A Sunset - Trips to Israel
SUMMER EXPERIENCES

Italy Discovery + Israel Journey

Spend two glorious weeks discovering history culture and adventure in Italy and Slovenia, and then continue on to Israel Journey for BBYO’s flagship 3-week experience in the Jewish Homeland.

Go back in time on Italy Discovery and explore the origins of Western Civilization in cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Milan, Bologna, and Verona. Embrace your inner-adventurer in the highlands of Slovenia and discover the compelling 2,000+ year history of Jewish life in Italy.

Then continue from Italy 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

Navigate the canals and waterways of old Venice by gondola
Marvel at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Explore the Tuscan countryside and the beauty of the Italian Alps
Take in the high art of Florence, home to Michelangelo, Da Vinci & Dante
Explore the treasures of the Vatican and the Jewish Quarter in Rome
Pay homage to the Roman Empire, visiting the Colosseum, Pantheon and Forum Romanum
Raft the Soca River, trek in Postojna Cave and enjoy Slovenia’s glacial Lake Bled
Test out your problem solving skills as you decipher codes in the Escape Room
Channel your inner warrior while taking part in a gladiator-for-a-day class
Learn how traditional Italian pastas, gelato and glass are made
Discover 3,000 years of Jewish history and traditions in Jerusalem’s Old City
Experience floating in the Dead Sea and scale the heights of Masada for sunrise
Navigate the wilderness on a camel trek and enjoy a delicious desert tent feast
Get your hands dirty and learn a new skill on the Dig-for-a-Day Archaeological Seminar
Cool off rafting down the Jordan River and swimming under the Ein Gedi desert waterfalls
Browse Mahane Yehuda‘s open-air market, the Nahalat Binyamin street festival and nightlife on Ben Yehuda Street
Explore the seaport of Haifa, the ancient city of Acco and the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah
Swim in the Red Sea, in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Sea of Galilee
Learn first-hand about contemporary Israeli geo-politics and experience co-existence in action
Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism’s mystical tradition in Tzfat
Soak up the cultural richness and innovative spirit of modern Tel Aviv
Bond with new friends as you celebrate a meaningful and adventure-filled summer in Israel

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Italy Discovery + Israel Journey. At the end of Italy Discovery those making the connection will have an extra day of touring in the Rome area prior to boarding an overnight flight to Israel that evening. Our first day in Israel features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting anew. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Italy to Israel is included as part of our optional group flight.

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off!

  • Depart from New York City on a supervised group flight (optional)
  • Spend the night in the sky en route to Europe

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Lake Maggiore

  • Arrive to Italy’s Milan Airport in the morning
  • Meet our local staff and travel to Lake Maggiore
  • Explore this picturesque region at the base of the Italian Alps
  • Overnight: Lake Maggiore, Italy

DAY #3 | Thursday | Venice’s Ghetto Origins

  • Wake up and smell the fresh alpine air before departing for Venice
  • Stop to swoon under the balcony of “Juliet’s House” in Verona
  • Say goodbye to our bus and enter the water-filled streets of the Venice old city
  • Learn about the Venetian history of the word “ghetto” at the Jewish Museum
  • Wander through the historic Jewish Quarter and navigate Venice via traditional gondolas
  • Overnight: Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni – Venice, Italy

DAY #4 | Friday | The Waterways of Venice

  • Set sail for the islands of Murano and Burano
  • Experience a traditional Venetian glass-making factory
  • Travel to Lido Island and enjoy beach time and swimming in the Adriatic Sea
  • Return to the main island of Venice and prepare for Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat services at the Spanish Synagogue in the Venice Ghetto
  • Learn about the contemporary Jewish community of Venice over a traditional Shabbat dinner
  • Overnight: Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni – Venice, Italy

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in Venice

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch with the Jewish community
  • Venice on foot! – Explore Piazza San Marco, including the Basilica and Ducale Palace
  • Evening: Group night out on the town in Venice
  • Overnight: Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni – Venice, Italy

