Author Archives: Coral
How do you want to shape your child’s memories?
Their Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a significant milestone in their life and identity.
As a parent, you have invested time, love, and energy in your child’s development.
Consider having their Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Israel for a unique and meaningful experience that connects them to their Jewish heritage, shows them how the past influences the future, and boosts their pride in their Jewish identity.
Talk to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Travel Consultant for more information. They have first-hand experience planning this special occasion in Israel for their own children.
Celebrate Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Your Way
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Israel is an opportunity to express your love for your child, not a tedious obligation.
You have the flexibility to personalize the celebration to match your family’s style and preferences.
Many Rabbis in Israel are open to accommodating special requests, such as performing part or all of the ceremony in English instead of Hebrew.
While some traditions remain unchanged, such as your child reading from the Torah, you can choose a unique and memorable location for the ceremony, such as the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Masada, or the ancient Ein Gedi Synagogue.
These unique experiences will create memories that last a lifetime for you and your child.
Simplifying the Planning Process
Planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah should be an enjoyable and stress-free experience. Combining it with a family vacation and working with a tour company can make the planning process even easier.
However, finding the right tour company can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
Ensure the tour company you choose takes care of all the details while giving you control over the planning process. The company should prioritize your needs and wants for the trip.
The company should also prioritize creating a meaningful and memorable experience for everyone in your family, especially your Bar/Bat Mitzvah son or daughter, so they return home proud and inspired by their Jewish identity.
What is the point if some part of you isn’t moved by your experience in Israel? Choose a tour company that prioritizes your family’s overall experience in Israel and creates lasting memories.
Discovering Jewish Heritage and Pride
Visiting Israel is a crucial aspect of understanding the depth of being Jewish.
The liberation of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967 holds immense historical significance, and witnessing it through the eyes of a soldier who was a part of it during your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip can be a powerful experience.
Being in Israel, surrounded by the Hebrew language, will allow your kids to connect with their heritage and culture.
Immersing themselves in the language by speaking with locals will create a lasting memory and appreciation for their roots.
Israel is renowned for its thriving startup culture, with more startups per capita than any other nation. This entrepreneurial spirit is rooted in the Jewish belief in improving the world.
From creating solutions for freshwater scarcity to developing technology to aid the visually impaired and paralyzed, the impact of Israeli innovation is undeniable.
Your family can visit the Center for Israeli Innovation to learn more and be inspired.
Exposure to the people and achievements of Israel is bound to instill a sense of pride and connection to your child’s Jewish identity.
Making it a Memorable Trip
Your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration is not only about the ceremony, it’s also a birthday celebration. So, make sure it’s enjoyable for everyone in the family.
There’s a wealth of activities to choose from, such as visiting historical sites, swimming with dolphins, sandboarding, going on a jeep ride, or taking cooking classes. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The highlight of the trip for your child might just be the party! In Israel, parties are an occasion to have fun too, not just performing rituals.
In the US, everything related to the celebration is done in one day, which can be stressful for the child.
However, if you have a celebration in Israel, you will have already experienced many activities and adventures, making the party a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.
A Legacy To Remember
Think about it: how do you want your child to recall their Bar/Bat Mitzvah? As a chore they had to fulfill, or as a life-changing experience they will treasure forever?
You can give your child the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration you always wanted for yourself. Not only will it have a lasting impact on them, but it will create meaningful memories that they can pass down to future generations.
Turn your Jewish heritage into a family legacy and make your Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip a one-of-a-kind experience. Book a consultation with a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Travel Expert today.
Make your child’s bar or bat mitzvah a memorable experience that will last a lifetime.
ITAS Tours (Israel Travel Advisory Service) offers a wide range of bar and bat mitzvah tours to Israel designed to cater to your specific needs and preferences.
Whether you want to explore the historical and cultural sites or experience the fun and excitement that Israel has to offer, ITAS Tours can help make it happen.
Trust us to take care of the details and help you create a bar or bat mitzvah trip that you and your family will never forget.
Contact ITAS Tours today to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime Israel bar mitzvah tour or Israel bat mitzvah tour and make your mark on the legacy of your family’s Jewish heritage.
Traveling to Israel can be a unique and enriching experience, but it can also be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with the country and its culture. This blog will give you some tips to help make your trip to Israel smooth and enjoyable.
The Practical Tips for Visiting Israel
Start with the practical things you should consider when traveling to Israel, like the best time to travel to Israel (climate and Jewish Holidays) and what to pack.
First and foremost, it’s important to be aware of the weather in Israel. The country experiences hot and dry summers, with temperatures often reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and cool and rainy winters. Bring plenty of sunscreens and stay hydrated if you plan to visit during the summer months. In the winter, it’s a good idea to pack a jacket and umbrella.
The Jewish holidays are essential to consider when planning your trip to Israel. In Israel, there are two calendars in use: the Gregorian calendar, which is the standard international calendar, and the Jewish calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle.
Many of the country’s religious holidays are based on the Jewish calendar, so it’s important to be aware of these dates when planning your trip. During Jewish holidays, it’s common for public transportation, banks, and stores to be closed. This can impact your travel plans and make it challenging to complete your usual activities.
In addition, hotel prices are often higher during Jewish holidays, so it’s a good idea to book your accommodations in advance if you plan to visit during these times.
Another critical thing to consider when traveling to Israel is being mindful of your clothing choices.
