Summer Experiences

International Leadership Seminar in Israel (ILSI)

ILSI is BBYO's elite 3-week leadership program in Israel designed for BBYO members and welcoming Jewish teens from around the world on a summer tradition spanning three generations.

  • BBYO invites its aspiring leaders to convene in Israel for an extraordinary summer of exploration, personal growth and adventure.

    ILSI combines small group educational touring, leadership refinement training, hands-on community service and opportunities to interact with a wide spectrum of Israeli society. And after traveling from the far northern Galilee to the deep Negev desert, you'll come away with a new appreciation for Israel's complexity and a deep connection to the Jewish Homeland and the Jewish People worldwide.

     

    What Makes it ILSI

    It's no coincidence ILSI has been the culmination of the BBYO leadership experience for three genenerations. Here's why! 

    Small Group Learning

    Although you’ll travel together as part of a larger community, ILSI is an intimate educational experience – with one senior educator attached to each cluster of ~20 teens. We divide further into smaller mishpacha (family) groups for processing and discussion. 

    Living Jewish Peoplehood

    ILSI convenes Jewish teens from across North America and from around the world – including countries like Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, Latvia, Croatia and Israel. This diversity is a unique opportunity to live the value of Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze La Ze (we’re all responsible for one another).

    Jewish Leadership Modeling

    ILSI highlights the stories of leaders who made key impacts on the course of Jewish history — figures like King David, Bar Kochba, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, Theodore Herzl, Hanna Senesh, David Ben Gurion, and Yitzhak Rabin. Their unique leadership approaches shed light on our past and can inspire our future.

    Connecting with Israeli Society

    More than a tour, ILSI provides opportunities to connect with the people of Israel. You’ll meet with teens from Maccabi Tzair (BBYO’s sister movement in Israel), active duty IDF soldiers, and a cross-section of ethnic and religious leaders. Israel is a vibrant county; you’ll get a taste of its rich diversity.

    The Joy of a Summer in Israel

    Raft down the Jordan River, sleep under the stars in the desert, hike down a lush canyon on the Golan, enjoy the Tel Aviv beachfront, explore colorful open-air markets and swim in natural springs. You'll return home with lifelong memories from a summer adventure in Israel.

    IS ILSI RIGHT FOR ME?

    ILSI is designed with BBYO members in mind as a unique enrichment, touring, and leadership experience. Although most ILSI participants are BBYO members, ILSI is open to non-members who are seeking this type of experience as well as Jewish teens from around the world. ILSI is appropriate for teens who have never been to Israel as well as for those who are returning for a new perspective.

    Program Highlights

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

     

    Enrich your mind on topics ranging from Jewish philosophy to contemporary Zionist thought to geo-political strategy
    Put all your BBYO leadership skills to use in the land of Israel
    Travel Israel with fellow Jewish teens from around the world
    Spend a Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and in the mystical city of Tzfat
    Meet with a variety of dynamic thought leaders, artists, and religious figures
    Walk in the footsteps of 4,000 years of Jewish history
    Experience the beauty and power of the Kotel and Jerusalem’s Old City
    Float in the Dead Sea and climb to the heights of Masada at sunrise
    Participate in meaningful community service projects
    Soak up the cultural richness of modern Tel Aviv

    Itinerary Snapshot

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

    WEEK #1 | Foundations in Jerusalem

    Land at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and begin the ascent to Jerusalem where we devote the first part of the week to exploring the foundations of Jewish history and the role of Jerusalem in shaping it. Our first Shabbat is spent in Tzfat, bonding together in the heart of this ancient city of Jewish learning high in the Galilee.

    WEEK #2 | Leadership Lessons in the Galilee

    In the Galilee, we'll follow the path of key leaders who shaped our history from Exile to the Return and explore how this region has shaped so much of Israeli history. Our travels in the north  include a memorable night sleeping on Sea of Galilee shore and ample opportunities for adventure -- rafting, hiking and more.  Our second Shabbat takes place in central Israel where you'll have the option to spend the weekend with a local host family.

