A Sunset - Trips to Israel
SUMMER EXPERIENCES

Central Europe Discovery + Israel Journey

Travel to Prague, Budapest & Poland to explore world heritage sites and honor the memory of those lost in the Holocaust. Then continue on to Israel Journey, BBYO’s flagship 3-week experience in the Jewish Homeland.

Travel on Central Europe Discovery for a deeply moving 11-day journey highlighting the region’s storied Jewish history and tremendous world heritage sites. Explore the treasures of Prague and Budapest and then bear witness to the destruction wrought by the Holocaust in Poland.

Then continue from Europe to the Jewish Homeland with a new sense of perspective on Israel Journey where you’ll 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 modern Tel Aviv on this cross-country and cross-cultural journey.

Program Highlights

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

Explore world heritage sites like Hradcany Castle in Prague, Budapest’s Castle Hill, and the stunning Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland
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 at places like the Spanish Synagogue and Dohany Street Synagogue
Retrace the history of the Holocaust and bear witness at Pllaszow, Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek
Honor the defiance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the heroism of those Poles who rescued their Jewish neighbors

Celebrate Poland’s modern Jewish community by taking part in the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow

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 archeological park
Navigate the wilderness on a camel trek and enjoy a delicious desert tent feast
Learn first-hand about contemporary Israeli politics and experience co-existence in action
Soak up the cultural richness of modern Tel Aviv
Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism’s mystical tradition in Tzvat
Swim in the tropical Red Sea, raft down the Jordan River and cool off under a desert waterfall

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines the following two travel experiences: Central Europe Discovery + Israel Journey. 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 Israel Journey group. Trips are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Poland to Israel is included as part of our optional supervised flight. This experience can also be enjoyed by other participants who choose to only participate in one portion of the experience. Thus, the makeup of the group may change between the two combined experiences.

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/armed 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 and 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
  • 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 en route
  • Check-in and prepare for our 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 (June 21st departure only)
  • Preparation for our Auschwitz and Birkenau visit
  • 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 Lublin in the Galicia Countryside
  • Visit Zbylitowska Gora, a forest mass grave memorial
  • Afternoon walking tour in Lublin, including the historic Old City, Jewish Ghetto, Grodzka Gate, and the Yeshiva of Lublin
  • Overnight: TBA – Lublin, Poland

DAY #10 | Tuesday | Last Reflections in Europe

  • Majdanek – Reflect at the grounds of the infamous Nazi death camp
  • Continue on to Warsaw where you’ll honor the immense bravery of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
  • Follow the Route of Heroes and view the Rappaport Memorial
  • Farewell dinner and reflections
  • Depart Warsaw and travel to Israel on an overnight flight

DAY #11 | Wednesday | Baruch HaBah – Getting Oriented to Israel

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport – Meet our Israeli staff team and ascend to Jerusalem
  • Welcome to Israel! Shecheyanu ceremony and discover the unique topography of Jerusalem from the Haas Promenade overlook
  • Check-in, orientation, and icebreakers at our accommodations in Jerusalem
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #12 | Thursday | The Foundations of David’s Jerusalem

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a tree planting ceremony, group-bonding workshop and self-cooked lunch experience
  • Return to Jerusalem to discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the City of David archeological complex
  • Get wet walking through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct deep beneath the city
  • Reflections at the Kotel, The Western Wall, and visit the Southern Wall excavations
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #13 | Friday | Treasures of the Old City

  • Scale the Rampart Walls of the Old City, walking from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City’s Zion Gate – Explore the ancient squares and rooftops of the Jewish Quarter and break for lunch and personal exploration time in the Cardo
  • Explore millennia of history deep under the Old City within the Kotel Tunnels
  • Depart Jerusalem and travel north to Israel’s Galilee region
  • Stop to view the Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee – along the way
  • Arrive at our kibbutz accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat experience followed by a festive dinner at our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #14 | Saturday | Shabbat on Kibbutz in the Galilee