While some cities, such as Tel Aviv, Jaffa, and Haifa, tend to be more open-minded and fashion-forward, other cities, such as Jerusalem, have a more conservative culture, and it is recommended to dress modestly.
It’s a good idea to avoid wearing tank tops, shorts, or anything that is above the knees, especially when visiting more religious or conservative areas. When packing for a trip to Israel, it’s a good idea to focus on convenience rather than fashion. While you can pack many of the same items you would take to Europe, there are a few specific things to consider when traveling to Israel.
It’s also a good idea to cover your shoulders and upper arms, especially when visiting holy sites or places of worship.
Tips on what to pack:
- A scarf and a long-sleeve top, especially for women visiting religious sites. Some sites may provide cover-ups, but it’s always better to have your own.
- Light-weight clothing is essential for summer when temperatures reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity.
- A light jacket and some sweaters are necessary during the winter months.
- In Israel, comfortable shoes are essential, especially if you plan to walk around the city.
- A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion are essential for protecting yourself from the intense sun.
- Wet wipes, a small roll of toilet paper, and hand sanitizer are helpful to have on hand, as public restrooms may only sometimes have these amenities.
- A small umbrella can be helpful in unexpected rain showers, which are common in Israel.
Remember, dressing modestly is a sign of respect for the local culture and customs, and it will help you blend in and feel more comfortable during your trip.
Knowing the History
One of the most important things you can do before traveling to Israel is to learn about the country’s history. Israel’s archaeological sites and landmarks are filled with rich cultural and religious significance, and understanding their history will enhance your appreciation of these places.
The history of Israel is long and complex, with roots dating back to ancient times. According to the Hebrew Bible, the origin of Israel is connected to Abraham, who is said to have been the father of both Judaism (through his son Isaac) and Islam (through his son Ishmael).
Over the centuries, many different nations have occupied the Land of Israel, but the Jewish people have always maintained a physical, cultural, and religious presence in the region.
Learning about Israel’s history will help you better understand its culture and many religious and historical sites. Whether you are interested in ancient ruins, sacred places of worship or modern cities, a more profound knowledge of Israel’s past will enrich your travels.
Prices, expenses and tipping
It’s important to note that Israel can be expensive to visit. Prices for hotels, food, entrance fees, and other goods and services are generally higher than in other parts of the world. Additionally, a value-added tax (VAT) of 17% is applied to most goods and services in Israel.
One thing to be aware of is that speaking English may sometimes result in higher prices, as some merchants may assume that tourists are willing to pay more.
It’s a good idea to exchange money before your trip or to use ATMs once you arrive, as you can find money exchange offices and ATMs throughout the country. Bartering is a common practice in Israel and can be a helpful way to save money and avoid frustration.
While car prices are generally non-negotiable, haggling for other goods and services is expected. Israeli people are used to bargaining for discounts on major purchases, and the listed price is often calculated with this in mind.
If you are uncomfortable with bartering, you can ask your tour guide or a local friend to assist you.
Tipping in Israel is a common practice, similar to most Western countries. It is not mandatory, but it is expected and appreciated, especially for services such as dining in restaurants and bars.
The customary tip in Israel is between 10% and 15% of the total bill, with a minimum of 10% and an average of 12%. For exceptional service, it is acceptable to tip up to 15%. It is important to note that servers and bartenders in Israel receive a relatively low salary, so tipping is an integral part of their income.
Tips are generally left in cash rather than on a credit card, so it’s a good idea to carry some small change with you. Tipping is only sometimes expected from other service providers, such as taxi drivers and hotel staff, but it is always appreciated if you decide to be generous.
If you have questions about tipping in Israel, your tour guide or local friends can guide you.
Sabbath, or Shabbat, is an important religious holiday observed by Jews worldwide, including in Israel.
It is a 25-hour celebration that begins at sundown on Friday and ends after sunset on Saturday. During this time, many people take a break from their daily activities to spend time with family and loved ones or to participate in religious worship.
It’s important to be aware of the observance of Shabbat in Israel, as many public services, including transportation and businesses, are closed during this time.
If you plan to travel within the country on a Friday, arrive at your destination before 4:00 PM, as many services will close in preparation for Shabbat.
Israel also observes other religious holidays, and during these times, it is common for businesses, restaurants, and cafes to close.
On Yom Kippur, the Hebrew Day of Atonement, almost all services in the country are closed, and it is even common for the airport to shut down.
If you visit Israel during a religious holiday, be prepared for disruptions to your travel plans and be respectful of the local customs and traditions.
If you want to make the most of your trip to Israel, avoid staying in Jerusalem on the weekends, as many businesses and services are closed on Friday nights and Saturdays.
Instead, consider visiting more secular cities like Tel Aviv or Haifa, where services remain open on weekends.
Last but not least
We hope these tips have helped prepare you for your trip to this fascinating and richly historic country.
Israel has something to offer everyone, whether you are interested in exploring the ancient ruins of Jerusalem, soaking up the sun on the beaches of Tel Aviv, or joining a guided tour to learn more about the country’s cultural and religious history.
At Israel Travel Advisory Service, we are dedicated to helping you make the most of your trip to Israel. From custom Israel tours, including Jewish tours and Christian tours, to our travel advisory services, we are here to assist you every step of the way.
We hope you have a wonderful and memorable trip to Israel!
A trip to Israel for Jews can and should be more than just a conventional tourist experience with foreign people, cultures, and places.
Many individuals visit Israel for a variety of reasons. For instance, some people travel for work. In contrast, others do it for fun or to have a fantastic time participating in activities like windsurfing in the Mediterranean or scuba diving in the Red Sea.
