Summer Experiences

Camp JORi-Israel Journey

Travel with camp friends and staff that you love on a 4-week summer experience in Israel! Experience a cross-country and cross-cultural journey like none other in the Jewish Homeland. 

  • CampJoriLogo.png

    Camp JORi will once again offer its Israel/CIT program — a month long experience in Israel for our campers who have completed the LIT program.

    Camp JORi’s Israel Journey is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to connect with the history, people, and natural beauty of Israel. The program is also the culmination of our Israel education programming at camp. CITs will then return to JORi on August 2nd for the last two weeks of the summer at camp to continue their training to be future counselors. This program, along with additional staff training initiatives, will strengthen the camper-to-counselor transition. The cost of the at-camp portion of the program is $525.00 payable to Camp JORi. Register for the CIT program online at www.campjori.com.

    Our Program in Israel

    Join us in Israel and discover Israel's many treasures traveling between the Golan Heights in the far north to the tropical Red Sea in the deep south. Experience a Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem, watch the sunrise from atop Masada and tap into the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv.

    Israel Journey covers all of the classic sites you need to experience – ancient Jerusalem, modern Tel Aviv, the lush Galilee mountains, the vast Negev Desert, the unsinkable Dead Sea and the mountaintop fortress on Masada. But we'll also take you much further. Enjoy a BBQ on the beach, take part in an active archeological dig, sample the world's very best falafel and spend a night under the stars.

    More than a tour, this is a journey that is about discovering your own personal connection to this very ancient and very modern land. It's about exploring what it means to be Jewish from an Israeli point of view, It's about understanding the politics of the Middle East with new real world insights. And it's about living Jewish values through hands-on community service and Shabbat experiences.

    Choose Your Own Path

    The Camp JORi - Israel Journey includes an extra enrichment week that is designed to shed light on unique aspects of Israeli society. It's a perfect compliment to the traditional touring experience:

    Sea-to-Sea Hike
    Hike from the Mediterranean Ocean to the Sea of Galilee on your own two feet. Cross through the lush canyons and mountaintops of the Galilee, camping out under the stars all along the way (all gear is provided). Learn how to navigate and survive in the wilderness like our ancestors did, explore Israel’s most scenic terrain, visit picturesque villages on the route, and connect to the beauty of the land in a way that few ever do. Most important? Gain a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that you will cherish for years to come.

    Service Learning
    Give back on a series of service projects and depart Israel with a sense that you not only visited, but gave something back as well. Based out of a college campus in Israel's Galilee, participants will engaged in a process of learning, direct service and reflection. Actual projects will vary throughout the elective period and may include work with immigrant youth, Israel's minority communities, environmental restoration and infrastructure improvement. Along the way, you'll gain a new sense of perspective and connect with Israeli society on a personal level.

    Gadna
    Organized by the Israel Defense Forces and located on a specialized army educational base, Gadna is a "basic training"-style experience for high school teens from abroad. Since every Israeli teen is required to serve in the Israeli army, Gadna offers a glimpse of this uniquely Israeli experience is like. The Gadna program is not political or militaristic in nature. The experience is about learning new skills, hiking in the outdoors, and simulating what life is like on a real Israeli army base. Gadna is a challenging and character building life experience that you can look back on with a definite sense of accomplishment.

    Culture & Innovation
    The second half of the week is based in the Haifa/Tel Aviv corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel's many cultural and technological innovations.

    Highlights include experiencing what it means to be a "Start Up Nation" at a high tech campus, taking part in a creative workshop at Ein Hod artists colony, and meeting some of the emerging leaders shaping the course of Israeli society. You'll also explore Israel's beautiful Carmel Mountains and spend a Shabbat in Haifa, a city rich in diversity and beauty. Discover a new and thoroughly modern side of Israel!

