Day 0, Saturday, February 26: Depart from airport of your choice and plan to arrive in Israel Sunday in the afternoon. The group flight is from Newark airport.
Day 1, Sunday, February 27: We arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport and will be met by our guide and representative who will help us navigate our way through baggage, customs and then onto our tour bus for transfer to the Carmel Forest Spa. This five star property is regarded as the premier spa of Israel offering everything for mind and body rejuvenation. Welcome Dinner and overnight: Carmel Forest Spa.
Day 2, Monday, February 28: After our spa breakfast we will visit Kfar Ahava Children’s and Youth Village, in the town of Kiryat Bialik. After meeting with Executive Director Yoav Apfelbaum, we will take a guided tour and see firsthand the unique living arrangements that give children at risk a safe haven. After the tour we will share in a cooking class with the new Gourmet Club—a special initiative that teaches teens food preparation and catering skills. We will be bringing cooking utensils to help “stock” their kitchen.
Next we’ll plant trees to assist in the replanting of the Carmel Mountain Forest which were tragically burned in the 2010 December fires. Before returning to the spa for an afternoon of health and beauty treatments, we will take a ride on the Haifa Cable Car for a breathtaking view of Haifa and the surrounding area. Dinner and Overnight: Carmel Forest Spa.
Day 3, Tuesday, March 1: After a leisure morning enjoying the spa facilities and/or classes we will visit the Museum of Illegal Immigration in Atlit. This informative exhibit recalls the history of the Jewish people who fled from the Nazis to Israel, only to be incarcerated and labeled an illegal immigrant. We then continue on our day with a visit to the quaint seaside town of Zichron Ya’acov. This picturesque semi-cooperative farming community is the first moshava ever built in Israel and maintains it unique character today.
We will have time to walk the pedestrian friendly “main street” and see the unique crafts and cafes in Zichron Ya’acov. On the main street we will stop into The First Aliyah Museum. Founded in memory of Moshe and Sara Arisohn, the relates the story of the immigrants who came to Israel - and in particular Zichron Ya’akov - with the First Aliyah, starting in 1882. In addition to multi-media presentations the museum displays sculptures, photographs and English language descriptions of the exhibits.
As evening comes, we will visit Carmel’s Zichron Ya’acov Wine Cellars where we will learn about the history of Israeli wine from the 1880’s right up to the recent quality revolution. The winery provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient, old and new world of winemaking, all in one setting. And of course a wine tasting follows! We then will enjoy dinner at Bistro de Carmel, a Mediterranean style restaurant situated in a historic house at the Carmel Winery. After dinner we board our mini bus for the ride to Jerusalem. At the beautiful Haas Promenade (Tayalet) we will make the traditional Shechiyanu blessing as we look out onto the “City of Gold”. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 4, Wednesday, March 2: After a bountiful Israeli breakfast we’ll visit Kever Rachel/Rachel’s Tomb the burial place of Rachel, one of the four biblical matriarchs. Jews from all over come to this holy site which signifies the return of the Jewish people to their biblical, ancient homeland in Israel.
Next we’ll head south into the Judean Desert to explore Masada’s ancient ruins. After hearing the amazing story of Masada and exploring the ancient fortification we will share in a challah baking workshop, learning about the challah baking ceremony that goes back thousands of years. We will be baking our own challah right on the mountain top!
Tonight we will have dinner at Ann Ticho House, one of the prettiest and best restaurants in Jerusalem. Rachel Schitskovsky-Ivker the founder and director of HADADI, a full service and resource center for women with breast cancer, will be joining us to share her amazing and uplifting story with us. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 5, Thursday, March 3: Our day begins with a visit to the offices Isha L’Ishah/Woman to Woman, a community-based, grassroots feminist organization established in 1983, where we will learn about how Isha L’Isha provides a platform to discuss issues of direct importance to women’s lives and their communities, such as feminism, women's rights, violence against women, reproductive rights, discrimination in work and society, sexual identity, trafficking in women, the economy, ecological and environmental issues, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and healthcare.