The most significant number of visitors to Israel are Jews that want to visit their Jewish homeland to see and connect with their ancient history.
Israel receives many visitors who identify as Jews.
Do they come to discover what it means to them to be Jewish or to learn more about the land and people of Israel?
Visit places like Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, where the Zionist leadership declared Israel’s independence in 1948, or Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, where most of the state’s early political leaders are buried if you wish to understand the experience of modern Israel.
In the vast expanse of the Negev, you can visit David Ben Gurion’s home and grave or see memorials to battles and fallen troops before meeting current soldiers on military sites.
Both the Knesset and the Supreme Court are open for visits. The best way to understand Israel’s minorities is to travel to Druze and Bedouin villages.
The Jewish atmosphere can be felt in public places, including shopping stores, outdoor markets, and city centers.
Through such a pilgrimage, one can feel and comprehend the experience of Jews living in the same hills and valleys as their ancestors, speaking the same language, and following the same holidays of the Jewish calendar.
Israel and You
Several Israeli tour operators use Jewish texts, games, or conversations to connect guests’ Jewish identities with the country and people of Israel.
A visit to Israel should concentrate on how you feel about your place in Jewish history, the Jewish world, Jewish politics, your community, and your family.
For instance, scheduling a trip to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market for a Friday would be preferable since you can see and experience the change in scenery and environment.
From the busy, high-energy environment of midday and early afternoon to the calm just before Shabbat, these types of events and interactions help us figure out how to apply these transformations to our lives and homes.
Journeys of the Spirit
Israel can be interacted with on a more personal level. An Israel tour is an opportunity to investigate the similarity between the journeys of the Jewish people and our souls.
Why should such spiritual reflection take place in Israel in particular? Israel is a place that encourages dreams, enabling Jews to connect to their greatest aspirations for themselves and their country, even in the age of fast communication and readily available worldwide travel.
Feel Closer to Your Heritage by Visiting Israel
If you want to connect with your Jewish Heritage travelling to Israel and visiting the most iconic sites is the best option.
Israel Travel Advisory Service is the way to go, so we can assist you in planning the ideal trip, vacation, or tour to Israel for you and your family.
From family tours to custom Israel tours, Israel Travel Advisory Service offers a variety of Israel Jewish Tours.
We take joy in ensuring that you have a real Israeli vacation thanks to our more than 45 years of experience planning trips to Israel.
The next step in embracing your heritage and culture is to learn about the rituals, rites, and traditions unique to your religion and culture.Everything is celebrated in Jewish culture from birth to death, and they honour the person who lived it and the entirety of life.
Rituals are important and respected in many cultures, and it is a way of offering a warm invitation into their world.
Religious rituals known as rites of passage commemorate a person’s path from one stage of life to another.
Jewish customs that go back to biblical times and that have developed following regional traditions and Halakha (the power of laws and ordinances that have existed since the time of the Bible to regulate Jewish religious observances, daily life, and behaviour) mark important moments in a Jew’s life.
The Bible mentions rites of passage, including Brit Milah, Bat Mitzvah, and Bar Mitzvah. The evolution of weddings and funerals has mobilized rites of passage, such as marriage and death, and each has its rituals.
Rites of passage have occasionally been connected to other biblically inspired rituals, such as festivals and pilgrimages.
Birth and Baptism
The birth of a child is a reason for joyful celebration in every culture.
Brit Milah Jews have a religious duty to remember God’s covenant with Abraham by getting circumcised.
Brit Bat/Simchat Bat
Ashkenazi Jews have a long-standing custom where the father is invited to the synagogue on the first Shabbat following the birth of his daughter to receive an aliyah (the privilege of reading the blessings before and after a section of the public Torah reading), after which the baby’s name is announced.
Baptism in the Jordan River is a priceless rite of passage because it welcomes you into your heritage, helps you embrace it, and connects you to your ancestors, making you feel closer to them.
Coming of age
Jewish life became characterized by the textual world of the Torah and its changing interpretations, and the entrance of male and female children constituted a significant passage.
Jewish law holds parents responsible for their children’s actions up to this time.
These rituals mark the passage from childhood to adulthood, which includes accepting personal accountability for one’s behaviour and having more significant Jewish obligations.
Bar Mitzvah “Son of the Commandment”
At the age of 13, boys have their Bar Mitzvah. Once they reach adulthood, they are accountable to God for their sins.
When it comes to religious practice, a boy who has turned Bar Mitzvah is responsible for the same duties, obligations, and benefits as an adult.
On the first Sabbath following the boy’s 13th birthday, the ceremony takes place in the synagogue. After the ceremony, the boy’s father acknowledges that his son is now prepared to accept accountability for his own conduct.
Bat Mitzvah “Daughter of the Commandment.”
At the age of twelve, girls get their Bat Mitzvah.
Regarding the Torah readings, the ceremony is identical to that for boys and is performed on the Sabbath in the Temple.
The readings typically include a statement of commitment, a reading from the Bible, and other texts that discuss the obligations and responsibilities of the Jewish woman.
Jewish law stipulates two steps in the marriage process:
- Kiddushin: The Betrothal
- Huppah: The Canopy
Kiddushin, which means “sanctification,” is the name for a Jewish marriage (when something is holy or sacred). Shabbat, holidays, and mourning times are prohibited for Jewish weddings.
Wedding Canopy: The couple is taken by their parents to stand underneath the Huppah wedding canopy. It represents the Tallit (prayer shawl) and the home they will build together.