    Program Highlights

    For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

     

    Explore the ancient tunnels, rooftops and corridors of Jerusalem's Old City
    Float in the Dead Sea and climb to the heights of Masada at sunrise
    Dig in an active excavation project and snorkel in an underwater archaeological park
    Swim in the tropical Red Sea, raft down the Jordan River and cool off under a desert waterfall
    Learn first-hand about contemporary Israeli politics and experience co-existence in action
    Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism's mystical tradition in Tzfat
    Navigate the wilderness on a camel trek and enjoy a delicious desert tent feast
    Soak up the cultural richness of modern Tel Aviv
    Electives: Trek from sea-to-sea, challenge yourself on Gadna or take part in a service learning experience

    Itinerary Snapshot

    A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

    WEEK #1 | Jerusalem & Mediterranean Coast

    Land at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and begin the ascent to Jerusalem where we'll devote the first part of the week to exploring the Old City. Retrace 4,000+ years of epic history wandering the tunnels, rooftops and passageways of ancient Jerusalem. From Jerusalem we travel along the Mediterranean Coast to the Western Galilee and spend our first Shabbat near the beachfront.

    WEEK #2 | Galilee, Golan Heights & Tel Aviv

    Travel east through the lush Galilee highlands as we discover the mystical history of ancient Tzfat, take in the views from the Golan Heights, discover contemporary kibbutz life, and cool off in Israel's most water-filled region! We close out week two with our first visit to Tel Aviv, Israel's cultural capital and one of the world's most innovative cities.

    WEEK #3 | Eilat, Negev Desert & Jerusalem

    Head due south to Eilat where we'll swim in the tropical Red Sea, learn about the desert ecology and spend a night under the stars at a Bedouin tent. Hike up Masada for sunrise followed by a float in the Dead Sea. Then return to Jerusalem for a somber visit to Yad Vashem followed by a moving Shabbat experience at the Western Wall. Our touring concludes in Tel Aviv, celebrating the achievements of modern Israel and a journey to remember.

    WEEK #4 | Electives & Community Service

    Our final week in Israel is an elective and enrichment experience. During the first part of the week participants choose from the Sea-to-Sea Hike, a Service Learning Experience or Gadna. The second part of the week is based in the Haifa/Tel Aviv corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel's many cultural and technological innovations.

    BBYO + Israel + You!

    Each summer, we convene nearly all our Israel experiences for a massive celebration called BBYO B’Yachad (Hebrew for "togetherness"), True to its name, the event unites an international community of Jewish teens from across North America and countries as diverse as France, Bulgaria, Mexico, Australia, Switzerland, Turkey, Latvia and Singapore. Join us for the party of the summer in Israel!

    Travel to Israel presents a unique opportunity for teens to form a personal connection to our history and to experience their Judaism from a new perspective. But why go to Israel in high school? We believe and studies have shown that a multi-week experience in Israel during the high school years can have a profound impact on the development of an enduring and fulfilling Jewish identity. Explore More

    Since 1956, BBYO has organized teen programs in Israel with a fundamental commitment to providing a safe and meaningful experience. Our programs adhere to Israel’s comprehensive security policies, and our itineraries are designed with caution in mind. Each group is accompanied by a licensed medic/guard and trained staff who supervise the teens. Explore More

    We believe all Jewish teens should experience Israel during their formative high school years. To that end, we provide needs-based scholarships on the local and national level regardless of prior BBYO involvement. Many Jewish Federations provide additional need-based and grant-based scholarship. Funding availability is limited, so you'll want to apply early. Explore More

     

  • We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

    DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off

    • Depart from Boston on a supervised group flight (optional)
      Take-off and spend the night in the sky en route to Israel

    DAY #2 | Wednesday | Introduction to Jerusalem

    • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
    • Check-in and orientation at our accommodations in Jerusalem
    • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem’s Old City

    • Welcome to Israel! Shecheyanu ceremony overlooking the Old City
    • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
    • Enter the Old City’s Zion Gate – Explore the ancient squares & rooftops of the Jewish Quarter
    • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
    • Reflections at the Kotel (The Western Wall) and visit the Southern Wall excavations
    • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
    • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem
    • Evening Speaker – The Geo-Politics of Israel Today
    • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #4 | Friday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

    • Begin traveling north to the Galilee along the Mediterranean Coast
    • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
    • Continue north, and explore the ancient catacombs of Beit Shearim and learn how the Jewish community of the Galilee adapted to the Exile during the Talmudic-era
    • Stop for an overlook of the Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee
    • Check-in to our kibbutz accommodations in the Galilee and prepare for Shabbat
    • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our accommodations
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

    DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat on Kibbutz

    • Shabbat programming and group lunch
    • Tour of the kibbutz and learn about the history of the kibbutz idea
    • Afternoon: Pool, sports and free time!
    • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony -- celebrate the start of a new week
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

