Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tour at The Land of the bible.
Egypt – Sinai – Jordan – Israel.
Being a once-in-a-lifetime experience, every Bar or Bat Mitzvah is something very special. That’s why we developed this unique Grand Exodus program. Just as the People of Israel developed its identity and sense of responsibility through a journey starting in Egypt through Trans-Jordan and into the Land of Israel to become a people, we want your son/daughter to experience the same, in order to strengthen his/her identity as an adult member of the Jewish People. The following program is only a suggestion – a foundation on which our experts will specially design your custom-made itinerary according to your budget, schedule, and special traditions and needs. We will carefully choose the sites you visit and accommodate you according to your choice and abilities, be it a Luxury Hotel or our special Kibbutz Biblical Campsite “Emek David” – all in an effort to make it the once-in-a-lifetime experience it ought to be!!!
Arrival in Cairo
Upon your landing, at the Cairo International Airport, our representative will welcome you, aid you through the necessary formalities, and transfer you to your Cairo Hotel for a rest, Dinner & over-night.
Cairo: The Pyramids & Sphinx – Egyptian Museum – Fustat (Old Cairo): Ben Ezra & Ben Maimon Synagogues – Khan-el-Khalili Market
Our Journey starts, of course, at the famous Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx guarding them. From here we drive back into Cairo proper to take a look at the immense collection of well-preserved findings of the ancient Egyptian culture (not including the Mummies Room). In the afternoon we drive to Fustat, Cairo’s Old City, where we visit some of its famous sites, such as the newly renovated Ben Maimon Synagogue, the synagogue of the great Jewish philosopher & physician Rambam (Maimonides) and the famous Ben Ezra Synagogue, where most of the ancient Jewish scriptures of the Cairo “Geniza” were found. We spend the rest of the day in the colorful Khan-el-Halili Bazaar. Dinner will be served on a boat cruising on the Nile River! O/N in Cairo.
Suez Canal – Sinai: Uyun Moussa (Moses Springs) – Wadi Firan – Mt. Moses (Mt. Sinai)
We set out early in the morning to cross the Suez-Canal and enter the Sinai Desert. After a long drive through the wild Sinai Desert, we reach ‘Uyun Moussa, the traditional place where Moses hit the rock and water came out. Continue to Wadi Feiran, “The Oasis of the Thousand Palm-Trees” and on to St. Catherine, where we will spend the night. For those who are in shape, we recommend climbing Jebel Mussa (Mt. Moses) -the traditional Mt. Sinai, for the sunset!
Crossing the Red Sea – Aqaba – Petra
Approximately 2 hours of driving through ever-changing desert-landscapes bring us to the port-city Nuweiba. Here we will also cross the Red Sea. As the sea probably won’t part for us, we will use a fast ferry-boat that will take us to Jordan’s ancient port-city, Aqaba. Here our Jordanian Guide will await you, and take you in the footsteps of the Israelites, along the “Kings Highway” to the Land of Edom – to Petra! Before entering the secret capital of the Nabataeans, we will stop at a view-point from which we can see Jebel Haroun, the traditional Mt. Hor, where Aaron was buried. Jebel Haroun is known since medieval times as a Jewish place of pilgrimage. Now we enter “The Rose Red City”, Petra recently declared one of the new “Seven Wonders of the World”. Petra was cut out of the sandstone by the ancient Nabateans, a nomad people who used this site as their religious and political capital and as a center for the caravans on the “Incense Road”. We start walking through the narrow “Siq” (gorge) until we suddenly see the famous monument the Bedouins call “Hazane” – Pharaoh’s Treasury! From the “Treasury” we enter the central valley of the “Lost City”, where we visit some more of its ancient monuments, such as “The Colonnaded Street”; “Pharaoh’s Daughter Temple”, the Theater, and more… Dinner and Over-Night in Wadi Moussa (Petra).
