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.

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
  • 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 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 #11 | Wednesday | Farewell to Europe

  • Honor the immense bravery of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
  • Follow the Route of Heroes and view the Rappaport Memorial
  • Depart Warsaw and travel to Israel on an overnight flight

DAY #12 | Thursday | Welcome to Israel!

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
  • Welcome to Israel! – Shecheyanu ceremony overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem
  • Orientation and community building experience
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

Day #13 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Enter Zion Gate and explore the ancient corridors and rooftops of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and personal exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Experience the energy of pre-Shabbat shopping at Mahane Yehuda open-air market place
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for an ILSI Shabbat on the Ramat Rachel campus
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

DAY #14 | Saturday | A Song for the Sabbath Day

  • Shabbat programming and lunch at Ramat Rachel
  • Swimming, sports and relaxation time
  • Dinner at the hotel followed by a Havdalah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Group night out at Ben Yehuda Street, the center of Jerusalem nightlife
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

DAY #15 | Sunday | Jerusalem: Foundations of Jerusalem

  • Explore King David’s Jerusalem at the “City of David” complex; walk through Hezekiah’s ancient water tunnel under Jerusalem
  • Follow the Pilgrim’s Route into the Old City and enter the Southern Wall excavations
  • Continue to the Kotel – The Western Wall – for personal reflections at Judaism’s holiest site
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

DAY #16 | Monday | Northwards to the Galilee

  • Depart the Jerusalem region and travel north to the Galilee
  • Tel Meggido – Explore this ancient Biblical-era site overlooking the Jezreel Valley
  • Break for lunch in Afula and sample some of Israel’s best falafel
  • Continue north, stopping to view the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, along the way
  • Check-in to our kibbutz accommodation in the north – tour the community with a kibbutz member and learn about the kibbutz ideal
  • Overnight: TBA – Golan Heights

DAY #17 | Tuesday | Al-Hagvulot – Borders & Security

  • Mt. Ben Tal – View across the Golan and Israel’s neighbors from the summit of this dormant volcano
  • Climb up to the ruins of Nimrod’s Castle in the shadow of Mount Hermon, Israel’s highest peak
  • Cool off rafting down the upper Jordan River followed by a fresh-cooked pizza lunch on the riverbanks
  • Misgav Am – Perspectives from Israelis living on the frontier with Lebanon
  • Overnight: TBA – Golan Heights

DAY #18 | Wednesday | The Pioneering Heritage in the Galilee

  • Contribute to the Land of Israel on an educational volunteering program with HaShomer HaChadash
  • “Aqua Kef” – Experience the thrill of this floating waterpark on the Sea of Galilee
  • The Kinneret Courtyard and Cemetery – Honor the leadership of the early pioneers who transformed the Galilee
  • Camping and leadership experience at Park HaYarden along the Jordan River
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee

DAY #19 | Thursday | Israel’s Multi-Ethnic Society

  • Take part in a coexistence dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens with the Galilee Foundation
  • Travel to the Carmel Mountain village of Ussafiya for an encounter with members of the Druze community and a traditional meal
  • Discover Haifa – a model for co-existence in Israel, visiting the Bahai Temple Gardens, the Ahmadiyya Mosque and the Stella Maris Monastery
  • Meet up with teens from Israel’s sister youth movement in Israel, Maccabi Tzeir
  • Overnight: TBA – Zichron Yaakov

DAY #20 | Friday | The Jewish traditions of Tzvat

  • Late wake up and breakfast at the hotel
  • Walking tour of mystical Tzvat – Birthplace of the Kabbalah movement
  • Browse the Tzvat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
  • Check-in to our accommodations in the heart of Tzvat and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat service, dinner and Oneg Shabbat
  • Overnight: TBA – Tzvat

DAY #21 | Saturday | Shabbat in the Galilee

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Tzvat
  • Afternoon free time and walking tour
  • Dinner at the hotel followed by a Havdalah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Cruise on the Sea of Galilee with music and dancing
  • Overnight: TBA –Tzvat