    WEEK #3 | Looking to the Future

    Our final week we will head south to the vast stretches of Israel's desert regions. We'll watch the sunrise from Masada, float in the Dead Sea, ride camels into the sunset, and learn how Israel thrives in the desert. Ouir travels continue in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv where we'll learn about Israel's founding values, tap into Tel Aviv's innovation culture, and examine the trends shaping the future of the Jewish State. Our experience concludes by returning where we started in Jerusalem with a moving Shabbat in the center of Jewish history and life.

    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 New York City on a supervised group flight (optional)
      Take-off and spend the night in the sky en route to Israel

    Day #2 | Wednesday | Bruchim HaBa’im - Welcome to Israel!

    • Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
    • Welcome to Israel! – Shecheyanu ceremony at Neve Ilan
    • Evening: Orientation and community building experience
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

    DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem: David’s Choice & Our Capital

    • Enter the Old City and explore the rooftops and ancient squares of the Jewish Quarter
    • Reflect at the Kotel (The Western Wall), the holiest place in Judaism, and explore the Southern Wall excavations
    • Explore King David’s Jerusalem at the “City of David” complex; walk through Hezekiah’s ancient water tunnel under Jerusalem
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

    DAY #4 | Friday | Wind, Spirit and Spirituality

    • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – Birthplace of the Kabbalah movement
    • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
    • Check-in to accommodations in Tzfat and prepare for Shabbat
    • Kabbalat Shabbat service, dinner and oneg Shabbat
    • Overnight: Ron Hotel, Tzfat

    DAY #5 | Saturday | Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat – A Song for the Sabbath Day

    • Shabbat programming and lunch in Tzfat
    • Afternoon free time and walking tour
    • Evening: Cruise on the Sea of Galilee with music and dancing
    • Overnight: Ron Hotel, Tzfat

    DAY #6 | Sunday | Al-Hagvulot – Borders & Security

    • Perspectives from the frontier at Misgav Am
    • Mt. Ben Tal – View across the Golan and Israel’s neighbors
    • Enjoy a relaxing dinner on the kibbutz
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Haon Guest House, Sea of Galilee

    DAY #7 | Monday | Pioneering in the Galilee

    • Explore the Beit Shearim catacombs – Exile and continuity in the land of Israel
    • Leket – Service project harvesting for the hungry at Moshav Nahalal
    • Enjoy lunch in the Northern city of Afula then depart for Gilboa
    • Swim in the natural springs of the Sachne – Israel’s “Garden of Eden”
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Haon Guest House, Sea of Galilee

    DAY #8 | Tuesday | Zionism & Co-Existence

    • Depart to Haifa – View the Bahá’í Gardens on Mt. Carmel overlooking Israel's main port city
    • Enjoy a uniquely delicious lunch in the Druze Village of Ussafiya – enjoy baklava, tea, coffee and culture
    • Visit Tel Megiddo – An ancient hilltop settlement overlooking the Jezreal Valley
    • Mifgash (encounter) with local Israeli teens from the Maccabi Zair youth movement
    • Overnight: Kibbutz Haon Guest House, Sea of Galilee

    DAY #9 | Wednesday | Bayamim HaHem BaZman HaZeh (Then and Now)

    • Learn about the pioneers of modern Zionism at the Kinneret Cemetery
    • Stop in Tiberias for free-time, lunch, and shopping
    • Set up at our campsite and enjoy fun group building activities and a bon fire
    • Overnight: Camping on the banks of the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee

    DAY #10 | Thursday | Tikkun Olam - Fixing the World with Hearts, Hands & Minds

    • Wake up and depart south towards Jerusalem
    • JDC service projects -- the world's leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization
    • Evening: BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with all groups in Israel!
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills
    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

    • Climb on tanks at Latrun – Israel’s Armored Corp Museum
    • Travel to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and financial capital
    • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and enjoy lunch at Carmel Market
    • Swim, relax, and enjoy the warm waters of the Mediterranean
    • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
    • Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony and festive Shabbat dinner at hotel
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

    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
    • Play sports, hang out by the pool and enjoy relaxation time at our accommodations
    • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

    DAY #13 | Sunday | David Ben Gurion’s Choice – Today’s Reality

    • Expore the caves of the Bar Kochba Rebellion at Hirbet Midras
    • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion and his vision for the desert
    • Camel trekking in the Judean Desert and "Hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast
    • Evening: Learn about minorities in Israel and enjoy a bonfire party under the desert stars
    • Overnight: Chan Hashayarot Desert Tent, Negev Desert