  • Morning: Shabbat programming and group lunch at our accommodations
  • Tour of the kibbutz community and learn about the history of the kibbutz idea
  • Afternoon: Enjoy a relaxed Shabbat with pool, sports, and free time!
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Boat cruise on the Kinneret and group night out in Tiberias
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #15 | Sunday | Mystics of the Galilee

  • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – The historic center of Judaism’s Kabbalah movement and a center for Jewish life during the Exile period
  • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet with a local Kabbalistic artist
  • Travel to Israel’s Upper Galilee region and hike to the waterfalls of the Banias Nature Reserve
  • Finish the day rafting down the Jordan River followed by a fresh-cooked pizza dinner on the bank of the Jordan River
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #16 | Monday | Perspectives on the Golan Heights

  • Ascend the Golan Heights and hike along the water-filled Nahal Jilaboun canyon
  • Learn about the history of the Golan region on an off-road jeep tour
  • Travel to Ben-Tal — View Israel’s neighbors and explore former IDF bunkers on the summit of this dormant volcano
  • Evening: Encounter with Druze culture and share a traditional meal in the Golan village of Ein Kinya
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | Tuesday | Diversity and Co-Existence in the Galilee

  • Help fight poverty in Israel volunteering at Pitchon Lev in the city of Karmiel
  • Take part in a dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens facilitated by the Galilee Foundation
  • Descend to the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah on Israel’s far northern border
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Acco Seaport, one of Israel’s most diverse cities, including a tour of the Templar Tunnels dating back to the Crusader Era
  • Arrive to Haifa and check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Haifa, Israel

DAY #18 | Wednesday | Pioneering Values

  • Start the morning exploring Haifa and the Bahai Gardens on Mt. Carmel
  • Break for lunch in Zichron Yaakov – one of the first new communities established by Jewish immigrants in the 1880’s and funded by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild
  • Atlit Detention Camp – Relive the challenges faced by Jews fleeing WWII Europe prior to Israel’s founding during the British Mandate Era
  • Surfing class, beach time and BBQ dinner on the Mediterranean Coast
  • Overnight: TBA – Haifa, Israel

DAY #19 | Thursday | Founding Modern Israel

  • Depart Haifa and travel to Caesarea — Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the Mediterranean beach
  • Machon Ayalon – Explore the story of the Haganah and the struggle to gain independence at this secret historical munitions factory
  • Save a Child’s Heart – Meet children seeking lifesaving treatment in Israel from around the world
  • Arrive to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and economic capital
  • Evening Speaker: The Geopolitics of Israel Today with Eylon Levy, an Israeli journalist and strategic analyst
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv, Israel

DAY #20 | Friday | Arts & Culture in Tel Aviv

  • Morning: Israeli martial arts workshop on the beach with Budokan
  • Independence Hall – Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and explore the Carmel Market as Tel Aviv prepares for Shabbat
  • Discover the complexity of Hebrew graffiti art in Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighborhood
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat at the Tel Aviv Port followed by dinner at our hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv, Israel

DAY #21 | Saturday | A Tel Aviv-Style Shabbat

  • Morning: Shabbat programming and group lunch at our accommodations
  • Free time to enjoy Tel Aviv’s beach culture and explore nearby Yarkon Park
  • Walk to the Rabin Square Memorial – Honor the life and accomplishments of Yitzhak Rabin, one of Israel’s most famous soldiers and statesmen
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at the Azrieli Center Mall
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv, Israel

DAY #22 | Sunday | Leadership in the Negev Desert

  • Dig-for-a-Day! Take part in an archaeological seminar with the professionals at Beit Guvrin National Park and explore the Bell Caves
  • Break for a traditional Ethiopian-style lunch with home hosts
  • Travel south into the heart of the Negev Desert
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David & Paula Ben Gurion and their vision for Israel’s thriving in the desert
  • Stop to view the geological phenomenon of the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge
  • Check-in to desert kibbutz accommodations in the Arava Valley
  • BBQ dinner and pool party at our desert kibbutz accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #23 | Monday | Adventures in Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to experience the thrill of scaling the massive Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the colorful Red Canyon trail deep in the Negev Desert
  • Continue south to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Relaxed beach time and banana boating on the tropical Red Sea
  • Return to our accommodations, stopping for ice cream at Yotvata, Israel’s famous desert dairy farm
  • Overnight: TBA – Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #24 | Tuesday | The Desert Blooms