Marriage Contract: Instead of exchanging vows, the bride and groom sign the marriage contract, or ketubah, in the presence of two witnesses after the Rabbi has read it to them.
Two different kinds of contracts exist:
- The Orthodox: It outlines the groom’s duties in the marriage. It doesn’t have any promises from the bride in it. It is meant to give her security in the future.
- The Reform: It refers to shared responsibility and partnership within the marriage.
Smashing The Glass
The wedding ritual concludes with seven blessings recited over the wine and asking God to bless the bride and husband. There is a prayer for Zion (Jerusalem) as well.
The groom then stomps on the wine glass to break it as a memory of the Temple’s destruction in 70CE after the bride and groom take another taste of the wine.
As a sign of respect, a Jewish person’s funeral must be held as quickly as possible (often within 24 hours) after death. On Shabbat or the start or last days of festivals, though, they are prohibited.
A group of honourable men and women offered their services to help with funeral arrangements, wash and prepare the body for burial, and attend to the sick and the deceased.
When the Kaddish is said following the funeral, mourning begins.
At a parent’s funeral and every day for the following eleven months, children must recite the Kaddish.
The Kaddish focuses on the name of God, asking that people recognize its sacredness.
The grieving declares that even though they have lost a loved one, God is still their God, and they still acknowledge him as the supreme being in charge of the universe.
Shiva, which means “seven” in Hebrew, is a term for the seven days following a funeral that do not include Shabbat.
Leave the Planning to the Experts
Want to learn more about these rituals and rites of passage or experience them yourself or with your family? Get in touch with ITAS Tours and talk with one of our advisors to find out more and start planning your next trip to Israel.
With ITAS Tours, your only concern will be enjoying the festivities and the parties. Israel Travel Advisory Service will create the perfect Custom, Family, and Jewish Israel Tour with more than 50 years of providing the highest quality tours in Israel, bringing families and their friends together to explore their rich heritage.
So, if you want to do something super interesting in Israel other than visiting all the famous historical landmarks and making your typical tourism trip. Here are several activities for all the family, keeping your children entertained and interested in your trip:
Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
One of Israel’s top family-friendly attractions is the 62-acre Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, situated in the city’s southern part.
The park is surrounded by lush nature, has a large artificial lake, and is filled with free-roaming wildlife.
One of the attractions at the Biblical Zoo is a train that circles the property and stops at various locations so guests can tour the whole place.
Over 170 species of animals coexist in the park, many of which are referenced in the Hebrew Bible. It also has a petting zoo, play area, playground, and many hands-on and engaging activities for younger children.
Superland& The Island
If you want something that’s outside the box and for all ages, these are your best options:
Travel for 30 minutes outside Tel Aviv to Superland. This amusement park includes thrilling roller coasters, fun carousels and Ferris wheels, and a variety of carnival-style activities for both young and young-at-heart visitors.
While you take a magical swan boat ride on the river or bungee jump from a pirate ship, ignore the silly Tel Aviv residents who claim that everything you need is in the White City.
The Island is a theme park on the roof of Azrieli Mall for kids between the ages of 4 and 12.
It’s a fantastic alternative to spending another day at the beach because it has water attractions like a large pool, water slides, and fountains.
On The Island, you can find a trampoline, a survival ropes course, climbing walls, video games, an electric train, a haunted tunnel, and other entertaining features.
While your kids are on the roller coaster, jumping, climbing, dancing, or on the water slides, you can unwind in the pool area while keeping an eye on your kids.
Timna Park, located in the Negev Desert close to the city of Eilat in the south, offers a breathtaking view of the area’s geological past.
Timna Park’s 15,000 acres are situated in a valley that is in the shape of a horseshoe. Families are invited to explore this desert park and enjoy sights like the world’s first copper mine and a lake in the middle of the desert!
Families can take the Timna Park and Desert Agriculture Tour from Eilat to enjoy an all-inclusive park tour that offers the chance to create sand art, and sample recently picked vegetables from a desert greenhouse.
A trip to the Naama Farm in Western Negev is a beautiful opportunity for families with young children to spend the day outside and interact with animals.
The Naama Farm is one of Israel’s biggest goat and sheep farming operations, providing the majority of the goat and sheep milk consumed in the nation.
Families can walk through the stables and interact with the animals, feeding baby goats, and milking lambs, among other activities.
Additionally, the farm offers a variety of classes where kids may learn how goat cheese is created and participate in other arts and crafts projects.
Ramat Gan Safari
The Ramat Gan Safari is one of Israel’s most well-liked family-friendly activities!
The Ramat Gan Safari, one of the largest zoos in the Middle East, is the ideal location for families seeking an authentic African safari experience in Israel.
The 250-acre park is home to African creatures that are allowed to roam about freely. Visitors can take a safari ride through the area, which houses a zoo with over 1600 species.
Riding camels and learning about these unique desert creatures is a fun and unforgettable experience for families.
Additionally, it is among the best ways to explore the desert. There are several ways to take camel rides safely and ensure that the animals are treated and cared for appropriately around the Negev desert.
A fun and unforgettable family outing is a trip to the Negev Camel Ranch. There are many hiking paths, mountain bike trails, jeep trip opportunities, and camel tours in the Negev Camel Rach.
Another type of activity in the desert everyone can enjoy is the more acrobatic and athletic type, like this one.
Head to the desert if you’re looking for more unique, family-friendly activities in Israel!