We then will tour the amazing workshops of Yad l’Kashish, Lifeline for the Elderly where we will see firsthand how seniors are re-engaged and produce some of the most beautiful handiwork in all of Israel! This is the place where shopping is a BIG MITZVAH!!! We then go just a short distance to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum of Israel where after lunch in the Museum’s café, and before we begin our tour, we will hear the personal story of a survivor who survived the brutalities of the Holocaust, sharing her message—Never again! This day needs a relaxing ending and so we will share in a Kabbalah Yoga Flow and Movement Class with Chaya Bracha. Dinner tonight is in Emek Refaim, one of Jerusalem’s hippest neighborhoods. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 6, Friday, March 4: Our morning mitzvah project brings us to Hadassah Shabbhere we will first tour the beautiful Chagall Windows, and then visit with the children bringing them Shabbat treats. Late morning brings us to one of Jerusalem’s oldest neighborhoods, Nachloat where we will navigate our way through the cobblestone streets and see the old and the new side by side. A quick walk across the street takes us to “the shuk” Jerusalems’s largest outdoor market where tasting is part of the tour!
In addition to the stalls of fruits, vegetables and spices we will visit with Machane Yehudah’s famous “Etrog Medicine Man”. After lunch in the shuk, we will head back to our hotel to get ready for Shabbat. Together with women soldiers we will bring in Shabbat at the Kotel dancing and singing. Our Shabbat Dinner will be at a very special venue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 7, Shabbat, March 5: One of the most interesting places to be Shabbat morning is at Shira Hadasha - an egalitarian Orthodox Synagogue. The spirit and the singing will captivate your heart and soul. Later in the afternoon we will join the head of Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo, Rabbi Sholom Brodt, in his home for Seudah Shlishit (the third Shabbat meal). This will be a unique opportunity to be a part of the spiritual community inspired by Reb Shlomo Carlebach z”l. Night time will find us on Ben Yehuda Street, a popular place to watch street performances, have a late evening snack and of course…more shopping! Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 8, Sunday, March 6: Following breakfast we will tour the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, and then meet with Tzipi Hotovely, Parliament Member and Chairperson of the Committee on the Status of Women. Over 30,000 people volunteer each year to help feed the hungry in Israel. We will be counted among them as we roll up our sleeves and put on aprons to peel, chop, slice and serve at Hazon Yeshaya, the largest soup kitchen in Israel.
We will also have the opportunity to learn about the history of this institution that caters to the neediest in Israeli society when we meet with Abraham Israel, Founder and Director of Hazon Yeshaya. Our afternoon excursion takes us to the Israel Museum. Having just reopened after an extensive renovation, we will tour the Model of Ancient Jerusalem that is now housed at the Israel Museum as well as some of the newest exhibits. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 9, Monday, March 7: It’s an early morning wake-up as we join the Woman of the Wall (WOW) at the Kotel to celebrate the new month of Adar II. This experience will be a highlight of our Sisters in Spirit journey as we bond with our Israeli sisters in song and prayer.
After breakfast in the Square and time to reflect on our experience with the Women of the Wall, we will tour the Old City of Jerusalem beginning with the Western Wall Tunnels. Following this we will venture into the Jewish Quarter and meet with Brach Din, a jewelry designer who creates her pieces with prayers. We’ll also have time to shop in the Cardo for some of the best souvenirs in Israel.
Going from ancient to modern, we will find ourselves walking through the Mamilla Pavilion. Featuring renovated 19th century buildings, this newest shopping venue is filled with beautiful sculpture and cafes interspersed throughout. Toward the evening we will visit the Jerusalem theatre. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 10, Tuesday, March 8: After breakfast we check out of our rooms and begin our day with a special Women’s Circle Activity at the Moshav Mevo Modi’in founded in 1976 by Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach z”l. We then head to Independence Hall in Tel Aviv to experience a re-enactment of the day the State of Israel was established. We will also visit Rabin Square—the place Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
After a quick lunch we will tour the “Soho” of Tel Aviv—Shenkin Street and then walk over to the Nachlat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair that isl known for its display of Israeli crafts, including jewelry and other interesting one-of-a-kind gifts—a great place for last minute shopping!
We then will make our way to Yaffa, the first neighborhood in Tel Aviv for our Wrap-Up dinner where we will have a time to share our favorite experiences and memories of our journey together with our Sisters in Spirit. Departure from Ben Gurion Airport. Talk about our next trip together back to Israel!
Please contact us for the full tour program and itemized cost breakdown.
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Middle East Israel Sweet Harmony Women Tours Cultural Journey
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