    DAY #14 | Monday | To the Negev Desert

    • Hike to the hidden desert pools at Ein Avdat canyon in the Negev Desert
    • View of the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge 
    • Tour an active IDF army base and meet with soldiers
    • Overnight: Inbar Hotel, Arad

    DAY #15 | Tuesday | Masada and the Dead Sea

    • Pre-sunrise climb to Masada via the Roman Ramp trail
    • Tour of the Masada desert fortress complex – Descend via the Snake Path
    • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
    • Travel northwards to the Galilee and check-in to kibbutz accommodations
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

    DAY #16 | Wednesday | From the Holocaust to Resurrection

    • Experience the Yad Vashem Holocaust Center and hear a survivor’s testimony
    • Vision & Sacrifice – The Theodore Herzl Museum and the Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
    • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air marketplace
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #17 | Thursday | Culture & Innovation in Tel Aviv

    • Depart for Tel Aviv in the morning
    • Tech Workshop with TOM – Learn about Israel’s startup culture and channel your own innovative talents
    • Beach time along Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean Coast
    • Enjoy a falafel dinner on the beach and a drum circle
    • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #18 | Friday | The Price and Legacy of Peace

    • Walking tour and lunch of ancient Jaffa Seaport
    • Independence Hall – Discover the founding values of Tel Aviv
    • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and enjoy lunch at Carmel Market
    • Reflections at Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Square
    • Return to accommodations – Pepare for our final Shabbat in Israel
    • Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel and dinner in the Old City
    • Walk back to hotel – experience the quiet of Shabbat in Jerusalem
    • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #19 | Saturday | Yom Zeh L’Yisrael - Enjoying Shabbat

    • Shabbat programming and lunch in Jerusalem
    • Go back in time at the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model & more
    • Evening: Ben Yehuda Street for a night out on the town with the group!
    • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

    DAY #20 | Sunday | Getting Ready to Take Off

    • Community building, leadership development and more at KIDS4PEACE
    • Reflections and closing discussions
    • Group tree planting ceremony and celebratory final dinner party at Neot Kedumim Park
    • Evening: ILSI Presents Talent Show
    • Late Night: Depart Ben Gurion Airport on an overnight supervised flight (optional)

    DAY #21 | Monday | Farewell!

    • Arrive back at New York City in the morning

  • 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 bus group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), two Israeli guides, 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 50’s or 60’s. 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?
    Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens, including European and Israeli teens. Our travel is organized as three distinct bus groups, and each bus group is divided into two educational clusters.

    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.

  • BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

    Connected Experiences

     

BBYO invites its aspiring leaders to convene in Israel for an extraordinary summer of exploration, personal growth and adventure.

ILSI combines small group educational touring, leadership refinement training, hands-on community service and opportunities to interact with a wide spectrum of Israeli society. And after traveling from the far northern Galilee to the deep Negev desert, you'll come away with a new appreciation for Israel's complexity and a deep connection to the Jewish Homeland and the Jewish People worldwide.

 

What Makes it ILSI

It's no coincidence ILSI has been the culmination of the BBYO leadership experience for three genenerations. Here's why! 

Small Group Learning

Although you’ll travel together as part of a larger community, ILSI is an intimate educational experience – with one senior educator attached to each cluster of ~20 teens. We divide further into smaller mishpacha (family) groups for processing and discussion. 

Living Jewish Peoplehood

ILSI convenes Jewish teens from across North America and from around the world – including countries like Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, Latvia, Croatia and Israel. This diversity is a unique opportunity to live the value of Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze La Ze (we’re all responsible for one another).

Jewish Leadership Modeling

ILSI highlights the stories of leaders who made key impacts on the course of Jewish history — figures like King David, Bar Kochba, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, Theodore Herzl, Hanna Senesh, David Ben Gurion, and Yitzhak Rabin. Their unique leadership approaches shed light on our past and can inspire our future.

Connecting with Israeli Society

More than a tour, ILSI provides opportunities to connect with the people of Israel. You’ll meet with teens from Maccabi Tzair (BBYO’s sister movement in Israel), active duty IDF soldiers, and a cross-section of ethnic and religious leaders. Israel is a vibrant county; you’ll get a taste of its rich diversity.