Sandboarding in the Negev Desert is a memorable and enjoyable experience for the whole family that is suitable for both children and adults.
Families can enjoy the breathtaking desert scenery and a thrilling and unforgettable experience.
More Daring Activities
These are some of your best options if you are looking for activities that are a little more extreme or for the ages above 12.
Jerusalem Ropes Course
Ropes courses are a great way to challenge your physical and mental strength.
The Jerusalem Ropes Course includes an 80-meter zip line, a rope ladder, swings, and an acrobatic rope walk. It is the ideal team-building activity that requires both physical and mental strength.
The challenging tasks provided will give visitors a sense of confidence and accomplishment. It’s great for people of all ages, from preschoolers to adults, and the whole family will enjoy it!
Not your ordinary Jerusalem sightseeing trip.
Rappelling off the Tayelet or Gei Ben Hinnom with a view of the Old City is a wonderful way to explore Jerusalem.
Rock climbing champion and tour leader Yaakov is patient and knowledgeable, making him the ideal choice to show visitors the ropes.
Climbing walls and trees will be an adventure your kids won’t soon forget.
Ready For More Family Adventures?
Whether in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, Israel is filled with activities for all ages. Whether you’re looking for a more relaxed experience or an adventurous one, ITAS Tours is the way to go.
Therefore, be sure to contact Israel Travel Advisory Service to assist you in planning the ideal trip, vacation, or tour to Israel for you and your family.
From family tours to custom Israel tours, Israel Travel Advisory Service offers a variety of Israel Tour packages.
ITAS takes joy in ensuring that you have a real Israeli vacation thanks to our more than 45 years of experience planning trips to Israel.
Jerusalem is a beautiful and big city, and it is known for its beautiful synagogues and important historic landmarks like the Western Wall and Masada. But, how much do you know about Jerusalem aside from this?
The Old City, also known as The Holy City, is divided into four uneven quarters: the Muslim Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter.
Each quarter has its own special and unique landmarks they are known for.
The Muslim Quarter has the Kotel Katan or Little Western Wall and the Western Wall Tunnels, which run below the neighborhoods along the wall. Also, the Via Dolorosa, Way of the Cross, starts here with the first seven Stations of the Cross.
The Armenian Quarter has the Tower of David, also known as the Citadel. It is situated between the eastern and western parts of the city and expresses the continuing dialogue between ancient and modern Jerusalem. The Tower is a medieval fortress that serves as a historical entrance to the Old City and has been the iconic symbol of Jerusalem for generations.
The Christian Quarter has several important churches, but the main one is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is where Jesus was crucified and where Jesus’s empty tomb is located. It also has the last four Stations of the Cross of the Via Dolorosa.
Though the Jewish Quarter is known for The Western Wall, the holiest Jewish site, it also functions as a synagogue, including the area beneath Wilson’s Arch. But it has much more than that to offer.
Here are more landmarks and history to discover when visiting the Jewish Quarter.
More Sights to Discover
The Davidson Center
The Davidson Center is both an archaeological park and a museum. Archaeological relics and remains from the First Temple and Second Temple periods can be found.
Admire the City Wall, the staircase used by pilgrims to reach the Temple, and the historic ceremonial baths. Explore the area and walk down a historic road that countless pilgrims have traveled before you.
According to Jewish tradition, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yohanan Ben Zackai frequently traveled that same street. Located below this street is a drainage channel, and Jewish warriors used this drainage as a place to hide from the Romans.
One of the main attractions in the Jewish Quarter is the Hurva Synagogue. A group of Eastern European Jewish immigrants began constructing it in 1500.
In 1520, local Muslims destroyed it. As a symbol of the Jewish Quarter, the synagogue stood for almost a century after being rebuilt in 1864 by Lithuanian Jews.
In 1948, Jordanian soldiers from the Arab Legion destroyed the synagogue again during the War of Independence.
The Jewish Quarter and Hurva Synagogue were rebuilt after Israel won the Six-Day War and regained control of Jerusalem from the Jordanians in 1967.
It was rebuilt by the Israeli government in the early 2000s in the style it had in the 19th century.
Today, it is an active place of worship that is well worth a visit. You also have a stunning 360-degree view of the Old City from the veranda of the synagogue’s dome.
The north side of the Cardo was built during the Roman period (from the Damascus Gate to David Street). The south side was built during the 6th century, the Byzantine era. Its impressive columns and built-in shopping lane make it one of the main attractions in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Its original shops, which date back to the Byzantine period, are still in use today as gift shops and cafes, making it a fantastic place to take a stroll.
In the Herodian Quarter:
The Wohl Museum of Archaeology
It is a fascinating underground museum where visitors get a glimpse into what luxury and decadence looked like in ancient Jerusalem. It gives us a view and taste of how aristocratic families used to live.
The museum features a six-house compound set on the slope of the hill, which descends to the Temple Mount featuring an uninterrupted view across to the Temple. From underneath the current street level of the Old City, you can get a great idea of what life might have been like in the era of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Want more of Jerusalem?
Don’t miss out on what Jerusalem offers, especially its Jewish Quarter. You don’t want to sleep on its beauties and wonders, and it’s a magical place full of landmarks and stories you must find out for yourself.
So, make sure you get in touch with ITAS Tours so we can help you craft the best vacation, trip, and tour to Israel for you and your family.
With over 45 years of experience organizing Jewish heritage tours, we pride ourselves on ensuring that you’ll have a most memorable Israeli vacation.