    DAY #6 | Sunday | Mystics of the Galilee

    • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – The historic center of Judaism’s Kabbalah movement
    • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
    • Travel to Israel’s Upper Galilee region and hike to the waterfalls of the Banias
    • Finish the day rafting down the Jordan River and scaling the adventure ropes park
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galileer

    DAY #7 | Monday | Perspectives from the Golan Heights

    • Ascend the Golan Heights, and hike along the water-filled Nahal Yehudiya canyon
    • Travel to Kibbutz Merom Golan and meet with a local community member to learn about what life is like along the Syrian border over lunch
    • Tour of the region on a historical off-road jeep tour of the Golan
    • View of the region and explore former IDF bunkers on the summit of Mt. Ben-Tal
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

    DAY #8 | Tuesday | Co-Existence in the Galilee

    • Help fight poverty in Israel volunteering at Pitchon Lev in the city of Karmiel
    • Take part in a coexistence dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens with the Galilee Foundation
    • Descend via cable car into the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah on Israel’s northern border
    • Spend the rest of the afternoon explore Acco Seaport, including the Templar Tunnels
    • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

    DAY #9 | Wednesday | The Carmel Mountains

    • Start the morning exploring Haifa and the Bahai Gardens on Mt. Carmel
    • Enjoy a uniquely delicious lunch, and discover a new culture in the Druze Village of Ussafiya
    • Atlit – Learn about the challenges faced by Jews fleeing the Holocaust prior to Israel’s founding during the British Mandate Era
    • Surfing class, beach time and BBQ dinner on the Mediterranean Coast
    • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

    DAY #10 | Thursday | Pioneering Values

    • Caesarea – Explore Herod's Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the beach
    • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
    • Tour the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel/li>
    NOTE: This weekend is the optional Host Family Weekend. If applicable, plan for your host to pick you up at our scheduled accommodations on Thursday evening and return you to our accommodations on Saturday evening.

    DAY #11 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

    • Travel to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and financial capital
    • Visit to the Rabin Center – Explore the history of modern Israel through the life story of its most famous soldier and statesman
    • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
    • Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Tel Aviv’s lively beach culture
    • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
    • Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner with a guest educator
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel

    DAY #12 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

    • Wake up to Shabbat in the rolling foothills of Jerusalem – Take part in an optional group hike
    • Shabbat programming and group lunch at accommodations
    • Play sports, hang out by the pool and enjoy relaxation time at our accommodations
    • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony -- celebrate the start of a new week
    • Evening: Group night out at the high-tech Azrieli Tower Mall in Tel Aviv
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Judean Hills

    DAY #13 | Sunday | To the Negev Desert

    • Dig-for-a-Day! – Take part in an archaeological seminar with the professionals
    • Break for a traditional Ethiopian-style lunch with home hosts
    • Travel south into the heart of the Negev Desert
    • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion and his vision for the desert
    • Stop to view the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge
    • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations outside of Eilat
    • Evening: Group dinner and pool party!
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

    DAY #14 | Monday | Eilat and the Red Sea

    • Wake up early to climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
    • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon
    • Depart to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
    • Afternoon – Relaxed beach time and banana boating on the tropical Red Sea
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

    DAY #15 | Tuesday | The Desert Blooms

    • The Arava Institute - Learn how Israel thrives in the desert and protects its ecological treasures
    • • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
    • • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
    • Camel trekking and enjoy a "hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast!
    • Evening: Bonfire party and night under the bright desert stars
    • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Tent, Judean Desert

    DAY #16 | Wednesday | Masada and the Dead Sea

    • Pre-sunrise climb up Masada, a fortress overlooking the Dead Sea, via the Roman Ramp trail
    • Tour of Masada – Herod’s mountaintop desert fortress – and descend via the Snake Path
    • Swim under the cool desert waterfalls at Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
    • Take in the stark desert scenery as we travel back to Jerusalem in the late afternoon
    • Evening Speaker – The Geo-Politics of Israel Today
    • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #17 | Thursday | Remembrance & Renewal

    • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
    • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
    • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air marketplace
    • Speaker – Meet with an activist pursuing religious pluralism in Israel
    • Evening: BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with all groups in Israel!
    • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #18 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

