"Walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it." (Gen. 13:17)

Day 1:

Sunday, April 26

Welcome to Israel!

 

14:00 Departure from Tel Aviv meeting place

 

Drive north with stop to mark the beginning of the journey with Shehechiyanu and a “Compass Ceremony” looking out in all directions and centering ourselves.

 

Continue with an Orienteering session to learn the skills of navigation. In Hebrew the word for “direction” and “intention” are from the same root. We’ll explore the intersection of these two terms both physically and spiritually.

 

Dinner at the hotel

 

Evening Orientation- Why do Israelis Walk the Israel Trail? How was the route decided and why?

 

Overnight: Kfar Blum

Natural Abundance- The Upper Galilee

Day 2:

Monday, April 27

Early breakfast at the hotel

 

Drive to the “Gate of the Shvil,” official starting place of the Israel National Trail, for an Opening Ceremony. Learn the coding of the trail marker and get walking!

 

Start at Tel Dan Nature Reserve and hike along the Hatzbani (Snir) stream -a central source of water to the Jordan river, walking through the fresh water to the end of the river at Maayan Baruch.

 

Stop along the way for the ritual of the coffee break- enjoy café tourki (Turkish coffee) and ugiot (cookies).

 

Lunch at (Dag al HaDan)

 

The Shaar Yeshuv Memorial commemorates the deadliest air disaster in Israeli history which occurred in February 1997 and left 73 IDF soldiers dead after the two helicopters they were in crashed as they were waiting to cross the border into Lebanon. We’ll talk about why we use stones to mark a grave and what this accident did to the country.

 

Lookout over the Israel-Lebanese border from Metula and hear about the geopolitics of the area with Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Sarit Zehavi, CEO and founder of Alma, a non-profit independent research and education center specializing in Israel’s security challenges on its northern border.

 

Ride through the Hula Valley at sunset. The Hula Valley is an important resting place for migrating birds and many species of rare fish and plants. In 1948, the government decided to drain the swamps and pond and convert them into agricultural fields

 

Barbeque and Kumzitz at the home of a “Trail Angel”, people who welcome trail trekkers into their homes as they take the journey.

 

Overnight: Kfar Blum

Northern Mosaic- The Galilee

Day 3:

Tuesday, April 28

Breakfast & Check out from the hotel

 

Hike the Mount Meron and Nahal Meron area where you’ll see the graves and learn the legacy of Hillel and Shammai. Hillel and Shammai were two leading sages of the last century BCE and the early 1st century CE who founded opposing schools of Jewish thought, known as the House of Hillel and House of Shammai. The debate between these schools on matters of ritual practice, ethics, and theology was critical for the shaping of the Oral Law and Judaism as it is today.

See the ancient synagogue at Horvat Shema as well as the geological formation of Kisei Eliyahu. Legend has it that Elijah the Prophet will sit on this ‘chair’ to look out onto the land in all directions and announce the Redemption.

 

Visit the Shuk in the Arab village of Arrabe, open only on Tuesdays, with a huge array of fruits, vegetable, and local specialties. Learn about the frekke harvest.

 

Cooking workshop and Lunch in Dir Hannah   

 

Drive to the hotel

 

Dinner at the hotel

 

Erev Yom HaZikaron Ceremony as a group- Commemorate Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror with a ceremony created and done with the group.

 

Overnight: Nachsholim Kibbutz Hotel

Walking as Remembering- The Carmel Mountains

Day 4:

Wednesday, April 29

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Breakfast at the hotel

 

Travel to Haifa – a multicultural and multireligious city.

 

Attend a Yom HaZikaron Ceremony at the Leo Baeck School or the Yad B’Yad School (Reali School.)

 

Following the ceremony, meet with students to hear their personal way of thinking about Yom HaZikaron.

 

Lunch in Wadi Nisnas

 

Afternoon hiking in the Ramat Hanadiv area. Each walker will receive the name and photograph of a fallen soldier or victim of terror and will take this person with them as you hike this afternoon. How is walking used to remember?

 

Begin making the transition between the mourning of Yom HaZikaron and the joy of Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day) with an Israeli Dinner.

 

Celebrate Erev Yom HaZikaron in Zichron Yaakov.

 

Overnight: Nachsholim Kibbutz Hotel

Celebrating Independence- Aliyah to Tel Aviv

Day 5: Thursday, April 30

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Drive to the Herzliya Marina where you will begin to walk towards Tel Aviv, through Tel Baruch, the Tel Aviv Port, and through Park HaYarkon.

 

As you walk, you’ll see the exciting annual Air Force Flyover.

 

Enjoy a Yom Haatzmaut Barbeque in the park.

 

Free time and dinner on your own

 

Overnight: Tel Aviv

War and Peace- The Jerusalem Hills

Day 6:

Friday,

May 1

Breakfast & check-out

 

Walk in the footsteps of the Israeli soldiers that fought for stopping the siege over Jerusalem in 1948. Walk from Latrun to Sha’ar Hagai along the Burma Road, built during the War of Independence to circumvent hostile Arab villages cutting off Jerusalem from critical supplies coming from Tel Aviv.

 

Stop at the Machal Memorial to foreign volunteers who lost their lives to support Israel's struggle for independence.

Lunch and wine-tasting at Castel Winery, one of Israel’s first boutique wineries. The Winery has received many international awards including one of top 100 wineries in the world by Decanter magazine and highest score by Robert Parker in Israel.

 

Drive to Jerusalem.