If your daughter is soon to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah, you may have heard of travel agencies that provide pre-planned trips and tours to Israel. How will you pick the ideal tour company when so many options are available?
You can choose the ideal tour for your family and daughter using the four questions and five tips listed below.
What is a Bat Mitzvah Tour?
These tours and package holidays to Israel are for all family members, not only for the B’nai Mitzvah girl (the child coming of age). These tours cater to all guests, from younger siblings to grandparents, and offer spectacular holidays for the entire family.
Most tours will begin in Jerusalem and focus on the Old City and a walk through the restored Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall Tunnels, and the Time Elevator, which presents the 3,000-year history of Jerusalem.
Bat Mitzvah tours vary significantly from company to company, so choosing a tour focusing on areas and places that interest you, your family, and your daughter is important.
Find Personal Recommendations
A great way to find a top-notch tour company is to ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations.
Alternatively, you can ask in your local synagogue or on an online forum if you don’t know anyone who has been on such a tour.
What is the level of experience of the tour guides?
Your tour guide will make or break your trip to Israel, so this is an important question to ask a tour company. A reputable company will readily share the names and experiences of the guides they have working for them.
A tour guide who has worked with a company for an extended period is a positive sign, demonstrating the tour guide’s expertise, professionalism, and positive visitor feedback. It also suggests that the tour company is a respectable, high-quality business where a professional guide is proud to work.
An awesome tour guide will have the skills to include young children and grandparents and will become part of your family during the tour. They will meet you at the airport and remain with you throughout your journey.
You will learn so much about Israeli customs, traditions, and history that you could never expect to acquire elsewhere.
How Many Families Are Grouped Together on Each Tour?
You can choose a trip with just your family and friends or you can choose a trip which brings various families together to view Israel in an entirely new way. This can be a fun way to meet new people and make life-long friends.
You may never have thought it’s possible but travelling with new families can be helpful as they can share the magic of Israel’s rich history and the wonder of the Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.
Tips To Make or Break Your Bat Mitzvah
If you are looking for a small, intimate family Bat Mitzvah in Israel, combined with a private tour designed to fit your family’s wish-list, here are five steps to reach that goal:
- Select your flight dates, stay duration, and ceremony date on Monday and Thursday mornings when the Torah sections are read, and there are services for Bat Mitzvahs.
- Choose the ideal place for your family’s amazing celebration.
- Typically, the tour company will provide a Rabbi for the Bat Mitzvah ceremony but if you have any particulars you’d like to arrange, let them know and most can accommodate your wishes.
- Purchase any extras to make your ceremony more enjoyable, including a photographer, caterer, special lunch or dinner event, and more.
- Get a customized itinerary for you and your family’s amazing tour and ceremony in Israel based on your stay length and the ceremony’s date.
Your Adventure Starts with ITAS Tours
Receive expert guidance in selecting the perfect ceremony venue and celebratory activity for your Bat Mitzvah trip to Israel. They offer the perfect Bat Mitzvah Tours in Israel, fully customized for your family.
Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish history than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem.
To many theologians, it is Jewish history, to many poets, a source of inspiration. It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, and it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain.
When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it’s a homecoming. Its sadness and its joy are part of our collective memory.
Throughout the history of Jerusalem, Jews lived inside its walls with only two interruptions: when Roman invaders forbade entry into the city and under Jordanian occupation when Jews, regardless of nationality, were denied access into the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall.
Jerusalem must remain the world’s Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness but of trust and hope. As the Hasidic master, Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav, said, “Everything in this world has a heart; the heart itself has its own heart”.
The poet Yehuda Amichai, for whom Jerusalem was his heart and soul, wrote in one of his poems a verse that captures something of my feelings: “Jerusalem is a swing: sometimes I descend into the generations and sometimes I rise into the heavens.”
And that’s Jerusalem: a city where opposites, diversity, and change are all fused, lending it its unique character.
There is no other city in the world like Jerusalem. A city that people pine for, a city they face to pray, and for whose sake they pray, a city to which so many look up. A city that serves as a common ground but is often also a locus of friction.
A city contains everything: the spirit of sanctity and the vibrancy of day-to-day life. Jerusalem is a city whose one million inhabitants reflect the entire mosaic of Israeli society and its complexity. It’s a city whose name means “peace” and has also known many wars.
Jerusalem Day symbolizes one of the formative events in the city’s history. Since Jerusalem was unified, all parts of it have been growing and developing.
Jerusalem safeguards the sovereignty of the State of Israel. It guarantees freedom of worship for members of all religions, along with a form of coexistence that does not diminish difference and tradition, bringing to light the strength of our ability to live and work together.
On Jerusalem’s festive day, a national holiday for us all, our hope is that it preserves its unique character, including the burst of renewal and growth it has experienced in recent years.
Want to visit Jerusalem the City of Heart and Soul?
If you want to visit Jerusalem and get inspired as well, make sure you get in contact with Israel Travel Advisory Service.
With over 45 years of experience in organizing Israel Jewish tours, we pride ourselves in ensuring that your vacation to Israel is the best version of itself it can be.
Our offices in New Jersey, Florida, and Israel strive to provide the best quality Israel, family, Jewish Israeli, and Jewish Heritage tours.
ITAS is your best Israel travel advisory option.
Let us do the planning, and we’ll make sure you have a wonderful and fulfilling vacation.
Visiting a new place is exciting and Israel is a great place to visit and vacation. There are many religious and historical spots to see. Apart from the linkage, there are many natural wonders. Today we’ll provide important tips to know before visiting Israel.