DAY #6 | Sunday | Rafting in Slovenia

  • Depart Venice in the morning and set off for the Slovenian backcountry
  • White water rafting down the Soca – One of Europe’s most beautiful rivers!
  • Travel through the Slovenian mountains to Lake Bled deep in the Slovenian mountains
  • Overnight: Hotel Ribno – Bled, Slovenia

DAY #7 | Monday | Adventures in the Backcountry

  • Take a boat ride to tiny Bled Island in the middle of the crystal blue lake
  • Make a wish! Ring the island’s legendary wishing bell
  • Visit Ljubljana – Slovenia’s capital – Take in the views from a castle towering over the city
  • Test out your problem solving skills as you decipher codes in the Escape Room
  • Overnight: Hotel Ribno – Bled, Slovenia

DAY #8 | Tuesday | The Italian Countryside

  • Cool off navigating underground through the Postojna cave system
  • Cross back into Italy and travel towards Florence via the Tuscan countryside
  • Stop in Bologna – Explore the city and visit the Gelato Museum for a tour and tasting!
  • Arrive to the Florence region and check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: Grand Hotel Nizza et Suisse – Montecatini, Italy

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Florence, Italy

  • Discover the art of making fresh Italian pasta at Pastificio Fabbri
  • Explore Florence – the Duomo, Piazza San Lorenzo and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)
  • Climb to the top of the Campanile Tower for a stunning panoramic view of Florence
  • The Art of Florence – View Michelangelo’s David Statue at the Galleria dell’Accademia
  • Tour the Great Synagogue – One of the world’s most beautiful synagogues
  • Depart to Montecatini
  • Overnight: Grand Hotel Nizza et Suisse – Montecatini, Italy

DAY #10 | Thursday | Pisa, Italy

  • Travel to Pisa – Climb the leaning Tower of Pisa and explore the Square of Miracles
  • Travel south along the coast towards Rome
  • Get oriented to the seven hills of Rome from Palatine Hill
  • Recount the legend of Romulus and Remus –the founding story of Rome
  • Channel your inner warrior taking part in a “Gladiator for a Day” training
  • Check-in to our central Rome accommodations
  • Overnight: Hotel Nord Nuova – Rome, Italy

DAY #11 | Friday | The Ancient Empire of Rome!

  • Walk in the footsteps of the Roman Empire at the Coliseum and the Forum Romanum
  • Explore Vatican City in the heart of Rome – St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel
  • Stand beside the massive Arch of Titus and view a depiction of the Temple Menorah that is believed to have been carried off to Rome from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat services and dinner at the Oratorio di Castro Synagogue
  • Overnight: Hotel Nord Nuova – Rome, Italy

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Rome

  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Walking tour of Rome’s Jewish Quarter – The oldest continually settled Jewish community outside Israel
  • Continue exploring Rome on foot – stop at the Pantheon Temple and Fontana di Trevi
  • Overnight: Hotel Nord Nuova – Rome, Italy

DAY #13 | Sunday | Pompeii & Mt. Vesuvius

  • Guided tour of Pompeii – The preserved ancient Roman city
  • Drive up to Mount Vesuvius and peer into the volcano’s crater
  • Return to Rome in the evening for a final dinner party and group session
  • Overnight: Ostia Antica Park Hotel – Rome, Italy

DAY #14 | Monday | Ciao Italy!

