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Organize a Jewish Heritage Tour in Israel

Israel is one of the world’s most fascinating tourist destinations and a country that welcomes millions of foreign visitors every year. Israel is a unique nation that offers a wealth of historical and archaeological sites, easily accessible areas of outstanding natural beauty and a whole spectrum of culture and cuisine. 

Most importantly, a visit to Israel is a special opportunity to connect with your deeper Jewish heritage. Wherever you turn in modern high-tech Israel, you’re only a stone’s throw from millennia of Jewish history and biblical sites. As you soak up the ancient past, you’ll simultaneously experience the living miracle of a vibrant Jewish nation.

People who really know and love Israel will tell you that a whole lifetime isn’t long enough to experience everything that the country has to offer. If you’re planning a vacation in Israel, you’ll have to work to a much shorter timescale. This blog post will take a closer look at the advantages of small group Jewish tours to Israel, and how to plan the perfect travel itinerary for your trip. 

Preparing for Heritage Group Tours to Israel

Preparing for Heritage Group Tours to Israel

A great tip for anybody who’s organizing a group trip (or planning to join one) is to take the time to do some individual research, both into your own Jewish roots and into the history and modern culture of Israel. You’ll probably discover a number of places that have a family connection, a personal spiritual connection, or that simply spark a deeper interest. 

There is so much to see, and so many places that are of deep significance to the Jewish people, that it’s better to come prepared. Just brushing up your background knowledge of sites like Masada, The Western Wall (Kotel or Wailing Wall) and the Western Wall Tunnel, or Old Jaffa or Ako, or the ancient synagogues of Tiberius can help you to appreciate the human stories behind them. When you finally get to explore the sites, the past will come to life.

In addition to the multitude of historical and religious sites, modern Israel has a cultural richness – and intensity – that can be spellbinding. You’ll constantly be exposed to new foods (including the favorite dishes of Jewish communities from across the entire diaspora) as well as traditional Middle Eastern delicacies. Traditional Jewish cuisine is a cornerstone of Jewish cultural heritage, but if you’re interested, you can also sample Arab, Druze and Bedouin dishes, many of which are popular with Jewish Israelis. Israelis love to eat out and the warm Mediterranean climate makes al fresco dining a real pleasure. 

The Israeli art and music scenes are also a product of the diverse influences of the diaspora and the modern blending of cultures. You can hear everything from beautifully haunting and evocative Sephardic songs, sung in old Jewish dialects, to the splendor of the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra, and the latest Mizrachi music love songs. Israeli art ranges from traditional silver Judaica, to modern abstract depictions of religious sites and landscapes, and everything in between. 

Israelis tend to be both direct (to the point of being forthright) and very approachable. Almost all speak at least basic English and many are fluent. Don’t be surprised if complete strangers strike up conversations with you and start chatting like old friends. It makes it very easy to really explore the local culture and make connections with different Jewish communities. 

If people sense a genuine interest, they’ll be delighted to give you an insight into local Jewish traditions and practices. A good Jewish travel agency can be invaluable if you want to get off the beaten track and meet interesting people in Israel. Once you get past the superficial Sabra (native Israeli) brusqueness, you’ll be amazed by the warmth and depth of the welcome you’ll receive, as well as by the average Israeli’s eagerness to help tourists.

Creating a Flexible Itinerary for Small Group Jewish Tours to Israel

Creating a Flexible Itinerary for Small Group Jewish Tours to Israel

One of the big advantages of Israel is that it’s a small country with good road and rail networks, as well as plenty of intercity bus routes. It’s easy to get around independently, or you can opt for one of the private luxury tours to Israel. Private transportation and expert tour guides make traveling a pleasure and take you from location to location in absolute comfort. A trip to Israel may be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so if you do opt for an organized group tour to Israel, it’s important to choose a tour operator that offers a genuinely flexible and tailored itinerary. 

One of the most important decisions that you’ll make when you plan a heritage group tour to Israel is when to travel. There are a few factors to consider, the first of which is the weather. The Israeli climate is generally warm and sunny with mild winters, but the best months for traveling and touring are April/May and October/November. 

