A Sunset - Trips to Israel
SUMMER EXPERIENCES

Central Europe Discovery + ILSI

Travel to Prague, Budapest, and Poland to explore classic world heritage sites and honor Jewish history in Central Europe on this deeply moving educational travel opportunity, and then continue on to ILSI, BBYO’s elite 3-week leadership program in Israel.

Travel on Central Europe Discovery to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland on this deeply moving educational travel opportunity. Celebrate the accomplishments of European Jews in cities like Krakow, Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw prior to the Holocaust. Then, retrace the path of the Holocaust and bear witness where it happened.

With a new sense of perspective, travel from Europe to Israel on ILSI, BBYO’s elite leadership program in Israel designed for BBYO members and welcoming Jewish teens from around the world. This experience combines educational touring, leadership training, interactive seminars, and meaningful community service. Gain an appreciation for the complexity of modern Israel and an enduring connection to the Jewish State and the Jewish People worldwide.

Itinerary Snapshot

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

WEEK #1 | Prague, Budapest & Krakow

Arrive in Prague and discover Europe’s most well preserved Jewish Quarter, dating back to medieval times. Then continue on to Budapest and wander the cobblestone streets, an underground labyrinth world on Castle Hill. From Hungary we travel through the European countryside to Poland, arriving in time to celebrate Shabbat as part of the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. Our European travels end in Poland honoring the heroism of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and celebrating Poland’s modern Jewish community.

WEEK #2 | 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 bonding together as an ILSI community in the Jerusalem hills.

WEEK #3 | Leadership Lessons in the Negev & Galilee

Depart from Jerusalem and travel to the Negev and follow the path of key leaders who shaped our history from Exile to the Return. Our travels in the desert include a memorable Bedouin tent overnight, watching the sunrise from Masada and floating in the Dead Sea. From the desert, we travel north to Israel’s fertile Galilee region. Here we’ll celebrate a special Shabbat immersed in the mystical old city of Tsfat.

WEEK #4 | Looking to the Future

After traveling throughout the Galilee, we head for Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural capital to explore the origins of the Zionist idea, recount the founding of modern Israel and examine the trends shaping the future of the Jewish State. Our experience concludes by returning to where we started in Jerusalem with a moving Shabbat experience at the Western Wall.

Program Highlights

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

 

Explore Hradcany Castle in Prague and Budapest’s Buda Castle, including the underground world of the Buda Castle Labyrinth
Cruise down the Danube River, luxuriate at the Szechenyi thermal baths and explore the fantastic Wieliczka Salt Mines
Discover the cultural richness and accomplishments of pre-Holocaust European Jewry
Retrace the history of the Holocaust and confront evil at Pllaszow, Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek
Honor the defiance and heroism of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
Celebrate Poland’s modern Jewish community by taking part in the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow
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 Europe & Israel
Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism’s mystical tradition in Tzvat
Meet with a variety of dynamic speakers, artists, and religious figures
Walk in the footsteps of 4000 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

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Central Europe Discovery + ILSI. At the end of Central Europe Discovery, those making the connection will continue on to Israel, generally arriving around the same time as the remainder of the ILSI group. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Poland to Israel is included as part of the optional group flight.

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 in 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 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 need-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. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary, including confirmed accommodations, is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Sunday | 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 Europe

DAY #2 | Monday | Arrival to Europe

  • Arrive in Prague in the morning – meet local staff and travel to Petrin Hill for a panoramic view of the city and an orientation
  • Orientation and dinner with local Chabad community
  • Overnight: TBA – Prague, Czech Republic

DAY #3 | Tuesday | The Jewish Quarter of Prague

  • Enter Josefov – Prague’s historic Jewish Quarter
  • Discover Prague’s fascinating Jewish history at the Jewish Quarter Museum
  • Visit the Old Jewish Cemetery and learn the legend of the Golem – Prague’s Jewish “monster”
  • Explore the Gothic-style Old New Synagogue and the Moorish-style Spanish Synagogue
  • Tour of Prague Castle – world’s largest castle! – dating back to the 9thCentury
  • Walk across the Charles Bridge and step back in time to Prague’s Old Town
  • Overnight: TBA – Prague, Czech Republic

DAY #4 | Wednesday | Castles & Caves of Budapest

  • Travel from Prague to Budapest in the morning
  • Go deep underground to explore the Buda Castle Labyrinth
  • Walk across the Chain Bridge over the Danube River – Connecting historic Buda and Pest
  • Climb up Castle Hill and take in the views from Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Overnight: TBA – Budapest, Hungary