    • Vision & Sacrifice – The Theodore Herzl Museum and the Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
    • Beyond the Walls – Montefiore’s Windmill, Yemin Moshe and the Jerusalem First Station Market
    • Return to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
    • Experience a Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall followed by dinner in the Old City
    • Walk back to the hotel and enjoy Shabbat dinner as a group
    • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #19 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

    • Have the option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
    • Visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model and much more
    • Afternoon: Soak up the sun relaxing in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
    • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels
    • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #20 | Sunday | Celebrating Modern Israel

    • Depart for the Tel Aviv region in the morning
    • Machon Ayalon – Explore the story of the Hagannah and the struggle to gain independence at this secret historical munitions factory
    • Independence Hall – Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
    • Break for lunch along stylish Rotschild Boulevard and enjoy the local café culture
    • Tap into the innovative spirit of modern Israel at the Tel Aviv Innovation Center and meet with a local entrepreneur
    • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #21-24 | Monday to Thursday | Elective Choices

    • Option #1: Sea-to-Sea Hike - Hike from the Mediterranean Coast to the Sea of Galilee
    • Option #2: Gadna - Basic training-style experience at the IDF’s Tzalmon educational army base
    • Option #3: Stand UP Israel - Service learning experience in the Galilee

    DAY #25 | Friday | Haifa and the Carmel Mountains

    • Haifa walking tour – German Colony, Elijah’s Cave, Wadi Nisnas and the Haifa Port
    • Take part in a mandala-making workshop at Ein Hod Artists’ Colony
    • Adventures in the Carmel Mountains – Horseback or ATV-style riding at Kibbutz Beit Oren
    • Return to accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
    • Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at our campus overlooking the Haifa Bay
    • Overnight: Haifa Guest House, Haifa

    DAY #26 | Saturday | Shabbat in Haifa

    • Shabbat programming and group lunch 
    • Play sports, hang out by the beach and well-deserved relaxation time
    • Evening: Group night out at Akko Extreme Park – Rock wall, zipline, and more!
    • Overnight: Haifa Guest House, Haifa

    DAY #27 | Sunday | Culture & Innovation in Tel Aviv

    • Travel from Haifa to Tel Aviv in the morning
    • PresenTense IdeaSlam Workshop – Learn about Israel’s startup culture and channel your own innovative talents
    • Experience life with new senses crafting pottery in the dark at the Nalaga’at Center
    • People of Israel – Connect with every day Tel Aviv citizens on a photographic interview project
    • Farewell dinner at Maganda – Tel Aviv’s famous Yemenite restaurant
    • Late Night: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for an overnight return flight

    DAY #28 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

    • Arrive back to Boston

  • You have questions? We've got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

    How will my teen travel to the program?
    An optional group flight is offered – typically from New York City. In some cases a group flight may also depart from Newark, Atlanta, Boston, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to the group flight departure city. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets that mimic the group flight itinerary or book separate flight itineraries entirely and make arrangements to meet our staff at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Learn more about our group flights.

    Where will my teen be sleeping?
    Many of the accommodations we stay at are kibbutz-based guest houses that are located in Israel's countryside and provide space for exploration within a secure environment. We use conventional hotels in Jerusalem and occasionally in other cities. Each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations. All of the accommodations that we use have a dedicated guard and a secure area.

    How is the program staffed?
    Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), an Israeli guide, a security/medical escort and a dedicated bus driver. In Israel, senior staff circulates between the groups as well. Learn more about our staff team.

    What's the summer weather like?
    Temperatures range from hot to hotter in the summer. Clothing should be lightweight and comfortable in the heat. Whenever outside for an extended period, you’ll be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. Over exposure to the hot Middle Eastern sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. The other good news is that the chance of rain in Israel during the summer is practically zero. No umbrellas needed!
     
    Evenings in Israel tend to get chilly quickly – frequently into the 50s or 60s. Because we will not always return to our accommodations to change before an evening activity, always bring a day-pack with a windbreaker, long-sleeved shirt, or light sweater.

    How do you approach security?
    The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. As a program, we take a number of precautions to reduce security risks: We travel on a private coach bus, we stay at accommodations with security, we plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with an armed guard, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel's Situation Room. Learn more about our approach to safety & security in Israel and worldwide.

    What's the typical group size?
    Group size varies depending on the date of the program. Our average group size is 30 teens. In some cases multiple groups will travel on a similar path, although each group has its own dedicated staff, guide and guard.