Moses Spring – Madaba – Mt. Nebo – Amman – Across the Jordan to Israel
Before leaving town, we stop shortly at “Moses Spring”, where Moses hit the rock for water, instead of speaking to it. Then we hit the “Desert Highway” that will take us to Madaba. Here, in an ancient Byzantine church, we can see a mosaic that is actually a map of the Holy Land as it was in the 6th century! We continue to Mt. Nebo, from which Moses could see the Promised Land, but was never allowed to enter. Besides the view that also Moses saw, Mt. Nebo is also famous for the colorful mosaics, also dating back to Byzantine days. Drive to Amman for a short city tour and visit of the museum, where, among other Biblical Findings, the “Copper Scroll”, part of the “Dead Sea Scrolls”, written by the Jewish Essenes, is exhibited. Unlike Moses, we shall indeed cross the Jordan River and enter the Land of Israel! An Israeli bus will await us at the Israeli Terminal and transfer you to a Kibbutz, where you will spend the night.
Kibbutz Tour – Jeep-Tour to Golan Heights – Ancient Katzrin – Lunch with Security Lecture – Tzefat (Safed)
After breakfast one of the Kibbutz-members will join us for a tour through the Kibbutz. Then we have a rough Jeep-Tour where we climb to the Golan Heights, experiencing its strategic value and its challenges in past and present. Visit the ancient synagogue and reconstructed Talmudic Village in Katzrin where you will experience how the Jewish Law was created… Have Lunch at the “Sharila” Restaurant overlooking the borders to Syria and Lebanon. Afterwards, meet with Ret. Colonel Kobi Marom, who will talk with you about the current situation in the area. Descend the Golan Heights, drive past Rosh Pina, one of the first Jewish settlements established in the area, that still keeps its 19th Century flair, and climb the woody mountains of Upper Galilee to Zefat (Safed) – Capital of the Kabala. Friday Afternoon everybody in Safed is busy with the last preparations to welcome the Shabbat, practically and spiritually. We will walk the ancient alley-ways, where every stone has a legend to tell and try to absorb its special, mystical atmosphere… Join the Shabbat evening-prayer in one of Safed’s Synagogues, followed by a Festive Shabbat Meal. O/N in Safed.
Kabalistic Shabbat in Tzefat
We will spend the whole Shabbat with the Cabbalists of Tzefat, walking its enchanted streets, listening to its wise legends, singing and participating in prayers, learning about the Shabbat, Jewish life, and even have some chance to rest… We can also do the Bar Mitzvah ceremony with the Reading of the Torah here, in this spiritual site… In the evening we will drive out to Tiberias, where we will have a barbecue-dinner on a boat on the Kinnereth (Sea of Galilee). The family will have to decide which kind of music and dancing they will have onboard…!
Rosh Hanikra – Akko (Acre) – Haifa – Zichron Yaacov – Alona Park – Old Jaffa
Drive along the “Northern Road” to Rosh Hanikra right at the Lebanese Border, where we will go by cable-car down into the grottos carved by the sea… Drive to Acco (Acre) to visit the underground “Knights Halls”, extraordinarily preserved since the Crusader Times, the Acco-Prison, remembering the brave Jewish underground-fighters who were imprisoned and executed by the British here, the Turkish Bath where “The Last Bath Attendant” will tell you some of Acco’s Legends, after which you will experience the typical Bazaar, with the colors and odors of the orient… In Acco, we will also visit the Tunisian “Or Hatorah” Synagogue, a life-endeavor of a simple Jew who created a unique synagogue, covered with mosaics that depict the Jewish History & Religion. Now we drive to Haifa to the famous Haifa Panorama Lookout, overlooking the marvelous Baha’i Gardens – a World Heritage Site. From here it is a short distance to Zichron Yakov, one of the pioneer villages sponsored by Baron Rothschild, which still keeps the atmosphere of those days… Experience adventure at the Alona-Park where you will crawl through man-made tunnels, created in order to bring water to Caesarea. Towards the end of the day, we drive to Israel’s commercial & cultural center, the pulsating city of Tel Aviv. Here we visit the ancient city of Jaffa, the gateway to the Land of Israel, desired by generations of Jews. This is the perfect place to stroll through the alley-ways, watch the sunset over the Tel Aviv Seaside, and slowly get acquainted with “The City that never stops!” Dinner in a local Tel Aviv restaurant and Over-Night in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv: Independence Hall – Bauhaus – Carmel Market – Nachalat Binyamin – Biblical Lunch at Emek David – Ranger-Tour – Dig-for-a-day at Beth Guvrin
The first part of the day is dedicated to the “First Hebrew City” – Tel Aviv. We start with the “Independence Hall”, House of Tel Aviv’s first mayor, where David Ben Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel. We stroll through the Rothschild Boulevard, famous for the special BAUHAUS-Architecture that made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through the colorful (and noisy…) Carmel Market and get a taste of Israel, after which you can always feel the Avant-Garde culture at the Nachalat Binyamin Pedestrian Zone and fancy Sheinkin Street. A short drive brings us to the Valley of the Therabynth, to “Emek David”, where the symbolic battle between David & Goliath took place. Here we have a “Biblical Lunch” that will take us back in time to those glorious days when David, son of Jesse, just turned Bar Mitzvah… Now we experience the modern Bar Mitzvah adventure riding special self-drive 4×4 vehicles searching for traces of our ancient king, before we continue to Beth Guvrin, where we participate in archaeological excavations of man-made caves, digging down into our past with our own hands! Drive back to Tel Aviv for dinner & Over-Night.