  • Say farewell to Italy Discovery friends
  • Depart on a late flight to Tel Aviv

Day #15 | Tuesday | Arrive from Europe

  • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
  • Enjoy some time to rest and shower
  • Explore the Sataf nature trail and caves
  • Evening: bowling
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

Day #16 | Wednesday | Arrive from Europeh3>

  • Join teens arriving for Israel Journey
  • Shecheyanu ceremony overlooking the Old City
  • Check-in and orientation at our accommodations in Jerusalem
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #17 | Thursday | Jerusalem’s Old City

  • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City’s Zion Gate – Explore the ancient squares & rooftops of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflections at the Kotel (The Western Wall) and visit the Southern Wall excavations
  • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
  • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem
  • Evening Speaker – The Geo-Politics of Israel Today
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

  • Begin traveling north to the Galilee along the Mediterranean Coast
  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
  • Continue north, and explore the ancient catacombs of Beit Shearim and learn how the Jewish community of the Galilee adapted to the Exile during the Talmudic-era
  • Stop for an overlook of the Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee
  • Check-in to our kibbutz accommodations in the Galilee and prepare for Shabbat
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our accommodations
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat on Kibbutz

  • Shabbat programming and group lunch
  • Tour of the kibbutz and learn about the history of the kibbutz idea
  • Afternoon: Pool, sports and free time!
  • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony — celebrate the start of a new week
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #20 | Sunday | Mystics of the Galilee

  • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – The historic center of Judaism’s Kabbalah movement
  • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
  • Travel to Israel’s Upper Galilee region and hike to the waterfalls of the Banias
  • Finish the day rafting down the Jordan River and scaling the adventure ropes park
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galileer

DAY #21 | Monday | Perspectives from the Golan Heights

  • Ascend the Golan Heights, and hike along the water-filled Nahal Yehudiya canyon
  • Travel to Kibbutz Merom Golan and meet with a local community member to learn about what life is like along the Syrian border over lunch
  • Tour of the region on a historical off-road jeep tour of the Golan
  • View of the region and explore former IDF bunkers on the summit of Mt. Ben-Tal
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #22 | Tuesday | Co-Existence in the Galilee

  • Help fight poverty in Israel volunteering at Pitchon Lev in the city of Karmiel
  • Take part in a coexistence dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens with the Galilee Foundation
  • Descend via cable car into the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah on Israel’s northern border
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon explore Acco Seaport, including the Templar Tunnels
  • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #23 | Wednesday | The Carmel Mountains

  • Start the morning exploring Haifa and the Bahai Gardens on Mt. Carmel
  • Enjoy a uniquely delicious lunch, and discover a new culture in the Druze Village of Ussafiya
  • Atlit – Learn about the challenges faced by Jews fleeing the Holocaust prior to Israel’s founding during the British Mandate Era
  • Surfing class, beach time and BBQ dinner on the Mediterranean Coast
  • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #24 | Thursday | Pioneering Values

  • Caesarea – Explore Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the beach
  • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Tour the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel/li>

NOTE: This weekend is the optional Host Family Weekend. If applicable, plan for your host to pick you up at our scheduled accommodations on Thursday evening and return you to our accommodations on Saturday evening.

DAY #25 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

  • Travel to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Visit to the Rabin Center – Explore the history of modern Israel through the life story of its most famous soldier and statesman
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
  • Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Tel Aviv’s lively beach culture
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner with a guest educator
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel

DAY #26 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

  • Wake up to Shabbat in the rolling foothills of Jerusalem – Take part in an optional group hike
  • Shabbat programming and group lunch at accommodations
  • Play sports, hang out by the pool and enjoy relaxation time at our accommodations
  • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony — celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at the high-tech Azrieli Tower Mall in Tel Aviv
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Judean Hills

DAY #27 | Sunday | To the Negev Desert

  • Dig-for-a-Day! – Take part in an archaeological seminar with the professionals
  • Break for a traditional Ethiopian-style lunch with home hosts
  • Travel south into the heart of the Negev Desert
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion and his vision for the desert
  • Stop to view the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge
  • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations outside of Eilat
  • Evening: Group dinner and pool party!
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

DAY #28 | Monday | Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon
  • Depart to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Afternoon – Relaxed beach time and banana boating on the tropical Red Sea
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

DAY #29 | Tuesday | The Desert Blooms

  • The Arava Institute – Learn how Israel thrives in the desert and protects its ecological treasures
  • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Camel trekking and enjoy a “hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast!
  • Evening: Bonfire party and night under the bright desert stars
  • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Tent, Judean Desert