Midsummer in Israel isn’t great for walking tours, particularly if it is also humid, while the winter can bring rain and cold spells. Spring and autumn days are usually pleasantly sunny and the evenings are refreshing. Clement weather produces a flowering of natural beauty and greenery across the country. The sight of flowers blooming in the Negev desert, or across a rocky Galilean hillside is unforgettable! 

The second factor to consider when you plan a tour to Israel is the timing of annual religious holidays like Shavuot, Pessach (Passover) Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur. The holiday dates are calculated according to the ancient lunar calendar and change every year.

If you want to experience the magic of a Pessach seder meal in Israel or visit Jerusalem during a high holiday, you’ll need to plan in advance. Alternatively, you may wish to schedule your trip to avoid the Jewish holidays and the possibility that important sites are either closed or crowded with visitors. 

Is it Safe to Visit Israel?

Is it Safe to Visit Israel?

One concern that foreign tourists usually have about Israel is whether the country is safe to visit. The good news is that Israel is a very safe country on a day to day basis, much safer compared to many other modern societies. 

Serious crime is still quite rare and it’s usually safe to walk around at night. It is unlikely for tourists to encounter any street crime or seriously anti-social behavior in Israel.

Israel may have a history stretching back thousands of years, but it’s also a global force in high-tech and a world leader in medical research. The country has some truly outstanding medical professionals and a modern medical infrastructure, if you are unlucky enough to require medical treatment during your stay, you’ll be in safe hands. All good Israel Tours will advise you about medical and trip insurance and may offer it as part of their service. 

Explore Israel with the Professionals

Explore Israel with the Professionals

Private luxury tours to Israel provide their guests with a lot more than just air conditioned buses, handpicked hotels and day trips to interesting places. When you join a tour, you’ll be with an expert tour guide (tour guiding is a licensed profession in Israel that requires some serious study). Your guide’s specialist knowledge of historical sites and religious sites, as well as local knowledge of places that most tourists just don’t see, can transform a trip. 

Customized tours can be tailored to reflect the interests of your group members, and can be prioritized to make the most of the time you can spend in Israel. Experienced tour companies will plan your itinerary to rationalize travel and ensure that you spend a minimum amount of time on the road, and a maximum amount of time doing the things that really interest you. 

If your group is looking for a wider spiritual experience, the itinerary can be planned around Israel’s numerous religious sites. You’ll be assigned a guide who has a good knowledge of the religious significance and the history of the places you visit. There will be an unhurried atmosphere with plenty of opportunities for prayer, quiet contemplation, and moments of introspection when you visit holy places. 

Preserve Treasured Memories of your Trip to Israel

Preserve Treasured Memories of your Trip to Israel

Israel can be breathtaking, spectacular, intriguing and amazing all in the same breath. It’s the land bridge where Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East converge and a melting pot of peoples and cultures – even just within Jewish national heritage. The landscapes and cityscapes, religious centers, archaeological sites – and the people – are wonderful subjects for photographs. 

A digital scrapbook is a great way to preserve the memories of your trip to Israel. Today’s printing technology also makes it easy to turn digital images into artwork. If you do succeed in capturing a magic moment with your camera, you can have the picture professionally printed and framed for your home. 

A dedicated Israel trip Whatsapp group for friends and family back in the US is also worth considering. It can sometimes be challenging to inspire children and grandkids with a deep interest in their Jewish heritage – or in any aspects of culture and history. If they get beautiful pictures of Israel on their phones at random intervals, it can spark a new enthusiasm that can take on a life changing force!

A small group Jewish tour to Israel can be the trip of a lifetime for anybody who is a practicing member of the Jewish faith, or who has Jewish roots. The chance to connect with Jewish spirituality, or just to explore the land of the Bible where Kings like David and Solomon ruled, should not be missed. Even amidst the bustle of modern Israeli high-tech, you’ll sense the enduring presence of your Biblical ancestors and leave with a new perspective on your own heritage.

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