  • Learn how Israel thrives in the desert and protects its ecology at Kibbutz Ketura, home of the Arava Institute
  • Travel up to the Judean Desert via the Arava Valley shared by Israel and Jordan
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Camel trekking and “hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast!
  • Evening: Bonfire party and night under the bright desert stars
  • Overnight: TBA – Judean Desert, Israel

DAY #25 | Wednesday | The View from Ancient Masada

  • Pre-sunrise climb up Masada via the Roman Ramp Trail
  • Tour of Masada – Herod’s mountaintop desert fortress, 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 afternoon
  • Check-in to our accommodations and rest!
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #26 | Thursday | Jewish Sovereignty – Vision and Sacrifice

  • Yad L’Kashish – Visit this landmark initiative to empower the elderly of Jerusalem
  • Tour of the Knesset – Learn about Israel’s parliamentary system and how it safeguards the Jewish State’s democratic laws and traditions
  • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air food market
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon visiting the Theodore Herzl Museum and exploring the grounds of the Herzl National Cemetery
  • BBYO B’Yachad: Celebrate a summer in Israel with fellow teens from around the world across the entire BBYO Passport community
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #27 | Friday | Remembrance and Renewal

  • Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Reflections over a picnic-style lunch at Jerusalem’s Mifletzet Park
  • Return to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Return to the Old City to experience Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel
  • Walk back to our accommodations, stopping for Shabbat dinner en route at the Fuchsburg Center
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #28 | Saturday | A Reflective Shabbat in Jerusalem

  • Morning: Shabbat programming and group lunch at our accommodations
  • Walk to the Israel Museum to discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model, and Israel’s most prized cultural and historic treasures
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun and reflecting on the journey at Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street Pedestrian Mall
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #29 | Sunday | Looking to the Future in Modern Israel

  • Depart for the Tel Aviv region in the morning
  • Learn how Israel became the ‘Startup Nation’ at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in southern Jaffa
  • Explore the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon at the Museum of the Jewish People (Diaspora Museum) on the campus of Tel Aviv University
  • Wrap-up session and the grassy grounds of the Tel Aviv University campus
  • Evening: Closing dinner party and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant
  • Overnight: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for our overnight return flight

DAY #30 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • Travelers on the group flight arrive back to 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 supervised flight is offered – often from the New York area. In some cases a supervised flight may also depart from Newark. You are responsible for your transportation to the supervised flight departure city. 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 and make arrangements to meet our staff in Europe. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
In Europe, the group stays in a variety of 3-star hotels. In Israel, 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. All accommodations utilized in Israel have a dedicated armed guard. 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 tour leader, and a bus driver. Out of an abundance of caution we travel with an armed guard in Poland and Israel. 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. Daytime 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, 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, teens will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. Overexposure 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, and 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 an armed 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 are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in Europe and Israel is 30 teens. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

  • There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

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 by BBYO Passport experiences in Israel are kosher. 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. 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.

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 countries we visit on this program.

If your teen is an Israeli citizen…
If your teen has dual citizenship, they must enter Israel with their Israeli passport. Your passport cannot expire within six months of the program start date in order to enter Israel. If your passport needs to be renewed, do so well in advance. Keep in mind, your teen should travel with both passports. Teens who are 17 years of age, have Israeli citizenship, and live in the USA may have to arrange for a release from a service for the Israeli Army. We recommend that you reach out to the Israeli consulate in your state to confirm what is required to avoid issues while in Israel.

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. Please note, teens taking part in the Host Family Weekend must go for the entire time, no exceptions. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip preparation manual.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines the following two travel experiences: Central Europe Discovery + Israel JourneyAt 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 Israel Journey group. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Poland to Israel is included as part of our optional supervised flight. Learn more about how connections work. This experience can also be enjoyed by other participants who choose to only participate in one portion of the experience. Thus, the makeup of the group may change between the two combined experiences.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

We know you'll love a BBYO Passport experience. But don't just take our word. Check out these real reviews from our past travelers and families.

