israel travel for families
SUMMER EXPERIENCES

Int’l Leadership Seminar in Israel (ILSI)

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

ILSI trip jewish teensTravel alongside Jewish teens from around the world on International Leadership Seminar Israel, BBYO’s premier Israel experience.

Together we’ll explore Jerusalem, raft down the Jordan River, scale the heights of Masada and tap into the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv. More than just a tour, ILSI is an opportunity for education and growth using the Land of Israel as our classroom. The program empowers teens to grow, develop their leadership, build a stronger Jewish community and return home ready to extend the ILSI experience into a life-long journey!

What Makes it ILSI?

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

Small Group Learning

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

Living Jewish Peoplehood

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

Jewish Leadership Modeling

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

Connecting with Israeli Society

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

The Joy of a Summer in Israel

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

IS ILSI RIGHT FOR ME?

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

Program Highlights

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

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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off

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

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

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

DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem: Foundations of Jerusalem

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
  • 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #4 | 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #5 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at Ben Yehuda Street, the center of Jerusalem nightlife
  • Overnight: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #6 | Sunday | Northwards to the Galilee

  • Depart the Jerusalem region and travel north to the Galilee
  • Tel Meggido – Explore this ancient Biblical-era site overlooking the Jezreal 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #7 | Monday | 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #8 | Tuesday | 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
  • Evening: Camping and leadership experience at Park HaYarden along the Jordan River
  • Overnight: Camping at Park HaYarden, Galilee

DAY #9 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Meet up with teens from Israel’s sister youth movement in Israel, Maccabi Tzeir
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #10 | Thursday | 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
  • Evening: Celebrate our summer in Israel with hundreds of fellow teens at the BBYO B’Yachad event!
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #11 | Friday | The Jewish traditions of Tzfat

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

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in the Galilee

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

DAY #13 | Sunday | 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
  • Evening: Attend a showing of “Not By Bread Alone” at Nalagaat- Israel’s groundbreaking theater troupe comprised of deaf and blind actors
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #14 | Monday | 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
  • Evening: Harness the power of innovative thinking on a PresenTense workshop
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #15 | Tuesday | 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: Sde Boker Fields School

DAY #16 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Stargazing walk in the Judean Desert
  • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Guest House

DAY #17 | Thursday | Masada and Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb to Masada via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of the Masada desert fortress complex – Descend via the Snake Path
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Travel back to Jerusalem, and check-in to our accommodations
  • Evening: View “Hero in Heaven” in preparation for our visit to Har Herzl
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | Loss, Resilience and Renewal

  • Yad VaShem World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Picnic-style lunch and group processing time
  • Mt. Herzl National Cemetery- Honoring Israel’s national leaders and fallen soldiers
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for our final Shabbat in Israel
  • 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: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #19 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels, followed by a group night out in Mamilla
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bringing the Spirit of Israel Home

  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – the seam, the wall, and the future
  • Israel political seminar at StandWithUs
  • Afternoon: Volunteering project in Jerusalem
  • Time for final shopping along Ben Yehuda Street
  • Evening: Wrap-up session and celebrate our time together in Israel at a closing banquet dinner
  • Return to airport for late night flights

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom U’lhitraot

  • 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 New York City. In some cases, a supervised flight may also depart from Newark or Boston. 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 at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
Many of the accommodations we stay at are kibbutz-based guest houses that are located in Israel’s countryside and provide space for exploration within a secure environment. We use conventional hotels in Jerusalem and occasionally in other cities. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each bus group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), two Israeli guides, a security/medical escort, and a dedicated bus driver. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures 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 stay at accommodations with security, we plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with an armed guard, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel’s Situation Room. Learn more about our approach to safety & security in Israel and worldwide.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens, including European and Israeli teens. Our travel is organized as multiple distinct bus groups and each bus group is divided into two educational communities.

What’s the food like?
The food on all Israel trips is kosher throughout. Some meals will be provided according to the “Pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy food of their choosing with Pizur funds. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, vegetarian, Kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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 Israel. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa. Contact your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate for additional details.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

Supervised Connections

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

Independent Connections

Families make their own travel arrangements between programs, and staff supervision is not provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

 

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.