 

Walk through Kidron into the Old City of Jerusalem.

 

“Kabbalat Shabbat” at the Kotel

 

Check into hotel

 

Shabbat Dinner at the hotel

 

Overnight: Moshav Shoresh

Shabbat Shalom- Resting Bodies and Souls

Day 7: Saturday, May 2

Shabbat Shalom- Resting Bodies and Souls

 

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Morning Yoga

 

Shabbat Tefilot led by participants (optional)

 

 

Touring Options:

  • Jerusalem Neighborhoods

  • Jerusalem Hills Culinary Tour

 

Lunch at the hotel or during outing

 

Late afternoon Conversation with Aryeh Green followed by time alone in nature

 

Come together for Havdalah to usher out Shabbat.

 

Bus to Jerusalem or Abu Ghosh- dinner on own

 

Overnight: Moshav Shoresh

Culture and History- The Shefela

Day 8:

Sunday,

May 3

Culture and History- The Shefela

 

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Hike in Park Britania beginning at Emek HeEla to Mitzpe Mesuah with a stop at Tel Azeka.

 

The pear-shaped Tel Azeka was one of the main Judean Biblical border cities as it towered over the Elah Valley. The Bible tells us that here the Amorite kings were defeated by Joshua and their army destroyed by a hailstorm. From the panoramic view from the top of the tel, imagine the historic battle between the young shepherd, David, and the mighty Philistine warrior, Goliath that took place in the Elah Valley.

 

Arts and Culture workshops

  • Bread Baking

  • Mud Building

  • Dance workshop with the Vertigo Dance Company

 

Together, continue to Beit Guvrin National Park, explore the Bell Caves of which there are around 800 in the area! Many of the caves are linked via an underground network of passageways. The area was a quarry which was used to carve stones for construction.

Play with the outstanding acoustics in the cave- you’ll be treated to a short concert.

Drive to Be’er Sheva to meet Naftali Aklum, an Ethiopian activist who was born in Ethiopia in 1979, the youngest of 12 siblings. His brother Ferede Aklum z”l was determined to reach Jerusalem, and set out from Ethiopia in 1978 on a long, dangerous trek through the desert, ultimately reaching Sudan. Naftali reached Israel with his family in 1980, at age one, thus fulfilling a dream that had been kept alive for 2,500 years. Hear his story and that of the Ethiopian Aliyah

 

End with a delicious Ethiopian meal in Be’er Sheva’s Old City.

 

Drive to the hotel

 

Overnight: Mashabei Sade Kibbutz Hotel

Desert Dreams - The Negev

Day 9:

Monday, May 4

Desert Dreams- The Negev

 

Breakfast

 

Hike in the stunning Negev Desert and get to know the endless variations of the landscape. Explore the area of Makhtesh HaKatan (the Small Crater) and immerse yourself in the details of the land around you.

 

After hiking drive to Dimona and meet the Black Hebrews Community. Begin with a vegan lunch and hear their fascinating story. The African Hebrew Israelite Nation of Jerusalem is a small spiritual group whose members believe they are descended from the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

 

Visit Rahat or another Bedouin Village and meet youth who are part of the Desert Stars Program which is building a generation of Bedouin leaders to promote a thriving Bedouin community and a strong Israeli society. The project empowers mission-driven teens and young adults to realize their individual and collective potential as change-making leaders.

 

Traditional Bedouin dinner

 

Meet soldiers or former soldiers from the Gashashim (Trackers) Unit. The IDF’s Trackers Unit is comprised of a few hundred combat soldiers, most of whom come from Israel’s Bedouin community and draft into the IDF as volunteers. These soldiers go through a special course that prepares them to become trackers in the most thorough way.

 

Overnight: Mashabe Sade Kibbutz Hotel

Natural Beauty, Spiritual Inspiration -
Makhtesh Ramon

Day 10:

Tuesday,

May 5

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Two hiking options will be offered this day- half day and full day.

 

Hiking in Makhtesh Ramon (The Ramon Crater) including following the Ancient Spice Route which begins in Makhtesh Ramon to the site of Nabatean city of Ovdat. Learn about the Nabatean winemaking while seeing one of the At least five wine presses dated to the Byzantine period that have been found at the various Nabatean sites in the area such as Ovdat and Shivta.

 

For half-day hikers:

 

Visit Ayalim Village at Ashalim and meet Ayalim students. Ayalim connects the young generation to Zionism, Jewish Identity, pioneering, community life and social involvement. In Exchange for a scholarship and low-cost rent, the students volunteer over 300 yearly hours in different educational frameworks as well as pioneering work in Israel’s less populated and under-developed areas.

Visit the Mitzpe Ramon Visitors Center and learn the geological story behind this unique and amazing work of nature through interactive exhibits. At the center, pay tribute to Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first and only astronaut, who tragically died on a space mission in 2003.

 

Cook outdoors together at the Glamping site.

 

Star Gazing

 

Overnight: Glamping

Last Day of your Trail - Walking Forward

Day 11:

Wednesday,

May 6

Breakfast

 

Travel by jeep to the beginning of your trail for the day.

 

Hike in Eilat Mountains and arrive at the end of the trail in Eilat.

 

Afternoon on the beach

 

Evening celebration and closing ceremony

 

Overnight: Orchid Reef, Eilat or Eilat SPNI Field School

Celebrating Independence- Aliyah to Tel Aviv

Day 12:

Thursday,

May 7

Flight from Eilat to Ben Gurion Airport

The Itinerary

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