DAY #30 | Wednesday | Masada and the Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb up Masada, a fortress overlooking the Dead Sea, via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of Masada – Herod’s mountaintop desert fortress – and descend via the Snake Path
  • Swim under the cool desert waterfalls at Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
  • Take in the stark desert scenery as we travel back to Jerusalem in the late afternoon
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #31 | Thursday | Remembrance & Renewal

  • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
  • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air marketplace
  • Speaker – Meet with an activist pursuing religious pluralism in Israel
  • Evening: BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with all groups in Israel!
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #32 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Theodore Herzl Museum and the Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Beyond the Walls – Montefiore’s Windmill, Yemin Moshe and the Jerusalem First Station Market
  • Return to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Experience a Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall followed by dinner in the Old City
  • Walk back to the hotel and enjoy Shabbat dinner as a group
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #33 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

  • Have the option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • Visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model and much more
  • Afternoon: Soak up the sun relaxing in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #34 | Sunday | Celebrating Modern Israel

  • Depart for the Tel Aviv region in the morning
  • Machon Ayalon – Explore the story of the Hagannah and the struggle to gain independence at this secret historical munitions factory
  • Independence Hall – Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Break for lunch along stylish Rotschild Boulevard and enjoy the local café culture
  • Tap into the innovative spirit of modern Israel at the Tel Aviv Innovation Center and meet with a local entrepreneur
  • Closing dinner party and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant
  • Late Night: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for an overnight return flight

DAY #35 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • 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. 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 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 a guard in Israel. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
The weather throughout Italy and Slovenia is a typical Mediterranean climate – dry heat, cool evenings, and little to no rain. Temperatures will typically be in the 80s and 90s. Because of the dry nature of the heat in the Mediterranean, the sun is deceptively strong, and you should plan to bring plenty of sunscreen and a good hat for outdoor touring.

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 plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with a guard in 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 situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. In Israel, expect to eat Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, bourekas, and much more.

Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter any of the 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 Italy Discovery + Israel Journey. At the end of Italy Discovery those making the connection will have an extra day of touring in the Rome area prior to boarding an overnight flight to Israel that evening. Our first day in Israel features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting anew. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Italy to Israel is included as part of our optional group flight.

Go back in time on Italy Discovery and explore the origins of Western Civilization in cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Milan, Bologna, and Verona. Embrace your inner-adventurer in the highlands of Slovenia and discover the compelling 2,000+ year history of Jewish life in Italy.

Then continue from Italy 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

Navigate the canals and waterways of old Venice by gondola
Marvel at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Explore the Tuscan countryside and the beauty of the Italian Alps
Take in the high art of Florence, home to Michelangelo, Da Vinci & Dante
Explore the treasures of the Vatican and the Jewish Quarter in Rome
Pay homage to the Roman Empire, visiting the Colosseum, Pantheon and Forum Romanum
Raft the Soca River, trek in Postojna Cave and enjoy Slovenia’s glacial Lake Bled
Test out your problem solving skills as you decipher codes in the Escape Room
Channel your inner warrior while taking part in a gladiator-for-a-day class
Learn how traditional Italian pastas, gelato and glass are made
Discover 3,000 years of Jewish history and traditions in Jerusalem’s Old City
Experience floating in the Dead Sea and scale the heights of Masada for sunrise
Navigate the wilderness on a camel trek and enjoy a delicious desert tent feast
Get your hands dirty and learn a new skill on the Dig-for-a-Day Archaeological Seminar
Cool off rafting down the Jordan River and swimming under the Ein Gedi desert waterfalls
Browse Mahane Yehuda‘s open-air market, the Nahalat Binyamin street festival and nightlife on Ben Yehuda Street
Explore the seaport of Haifa, the ancient city of Acco and the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah
Swim in the Red Sea, in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Sea of Galilee
Learn first-hand about contemporary Israeli geo-politics and experience co-existence in action
Spend Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem and learn about Judaism’s mystical tradition in Tzfat
Soak up the cultural richness and innovative spirit of modern Tel Aviv
Bond with new friends as you celebrate a meaningful and adventure-filled summer in Israel

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Italy Discovery + Israel Journey. At the end of Italy Discovery those making the connection will have an extra day of touring in the Rome area prior to boarding an overnight flight to Israel that evening. Our first day in Israel features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting anew. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Italy to Israel is included as part of our optional group flight.

