Temple Emanuel

Hiking through Israel

Led by Rabbi Mark Cohn

March 2-11, 2019

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Depart USA

Overnight: In flight


Day 1: Sunday, March 3, 2019

Bruchim HaBaim- Welcome!

Land and People connections

  • Arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport.  Meet your guide and proceed to Neot Kedumim

    • Note: the first day schedule is subject to change depending on the time of arrival.

  • Neot Kedumim, the Biblical Landscape Reserve, is a living museum of Israel's "green archeology” for an interactive introduction to ecological awareness as expressed in Jewish tradition and heritage tied to the Land and the People of Israel.  

  • Biblical “snack”/breakfast/lunch at Neot Kedumim

  • Proceed to Jerusalem

  • Shehecheyanu overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem with champagne, chocolate and strawberries.

  • Check in hotel

  • Enter the Jaffa Gate. Using readings from traditional and modern texts and, encompass the Old City of Jerusalem by following the "Ramparts Walk” along the 16th c. walls a glimpse at the weave of people and places that make up the Old City as well as the New City spreading on the surrounding mountains outside the Walls.

  • Opening dinner at the Eucalyptus Restaurant which boasts “Eretz Yisrael” cuisine using wild herbs and plants growing on the Judean Mountains – hyssop, Jerusalem sage, and just-picked figs and recipes developed by different ethnic and religious groups who have settled in Jerusalem. 


Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 2: Monday, March 4, 2019

The Judean hills

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Begin the day at Shorashim – Judour – Roots, where Settlers and Palestinians work together to create paths of cooperation and friendship, at the Gush Etzion Junction.

  • Hike or bike a circular route along the Sataf springs that water agricultural terraces, reminders of an almost vanished ancient Hebrew culture. Here, irrigated vegetable gardens grow alongside vineyards, olive groves and almond orchards that need no artificial irrigation and color the countryside green all year round.  

  • Travel to a moshav in the Judean Foothills for a Kurdish Cooking Workshop ….and then, eatin the lunch you’ve just prepared.

  • Visit in the Studios and Galleries of local moshav artisans who work in many different media.


  • Tour and tastings at a local Winery OR Brewery

  • Bible in hand, tour in the Ella Valley, the scene of the famous battle between David and Goliath.  View the blue-purple flowers of “Givat HaThurmosim” (Lupine Hill) near Tel Socho.

  • Return to Jerusalem

  • Dinner and evening on own.


Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem


Day 3: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

History underground

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • First & Second Temple: Hezekiah/Shiloach Tunnel.   Walk up through the recently excavated "drainage canal" from the Second Temple period from the Shiloach Pool that runs beneath the main street Silwan and the walls of the Old City and reaches the area of the Western Wall.

  • Proceed to Ramla

  • Islamic Period: The Pool of the Arches, built 1200 years ago as a roofed water reservoir for the residents of Ramla by Abbasid caliphs.  Today, you can take row boats and enter a unique historical space.

  • Lunch at one of Ramla’s famous “humusiot”

  • Continue to Lod for a different kind of underground experience and visit the Ramat Eshkol Jewish/Arab Community Center to meet with Fatten el Zinati, the community center director who transitioned  from underground activist to respected community leader.

  • British Mandate: Guided visit to the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, a pre-state clandestine munitions factory, for a glimpse at the ingenuity and creativity of Israel’s pre-state armed forces.

  • Proceed south.

  • Return to Jerusalem

  • Dinner on your own in Jerusalem.


Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem


Day 4: Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Judean Desert

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Travel to the Dead Sea Basin

  • Visit the Palestinian village of Ujah and the EcoPeace Middle East Sustainability Center in the heart of the village, which has become the first center of sustainable energy and environmental awareness in Palestinian society.

  • Jeep Rides/Self-driver “razors”  in the northern Jerusalem Desert

  • Picnic lunch in the desert.

  • Using a map and ingenuity, small group teams must locate and gather mosaic fragments from locked and hidden caches scattered throughout the 5th c. hermit monastery of St Euthymius, to uncover the “Secrets of the Monastery”.

  • Return to Jerusalem

  • Dinner and evening on own


Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem


Day 5: Thursday, March 7, 2019

Southern Exposure

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Check-out and depart Jerusalem for the Ruchama Forest

  • Darom Adom (Red South) Stop to see the natural red “carpets” of bright red anemones

  • Negev Bedouin are Israel’s poorest community, with the fewest resources.  Participate in a special tour of Rahat and its context in Israel today led by young Bedouin women trained by the New Dawn in the Negev NGO which strives towards grassroots social change in the Bedouin community.  

  • Lunch and tour at the Kornmehl Farm that places emphasis on keeping the traditional values of their antibiotic and hormone free goat cheese making, while adapting them to the local environment.

  • Hike in the Ein Avdat National Park, part of the Wilderness of Zinn, mentioned in many Biblical contexts in the formation of the Jewish people. Text study in the desert.

  • Conclude the hike and drive to the graves of Paula and David Ben Gurion at the Sde Boker   Desert Research Center. Explore Ben Gurion’s fascination with the desert.

  • Dinner with the Culinary Queens of Yerucham, part of a nation-wide project for women’s self-empowerment through the creation of cottage industries.


Overnight:  Iris Inn, Yerucham

Day 6: Friday, March 8, 2019

Market Value: the Development of Tel Aviv

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Travel to Tel Aviv with a stop at Lake Yerucham a man-made lake in the middle of the desert, surrounded by green groves and, in February-March the Yerucham, an impressive concentration of the Yerucham

  • Based in working-class neighborhoods, Tel Aviv’s Markets marry regional produce with the ancient traditions of the city’s many immigrant communities from Iran to Yemen to the Balkans to Eastern Europe. Tour, taste, and shop in 3-4 of the following Tel Aviv markets as examples of how Tel Aviv has developed. Lunch will be “tastings”

    • Jaffa: Flea Market

    • Carmel Market

    • Levinsky Balkan Spice Market

    • Nahalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Market

    • Sarona Market

  • Afternoon at leisure

  • Travel to Rosh HaAyin

  • Shabbat home hospitality with the Rosh HaAyin Reform community


Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day 7: Saturday, March 9, 2019

Shabbat in Nature

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Proceed north

  • Hike and/or Bike through the trails in the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve, the “Tuscany of the Middle East, which has grazing areas, farms, planted forests and natural oak forests, abundant vegetation, including rare plants and many historical and heritage sites, including ancient Tel Megiddo and the Haganah Museum at Juara.

  • Afternoon: Lunch, rest and relax at the Ya’arot HaKarmel  - Carmel Forest Spa.

  • Havdalah

  • Return to Tel Aviv.  Dinner and evening on own


Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day 8: Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Many Faces of Jaffa

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Walking tour of “off-the beaten track” sites in Jaffa.

  • Conclude your time in Israel with a creative movement workshop based on the Mayumana Dance company’s performance language and techniques using a combination of theatre games, rhythm and coordination exercises, percussion and a large dose of humor to free the creative spirit.

  •  Lunch and afternoon on own

  • Farewell dinner TBA

  • Proceed to Ben Gurion International Airport

  • Return to the USA