 

Travel on Central Europe Discovery for a deeply moving 11-day journey highlighting the region’s storied Jewish history and tremendous world heritage sites. Explore the treasures of Prague and Budapest and then bear witness to the destruction wrought by the Holocaust in Poland.

Then continue from Europe to the Jewish Homeland with a new sense of perspective on Israel Journey where you’ll 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 modern Tel Aviv on this cross-country and cross-cultural journey.

Program Highlights

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

Explore world heritage sites like Hradcany Castle in Prague, Budapest’s Castle Hill, and the stunning Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland
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 at places like the Spanish Synagogue and Dohany Street Synagogue
Retrace the history of the Holocaust and bear witness at Pllaszow, Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek
Honor the defiance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the heroism of those Poles who rescued their Jewish neighbors

Celebrate Poland’s modern Jewish community by taking part in the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow

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 archeological park
Navigate the wilderness on a camel trek and enjoy a delicious desert tent feast
Learn first-hand about contemporary Israeli politics and experience co-existence in action
Soak up the cultural richness of modern Tel Aviv
Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism’s mystical tradition in Tzvat
Swim in the tropical Red Sea, raft down the Jordan River and cool off under a desert waterfall

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines the following two travel experiences: Central Europe Discovery + Israel Journey. 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 Israel Journey group. Trips are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Poland to Israel is included as part of our optional supervised flight. This experience can also be enjoyed by other participants who choose to only participate in one portion of the experience. Thus, the makeup of the group may change between the two combined experiences.

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/armed 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 and 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
  • 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 en route
  • Check-in and prepare for our 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 (June 21st departure only)
  • Preparation for our Auschwitz and Birkenau visit
  • 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 Lublin in the Galicia Countryside
  • Visit Zbylitowska Gora, a forest mass grave memorial
  • Afternoon walking tour in Lublin, including the historic Old City, Jewish Ghetto, Grodzka Gate, and the Yeshiva of Lublin
  • Overnight: TBA – Lublin, Poland

DAY #10 | Tuesday | Last Reflections in Europe

  • Majdanek – Reflect at the grounds of the infamous Nazi death camp
  • Continue on to Warsaw where you’ll honor the immense bravery of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
  • Follow the Route of Heroes and view the Rappaport Memorial
  • Farewell dinner and reflections
  • Depart Warsaw and travel to Israel on an overnight flight

DAY #11 | Wednesday | Baruch HaBah – Getting Oriented to Israel

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport – Meet our Israeli staff team and ascend to Jerusalem
  • Welcome to Israel! Shecheyanu ceremony and discover the unique topography of Jerusalem from the Haas Promenade overlook
  • Check-in, orientation, and icebreakers at our accommodations in Jerusalem
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #12 | Thursday | The Foundations of David’s Jerusalem

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a tree planting ceremony, group-bonding workshop and self-cooked lunch experience
  • Return to Jerusalem to discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the City of David archeological complex
  • Get wet walking through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct deep beneath the city
  • Reflections at the Kotel, The Western Wall, and visit the Southern Wall excavations
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #13 | Friday | Treasures of the Old City

  • Scale the Rampart Walls of the Old City, walking from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City’s Zion Gate – Explore the ancient squares and rooftops of the Jewish Quarter and break for lunch and personal exploration time in the Cardo
  • Explore millennia of history deep under the Old City within the Kotel Tunnels
  • Depart Jerusalem and travel north to Israel’s Galilee region
  • Stop to view the Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee – along the way
  • Arrive at our kibbutz accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat experience followed by a festive dinner at our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #14 | Saturday | Shabbat on Kibbutz in the Galilee

  • Morning: Shabbat programming and group lunch at our accommodations
  • Tour of the kibbutz community and learn about the history of the kibbutz idea
  • Afternoon: Enjoy a relaxed Shabbat with pool, sports, and free time!
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Boat cruise on the Kinneret and group night out in Tiberias
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #15 | Sunday | Mystics of the Galilee

  • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – The historic center of Judaism’s Kabbalah movement and a center for Jewish life during the Exile period
  • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet with a local Kabbalistic artist
  • Travel to Israel’s Upper Galilee region and hike to the waterfalls of the Banias Nature Reserve
  • Finish the day rafting down the Jordan River followed by a fresh-cooked pizza dinner on the bank of the Jordan River
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #16 | Monday | Perspectives on the Golan Heights

  • Ascend the Golan Heights and hike along the water-filled Nahal Jilaboun canyon
  • Learn about the history of the Golan region on an off-road jeep tour
  • Travel to Ben-Tal — View Israel’s neighbors and explore former IDF bunkers on the summit of this dormant volcano
  • Evening: Encounter with Druze culture and share a traditional meal in the Golan village of Ein Kinya
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | Tuesday | Diversity and Co-Existence in the Galilee

  • Help fight poverty in Israel volunteering at Pitchon Lev in the city of Karmiel
  • Take part in a dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens facilitated by the Galilee Foundation
  • Descend to the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah on Israel’s far northern border
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Acco Seaport, one of Israel’s most diverse cities, including a tour of the Templar Tunnels dating back to the Crusader Era
  • Arrive to Haifa and check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Haifa, Israel

DAY #18 | Wednesday | Pioneering Values

  • Start the morning exploring Haifa and the Bahai Gardens on Mt. Carmel
  • Break for lunch in Zichron Yaakov – one of the first new communities established by Jewish immigrants in the 1880’s and funded by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild
  • Atlit Detention Camp – Relive the challenges faced by Jews fleeing WWII Europe prior to Israel’s founding during the British Mandate Era
  • Surfing class, beach time and BBQ dinner on the Mediterranean Coast
  • Overnight: TBA – Haifa, Israel

DAY #19 | Thursday | Founding Modern Israel

  • Depart Haifa and travel to Caesarea — Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the Mediterranean beach
  • Machon Ayalon – Explore the story of the Haganah and the struggle to gain independence at this secret historical munitions factory
  • Save a Child’s Heart – Meet children seeking lifesaving treatment in Israel from around the world
  • Arrive to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and economic capital
  • Evening Speaker: The Geopolitics of Israel Today with Eylon Levy, an Israeli journalist and strategic analyst
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv, Israel

DAY #20 | Friday | Arts & Culture in Tel Aviv

  • Morning: Israeli martial arts workshop on the beach with Budokan
  • Independence Hall – Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and explore the Carmel Market as Tel Aviv prepares for Shabbat
  • Discover the complexity of Hebrew graffiti art in Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighborhood
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat at the Tel Aviv Port followed by dinner at our hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv, Israel

DAY #21 | Saturday | A Tel Aviv-Style Shabbat

  • Morning: Shabbat programming and group lunch at our accommodations
  • Free time to enjoy Tel Aviv’s beach culture and explore nearby Yarkon Park
  • Walk to the Rabin Square Memorial – Honor the life and accomplishments of Yitzhak Rabin, one of Israel’s most famous soldiers and statesmen
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at the Azrieli Center Mall
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv, Israel

DAY #22 | Sunday | Leadership in the Negev Desert

  • Dig-for-a-Day! Take part in an archaeological seminar with the professionals at Beit Guvrin National Park and explore the Bell Caves
  • Break for a traditional Ethiopian-style lunch with home hosts
  • Travel south into the heart of the Negev Desert
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David & Paula Ben Gurion and their vision for Israel’s thriving in the desert
  • Stop to view the geological phenomenon of the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge
  • Check-in to desert kibbutz accommodations in the Arava Valley
  • BBQ dinner and pool party at our desert kibbutz accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #23 | Monday | Adventures in Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to experience the thrill of scaling the massive Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the colorful Red Canyon trail deep in the Negev Desert
  • Continue south to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Relaxed beach time and banana boating on the tropical Red Sea
  • Return to our accommodations, stopping for ice cream at Yotvata, Israel’s famous desert dairy farm
  • Overnight: TBA – Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #24 | Tuesday | The Desert Blooms