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off!

  • Depart from New York City on a supervised group flight (optional)
  • Spend the night in the sky en route to Europe

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Lake Maggiore

  • Arrive to Italy’s Milan Airport in the morning
  • Meet our local staff and travel to Lake Maggiore
  • Explore this picturesque region at the base of the Italian Alps
  • Overnight: Lake Maggiore, Italy

DAY #3 | Thursday | Venice’s Ghetto Origins

  • Wake up and smell the fresh alpine air before departing for Venice
  • Stop to swoon under the balcony of “Juliet’s House” in Verona
  • Say goodbye to our bus and enter the water-filled streets of the Venice old city
  • Learn about the Venetian history of the word “ghetto” at the Jewish Museum
  • Wander through the historic Jewish Quarter and navigate Venice via traditional gondolas
  • Overnight: Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni – Venice, Italy

DAY #4 | Friday | The Waterways of Venice

  • Set sail for the islands of Murano and Burano
  • Experience a traditional Venetian glass-making factory
  • Travel to Lido Island and enjoy beach time and swimming in the Adriatic Sea
  • Return to the main island of Venice and prepare for Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat services at the Spanish Synagogue in the Venice Ghetto
  • Learn about the contemporary Jewish community of Venice over a traditional Shabbat dinner
  • Overnight: Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni – Venice, Italy

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in Venice

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch with the Jewish community
  • Venice on foot! – Explore Piazza San Marco, including the Basilica and Ducale Palace
  • Evening: Group night out on the town in Venice
  • Overnight: Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni – Venice, Italy

DAY #6 | Sunday | Rafting in Slovenia

  • Depart Venice in the morning and set off for the Slovenian backcountry
  • White water rafting down the Soca – One of Europe’s most beautiful rivers!
  • Travel through the Slovenian mountains to Lake Bled deep in the Slovenian mountains
  • Overnight: Hotel Ribno – Bled, Slovenia

DAY #7 | Monday | Adventures in the Backcountry

  • Take a boat ride to tiny Bled Island in the middle of the crystal blue lake
  • Make a wish! Ring the island’s legendary wishing bell
  • Visit Ljubljana – Slovenia’s capital – Take in the views from a castle towering over the city
  • Test out your problem solving skills as you decipher codes in the Escape Room
  • Overnight: Hotel Ribno – Bled, Slovenia

DAY #8 | Tuesday | The Italian Countryside

  • Cool off navigating underground through the Postojna cave system
  • Cross back into Italy and travel towards Florence via the Tuscan countryside
  • Stop in Bologna – Explore the city and visit the Gelato Museum for a tour and tasting!
  • Arrive to the Florence region and check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: Grand Hotel Nizza et Suisse – Montecatini, Italy

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Florence, Italy

  • Discover the art of making fresh Italian pasta at Pastificio Fabbri
  • Explore Florence – the Duomo, Piazza San Lorenzo and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)
  • Climb to the top of the Campanile Tower for a stunning panoramic view of Florence
  • The Art of Florence – View Michelangelo’s David Statue at the Galleria dell’Accademia
  • Tour the Great Synagogue – One of the world’s most beautiful synagogues
  • Depart to Montecatini
  • Overnight: Grand Hotel Nizza et Suisse – Montecatini, Italy

DAY #10 | Thursday | Pisa, Italy

  • Travel to Pisa – Climb the leaning Tower of Pisa and explore the Square of Miracles
  • Travel south along the coast towards Rome
  • Get oriented to the seven hills of Rome from Palatine Hill
  • Recount the legend of Romulus and Remus –the founding story of Rome
  • Channel your inner warrior taking part in a “Gladiator for a Day” training
  • Check-in to our central Rome accommodations
  • Overnight: Hotel Nord Nuova – Rome, Italy

DAY #11 | Friday | The Ancient Empire of Rome!