DAY #22 | Sunday | Ingathering of the Exiles

  • Zichron Yaakov – Walking tour of an original village founded by Jewish immigrants in the 1880’s
  • Atlit detainee camp – The story of Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust during the British Mandate Era
  • Beach time and picnic lunch along Israel’s rugged Mediterranean Coast
  • Yemin Orde Youth Village – Discover Israel’s unique approach to serving children from immigrant and disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Celebrate our summer in Israel with hundreds of fellow teens at the BBYO B’Yachad event!
  • Overnight: TBA – Zichron Yaakov

DAY #23 | Monday | Tikkun Olam – Fixing the World with Hearts & Hands

  • Travel towards Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and commercial capital
  • Volunteer project with Eitan Special, a JDC-funded initiative, and take part in Krav Maga activities with their members
  • Walking tour of Jaffa Seaport and personal exploration time in the Jaffa Flea Market
  • Check-in and dinner at our hotel along the Tel Aviv coast
  • Attend a showing of “Not By Bread Alone” at Nalagaat- Israel’s groundbreaking theater troupe comprised of deaf and blind actors
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv

DAY #24 | Tuesday | Leadership & Innovation in Tel Aviv

  • Take part in a variety of Leadership Labs across Tel Aviv
  • Break for lunch along Tel Aviv’s trendy Rothschild Boulevard
  • Afternoon: Free time to enjoy the lively beach culture of Tel Aviv
  • Harness the power of innovative thinking on a PresenTense workshop
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv

DAY #25 | Wednesday | Heading South

  • Dig-for-a-Day Archeological Seminar at Beit Guvrin National Park
  • Discover the richness of Jewish Ethiopian culture and take part in a culinary workshop and lunch at the Atachlit – Beta Israel Village
  • Visit Sderot and Netiv HaAsara on the frontier with Gaza, and learn how these communities have adapted to their surroundings
  • Head south to the Negev Desert and check-in to our accommodations at the edge of Nahal Tzin Canyon
  • Overnight: TBA – Negev Desert

DAY #26 | Thursday | The Desert Blooms

  • Hike to the hidden desert pools at Ein Avdat
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding leader, and his vision for the desert
  • Explore the world’s largest erosion crater at the Ramon Crater Visitor Center
  • Camel riding and desert tent feast at Kfar Hanokdim encampment
  • Stargazing walk in the Judean Desert
  • Overnight: TBA – Negev Desert

DAY #27 | Friday | 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
  • Re-enter the Old City to experience Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall
  • Walk back to our hotel for dinner, and experience the quiet of a Jerusalem Shabbat
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem

DAY #28 | Saturday | A Jerusalem Shabbat

  • Morning: Option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • The Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple model and much more
  • Afternoon: Hang out time at Jerusalem’s Saker Park or explore the graffiti art of Mahane Yehuda while the market is closed
  • Dinner at the hotel followed by a Havdalah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels, followed by a group night out in Mamilla
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem

DAY #29 | Sunday | Remembering

  • Yad VaShem World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Mt. Herzl National Cemetery- Honoring Israel’s national leaders and fallen soldiers
  • Group lunch
  • Free time and reflection
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem

DAY #30 | Monday | Bringing the Spirit of Israel Home

  • Geopolitical tour of Jerusalem – the seam, the wall, and the future
  • Israel political seminar at StandWithUP
  • Afternoon: Volunteering project in Jerusalem
  • Time for final shopping along Ben Yehuda Street
  • Wrap-up session and celebrate our time together in Israel at a closing banquet dinner
  • Return to the airport for late-night flights
  • Arrive back to New York City the next 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’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in Europe and Israel is 30 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 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.

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.

 

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 teen travelers.

 

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.