    What's the food like?
    The food on all Israel trips is kosher throughout. Expect to eat Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, bourekas, and much more. Some meals will be provided according to our “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds.

    Will I need a visa?
    If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter Israel. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa. Contact your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate for additional details.

    What's the Host Family Weekend?
    The second Shabbat in Israel is an optional Host Family Weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to visit with relatives or family friends while in Israel. Participation in the Host Family Weekend is not mandatory, and the itinerary during this weekend is fully programmed for those teens staying with the group. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip prep guide.

     

    For more information, check out our general FAQs.
     

  • No connections or extensions are available for this program, but you can view all connected program options here.

CampJoriLogo.png

Camp JORi will once again offer its Israel/CIT program — a month long experience in Israel for our campers who have completed the LIT program.

Camp JORi’s Israel Journey is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to connect with the history, people, and natural beauty of Israel. The program is also the culmination of our Israel education programming at camp. CITs will then return to JORi on August 2nd for the last two weeks of the summer at camp to continue their training to be future counselors. This program, along with additional staff training initiatives, will strengthen the camper-to-counselor transition. The cost of the at-camp portion of the program is $525.00 payable to Camp JORi. Register for the CIT program online at www.campjori.com.

Our Program in Israel

Join us in Israel and discover Israel's many treasures traveling between the Golan Heights in the far north to the tropical Red Sea in the deep south. Experience a Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem, watch the sunrise from atop Masada and tap into the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv.

Israel Journey covers all of the classic sites you need to experience – ancient Jerusalem, modern Tel Aviv, the lush Galilee mountains, the vast Negev Desert, the unsinkable Dead Sea and the mountaintop fortress on Masada. But we'll also take you much further. Enjoy a BBQ on the beach, take part in an active archeological dig, sample the world's very best falafel and spend a night under the stars.

More than a tour, this is a journey that is about discovering your own personal connection to this very ancient and very modern land. It's about exploring what it means to be Jewish from an Israeli point of view, It's about understanding the politics of the Middle East with new real world insights. And it's about living Jewish values through hands-on community service and Shabbat experiences.

Choose Your Own Path

The Camp JORi - Israel Journey includes an extra enrichment week that is designed to shed light on unique aspects of Israeli society. It's a perfect compliment to the traditional touring experience:

Sea-to-Sea Hike
Hike from the Mediterranean Ocean to the Sea of Galilee on your own two feet. Cross through the lush canyons and mountaintops of the Galilee, camping out under the stars all along the way (all gear is provided). Learn how to navigate and survive in the wilderness like our ancestors did, explore Israel’s most scenic terrain, visit picturesque villages on the route, and connect to the beauty of the land in a way that few ever do. Most important? Gain a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that you will cherish for years to come.

Service Learning
Give back on a series of service projects and depart Israel with a sense that you not only visited, but gave something back as well. Based out of a college campus in Israel's Galilee, participants will engaged in a process of learning, direct service and reflection. Actual projects will vary throughout the elective period and may include work with immigrant youth, Israel's minority communities, environmental restoration and infrastructure improvement. Along the way, you'll gain a new sense of perspective and connect with Israeli society on a personal level.

Gadna
Organized by the Israel Defense Forces and located on a specialized army educational base, Gadna is a "basic training"-style experience for high school teens from abroad. Since every Israeli teen is required to serve in the Israeli army, Gadna offers a glimpse of this uniquely Israeli experience is like. The Gadna program is not political or militaristic in nature. The experience is about learning new skills, hiking in the outdoors, and simulating what life is like on a real Israeli army base. Gadna is a challenging and character building life experience that you can look back on with a definite sense of accomplishment.

Culture & Innovation
The second half of the week is based in the Haifa/Tel Aviv corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel's many cultural and technological innovations.

