Temple Sinai of Bergen County

Led by Rabbi Jordan Millstein

December 20- 31, 2018

November 28, 2017

Day 1: Thursday, December 20, 2018                      

Departure from the United States

  • Departure from Newark Airport.


Overnight: Flight


Day 2: Friday, December 21, 2018                

Welcome to Israel – ברוכים הבאים

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport with special group arrival procedures with a represetnative of Makor.

  • Stop at the Neot Kedumim Nature Reserve for a program introduction and tree planting.

  • Drive to Tel Aviv.

  • Check in Hotel.

  • Kabbalat Shabbat as a community group.

  • Festive Shabbat dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Tel Aviv 


Day 3: Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Big Orange: Tel Aviv Then and Now

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Jaffa Visitors Center & Walking Tour.

  • Lunch at the hotel.

  • In age appropriate small groups, have a guided exploration of Tel Aviv’s Florentin bohemian neighborhood urban art: street signs, graffiti, bumper stickers for insights into today’s young Hebrew culture.

  • Afternoon - interactive program with the Telem Mechina of the Israeli Reform movement.

  • Discussion followed by drumming circle or musical program Havdalah at the Mechina.

  • Dinner and evening on own

Overnight: Tel Aviv 


Day 4: Sunday, December 23, 2018

The “I”s have it: Israeli Ingenuity and Innovation

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.

  • Opening Program at the Taglit-Birthright “State of Mind” Innovation Center, an interactive experience that allows you to learn about the new advancements Israeli Start-Ups are making in different fields, such as science, medicine, security, space and more. 

  • Independence Hall, where the State of Israel, the ultimate start-up of the 20th century, was established in 1948.

  • Visit the outdoor Carmel Food Market, with lunch on your own. 

    • Youth:  The Israel Lens I while exploring the Carmel Market.

  • Guided visit through Caesarea, exploring relationships between Jews and non-Jews 2,000 years ago and today, including Historo-Drama presentation by the youth.

  • Arrive in Nahariya for a special program in conjunction with the Northern New Jersey Federation -Nahariya Partnership.

Choose one of the following for the entire group

  • Option 1:  Mehevratey: In a full-size Ethiopian hut, gain insight not only into the aliyah experience of Ethiopian Israelis but also into Ethiopian-Jewish culture with traditional injera sourdough flatbread and a demonstration of the “buna” ceremony, the preparation of Ethiopian coffee with Ethiopian-Jewish music that heightens the experience.   Ethiopian style dinner.

  • Drive across the Galilee to the Upper Galilee.


  • Option 2:  Arab home hospitality dinner with hosts, Kamla and Rim, two enterprising sisters who have established a catering company specializing in traditional Arab cuisine in Deir el Assad.  Over a delicious meal learn about their lives as Palestinian-Israeli women…and meet the Jewish kashrut supervisor who works with them.  Be prepared to have stereotypes unravel.

  • Drive across the Galilee to the Upper Galilee.


  • Option 3:  Drive directly to the Upper Galilee and check in hotel.

  • Dinner at the hotel.

  • Late evening check-in.


Overnight:  Kibbutz Guesthouse, Upper Galilee


Day 5: Monday, December 24, 2018

Mysticism, Mountains and Military

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Guided visit through Safed, its alleyways and synagogues, using the stories of the mystics as a guide.

    • Adults: - A meeting with an artist who uses Kabbalah for inspiration.

    • Youth: The Israel Lens II – An exploration of Safed with camera/smartphone in hand.

  • Drive across the Golan Plateau to Mt. Bental with both nature and stories from the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars.

    • Lunch TBA with soldiers (IDF permission pending)

    • Adults: Overlook Syria, for an in-depth briefing on the geopolitics and security situation on Israel’s northern borders.

    • Youth: The Volcanic Way: Hiking and orienteering in the volcanic terrain of the Golan Plateau.  See fascinating geomorphological phenomena such as a paleo-magnetic field where compass points are reversed and the Great Juba.

    • All: Visit the Avital Volcanic Park for a night time “volcanic” spectacular.

  • Proceed to the Baba Yona Ranch for “cooking contest” barbecue dinner.


Overnight:  Kibbutz Guesthouse, Upper Galilee


Day 6: Tuesday, December 25, 2018


  • Breakfast at the hotel and check-out.

  • Nature walk through the Tel Dan Nature Reserve, along the Dan River, concluding at Tel Dan itself, one of Israel’s most significant Biblical sites.

  • Travel along the Trans-Israel Highway, with a security seminar along the Seam Zone between Israel and the Palestinian territories.   Possible observation point stops:  Kibbutz Magal /Matan/, Horeshim/Tzur Yigal.

  • Lunch en route.

  • Stop at the Kfar Hanokdim Bedouin Encampment in the Canaaim Valley for Bedouin hospitality, followed by a Camel Ride and a traditional Hafla Dinner. 

  • Conclude the day with an evening music and stargazing program in the Judean Desert.


Overnight:  Option I - Nokdim Bedouin Encampment // Option II –Isrotel, Dead Sea Hotel


Day 7: Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Quest for Continuity -- Masada Options

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Option I:  From Kfar NaNokdim -- Climb up the Roman ramp to the fortress of Masada.