DAY #5 | Thursday | Jewish Budapest

  • Reflect at the somber “Shoes on the Danube Bank” installation
  • Explore the Dohany Street Synagogue and Jewish Museum – Europe’s largest synagogue
  • View the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial – Rescuer of Budapest Jewry during WWII
  • Visit to Hősök Tere – “Heroes Square” – to honor Hungary’s national heroes
  • Afternoon at the Szechenyi thermal spa and the lively Great Market Hall
  • Dinner cruise on the Danube River
  • Overnight: TBA – Budapest, Hungary

DAY #6 | Friday | Shabbat in Krakow

  • Travel through the Hungarian and Polish countryside to Krakow
  • Tour of the stunning Wieliczka Salt Mines
  • Musical Shabbat in Galicija – Krakow’s Jewish Culture Festival (June 21st departure only)
  • Check-in and prepare for Shabbat in Krakow
  • Overnight: TBA – Krakow, Poland

DAY #7 | Saturday | Historic Krakow

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Kazimierz – Krakow’s historic Jewish Quarter
  • Walking tour – Wawel Castle and explore Krakow’s Market Square
  • Enjoy a festive concert in Szeroka Square
  • Preparation to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau
  • Overnight: TBA – Krakow, Poland

DAY #8 | Sunday | Auschwitz and Birkenau

  • Bear witness at Auschwitz and Birkenau Extermination Camp
  • Visit the surviving synagogue of Oswiecim near Auschwitz
  • View Oscar Schindler’s Factory and Plasźow forced labor camp
  • Time for group reflections and processing
  • Overnight: TBA – Krakow, Poland

DAY #9 | Monday | Jewish Warsaw

  • Depart Krakow and begin traveling towards Warsaw
  • Visit Zbylitowska Gora, a forest mass grave memorial
  • Majdanek – Reflect at the grounds of the infamous Nazi death camp
  • Arrive in Warsaw in the evening
  • Overnight: TBA – Warsaw, Poland

DAY #10 | Tuesday | Last Reflections in Europe

  • Tour of the historic Jewish cemetery of Warsaw and the Nozyk Synagogue
  • Umschlagplatz – Gathering place before transfer to Concentration and Death Camps
  • Honor the immense bravery of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
  • Follow the Route of Heroes and view the Rappaport Memorial
  • Farewell dinner and reflections at Warsaw Chabad Restaurant
  • Overnight: TBA – Warsaw, Poland

Day #12 | Wednesday | Bruchim HaBa’im – Welcome to Israel!

  • Depart from Warsaw, and travel to Israel
  • Arrive at 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
  • Evening: Orientation and community building experience
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #13 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #14 | Friday | Wind, Spirit and Spirituality

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

DAY #15 | Saturday | Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat – A Song for the Sabbath Day

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Tzvat
  • Afternoon free time and walking tour
  • Evening: Cruise on the Sea of Galilee with music and dancing
  • Overnight: TBA – Tzvat, Israel

DAY #16 | 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: TBA – Sea of Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | 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: TBA – Sea of Galilee, Israel

DAY #18 | 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: TBA – Sea of Galilee, Israel

DAY #19 | 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, Israel

DAY #20 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #21 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #22 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #23 | Sunday | David Ben Gurion’s Choice – Today’s Reality

  • Explore 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: TBA – Negev Desert, Israel

DAY #24 | 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: TBA – Arad, Israel

DAY #25 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #26 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #27 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #28 | Friday | The Price and Legacy of Peace

  • Walking tour of ancient Jaffa Seaport and lunch
  • 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #29 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #30 | 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 #31 | Monday | Welcome Home

  • Arrive back to New York 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 supervised flight is offered, often from the New York area. You are responsible for your transportation to and from this location. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets using miles or points that correspond to our supervised flight itinerary, or book separate flight itineraries entirely. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in a variety of 3-star hotels. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local European tour leader, and a bus driver. An armed guard will also join the group in Poland. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
The weather in Central Europe is usually mild-to-warm and mostly sunny. Day time temperatures range from the 60s to the low 80s. Evening temperatures in the summer can be as low as the 50s. Rain is common in the summer, so plan accordingly.

Temperatures in Israel 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 plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with a guard in Poland and Israel, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel’s Situation Room. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in Europe is 30 teens and our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens (including European teens).

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided in Israel is Kosher throughout. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. Europe draws travelers from all over the world, so there is a wide range of cuisine available. In Europe, meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. In Israel, expect to eat Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, bourekas, and much more.

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 any of the European countries we visit.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

No connections or extensions are available for this program. View all connected program options here.