ILSI trip jewish teensTravel alongside Jewish teens from around the world on International Leadership Seminar Israel, BBYO’s premier Israel experience.

Together we’ll explore Jerusalem, raft down the Jordan River, scale the heights of Masada and tap into the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv. More than just a tour, ILSI is an opportunity for education and growth using the Land of Israel as our classroom. The program empowers teens to grow, develop their leadership, build a stronger Jewish community and return home ready to extend the ILSI experience into a life-long journey!

What Makes it ILSI?

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

Small Group Learning

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

Living Jewish Peoplehood

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

Jewish Leadership Modeling

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

Connecting with Israeli Society

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

The Joy of a Summer in Israel

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

IS ILSI RIGHT FOR ME?

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

Program Highlights

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

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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off

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

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

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

DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem: Foundations of Jerusalem

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
  • 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #4 | 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #5 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at Ben Yehuda Street, the center of Jerusalem nightlife
  • Overnight: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #6 | Sunday | Northwards to the Galilee

  • Depart the Jerusalem region and travel north to the Galilee
  • Tel Meggido – Explore this ancient Biblical-era site overlooking the Jezreal 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #7 | Monday | 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #8 | Tuesday | 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
  • Evening: Camping and leadership experience at Park HaYarden along the Jordan River
  • Overnight: Camping at Park HaYarden, Galilee

DAY #9 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Meet up with teens from Israel’s sister youth movement in Israel, Maccabi Tzeir
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #10 | Thursday | 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
  • Evening: Celebrate our summer in Israel with hundreds of fellow teens at the BBYO B’Yachad event!
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #11 | Friday | The Jewish traditions of Tzfat

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

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in the Galilee

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

DAY #13 | Sunday | 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
  • Evening: Attend a showing of “Not By Bread Alone” at Nalagaat- Israel’s groundbreaking theater troupe comprised of deaf and blind actors
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #14 | Monday | 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
  • Evening: Harness the power of innovative thinking on a PresenTense workshop
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #15 | Tuesday | 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: Sde Boker Fields School

DAY #16 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Stargazing walk in the Judean Desert
  • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Guest House

DAY #17 | Thursday | Masada and Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb to Masada via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of the Masada desert fortress complex – Descend via the Snake Path
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Travel back to Jerusalem, and check-in to our accommodations
  • Evening: View “Hero in Heaven” in preparation for our visit to Har Herzl
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | Loss, Resilience and Renewal

  • Yad VaShem World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Picnic-style lunch and group processing time
  • Mt. Herzl National Cemetery- Honoring Israel’s national leaders and fallen soldiers
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for our final Shabbat in Israel
  • 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: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #19 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels, followed by a group night out in Mamilla
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bringing the Spirit of Israel Home

  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – the seam, the wall, and the future
  • Israel political seminar at StandWithUs
  • Afternoon: Volunteering project in Jerusalem
  • Time for final shopping along Ben Yehuda Street
  • Evening: Wrap-up session and celebrate our time together in Israel at a closing banquet dinner
  • Return to airport for late night flights

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom U’lhitraot

  • 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 New York City. In some cases, a supervised flight may also depart from Newark or Boston. 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 at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
Many of the accommodations we stay at are kibbutz-based guest houses that are located in Israel’s countryside and provide space for exploration within a secure environment. We use conventional hotels in Jerusalem and occasionally in other cities. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each bus group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), two Israeli guides, a security/medical escort, and a dedicated bus driver. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures 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 stay at accommodations with security, we plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with an armed guard, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel’s Situation Room. Learn more about our approach to safety & security in Israel and worldwide.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens, including European and Israeli teens. Our travel is organized as multiple distinct bus groups and each bus group is divided into two educational communities.

What’s the food like?
The food on all Israel trips is kosher throughout. Some meals will be provided according to the “Pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy food of their choosing with Pizur funds. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, vegetarian, Kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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 Israel. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa. Contact your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate for additional details.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

Supervised Connections

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

Independent Connections

Families make their own travel arrangements between programs, and staff supervision is not provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

Int’l Leadership Seminar in Israel (ILSI)

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

Int’l Leadership Seminar in Israel (ILSI)

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

ILSI trip jewish teensTravel alongside Jewish teens from around the world on International Leadership Seminar Israel, BBYO’s premier Israel experience.

