Bar Mitzvah South

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 South

Indicative price guide

Price 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 many of Israel’s top heritage sites and includes a more off the beaten track desert experience.

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

Highlights of the Judean Desert

Masada, Ein Gedi ,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 Dead Sea

The Dead Sea

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 3

Visit Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum, the kotel tunnels

Israel Museum, the Dead Sea, the Kotel tunnels

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.

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.

Jerusalem Kotel and Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem Kotel and Dome of the Rock

This evening your guide will take you to the Old City of Jerusalem and provide an overview before you tour the Kottel Tunnels. The Western Wall, or Kottel, is one of the most visited sites in Jerusalem. However, the open-air portion of the wall is only about 60 metres long, whereas the majority of this ancient wall is hidden away underground. This tunnel tour allows access to an additional 485 metres of the wall. The tour is complete with stories of ancient Jerusalem and the longing of the Jewish people for this symbolic place. The tour will also expose you to many archaeological finds along the way including discoveries from the Herodian, Umayyad and Hasmonean periods.

Day 4

Mazel tov – today is the Bat/ Bar Mitzvah day

Old City of 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 tour the Old City of Jerusalem as it relates to the chain of Jeish history which the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child has just joined. The Old City of Jerusalem has played a central role in Jewish thought and act throughout the ages, as will be evident on your tour. Jewish history is everywhere, 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.

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 a celebratory market tour and private dinner with a local celebrity chef. 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. Following your tour of the market you will continue to your celebrity chef’s close by atelier where she will prepare a wonderful celebratory meal which you will enjoy together as a family. This will be a very special experience providing memories to last a lifetime.

We highly recommend including a photographer in order to capture this special day.

Day 5

Journey from Jerusalem to the Negev desert & enjoy a night safari

Negev desert

You will be transferred from Jerusalem to the desert in a comfortable private vehicle stopping en route to ride a camel and for some genuine desert hospitality in a Bedouin tent.

After checking into your hotel and enjoying the afternoon at leisure, this evening you will venture out to meet some of the creatures who live in the wilderness. Many desert animals and insects are nocturnal and although finding them can be challenging you will try your best … In the summer months you will certainly find scorpions which glow luminously in special UV flash lights. If we are lucky, with the aid of powerful spot lights you may see some of the larger mammals – foxes, hyenas or wolves. Following our ‘scorpion safari’ we will use a telescope and binoculars to look up at the starry skies for a guided ‘tour’ of the heavens high above.
We will also see some of the intriguing stone etchings left on the rocks eons ago by ancient peoples who once roamed the area as well as the burrows of different rodents with interesting habits.

Day 6

This morning take a jeep ride in the Ramon Crater, before rappelling down its side and enjoying a wilderness lunch!

Ramon Crater

Rappel

Rappel

This morning your expert guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. You will board your jeep and your first stop will be on the edge of the Ramon Machtesh at the top of the Atzmaut Ascent. Following a short explanation at the viewpoint you will descend into the Machtesh itself and cross half its width to Wadi Ramon where you will stop to explain what a Machtesh is and how it was formed.
You will continue across the floor of the Machtesh to the summit of Mt. Gvanim which offers a stunning view of the entire Machtesh and from there along Wadi Gvanim stopping in the shade of an Acacia tree to explain about the flora and fauna. A roller coaster ride along the old oil pipe line with it’s fascinating history will take you back towards the main road and Mitzpe Ramon where your experienced rappelling instructor will show you the ropes for an invigorating adrenalin full experience.

And now for something special … you will enjoy a beautifully set private lunch with stunning desert scenery all around. A private table will be laid for you, with shade provided in case it’s a hot day. You will enjoy a variety of delicious foods and refreshing drinks in the quiet desert setting.

Day 7

Transfer from the Negev desert to Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

This morning you will be transferred from the desert to Tel Aviv in a comfortable air conditioned vehicle. Alternatively you may choose to fly from Mitzpe Ramon to Tel Aviv in a private helicopter. The route is extremely scenic and dramatic as you will witness the arid and then semi arid desert blossom into the green and fertile landscape of central Israel. The flying route is likely to be over the crater itself with stunning views, and then over Sde Boker and Ben Gurion’s grave, over Beersheva, along the Tel Aviv coastline, and with impressive views of Israel’s most developed city.

Day 8

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

Tel Aviv

Ancient Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv are wonderful to tour together because of their contrasts.

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

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 9

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.

Yet another reminder of our fantastic trip. Not a day goes by without discussion of something that we saw or did. Your arrangements for the tours and guides and visits with locals were extraordinarily impactful.

Jack L, Chicago

Stay longer

This itinerary can be extended with extra nights in the North of Israel, or a visit to Petra.

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