 

Travel on Central Europe Discovery to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland on this deeply moving educational travel opportunity. Celebrate the accomplishments of European Jews in cities like Krakow, Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw prior to the Holocaust. Then, retrace the path of the Holocaust and bear witness where it happened.

With a new sense of perspective, travel from Europe to Israel on ILSI, BBYO’s elite leadership program in Israel designed for BBYO members and welcoming Jewish teens from around the world. This experience combines educational touring, leadership training, interactive seminars, and meaningful community service. Gain an appreciation for the complexity of modern Israel and an enduring connection to the Jewish State and the Jewish People worldwide.

Itinerary Snapshot

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

WEEK #1 | Prague, Budapest & Krakow

Arrive in Prague and discover Europe’s most well preserved Jewish Quarter, dating back to medieval times. Then continue on to Budapest and wander the cobblestone streets, an underground labyrinth world on Castle Hill. From Hungary we travel through the European countryside to Poland, arriving in time to celebrate Shabbat as part of the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. Our European travels end in Poland honoring the heroism of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and celebrating Poland’s modern Jewish community.

WEEK #2 | 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 bonding together as an ILSI community in the Jerusalem hills.

WEEK #3 | Leadership Lessons in the Negev & Galilee

Depart from Jerusalem and travel to the Negev and follow the path of key leaders who shaped our history from Exile to the Return. Our travels in the desert include a memorable Bedouin tent overnight, watching the sunrise from Masada and floating in the Dead Sea. From the desert, we travel north to Israel’s fertile Galilee region. Here we’ll celebrate a special Shabbat immersed in the mystical old city of Tsfat.

WEEK #4 | Looking to the Future

After traveling throughout the Galilee, we head for Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural capital to explore the origins of the Zionist idea, recount the founding of modern Israel and examine the trends shaping the future of the Jewish State. Our experience concludes by returning to where we started in Jerusalem with a moving Shabbat experience at the Western Wall.

Program Highlights

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

 

Explore Hradcany Castle in Prague and Budapest’s Buda Castle, including the underground world of the Buda Castle Labyrinth
Cruise down the Danube River, luxuriate at the Szechenyi thermal baths and explore the fantastic Wieliczka Salt Mines
Discover the cultural richness and accomplishments of pre-Holocaust European Jewry
Retrace the history of the Holocaust and confront evil at Pllaszow, Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek
Honor the defiance and heroism of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
Celebrate Poland’s modern Jewish community by taking part in the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow
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 Europe & Israel
Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism’s mystical tradition in Tzvat
Meet with a variety of dynamic speakers, artists, and religious figures
Walk in the footsteps of 4000 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

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Central Europe Discovery + ILSI. At the end of Central Europe Discovery, those making the connection will continue on to Israel, generally arriving around the same time as the remainder of the ILSI group. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Poland to Israel is included as part of the optional group flight.

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 in 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 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 need-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. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary, including confirmed accommodations, is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Sunday | 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 Europe

DAY #2 | Monday | Arrival to Europe

  • Arrive in Prague in the morning – meet local staff and travel to Petrin Hill for a panoramic view of the city and an orientation
  • Orientation and dinner with local Chabad community
  • Overnight: TBA – Prague, Czech Republic

DAY #3 | Tuesday | The Jewish Quarter of Prague

  • Enter Josefov – Prague’s historic Jewish Quarter
  • Discover Prague’s fascinating Jewish history at the Jewish Quarter Museum
  • Visit the Old Jewish Cemetery and learn the legend of the Golem – Prague’s Jewish “monster”
  • Explore the Gothic-style Old New Synagogue and the Moorish-style Spanish Synagogue
  • Tour of Prague Castle – world’s largest castle! – dating back to the 9thCentury
  • Walk across the Charles Bridge and step back in time to Prague’s Old Town
  • Overnight: TBA – Prague, Czech Republic

DAY #4 | Wednesday | Castles & Caves of Budapest

  • Travel from Prague to Budapest in the morning
  • Go deep underground to explore the Buda Castle Labyrinth
  • Walk across the Chain Bridge over the Danube River – Connecting historic Buda and Pest
  • Climb up Castle Hill and take in the views from Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Overnight: TBA – Budapest, Hungary

DAY #5 | Thursday | Jewish Budapest

  • Reflect at the somber “Shoes on the Danube Bank” installation
  • Explore the Dohany Street Synagogue and Jewish Museum – Europe’s largest synagogue
  • View the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial – Rescuer of Budapest Jewry during WWII
  • Visit to Hősök Tere – “Heroes Square” – to honor Hungary’s national heroes
  • Afternoon at the Szechenyi thermal spa and the lively Great Market Hall
  • Dinner cruise on the Danube River
  • Overnight: TBA – Budapest, Hungary