  • Walk in the footsteps of the Roman Empire at the Coliseum and the Forum Romanum
  • Explore Vatican City in the heart of Rome – St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel
  • Stand beside the massive Arch of Titus and view a depiction of the Temple Menorah that is believed to have been carried off to Rome from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat services and dinner at the Oratorio di Castro Synagogue
  • Overnight: Hotel Nord Nuova – Rome, Italy

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Rome

  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Walking tour of Rome’s Jewish Quarter – The oldest continually settled Jewish community outside Israel
  • Continue exploring Rome on foot – stop at the Pantheon Temple and Fontana di Trevi
  • Overnight: Hotel Nord Nuova – Rome, Italy

DAY #13 | Sunday | Pompeii & Mt. Vesuvius

  • Guided tour of Pompeii – The preserved ancient Roman city
  • Drive up to Mount Vesuvius and peer into the volcano’s crater
  • Return to Rome in the evening for a final dinner party and group session
  • Overnight: Ostia Antica Park Hotel – Rome, Italy

DAY #14 | Monday | Ciao Italy!

  • Say farewell to Italy Discovery friends
  • Depart on a late flight to Tel Aviv

Day #15 | Tuesday | Arrive from Europe

  • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and begin the ascent to Jerusalem
  • Enjoy some time to rest and shower
  • Explore the Sataf nature trail and caves
  • Evening: bowling
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

Day #16 | Wednesday | Arrive from Europeh3>

  • Join teens arriving for Israel Journey
  • Shecheyanu ceremony overlooking the Old City
  • Check-in and orientation at our accommodations in Jerusalem
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #17 | Thursday | Jerusalem’s Old City

  • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City’s Zion Gate – Explore the ancient squares & rooftops of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflections at the Kotel (The Western Wall) and visit the Southern Wall excavations
  • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
  • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem
  • Evening Speaker – The Geo-Politics of Israel Today
  • Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #18 | Friday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

  • Begin traveling north to the Galilee along the Mediterranean Coast
  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Park for a leadership workshop, tree planting ceremony and a group-cooked lunch
  • Continue north, and explore the ancient catacombs of Beit Shearim and learn how the Jewish community of the Galilee adapted to the Exile during the Talmudic-era
  • Stop for an overlook of the Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee
  • Check-in to our kibbutz accommodations in the Galilee and prepare for Shabbat
  • Evening: Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our accommodations
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat on Kibbutz

  • Shabbat programming and group lunch
  • Tour of the kibbutz and learn about the history of the kibbutz idea
  • Afternoon: Pool, sports and free time!
  • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony — celebrate the start of a new week
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #20 | Sunday | Mystics of the Galilee

  • Walking tour of mystical Tzfat – The historic center of Judaism’s Kabbalah movement
  • Browse the Tzfat artist colony and meet Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Lowenthal
  • Travel to Israel’s Upper Galilee region and hike to the waterfalls of the Banias
  • Finish the day rafting down the Jordan River and scaling the adventure ropes park
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galileer

DAY #21 | Monday | Perspectives from the Golan Heights

  • Ascend the Golan Heights, and hike along the water-filled Nahal Yehudiya canyon
  • Travel to Kibbutz Merom Golan and meet with a local community member to learn about what life is like along the Syrian border over lunch
  • Tour of the region on a historical off-road jeep tour of the Golan
  • View of the region and explore former IDF bunkers on the summit of Mt. Ben-Tal
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Amiad Guest House, Galilee