Highlights include experiencing what it means to be a "Start Up Nation" at a high tech campus, taking part in a creative workshop at Ein Hod artists colony, and meeting some of the emerging leaders shaping the course of Israeli society. You'll also explore Israel's beautiful Carmel Mountains and spend a Shabbat in Haifa, a city rich in diversity and beauty. Discover a new and thoroughly modern side of Israel!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

 

Explore the ancient tunnels, rooftops and corridors of Jerusalem's Old City
Float in the Dead Sea and climb to the heights of Masada at sunrise
Dig in an active excavation project and snorkel in an underwater archaeological park
Swim in the tropical Red Sea, raft down the Jordan River and cool off under a desert waterfall
Learn first-hand about contemporary Israeli politics and experience co-existence in action
Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism's mystical tradition in Tzfat
Navigate the wilderness on a camel trek and enjoy a delicious desert tent feast
Soak up the cultural richness of modern Tel Aviv
Electives: Trek from sea-to-sea, challenge yourself on Gadna or take part in a service learning experience

Itinerary Snapshot

A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

WEEK #1 | Jerusalem & Mediterranean Coast

Land at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and begin the ascent to Jerusalem where we'll devote the first part of the week to exploring the Old City. Retrace 4,000+ years of epic history wandering the tunnels, rooftops and passageways of ancient Jerusalem. From Jerusalem we travel along the Mediterranean Coast to the Western Galilee and spend our first Shabbat near the beachfront.

WEEK #2 | Galilee, Golan Heights & Tel Aviv

Travel east through the lush Galilee highlands as we discover the mystical history of ancient Tzfat, take in the views from the Golan Heights, discover contemporary kibbutz life, and cool off in Israel's most water-filled region! We close out week two with our first visit to Tel Aviv, Israel's cultural capital and one of the world's most innovative cities.

WEEK #3 | Eilat, Negev Desert & Jerusalem

Head due south to Eilat where we'll swim in the tropical Red Sea, learn about the desert ecology and spend a night under the stars at a Bedouin tent. Hike up Masada for sunrise followed by a float in the Dead Sea. Then return to Jerusalem for a somber visit to Yad Vashem followed by a moving Shabbat experience at the Western Wall. Our touring concludes in Tel Aviv, celebrating the achievements of modern Israel and a journey to remember.

WEEK #4 | Electives & Community Service

Our final week in Israel is an elective and enrichment experience. During the first part of the week participants choose from the Sea-to-Sea Hike, a Service Learning Experience or Gadna. The second part of the week is based in the Haifa/Tel Aviv corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel's many cultural and technological innovations.

BBYO + Israel + You!

Each summer, we convene nearly all our Israel experiences for a massive celebration called BBYO B’Yachad (Hebrew for "togetherness"), True to its name, the event unites an international community of Jewish teens from across North America and countries as diverse as France, Bulgaria, Mexico, Australia, Switzerland, Turkey, Latvia and Singapore. Join us for the party of the summer in Israel!

Travel to Israel presents a unique opportunity for teens to form a personal connection to our history and to experience their Judaism from a new perspective. But why go to Israel in high school? We believe and studies have shown that a multi-week experience in Israel during the high school years can have a profound impact on the development of an enduring and fulfilling Jewish identity. Explore More

Since 1956, BBYO has organized teen programs in Israel with a fundamental commitment to providing a safe and meaningful experience. Our programs adhere to Israel’s comprehensive security policies, and our itineraries are designed with caution in mind. Each group is accompanied by a licensed medic/guard and trained staff who supervise the teens. Explore More

We believe all Jewish teens should experience Israel during their formative high school years. To that end, we provide needs-based scholarships on the local and national level regardless of prior BBYO involvement. Many Jewish Federations provide additional need-based and grant-based scholarship. Funding availability is limited, so you'll want to apply early. Explore More

 

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off

  • Depart from Boston on a supervised group flight (optional)
    Take-off and spend the night in the sky en route to Israel

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Introduction to Jerusalem

  • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
  • Check-in and orientation at our accommodations in Jerusalem
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem’s Old City

  • Welcome to Israel! Shecheyanu ceremony overlooking the Old City
  • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City’s Zion Gate – Explore the ancient squares & rooftops of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflections at the Kotel (The Western Wall) and visit the Southern Wall excavations
  • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
  • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem
  • Evening Speaker – The Geo-Politics of Israel Today
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #4 | Friday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

  • Begin traveling north to the Galilee along the Mediterranean Coast
  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
  • Continue north, and explore the ancient catacombs of Beit Shearim and learn how the Jewish community of the Galilee adapted to the Exile during the Talmudic-era
  • Stop for an overlook of the Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee
  • Check-in to our kibbutz accommodations in the Galilee and prepare for Shabbat
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our accommodations
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat on Kibbutz