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
  • 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 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 #11 | Wednesday | Farewell to Europe

  • Honor the immense bravery of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
  • Follow the Route of Heroes and view the Rappaport Memorial
  • Depart Warsaw and travel to Israel on an overnight flight

DAY #12 | Thursday | Welcome to Israel!

  • Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
  • Welcome to Israel! – Shecheyanu ceremony overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem
  • Orientation and community building experience
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

Day #13 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Enter Zion Gate and explore the ancient corridors and rooftops of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and personal exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Experience the energy of pre-Shabbat shopping at Mahane Yehuda open-air market place
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for an ILSI Shabbat on the Ramat Rachel campus
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

DAY #14 | Saturday | A Song for the Sabbath Day

  • Shabbat programming and lunch at Ramat Rachel
  • Swimming, sports and relaxation time
  • Dinner at the hotel followed by a Havdalah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Group night out at Ben Yehuda Street, the center of Jerusalem nightlife
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

DAY #15 | Sunday | Jerusalem: Foundations of Jerusalem

  • Explore King David’s Jerusalem at the “City of David” complex; walk through Hezekiah’s ancient water tunnel under Jerusalem
  • Follow the Pilgrim’s Route into the Old City and enter the Southern Wall excavations
  • Continue to the Kotel – The Western Wall – for personal reflections at Judaism’s holiest site
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem Hills

DAY #16 | Monday | Northwards to the Galilee

  • Depart the Jerusalem region and travel north to the Galilee
  • Tel Meggido – Explore this ancient Biblical-era site overlooking the Jezreel Valley
  • Break for lunch in Afula and sample some of Israel’s best falafel
  • Continue north, stopping to view the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, along the way
  • Check-in to our kibbutz accommodation in the north – tour the community with a kibbutz member and learn about the kibbutz ideal
  • Overnight: TBA – Golan Heights

DAY #17 | Tuesday | Al-Hagvulot – Borders & Security

  • Mt. Ben Tal – View across the Golan and Israel’s neighbors from the summit of this dormant volcano
  • Climb up to the ruins of Nimrod’s Castle in the shadow of Mount Hermon, Israel’s highest peak
  • Cool off rafting down the upper Jordan River followed by a fresh-cooked pizza lunch on the riverbanks
  • Misgav Am – Perspectives from Israelis living on the frontier with Lebanon
  • Overnight: TBA – Golan Heights

DAY #18 | Wednesday | The Pioneering Heritage in the Galilee

  • Contribute to the Land of Israel on an educational volunteering program with HaShomer HaChadash
  • “Aqua Kef” – Experience the thrill of this floating waterpark on the Sea of Galilee
  • The Kinneret Courtyard and Cemetery – Honor the leadership of the early pioneers who transformed the Galilee
  • Camping and leadership experience at Park HaYarden along the Jordan River
  • Overnight: TBA – Galilee

DAY #19 | Thursday | Israel’s Multi-Ethnic Society

  • Take part in a coexistence dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens with the Galilee Foundation
  • Travel to the Carmel Mountain village of Ussafiya for an encounter with members of the Druze community and a traditional meal
  • Discover Haifa – a model for co-existence in Israel, visiting the Bahai Temple Gardens, the Ahmadiyya Mosque and the Stella Maris Monastery
  • Meet up with teens from Israel’s sister youth movement in Israel, Maccabi Tzeir
  • Overnight: TBA – Zichron Yaakov

DAY #20 | Friday | The Jewish traditions of Tzvat

  • Late wake up and breakfast at the hotel
  • Walking tour of mystical Tzvat – Birthplace of the Kabbalah movement
  • Browse the Tzvat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
  • Check-in to our accommodations in the heart of Tzvat and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat service, dinner and Oneg Shabbat
  • Overnight: TBA – Tzvat

DAY #21 | Saturday | Shabbat in the Galilee

  • Shabbat programming and lunch in Tzvat
  • Afternoon free time and walking tour
  • Dinner at the hotel followed by a Havdalah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Cruise on the Sea of Galilee with music and dancing
  • Overnight: TBA –Tzvat