Together we’ll explore Jerusalem, raft down the Jordan River, scale the heights of Masada and tap into the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv. More than just a tour, ILSI is an opportunity for education and growth using the Land of Israel as our classroom. The program empowers teens to grow, develop their leadership, build a stronger Jewish community and return home ready to extend the ILSI experience into a life-long journey!

What Makes it ILSI?

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

Small Group Learning

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

Living Jewish Peoplehood

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

Jewish Leadership Modeling

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

Connecting with Israeli Society

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

The Joy of a Summer in Israel

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

IS ILSI RIGHT FOR ME?

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

Program Highlights

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

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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off

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

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

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

DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem: Foundations of Jerusalem

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
  • 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #4 | 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #5 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at Ben Yehuda Street, the center of Jerusalem nightlife
  • Overnight: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #6 | Sunday | Northwards to the Galilee

  • Depart the Jerusalem region and travel north to the Galilee
  • Tel Meggido – Explore this ancient Biblical-era site overlooking the Jezreal 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #7 | Monday | 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #8 | Tuesday | 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
  • Evening: Camping and leadership experience at Park HaYarden along the Jordan River
  • Overnight: Camping at Park HaYarden, Galilee

DAY #9 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Meet up with teens from Israel’s sister youth movement in Israel, Maccabi Tzeir
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #10 | Thursday | 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
  • Evening: Celebrate our summer in Israel with hundreds of fellow teens at the BBYO B’Yachad event!
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #11 | Friday | The Jewish traditions of Tzfat

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

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in the Galilee

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

DAY #13 | Sunday | 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
  • Evening: Attend a showing of “Not By Bread Alone” at Nalagaat- Israel’s groundbreaking theater troupe comprised of deaf and blind actors
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #14 | Monday | 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
  • Evening: Harness the power of innovative thinking on a PresenTense workshop
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #15 | Tuesday | 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: Sde Boker Fields School

DAY #16 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Stargazing walk in the Judean Desert
  • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Guest House

DAY #17 | Thursday | Masada and Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb to Masada via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of the Masada desert fortress complex – Descend via the Snake Path
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Travel back to Jerusalem, and check-in to our accommodations
  • Evening: View “Hero in Heaven” in preparation for our visit to Har Herzl
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | Loss, Resilience and Renewal

  • Yad VaShem World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Picnic-style lunch and group processing time
  • Mt. Herzl National Cemetery- Honoring Israel’s national leaders and fallen soldiers
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for our final Shabbat in Israel
  • 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: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #19 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels, followed by a group night out in Mamilla
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bringing the Spirit of Israel Home

  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – the seam, the wall, and the future
  • Israel political seminar at StandWithUs
  • Afternoon: Volunteering project in Jerusalem
  • Time for final shopping along Ben Yehuda Street
  • Evening: Wrap-up session and celebrate our time together in Israel at a closing banquet dinner
  • Return to airport for late night flights

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom U’lhitraot

  • 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 New York City. In some cases, a supervised flight may also depart from Newark or Boston. 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 at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
Many of the accommodations we stay at are kibbutz-based guest houses that are located in Israel’s countryside and provide space for exploration within a secure environment. We use conventional hotels in Jerusalem and occasionally in other cities. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each bus group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), two Israeli guides, a security/medical escort, and a dedicated bus driver. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures 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 stay at accommodations with security, we plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with an armed guard, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel’s Situation Room. Learn more about our approach to safety & security in Israel and worldwide.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens, including European and Israeli teens. Our travel is organized as multiple distinct bus groups and each bus group is divided into two educational communities.

What’s the food like?
The food on all Israel trips is kosher throughout. Some meals will be provided according to the “Pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy food of their choosing with Pizur funds. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, vegetarian, Kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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 Israel. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa. Contact your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate for additional details.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

Supervised Connections

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

Independent Connections

Families make their own travel arrangements between programs, and staff supervision is not provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

 

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.

ILSI trip jewish teensTravel alongside Jewish teens from around the world on International Leadership Seminar Israel, BBYO’s premier Israel experience.