The Joy of a Summer in Israel

Raft down the Jordan River, sleep under the stars in the desert, hike down a lush canyon on the Golan, enjoy the Tel Aviv beachfront, explore colorful open-air markets and swim in natural springs. You'll return home with lifelong memories from a summer adventure in Israel.

IS ILSI RIGHT FOR ME?

ILSI is designed with BBYO members in mind as a unique enrichment, touring, and leadership experience. Although most ILSI participants are BBYO members, ILSI is open to non-members who are seeking this type of experience as well as Jewish teens from around the world. ILSI is appropriate for teens who have never been to Israel as well as for those who are returning for a new perspective.

Program Highlights

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

 

Enrich your mind on topics ranging from Jewish philosophy to contemporary Zionist thought to geo-political strategy
Put all your BBYO leadership skills to use in the land of Israel
Travel Israel with fellow Jewish teens from around the world
Spend a Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and in the mystical city of Tzfat
Meet with a variety of dynamic thought leaders, artists, and religious figures
Walk in the footsteps of 4,000 years of Jewish history
Experience the beauty and power of the Kotel and Jerusalem’s Old City
Float in the Dead Sea and climb to the heights of Masada at sunrise
Participate in meaningful community service projects
Soak up the cultural richness of modern Tel Aviv

Itinerary Snapshot

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

WEEK #1 | Foundations in Jerusalem

Land at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and begin the ascent to Jerusalem where we devote the first part of the week to exploring the foundations of Jewish history and the role of Jerusalem in shaping it. Our first Shabbat is spent in Tzfat, bonding together in the heart of this ancient city of Jewish learning high in the Galilee.

WEEK #2 | Leadership Lessons in the Galilee

In the Galilee, we'll follow the path of key leaders who shaped our history from Exile to the Return and explore how this region has shaped so much of Israeli history. Our travels in the north  include a memorable night sleeping on Sea of Galilee shore and ample opportunities for adventure -- rafting, hiking and more.  Our second Shabbat takes place in central Israel where you'll have the option to spend the weekend with a local host family.

WEEK #3 | Looking to the Future

Our final week we will head south to the vast stretches of Israel's desert regions. We'll watch the sunrise from Masada, float in the Dead Sea, ride camels into the sunset, and learn how Israel thrives in the desert. Ouir travels continue in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv where we'll learn about Israel's founding values, tap into Tel Aviv's innovation culture, and examine the trends shaping the future of the Jewish State. Our experience concludes by returning where we started in Jerusalem with a moving Shabbat in the center of Jewish history and life.

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 New York City on a supervised group flight (optional)
    Take-off and spend the night in the sky en route to Israel

Day #2 | Wednesday | Bruchim HaBa’im - Welcome to Israel!

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
  • Welcome to Israel! – Shecheyanu ceremony at Neve Ilan
  • Evening: Orientation and community building experience
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem: David’s Choice & Our Capital

  • Enter the Old City and explore the rooftops and ancient squares of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflect at the Kotel (The Western Wall), the holiest place in Judaism, and explore the Southern Wall excavations
  • Explore King David’s Jerusalem at the “City of David” complex; walk through Hezekiah’s ancient water tunnel under Jerusalem
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #4 | Friday | Wind, Spirit and Spirituality

  • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – Birthplace of the Kabbalah movement
  • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
  • Check-in to accommodations in Tzfat and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat service, dinner and oneg Shabbat
  • Overnight: Ron Hotel, Tzfat

DAY #5 | Saturday | Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat – A Song for the Sabbath Day

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Tzfat
  • Afternoon free time and walking tour
  • Evening: Cruise on the Sea of Galilee with music and dancing
  • Overnight: Ron Hotel, Tzfat

DAY #6 | Sunday | Al-Hagvulot – Borders & Security

  • Perspectives from the frontier at Misgav Am
  • Mt. Ben Tal – View across the Golan and Israel’s neighbors
  • Enjoy a relaxing dinner on the kibbutz
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Haon Guest House, Sea of Galilee