DAY #22 | Sunday | Ingathering of the Exiles

  • Zichron Yaakov – Walking tour of an original village founded by Jewish immigrants in the 1880’s
  • Atlit detainee camp – The story of Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust during the British Mandate Era
  • Beach time and picnic lunch along Israel’s rugged Mediterranean Coast
  • Yemin Orde Youth Village – Discover Israel’s unique approach to serving children from immigrant and disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Celebrate our summer in Israel with hundreds of fellow teens at the BBYO B’Yachad event!
  • Overnight: TBA – Zichron Yaakov

DAY #23 | Monday | Tikkun Olam – Fixing the World with Hearts & Hands

  • Travel towards Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and commercial capital
  • Volunteer project with Eitan Special, a JDC-funded initiative, and take part in Krav Maga activities with their members
  • Walking tour of Jaffa Seaport and personal exploration time in the Jaffa Flea Market
  • Check-in and dinner at our hotel along the Tel Aviv coast
  • Attend a showing of “Not By Bread Alone” at Nalagaat- Israel’s groundbreaking theater troupe comprised of deaf and blind actors
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv

DAY #24 | Tuesday | Leadership & Innovation in Tel Aviv

  • Take part in a variety of Leadership Labs across Tel Aviv
  • Break for lunch along Tel Aviv’s trendy Rothschild Boulevard
  • Afternoon: Free time to enjoy the lively beach culture of Tel Aviv
  • Harness the power of innovative thinking on a PresenTense workshop
  • Overnight: TBA – Tel Aviv

DAY #25 | Wednesday | Heading South

  • Dig-for-a-Day Archeological Seminar at Beit Guvrin National Park
  • Discover the richness of Jewish Ethiopian culture and take part in a culinary workshop and lunch at the Atachlit – Beta Israel Village
  • Visit Sderot and Netiv HaAsara on the frontier with Gaza, and learn how these communities have adapted to their surroundings
  • Head south to the Negev Desert and check-in to our accommodations at the edge of Nahal Tzin Canyon
  • Overnight: TBA – Negev Desert

DAY #26 | Thursday | The Desert Blooms

  • Hike to the hidden desert pools at Ein Avdat
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding leader, and his vision for the desert
  • Explore the world’s largest erosion crater at the Ramon Crater Visitor Center
  • Camel riding and desert tent feast at Kfar Hanokdim encampment
  • Stargazing walk in the Judean Desert
  • Overnight: TBA – Negev Desert

DAY #27 | Friday | 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
  • Re-enter the Old City to experience Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall
  • Walk back to our hotel for dinner, and experience the quiet of a Jerusalem Shabbat
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem

DAY #28 | Saturday | A Jerusalem Shabbat

  • Morning: Option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • The Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple model and much more
  • Afternoon: Hang out time at Jerusalem’s Saker Park or explore the graffiti art of Mahane Yehuda while the market is closed
  • Dinner at the hotel followed by a Havdalah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels, followed by a group night out in Mamilla
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem

DAY #29 | Sunday | Remembering

  • Yad VaShem World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Mt. Herzl National Cemetery- Honoring Israel’s national leaders and fallen soldiers
  • Group lunch
  • Free time and reflection
  • Overnight: TBA – Jerusalem

DAY #30 | Monday | Bringing the Spirit of Israel Home

  • Geopolitical tour of Jerusalem – the seam, the wall, and the future
  • Israel political seminar at StandWithUP
  • Afternoon: Volunteering project in Jerusalem
  • Time for final shopping along Ben Yehuda Street
  • Wrap-up session and celebrate our time together in Israel at a closing banquet dinner
  • Return to the airport for late-night flights
  • Arrive back to New York City the next 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’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in Europe and Israel is 30 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 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.

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.

 

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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