Together we’ll explore Jerusalem, raft down the Jordan River, scale the heights of Masada and tap into the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv. More than just a tour, ILSI is an opportunity for education and growth using the Land of Israel as our classroom. The program empowers teens to grow, develop their leadership, build a stronger Jewish community and return home ready to extend the ILSI experience into a life-long journey!

What Makes it ILSI?

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

Small Group Learning

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

Living Jewish Peoplehood

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

Jewish Leadership Modeling

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

Connecting with Israeli Society

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

The Joy of a Summer in Israel

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

IS ILSI RIGHT FOR ME?

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

Program Highlights

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

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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off

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

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

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

DAY #3 | Thursday | Jerusalem: Foundations of Jerusalem

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
  • 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #4 | 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: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #5 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at Ben Yehuda Street, the center of Jerusalem nightlife
  • Overnight: Ramat Rachel Guest House, Jerusalem Hills

DAY #6 | Sunday | Northwards to the Galilee

  • Depart the Jerusalem region and travel north to the Galilee
  • Tel Meggido – Explore this ancient Biblical-era site overlooking the Jezreal 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #7 | Monday | 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: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights

DAY #8 | Tuesday | 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
  • Evening: Camping and leadership experience at Park HaYarden along the Jordan River
  • Overnight: Camping at Park HaYarden, Galilee

DAY #9 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Meet up with teens from Israel’s sister youth movement in Israel, Maccabi Tzeir
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #10 | Thursday | 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
  • Evening: Celebrate our summer in Israel with hundreds of fellow teens at the BBYO B’Yachad event!
  • Overnight: Eden Inn, Zichron Yaakov

DAY #11 | Friday | The Jewish traditions of Tzfat

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

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in the Galilee

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

DAY #13 | Sunday | 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
  • Evening: Attend a showing of “Not By Bread Alone” at Nalagaat- Israel’s groundbreaking theater troupe comprised of deaf and blind actors
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #14 | Monday | 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
  • Evening: Harness the power of innovative thinking on a PresenTense workshop
  • Overnight: Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv

DAY #15 | Tuesday | 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: Sde Boker Fields School

DAY #16 | Wednesday | 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
  • Evening: Stargazing walk in the Judean Desert
  • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Guest House

DAY #17 | Thursday | Masada and Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb to Masada via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of the Masada desert fortress complex – Descend via the Snake Path
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Travel back to Jerusalem, and check-in to our accommodations
  • Evening: View “Hero in Heaven” in preparation for our visit to Har Herzl
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | Loss, Resilience and Renewal

  • Yad VaShem World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Picnic-style lunch and group processing time
  • Mt. Herzl National Cemetery- Honoring Israel’s national leaders and fallen soldiers
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for our final Shabbat in Israel
  • 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: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #19 | 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 Havdallah service – celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels, followed by a group night out in Mamilla
  • Overnight: Caesar Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bringing the Spirit of Israel Home

  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – the seam, the wall, and the future
  • Israel political seminar at StandWithUs
  • Afternoon: Volunteering project in Jerusalem
  • Time for final shopping along Ben Yehuda Street
  • Evening: Wrap-up session and celebrate our time together in Israel at a closing banquet dinner
  • Return to airport for late night flights

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom U’lhitraot

  • 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 New York City. In some cases, a supervised flight may also depart from Newark or Boston. 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 at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
Many of the accommodations we stay at are kibbutz-based guest houses that are located in Israel’s countryside and provide space for exploration within a secure environment. We use conventional hotels in Jerusalem and occasionally in other cities. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each bus group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), two Israeli guides, a security/medical escort, and a dedicated bus driver. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures 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 stay at accommodations with security, we plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with an armed guard, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel’s Situation Room. Learn more about our approach to safety & security in Israel and worldwide.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on ILSI is 120 teens, including European and Israeli teens. Our travel is organized as multiple distinct bus groups and each bus group is divided into two educational communities.

What’s the food like?
The food on all Israel trips is kosher throughout. Some meals will be provided according to the “Pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy food of their choosing with Pizur funds. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, vegetarian, Kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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 Israel. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa. Contact your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate for additional details.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

Supervised Connections

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

Independent Connections

Families make their own travel arrangements between programs, and staff supervision is not provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

 

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