With all this excitement comes uncertainty. When visiting a new country, some rules must be followed, written or unspoken, and a language barrier.
It is always good to be prepared beforehand. If you are looking for the best Israel travel tips, look no further. Here is everything you need to know about this historically rich country.
In this travel guide, you will visit the most hidden corners and discover places your typical tourist agency won’t show you.
Do’s & Don’ts when visiting Israel
- Do Use Local Greetings
You are not likely to offend anyone in Israel by trying to use the country’s traditional greeting. Just as Americans do not take offence to visitors from other countries saying “hello,” you are welcome to use the Israeli greeting “shalom” when you visit.
It will help you blend in with the locals. The literal translation of the traditional greeting is “peace” and is used for both hello and goodbye across Israel.
- Don’t Smoke on Saturday
Most people agree smoking isn’t good for your health. But those who smoke might not realize it is also considered ill mannered to smoke at certain times or places in Israel.
You will want to observe no-smoking signs wherever you are in Israel, but keep in mind that smoking is in direct violation of the “Shabbat,” a holy day observed on Saturdays in Israel. If you can refrain from smoking that day, that’s a plus.
Otherwise, you should at least avoid doing it around religious places or in the presence of Orthodox Jews who may find it offensive.
- Do dress properly
Dress codes are pretty simple and are common sense in Israel, but there are a few rules you might not be accustomed to. Make sure you pack conservative clothes for visiting any religious sites.
Although it may be warm during the summer, if you plan to visit places like the Western Wall or the spot where Jesus was crucified, it is recommended to wear t-shirts with sleeves that fall below the elbow and long skirts or pants.
Men should not wear shorts or go without shirts around these sites. When visiting Jewish shrines or memorials, it is also proper for men to cover their heads. Women should not wear anything that exposes bare legs or shoulders while visiting a holy site.
Often there will be a complimentary yarmulke, a small skullcap, available to visitors who need to cover their heads. If you forget to carry proper clothing, worry not, as religious women hand it out near the Western Wall.
Practical travel tips
- The best time to travel to Israel
Deciding when to go to Israel largely depends on what you are interested in doing while you are there. While there is no right or wrong time to go, there are a couple of things you need to consider when planning your trip: climate and Jewish Holidays.
Israel has two seasons: summer (April to late October) and winter (November to March). Summers are hot and humid but rain-free, and winter starts when it gets from cool to cold and begins raining. It generally doesn’t snow in Israel, except for the mountain areas in the Golan Heights.
Another vital tip to consider when you travel to Israel is the Jewish holidays. In Israel, there are two calendars: the Gregorian calendar and the Jewish calendar, but most religious holidays are based on the Jewish calendar.
Even though it’s interesting to be in Israel during some of these holidays, you’ll have to remember everything closes down during that time: public transportation, banks, stores, etc. Also, hotel prices will be much higher.
- What to pack
When travelling to Israel, you must be conscious of what you wear. While places like Tel Aviv, Jaffa, or Haifa are more open-minded and fashion-forward, in cities like Jerusalem, modest clothing is recommended. Don’t bring tank tops, shorts, or anything above the knees.
As a general rule, think convenience before fashion. Here are a few tips on what to pack:
– A scarf and a long-sleeve top.
– Light-weight clothing if you are travelling in summer.
– A light jacket and some sweaters for colder months.
– Comfortable shoes are a must in Israel, especially in Jerusalem.
– Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion.
– A small umbrella. Rain may come unexpectedly.
Always carry electrical adapters with you.
The most common thing to happen to tourists is to forget to bring their charger or an adapter to charge their electrical devices. The electrical outlets around Israel require a 3-round-pegged prong, so you’ll need a power adaptor.
Before you travel, make sure you have a checklist to confirm your chargers and adaptors so you don’t spend time looking for one in town and waste the time you could spend touring.
Feel ready to travel to Israel?
After all this advice, you are ready to visit Israel. If you want to book a trip, get in touch with ITAS tours, your best option for Israel tours and your trusted travel advisor.
Israel Travel Advisory Service offers a wide range of Jewish Israel Tours, from family tours to bar/bat mitzvah Israel tours.
With over 45 years of experience organizing Jewish heritage tours, we pride ourselves on ensuring that you’ll have a real Israeli vacation.
If you found our tips to know before visiting Israel helpful, let us know in the comments. If you want to experience one of these holidays for yourself, ITAS is the way to go. We have Israeli Jewish tour packages that meet every need.
We all love to travel, whether with friends and family or by ourselves. Vacationing in Israel during the Jewish Holidays can be a wonderful experience.
Jewish holidays in Israel are worth remembering since each one is celebrated differently with festivals and unique events.
Each one has its own traditions and particular quirks, so here is a guide for your Israel Holiday Vacation.
There’s a celebration everywhere around you!
Shabbat, the Day of Rest
The Jewish holiday Shabbat is celebrated weekly and always begins on a Friday night (when dusk falls).
Jews who observe Shabbat diligently will not use electricity, write, or travel other than by foot, and will spend the day in prayer, eating celebratory meals, and resting.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year
Rosh Hashanah (in Hebrew “Head of the Year”) celebrates the Jewish New Year and is a joyous festival.
The festivities include prayers at the synagogue, a large meal, and exchanging gifts.
The ancient ceremony of “tashlich” is carried out on the first afternoon. It is a tradition to go to the sea or any body of water and throw breadcrumbs or pebbles in. This symbolizes the “casting away” of one’s sins.