  • Learn how Israel thrives in the desert and protects its ecology at Kibbutz Ketura, home of the Arava Institute
  • Travel up to the Judean Desert via the Arava Valley shared by Israel and Jordan
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Camel trekking and “hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast!
  • Evening: Bonfire party and night under the bright desert stars
  • Overnight: TBA – Judean Desert, Israel

DAY #25 | Wednesday | The View from Ancient Masada

  • Pre-sunrise climb up Masada via the Roman Ramp Trail
  • Tour of Masada – Herod’s mountaintop desert fortress, 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 afternoon
  • Check-in to our accommodations and rest!
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #26 | Thursday | Jewish Sovereignty – Vision and Sacrifice

  • Yad L’Kashish – Visit this landmark initiative to empower the elderly of Jerusalem
  • Tour of the Knesset – Learn about Israel’s parliamentary system and how it safeguards the Jewish State’s democratic laws and traditions
  • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air food market
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon visiting the Theodore Herzl Museum and exploring the grounds of the Herzl National Cemetery
  • BBYO B’Yachad: Celebrate a summer in Israel with fellow teens from around the world across the entire BBYO Passport community
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #27 | Friday | Remembrance and Renewal

  • Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Reflections over a picnic-style lunch at Jerusalem’s Mifletzet Park
  • Return to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Return to the Old City to experience Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel
  • Walk back to our accommodations, stopping for Shabbat dinner en route at the Fuchsburg Center
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #28 | Saturday | A Reflective Shabbat in Jerusalem

  • Morning: Shabbat programming and group lunch at our accommodations
  • Walk to the Israel Museum to discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model, and Israel’s most prized cultural and historic treasures
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun and reflecting on the journey at Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street Pedestrian Mall
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #29 | Sunday | Looking to the Future in Modern Israel

  • Depart for the Tel Aviv region in the morning
  • Learn how Israel became the ‘Startup Nation’ at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in southern Jaffa
  • Explore the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon at the Museum of the Jewish People (Diaspora Museum) on the campus of Tel Aviv University
  • Wrap-up session and the grassy grounds of the Tel Aviv University campus
  • Evening: Closing dinner party and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant
  • Overnight: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for our overnight return flight

DAY #30 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • Travelers on the group flight arrive back to 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 supervised flight is offered – often from the New York area. In some cases a supervised flight may also depart from Newark. You are responsible for your transportation to the supervised flight departure city. 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 and make arrangements to meet our staff in Europe. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
In Europe, the group stays in a variety of 3-star hotels. In Israel, 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. All accommodations utilized in Israel have a dedicated armed guard. 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 tour leader, and a bus driver. Out of an abundance of caution we travel with an armed guard in Poland and Israel. 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. Daytime 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, 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, teens will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. Overexposure 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, and 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 an armed 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 are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in Europe and Israel is 30 teens. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

  • There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

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 by BBYO Passport experiences in Israel are kosher. 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. 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.

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 countries we visit on this program.

If your teen is an Israeli citizen…
If your teen has dual citizenship, they must enter Israel with their Israeli passport. Your passport cannot expire within six months of the program start date in order to enter Israel. If your passport needs to be renewed, do so well in advance. Keep in mind, your teen should travel with both passports. Teens who are 17 years of age, have Israeli citizenship, and live in the USA may have to arrange for a release from a service for the Israeli Army. We recommend that you reach out to the Israeli consulate in your state to confirm what is required to avoid issues while in Israel.

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. Please note, teens taking part in the Host Family Weekend must go for the entire time, no exceptions. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip preparation manual.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines the following two travel experiences: Central Europe Discovery + Israel JourneyAt 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 Israel Journey group. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Poland to Israel is included as part of our optional supervised flight. Learn more about how connections work. This experience can also be enjoyed by other participants who choose to only participate in one portion of the experience. Thus, the makeup of the group may change between the two combined experiences.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

Central Europe Discovery + Israel Journey

Travel to Prague, Budapest & Poland to explore world heritage sites and honor the memory of those lost in the Holocaust. Then continue on to Israel Journey, BBYO’s flagship 3-week experience in the Jewish Homeland.

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