales of this once centrally important place, while you enjoy the fresh sea air.

The Old City of Acre (Akko in Hebrew) is well deserving of its UNESCO world heritage site status. Acre boasts stunning Crusader remains which are so complete you’ll feel transported in time. As your guide recounts Crusader tales, you will marvel at the halls of the Knights Hospitallers, and “escape to the sea” through underground runaway tunnels. Time allowing, together with your guide you will also explore some of Acre’s more varied treasures – the exotic thriving Arab market, the second most holy mosque in Israel (home to a hair from the beard of Mohammed), and the newly renovated Underground Prisoners Museum which commemorates Jewish resistance fighters imprisoned, and sometimes executed, by the British during the Mandate period.

Day 8

Explore Tel Dan, a local winery and chocolate factory, and enjoy an off-road jeep ride in the Golan Heights

Tel Dan, Golan Heights

Tel Dan is a wonderful site, combining nature and the great outdoors with biblical remains from the times of King Jeroboam. Together with your expert guide you will follow a family friendly trail which runs over water and through lush greenery, and is wonderfully refreshing on hot days. You will explore biblical remains and learn about the stone table found here, dating to the second half of the 9th century BCE. Carved onto it is an inscription of Hazael, King of Damascus, in which he boasted of his victory over the King of Israel and the House of David. This is of huge significance as it is the first time that the name “House of David” was discovered outside of the Bible.

From ancient wine presses to modern day boutique wineries, the nectar of the vine has a long history in Israel. You will therefore stop at one of Israel’s award winning wineries for an explanation about the wine making process, and of course for a wine tasting. Each winery has its very own story, so listen out carefully for the story of these bottles. We have included a little bite to eat as well, so fear not – you will not go hungry! Lunch will be a light dairy lunch including artisan cheeses, pasta and quiche. Following lunch, the adults will have the choice of continuing with an enhanced wine tasting or they can join the kids and take a tour of a boutique chocolate factory following the tour each participant will have the option of designing and making their own signature chocolate.
Special Expert Led Tour

This two hour jeep ride is a fascinating and intense ‘off the beaten track’ experience. Your expert guide will drive you through a working agricultural kibbutz, explaining about the pace and style of life in this region of Israel. You will also explore the history and current day reality of kibbutz life from the historic ‘childrens’ house’ system to today’s need to diversity and modernise. You will then drive off road into the demilitarised zone and along the Syrian border (security conditions allowing), viewing hidden Israeli army bunkers and positions. Your expert guide will provide background on Israel’s historical and current relations with her northern neighbours, together with an in-depth analysis of today’s complex situation in Syria and what it means for Israel. Following the jeep ride, time allowing your main guide will take you to the nearby look out at Mount Bental.

Day 9

Visit the mystical city of Tsfat, then head to the Mediterranean coast for a speed boat ride and private barbeque beach lunch. Continue South to Tel Aviv

Tsfat

Check out of your hotel and begin the journey South. Tsfat is the ancient mystical center of kabbalah, where you will wander through time worn cobbled streets, exploring age old synagogues, ducking in and out of art galleries, craft shops and charming cafes. Tsfat’s historical sites are diverse: from the graves of important Rabbis, to the impressive crusader Citadel, and the Great Stairs built by the British to separate Jews and Arabs. Tsfat is a magical place where the ancient stones invite you to reach and touch them, to feel the layers of human history, and the breeze asks you to listen out for the tales it whispers. A great activity we can include for all the family is candle making – please ask about including this!

A visit to Rosh Hanikra involves taking a cable car down to see the breath-taking grottoes where the sea and gleaming white mountains meet while your guide tells you about the special geography and geology of this place. Following Rosh Hanikra we will head to a nearby beach for a BBQ lunch and speedboat rides along the coast.

Day 10

Explore ancient Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv, and the Ayalon Institute

Jaffa and Tel Aviv

Ancient Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv are wonderful to tour together because of their contrasts. In Jaffa you will explore one of the most ancient ports in the world, replete with history from Biblical, ancient Egyptian, Roman, Napoleonic eras and more. Visiting Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s prettiest and oldest neighbourhood, you will hear the story of the city’s beginnings – how the first modern Hebrew city was moulded out of the barren sand dunes in an out-pouring of ideological vision and determination. You will make your way through the colourful and bustling Carmel Market, full of additional tasty treats! The very great variety of foods reflects the fact that Israel is an immigrant society with citizens who have come here from the four corners of the earth (please note the market is closed Friday afternoons and Saturdays). Continuing into more central Tel Aviv you will visit Rothschild Boulevard and Independence Hall (from the outside) where David Ben Gurion famously declared the independence of the modern State of Israel. You will note the various architectural styles of the buildings from eclectic to Bauhaus, and hear stories about the waves of immigration who designed and created these remarkable buildings. The Bauhaus buildings are internationally significant and Tel Aviv’s UNESCO world heritage status is thanks to them.

Mahon Ayalon was an underground bullet factory built by the Palmach during the period of the British Mandate. This interactive museum demonstrates the ingenuity, determination and courage of the early Zionists. This is an inspiring story of creativity and innovation, and of thinking outside of the box. You will find the story as moving as it is ingenious.

Day 11

Private transfer to airport

Tel Aviv

Today is your final day in Israel. Check out of your hotel, and enjoy your remaining time in this extraordinary country, before your flight home. You will be transferred from your hotel in Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport in good time for your flight, in a comfortable air conditioned vehicle.

We hope that you will be leaving Israel with many special memories and that you will come back to visit us again soon.

Thanks again for making this such a memorable experience for all of us… For Liv on her Bat Mitzvah, for our family, and for all of our friends who benefited from your travel planning expertise.

Lauren D, Connecticut

Stay longer

This itinerary can be extended with extra nights in the Desert and a visit to Petra.

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