DAY #7 | Monday | Pioneering in the Galilee

  • Explore the Beit Shearim catacombs – Exile and continuity in the land of Israel
  • Leket – Service project harvesting for the hungry at Moshav Nahalal
  • Enjoy lunch in the Northern city of Afula then depart for Gilboa
  • Swim in the natural springs of the Sachne – Israel’s “Garden of Eden”
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Haon Guest House, Sea of Galilee

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Zionism & Co-Existence

  • Depart to Haifa – View the Bahá’í Gardens on Mt. Carmel overlooking Israel's main port city
  • Enjoy a uniquely delicious lunch in the Druze Village of Ussafiya – enjoy baklava, tea, coffee and culture
  • Visit Tel Megiddo – An ancient hilltop settlement overlooking the Jezreal Valley
  • Mifgash (encounter) with local Israeli teens from the Maccabi Zair youth movement
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Haon Guest House, Sea of Galilee

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Bayamim HaHem BaZman HaZeh (Then and Now)

  • Learn about the pioneers of modern Zionism at the Kinneret Cemetery
  • Stop in Tiberias for free-time, lunch, and shopping
  • Set up at our campsite and enjoy fun group building activities and a bon fire
  • Overnight: Camping on the banks of the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee

DAY #10 | Thursday | Tikkun Olam - Fixing the World with Hearts, Hands & Minds

  • Wake up and depart south towards Jerusalem
  • JDC service projects -- the world's leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization
  • Evening: BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with all groups in Israel!
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills
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

  • Climb on tanks at Latrun – Israel’s Armored Corp Museum
  • Travel to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and enjoy lunch at Carmel Market
  • Swim, relax, and enjoy the warm waters of the Mediterranean
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony and festive Shabbat dinner at hotel
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

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
  • Play sports, hang out by the pool and enjoy relaxation time at our accommodations
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #13 | Sunday | David Ben Gurion’s Choice – Today’s Reality

  • Expore the caves of the Bar Kochba Rebellion at Hirbet Midras
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion and his vision for the desert
  • Camel trekking in the Judean Desert and "Hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast
  • Evening: Learn about minorities in Israel and enjoy a bonfire party under the desert stars
  • Overnight: Chan Hashayarot Desert Tent, Negev Desert

DAY #14 | Monday | To the Negev Desert

  • Hike to the hidden desert pools at Ein Avdat canyon in the Negev Desert
  • View of the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge 
  • Tour an active IDF army base and meet with soldiers
  • Overnight: Inbar Hotel, Arad

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Masada and the Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb to Masada via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of the Masada desert fortress complex – Descend via the Snake Path
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Travel northwards to the Galilee and check-in to kibbutz accommodations
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #16 | Wednesday | From the Holocaust to Resurrection

  • Experience the Yad Vashem Holocaust Center and hear a survivor’s testimony
  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Theodore Herzl Museum and the Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air marketplace
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #17 | Thursday | Culture & Innovation in Tel Aviv

  • Depart for Tel Aviv in the morning
  • Tech Workshop with TOM – Learn about Israel’s startup culture and channel your own innovative talents
  • Beach time along Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean Coast
  • Enjoy a falafel dinner on the beach and a drum circle
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | The Price and Legacy of Peace

  • Walking tour and lunch of ancient Jaffa Seaport
  • Independence Hall – Discover the founding values of Tel Aviv
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and enjoy lunch at Carmel Market
  • Reflections at Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Square
  • Return to accommodations – Pepare for our final Shabbat in Israel
  • Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel and dinner in the Old City
  • Walk back to hotel – experience the quiet of Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #19 | Saturday | Yom Zeh L’Yisrael - Enjoying Shabbat

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Jerusalem
  • Go back in time at the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model & more
  • Evening: Ben Yehuda Street for a night out on the town with the group!
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #20 | Sunday | Getting Ready to Take Off

  • Community building, leadership development and more at KIDS4PEACE
  • Reflections and closing discussions
  • Group tree planting ceremony and celebratory final dinner party at Neot Kedumim Park
  • Evening: ILSI Presents Talent Show
  • Late Night: Depart Ben Gurion Airport on an overnight supervised flight (optional)

DAY #21 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Arrive back at New York City in the morning

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 bus group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), two Israeli guides, 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 50’s or 60’s. 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?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens, including European and Israeli teens. Our travel is organized as three distinct bus groups, and each bus group is divided into two educational clusters.

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.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

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