Jerusalem Old City: Mt. Of Olives – City of David – Davidson Center – Wailing Wall – Jewish Quarter – Temple Institute – Western Wall Tunnel
From the Mt. Of Olives, we have a Panoramic View of the Old City & the 2-Millennia-old Jewish cemetery – a good place for an introduction to the city and its meaning to generations of Jews, of which our Bar/Bat Mitzvah now becomes part! Visit the City of David, the very ancient Jerusalem, “where it all began”, including (those who dare!) walking in the water through the almost 3000-year-old Hezekiah’s Tunnel. At the Davidson Center, we can see the recent excavation of the Southern wall of the Temple Mount and hear in an audio-visual presentation about the Jewish Pilgrims who ascended 3 times a year to the Temple in Jerusalem. Now we have a thorough tour of the Western Wall (Kotel) and the Jewish Quarter, including the “Temple Institute” where you can see the reconstructed tools as they were used in the temple! After dinner, we will drive back to the “Wailing Wall” for a night-visit of the famous “Western Wall Tunnel” which will bring us as close as possible to the “Holy of Holiest”. O/N in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem New City: Yad Vashem – Knesset Menorah – Israel Museum – Time Elevator
This day is dedicated to the New City of Jerusalem: Visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Memorial. If applicable, we can organize a ceremony at the memorial of your original community at “The Valley of the Lost Communities”. Then we visit the Menorah (Candelabra) situated in front of the Knesset building, housing Israel’s Parliament. In the afternoon we will visit the recently renovated Israel Museum, take a look at the 1:50 Model of Jerusalem during the time of the Second Temple and the “Shrine of the Book”, housing the original Dead Sea Scrolls. A Bar Mitzvah Tour includes, of course, the new Judaica exhibition! At the “Time Elevator,” we will go back in time to the Eternal City’s rich history… O/N in Jerusalem.
Massada – Ein Gedi – Dead Sea
Early rise to climb Masada for Sunrise (or not…). If you wish, it is also possible to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah ceremony & read the Torah in the synagogue on top of Masada! Hike through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, rich in water and wildlife. We end the day at (on…) the Dead Sea, taking advantage of its known healing qualities… O/N in Jerusalem.
Tzedaka (Charity) – Neighborhoods & Machane Yehuda Market – Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel
Becoming an adult also means to take responsibility for society. That’s why we will spend the whole morning in Tzedaka (Charity) activities of your choice: Be it aiding Holocaust-survivors, bringing food to the poor or help the handicapped, we will return the blessing we received to the needy. In the afternoon we will stroll through the Machane Yehuda Market and Jerusalem’s different neighborhoods, buzy preparing for the Shabbat, hear the legends and breathe this special Jerusalem Friday-eve atmosphere… Shortly before sunset, we drive to the “Kotel” (Wailing Wall) to receive the Shabbat, dancing, and singing, together with Jews who gathered here for the same purpose from all over the world… Festive Shabbat-Dinner & Over-Night in Jerusalem.
Bar Mitzvah Celebration
The great day has come! It’s time to read the Torah and celebrate the Bar/Bat Mitzvah! As every Bar Mitzvah celebration is special, we will plan the details together with you. We offer a special, “out-of-the-box celebration” at our private site in the Kibbutz. We will arrange our Private Synagogue, “Hechal David”, especially for you, adjusting it to your needs, and you can spend the Shabbat Bar Mitzvah at our biblical site in the Kibbutz! O/N as before.
Depending on your flight schedule, you will have some free time in Jerusalem, before your transfer to the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport for your flight back home.