  • Shabbat programming and group lunch
  • Tour of the kibbutz and learn about the history of the kibbutz idea
  • Afternoon: Pool, sports and free time!
  • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony -- celebrate the start of a new week
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #6 | Sunday | Mystics of the Galilee

  • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – The historic center of Judaism’s Kabbalah movement
  • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
  • Travel to Israel’s Upper Galilee region and hike to the waterfalls of the Banias
  • Finish the day rafting down the Jordan River and scaling the adventure ropes park
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galileer

DAY #7 | Monday | Perspectives from the Golan Heights

  • Ascend the Golan Heights, and hike along the water-filled Nahal Yehudiya canyon
  • Travel to Kibbutz Merom Golan and meet with a local community member to learn about what life is like along the Syrian border over lunch
  • Tour of the region on a historical off-road jeep tour of the Golan
  • View of the region and explore former IDF bunkers on the summit of Mt. Ben-Tal
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Co-Existence in the Galilee

  • Help fight poverty in Israel volunteering at Pitchon Lev in the city of Karmiel
  • Take part in a coexistence dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens with the Galilee Foundation
  • Descend via cable car into the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah on Israel’s northern border
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon explore Acco Seaport, including the Templar Tunnels
  • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #9 | Wednesday | The Carmel Mountains

  • Start the morning exploring Haifa and the Bahai Gardens on Mt. Carmel
  • Enjoy a uniquely delicious lunch, and discover a new culture in the Druze Village of Ussafiya
  • Atlit – Learn about the challenges faced by Jews fleeing the Holocaust prior to Israel’s founding during the British Mandate Era
  • Surfing class, beach time and BBQ dinner on the Mediterranean Coast
  • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #10 | Thursday | Pioneering Values

  • Caesarea – Explore Herod's Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the beach
  • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Tour the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel/li>
NOTE: This weekend is the optional Host Family Weekend. If applicable, plan for your host to pick you up at our scheduled accommodations on Thursday evening and return you to our accommodations on Saturday evening.

DAY #11 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

  • Travel to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Visit to the Rabin Center – Explore the history of modern Israel through the life story of its most famous soldier and statesman
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
  • Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Tel Aviv’s lively beach culture
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner with a guest educator
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel

DAY #12 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

  • Wake up to Shabbat in the rolling foothills of Jerusalem – Take part in an optional group hike
  • Shabbat programming and group lunch at accommodations
  • Play sports, hang out by the pool and enjoy relaxation time at our accommodations
  • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony -- celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at the high-tech Azrieli Tower Mall in Tel Aviv
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Judean Hills

DAY #13 | Sunday | To the Negev Desert

  • Dig-for-a-Day! – Take part in an archaeological seminar with the professionals
  • Break for a traditional Ethiopian-style lunch with home hosts
  • Travel south into the heart of the Negev Desert
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion and his vision for the desert
  • Stop to view the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge
  • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations outside of Eilat
  • Evening: Group dinner and pool party!
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

DAY #14 | Monday | Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon
  • Depart to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Afternoon – Relaxed beach time and banana boating on the tropical Red Sea
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

DAY #15 | Tuesday | The Desert Blooms

  • The Arava Institute - Learn how Israel thrives in the desert and protects its ecological treasures
  • • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
  • • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Camel trekking and enjoy a "hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast!
  • Evening: Bonfire party and night under the bright desert stars
  • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Tent, Judean Desert

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Masada and the Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb up Masada, a fortress overlooking the Dead Sea, via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of Masada – Herod’s mountaintop desert fortress – and descend via the Snake Path
  • Swim under the cool desert waterfalls at Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
  • Take in the stark desert scenery as we travel back to Jerusalem in the late afternoon
  • Evening Speaker – The Geo-Politics of Israel Today
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #17 | Thursday | Remembrance & Renewal

  • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
  • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air marketplace
  • Speaker – Meet with an activist pursuing religious pluralism in Israel
  • Evening: BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with all groups in Israel!
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Theodore Herzl Museum and the Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Beyond the Walls – Montefiore’s Windmill, Yemin Moshe and the Jerusalem First Station Market
  • Return to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Experience a Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall followed by dinner in the Old City
  • Walk back to the hotel and enjoy Shabbat dinner as a group
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #19 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