For religious Jews, all of this is a chance for “spiritual renewal and great contemplation.”
Yom Kippur, “Day of Atonement”
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar, and in Israel, all life comes to a standstill.
Every business and school is closed, airplanes do not take off or land, and the streets are deserted by cars.
Religious Jews will fast for 25 hours, wear white and spend large parts of the time in synagogue, praying for forgiveness from God for their sins.
According to Jewish belief, this is the day God will pass judgment on every individual for the coming year. So it is seen as a chance to repent and ask for a chance of forgiveness.
Sukkot, “The Festival of Tabernacles”
Another fun festival, especially for children, is Sukkot which follows Yom Kippur and lasts seven days.
Historically, it was one of the three pilgrimage festivals where the Israelites were commanded to travel to the Temple. Today, Israelis celebrate by building a sukkah, a temporary, freestanding structure with three walls decorated with palm leaves.
It is tradition to eat meals inside and decorate the interior with the “four species,” the four different plants mentioned in the Torah. These are lulav, etrog, hadass, and aravah.
People carry these four plants at the synagogue and recite special prayers known as “Hoshanot.”
Simchat Torah, Rejoicing of the Torah
Simchat Torah immediately follows Sukkot and is a festival of unbridled joy. Jews dance around the synagogue holding Torah scrolls to mark the reading cycle of these holy manuscripts. In Israel, it is common to see Israelis dancing in the streets.
Hanukkah, “Festival of Lights”
Hanukkah is celebrated during winter and commemorates the “miracle of the oil” at the same time as the Second Temple. It lasts for eight days, and each night candles are lit on a special candelabrum.
Two special foods that are eaten are latkes and sufganiyot. Latkes are potato pancakes fried and served either with applesauce or sour cream. Sufganiyot are donuts with jelly inside.
Children spin a “dreidel,” and it’s a tradition to give them “gelt,” chocolate money, and small gifts.
Purim, the Feast of Lots
The Jewish holiday of Purim commemorates the bravery of Esther, who saved the Jews of Persia from being wiped out. It is a festival of enormous merriment in Israel, and it is a wonderful tradition for children and adults to dress up and attend parties.
Jews also attend the synagogue in costume, where they read from the Book of Esther and shout and boo at the name of “Haman,” Esther’s enemy, and drink a lot of wine.
Attending an adloyada (carnival parade) is a beautiful tradition, as is eating “Hamantaschen” cookies filled with poppy seeds. Religious Jews also send “mishloachmanot,” food baskets, to family, friends, and charities.
Yom haAtzmaut, Independence Day
The evening kicks off with a torch of lightning in Jerusalem and fireworks displays all over the country. Some parties continue late into the night, and the following day, it’s a time-honoured tradition to attend a barbeque and eat until you can’t move.
If you’re at the shoreline around midday, watch the flyovers that the Israeli Air Force carries out.
The Eight-Day Festival of Passover
This joyous festival falls in the spring in Israel and commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Israel, who fled slavery under the laws of the cruel Pharaoh.
It’s a tradition at this time of the year to hold a “seder,” in Hebrew “order,” where the “Haggadah” book is read, recounting the story of the Jews flight, including the miraculous parting of the waves of the Red Sea.
At Passover, bakeries in Israel close because it’s a religious commandment to eat only “matzah,” unleavened bread, for the holiday. This lets Jews remember that their ancestors fled Egypt in such haste that their bread had no time to rise.
In the Haggadah, the matzah is called “the Bread of Affliction.” The festival is also a reminder of liberty and that, after 2,000 years, with the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jews became a free people in their land.
Shavuot, “Festival of Weeks”, falls seven weeks after Passover. It is a pilgrimage holiday that marks the end of the spring harvest and the Torah’s giving to Moses on Mount Sinai. It’s a tradition to eat dairy products and wear white clothing with white flowers.
Shavuot is celebrated in earnest on the kibbutz, with the tradition of “bringing forth the first fruit.” Historically, this was an opportunity for farmers to display their achievements after a year of hard work in the fields.
Where’s the best place to spend some of these holidays?
So, where in Israel should you try to go to experience and be a part of the festivities?
Well, at Purim, there are parties all over the country but be sure not to miss the opportunity to see an adloyada. The two most popular take place in Holon, near Tel Aviv, and SdeBoker, in the Negev desert.
Shabbat comes around weekly and is celebrated at home after a short Friday night service at the synagogue. Israelis are very hospitable, so you might be invited as a guest to someone’s house for a meal.
There is also a Get Shabbat program running where you can be paired with a host family. Most families are traditional and observe Shabbat costumes, so you’ll see blessings made over candles, wine, and bread and get a feel for the whole experience.
For Passover, you’ll feel the spirit of freedom everywhere. If you want to see more religious traditions, head to Jerusalem, notably the Western Wall, for the “Birkat Kohanim,” a Priestly Blessing.
In terms of being a tourist, the only day you will be limited is Yom Kippur, so if you’re visiting during this holiday, make sure you have your preparations in advance, or get in touch with your Israeli tour operator for a “day off”.
Whichever time of the year you choose to be in Israel, experiencing any of the Jewish Holidays will only add to your overall enjoyment.
With over 45 years of experience in organizing Jewish heritage tours, we pride ourselves on ensuring that you’ll have a real Israeli vacation.
If you want to experience one of these holidays, ITAS is your way. We have Israel Jewish plans and tours that meet every need.