  • Option II: From the Isrotel Hotel – Ride the cable car to the fortress of Masada.

Entire Group.

  • Meet atop Masada for a guided visit and exploration of some of the questions the Masada story raises vis a vis Jewish life today, with parallel programming for adults and youth and concluding with Historo Drama presentation by youth. 

  • Return to the Isrotel Dead Sea, with an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea and relax at the Spa and pool, followed by lunch.

  • Continue to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and walk through the Nahal David desert oasis.

  • Ascend to Jerusalem and enter the city through the Eastern Gate.

  • Shehecheyanu atop Mount Scopus overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, with a short introduction to the 4,000-year story of the city.

  • Check into Jerusalem hotel.

  • Rest and relaxation, followed by free time and dinner on your own.


Overnight: Jerusalem


Day 8: Thursday, December 27, 2018

Kol Yisrael Aravim – Mutual Concern and Shared Destiny

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Enter the Old City through the Jaffa Gate and an overview from atop the Tower of David Museum.  Walk along the Rooftops of the Marketplace for a glimpse at the weave of people and places that make up the Old City, concluding with a view of the Temple Mount.

  • Chesed projects TBA.

  • Self-guided Exploration of Nachlaot and Machane Yehuda including lunch on own in Machane Yehuda.

  • Youth: The Israel Lens III–A photographic exploration of Nachlaot/Machane Yehuda.

  • Visit Yad Vashem, the National Holocaust Memorial including the Avenue of the Righteous, with parallel programming for adults and youth as well as an opportunity for return visitors to visit the Art Museum and Room of Great Questions.

  • Concluding program in the Valley of the Communities: “Songs Hammered in Copper” an interactive musical tribute by the Livnat Brothers to traditional Jewish music and Yiddish culture. 

  • Return to the hotel for free time and dinner on your own.


Overnight: Jerusalem



Day 9: Friday, December 28, 2018

Preparing the Shabbat Table

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Grain, Wine, Oil: The most beloved and well-known Shabbat home rituals are based on Deuteronomy 11:14: …… then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil." Today’s visits/tours  will tie  Jewish sources to participatory activities based on these elements: - Drive in to the Judean Hills for:

    •  Grain- Challah baking

    • Wine- Wine-tasting in a local boutique winery or with a professional wine-expert

    • Oil: Visiting ancient olive terraces and olive presses; practical demonstration of olive oil production and/or how does a Judaica artist use the concept of “light” in creating ritual objects such as candlesticks and chanukkiot.

  • Lunch on own.

  • Afternoon at leisure

  • Kabbalat Shabbat at one of the Jerusalem area Reform synagogues, followed by a festive Shabbat dinner at the hotel (or home hospitality.)


Overnight: Jerusalem


Day 10: Saturday, December 29, 2018

Shabbat in Jerusalem

  • Free morning for personal exploration or Shabbat services.

  • Lunch on your own.

  • Guided walk through the Old City including the Jewish and Christian Quarters, with optional visit to Mount Zion as well and the possibility to divide into smaller groups.

  • Reflection program.

  • Shabbat Afternoon family Scavenger Hunt.

  • Havdalah overlooking the Old City with a discussion with guests from the ultra-Orthodox world:  Topic TBA.

  • Dinner on your own at the Mamilla Mall.

  • Two in One in Jeruslaem– View the Night Spectacular at the David Citadel Museum followed by an optional evening walk along the rooftops of the Old City to the Western Wall for a guided visit through the Western Wall Tunnels.


Overnight: Jerusalem


Day 11: Sunday, December 30, 2018

From the Past into the Future

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Proceed to Rehovot

  • The Aylaon Institute: a clandestine munitions factory from the War of Independence, hidden under a bakery and a laundry – and the beginning of Israeli’ hi-tech industry.

  • Dig deep into the past at Tel Maresha, near Beit Guvrin and become an archaeologist for a day crawling through unexcavated cave systems, digging, sifting and examining pottery from man-made rooms in the caves.

  • Lunch TBA

  • Travel to Shorashim Farm under the auspices of Shorashim – Judour – Roots, an innovative and ground-breaking initiative to bring Jewish settlers and Palestinians together while recognizing not only disagreement but also points of commonality.

  • Dinner at the Bloomfield Science Museum with young scientists/innovators as guests.


Overnight: Jerusalem


Day 12: Monday, December 31, 2018

Celebration- The Layers of Jerusalem

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Descend to the City of David for a guided visit through some of the newest excavations in Jerusalem with Bible in hand, in separate groups, adults and youth.

  • Festive Bnai Mitzvah service at Robinson’s Arch, along the continuation of the Western Wall.

  • Visit the Kotel, with time for contemplation and reflection.

  • Drive to the Hebrew Union College for a festive lunch and celebration.

  • Free afternoon or optional return guided visit to the Old City.

  • Reflection discussion.

  • Festive farewell dinner.

  • Depart for Ben Gurion Airport.

  • Those continuing to Petra, flight to Eilat.