  • Have the option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • Visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model and much more
  • Afternoon: Soak up the sun relaxing in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #20 | Sunday | Celebrating Modern Israel

  • Depart for the Tel Aviv region in the morning
  • Machon Ayalon – Explore the story of the Hagannah and the struggle to gain independence at this secret historical munitions factory
  • Independence Hall – Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Break for lunch along stylish Rotschild Boulevard and enjoy the local café culture
  • Tap into the innovative spirit of modern Israel at the Tel Aviv Innovation Center and meet with a local entrepreneur
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #21-24 | Monday to Thursday | Elective Choices

  • Option #1: Sea-to-Sea Hike - Hike from the Mediterranean Coast to the Sea of Galilee
  • Option #2: Gadna - Basic training-style experience at the IDF’s Tzalmon educational army base
  • Option #3: Stand UP Israel - Service learning experience in the Galilee

DAY #25 | Friday | Haifa and the Carmel Mountains

  • Haifa walking tour – German Colony, Elijah’s Cave, Wadi Nisnas and the Haifa Port
  • Take part in a mandala-making workshop at Ein Hod Artists’ Colony
  • Adventures in the Carmel Mountains – Horseback or ATV-style riding at Kibbutz Beit Oren
  • Return to accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at our campus overlooking the Haifa Bay
  • Overnight: Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #26 | Saturday | Shabbat in Haifa

  • Shabbat programming and group lunch 
  • Play sports, hang out by the beach and well-deserved relaxation time
  • Evening: Group night out at Akko Extreme Park – Rock wall, zipline, and more!
  • Overnight: Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #27 | Sunday | Culture & Innovation in Tel Aviv

  • Travel from Haifa to Tel Aviv in the morning
  • PresenTense IdeaSlam Workshop – Learn about Israel’s startup culture and channel your own innovative talents
  • Experience life with new senses crafting pottery in the dark at the Nalaga’at Center
  • People of Israel – Connect with every day Tel Aviv citizens on a photographic interview project
  • Farewell dinner at Maganda – Tel Aviv’s famous Yemenite restaurant
  • Late Night: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for an overnight return flight

DAY #28 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • Arrive back to Boston

You have questions? We've got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
An optional group flight is offered – typically from New York City. In some cases a group flight may also depart from Newark, Atlanta, Boston, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to the group flight departure city. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets that mimic the group flight itinerary or book separate flight itineraries entirely and make arrangements to meet our staff at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Learn more about our group flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
Many of the accommodations we stay at are kibbutz-based guest houses that are located in Israel's countryside and provide space for exploration within a secure environment. We use conventional hotels in Jerusalem and occasionally in other cities. Each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations. All of the accommodations that we use have a dedicated guard and a secure area.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), an Israeli guide, a security/medical escort and a dedicated bus driver. In Israel, senior staff circulates between the groups as well. Learn more about our staff team.

What's the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter in the summer. Clothing should be lightweight and comfortable in the heat. Whenever outside for an extended period, you’ll be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. Over exposure to the hot Middle Eastern sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. The other good news is that the chance of rain in Israel during the summer is practically zero. No umbrellas needed!
 
Evenings in Israel tend to get chilly quickly – frequently into the 50s or 60s. Because we will not always return to our accommodations to change before an evening activity, always bring a day-pack with a windbreaker, long-sleeved shirt, or light sweater.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. As a program, we take a number of precautions to reduce security risks: We travel on a private coach bus, we stay at accommodations with security, we plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with an armed guard, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel's Situation Room. Learn more about our approach to safety & security in Israel and worldwide.

What's the typical group size?
Group size varies depending on the date of the program. Our average group size is 30 teens. In some cases multiple groups will travel on a similar path, although each group has its own dedicated staff, guide and guard.

What's the food like?
The food on all Israel trips is kosher throughout. Expect to eat Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, bourekas, and much more. Some meals will be provided according to our “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds.

Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter Israel. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa. Contact your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate for additional details.

What's the Host Family Weekend?
The second Shabbat in Israel is an optional Host Family Weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to visit with relatives or family friends while in Israel. Participation in the Host Family Weekend is not mandatory, and the itinerary during this weekend is fully programmed for those teens staying with the group. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip prep guide.

 

For more information, check out our general FAQs.
 

No connections or extensions are available for this program, but you can view all connected program options here.