DAY #6 | Friday | Shabbat in Krakow

  • Travel through the Hungarian and Polish countryside to Krakow
  • Tour of the stunning Wieliczka Salt Mines
  • Musical Shabbat in Galicija – Krakow’s Jewish Culture Festival (June 21st departure only)
  • Check-in and prepare for Shabbat in Krakow
  • Overnight: TBA – Krakow, Poland

DAY #7 | Saturday | Historic Krakow

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Kazimierz – Krakow’s historic Jewish Quarter
  • Walking tour – Wawel Castle and explore Krakow’s Market Square
  • Enjoy a festive concert in Szeroka Square
  • Preparation to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau
  • Overnight: TBA – Krakow, Poland

DAY #8 | Sunday | Auschwitz and Birkenau

  • Bear witness at Auschwitz and Birkenau Extermination Camp
  • Visit the surviving synagogue of Oswiecim near Auschwitz
  • View Oscar Schindler’s Factory and Plasźow forced labor camp
  • Time for group reflections and processing
  • Overnight: TBA – Krakow, Poland

DAY #9 | Monday | Jewish Warsaw

  • Depart Krakow and begin traveling towards Warsaw
  • Visit Zbylitowska Gora, a forest mass grave memorial
  • Majdanek – Reflect at the grounds of the infamous Nazi death camp
  • Arrive in Warsaw in the evening
  • Overnight: TBA – Warsaw, Poland

DAY #10 | Tuesday | Last Reflections in Europe

  • Tour of the historic Jewish cemetery of Warsaw and the Nozyk Synagogue
  • Umschlagplatz – Gathering place before transfer to Concentration and Death Camps
  • Honor the immense bravery of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
  • Follow the Route of Heroes and view the Rappaport Memorial
  • Farewell dinner and reflections at Warsaw Chabad Restaurant
  • Overnight: TBA – Warsaw, Poland

Day #12 | Wednesday | Bruchim HaBa’im – Welcome to Israel!

  • Depart from Warsaw, and travel to Israel
  • Arrive at 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
  • Evening: Orientation and community building experience
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #13 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #14 | Friday | Wind, Spirit and Spirituality

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

DAY #15 | Saturday | Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat – A Song for the Sabbath Day

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Tzvat
  • Afternoon free time and walking tour
  • Evening: Cruise on the Sea of Galilee with music and dancing
  • Overnight: TBA – Tzvat, Israel

DAY #16 | 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: TBA – Sea of Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | 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: TBA – Sea of Galilee, Israel

DAY #18 | 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: TBA – Sea of Galilee, Israel

DAY #19 | 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, Israel

DAY #20 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #21 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #22 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #23 | Sunday | David Ben Gurion’s Choice – Today’s Reality

  • Explore 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: TBA – Negev Desert, Israel

DAY #24 | 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: TBA – Arad, Israel

DAY #25 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem Hills, Israel

DAY #26 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #27 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #28 | Friday | The Price and Legacy of Peace

  • Walking tour of ancient Jaffa Seaport and lunch
  • 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #29 | 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: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #30 | 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 #31 | Monday | Welcome Home

  • Arrive back to New York 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 supervised flight is offered, often from the New York area. You are responsible for your transportation to and from this location. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets using miles or points that correspond to our supervised flight itinerary, or book separate flight itineraries entirely. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in a variety of 3-star hotels. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local European tour leader, and a bus driver. An armed guard will also join the group in Poland. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
The weather in Central Europe is usually mild-to-warm and mostly sunny. Day time temperatures range from the 60s to the low 80s. Evening temperatures in the summer can be as low as the 50s. Rain is common in the summer, so plan accordingly.

Temperatures in Israel 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 plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with a guard in Poland and Israel, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel’s Situation Room. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in Europe is 30 teens and our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens (including European teens).

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided in Israel is Kosher throughout. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. Europe draws travelers from all over the world, so there is a wide range of cuisine available. In Europe, meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. In Israel, expect to eat Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, bourekas, and much more.

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 any of the European countries we visit.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

No connections or extensions are available for this program. View all connected program options here.
 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

Central Europe Discovery + ILSI

Travel to Prague, Budapest, and Poland to explore classic world heritage sites and honor Jewish history in Central Europe on this deeply moving educational travel opportunity, and then continue on to ILSI, BBYO’s elite 3-week leadership program in Israel.

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