DAY #22 | Tuesday | Co-Existence in the Galilee

  • Help fight poverty in Israel volunteering at Pitchon Lev in the city of Karmiel
  • Take part in a coexistence dialogue with Arab-Israeli teens with the Galilee Foundation
  • Descend via cable car into the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrah on Israel’s northern border
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon explore Acco Seaport, including the Templar Tunnels
  • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #23 | Wednesday | The Carmel Mountains

  • Start the morning exploring Haifa and the Bahai Gardens on Mt. Carmel
  • Enjoy a uniquely delicious lunch, and discover a new culture in the Druze Village of Ussafiya
  • Atlit – Learn about the challenges faced by Jews fleeing the Holocaust prior to Israel’s founding during the British Mandate Era
  • Surfing class, beach time and BBQ dinner on the Mediterranean Coast
  • Overnight: ANA Haifa Guest House, Haifa

DAY #24 | Thursday | Pioneering Values

  • Caesarea – Explore Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the beach
  • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Tour the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel/li>

NOTE: This weekend is the optional Host Family Weekend. If applicable, plan for your host to pick you up at our scheduled accommodations on Thursday evening and return you to our accommodations on Saturday evening.

DAY #25 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

  • Travel to Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Visit to the Rabin Center – Explore the history of modern Israel through the life story of its most famous soldier and statesman
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
  • Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Tel Aviv’s lively beach culture
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner with a guest educator
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Central Israel

DAY #26 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

  • Wake up to Shabbat in the rolling foothills of Jerusalem – Take part in an optional group hike
  • Shabbat programming and group lunch at accommodations
  • Play sports, hang out by the pool and enjoy relaxation time at our accommodations
  • Dinner at accommodations followed by a Havdalla ceremony — celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Group night out at the high-tech Azrieli Tower Mall in Tel Aviv
  • Overnight: Neve Ilan Hotel, Judean Hills

DAY #27 | Sunday | To the Negev Desert

  • Dig-for-a-Day! – Take part in an archaeological seminar with the professionals
  • Break for a traditional Ethiopian-style lunch with home hosts
  • Travel south into the heart of the Negev Desert
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion and his vision for the desert
  • Stop to view the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge
  • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations outside of Eilat
  • Evening: Group dinner and pool party!
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

DAY #28 | Monday | Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon
  • Depart to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Afternoon – Relaxed beach time and banana boating on the tropical Red Sea
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Keturah Guest House, Arava Valley

DAY #29 | Tuesday | The Desert Blooms

  • The Arava Institute – Learn how Israel thrives in the desert and protects its ecological treasures
  • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Camel trekking and enjoy a “hafla” style Bedouin tent dinner feast!
  • Evening: Bonfire party and night under the bright desert stars
  • Overnight: Kfar Hanokdim Tent, Judean Desert

DAY #30 | Wednesday | Masada and the Dead Sea

  • Pre-sunrise climb up Masada, a fortress overlooking the Dead Sea, via the Roman Ramp trail
  • Tour of Masada – Herod’s mountaintop desert fortress – and descend via the Snake Path
  • Swim under the cool desert waterfalls at Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
  • Take in the stark desert scenery as we travel back to Jerusalem in the late afternoon
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #31 | Thursday | Remembrance & Renewal

  • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
  • Enjoy the sights and smells of the Mahane Yehuda open-air marketplace
  • Speaker – Meet with an activist pursuing religious pluralism in Israel
  • Evening: BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with all groups in Israel!
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #32 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Theodore Herzl Museum and the Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Beyond the Walls – Montefiore’s Windmill, Yemin Moshe and the Jerusalem First Station Market
  • Return to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Experience a Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall followed by dinner in the Old City
  • Walk back to the hotel and enjoy Shabbat dinner as a group
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #33 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

  • Have the option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • Visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model and much more
  • Afternoon: Soak up the sun relaxing in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Evening: Return to the Old City to experience layers of Jewish history in the Kotel Tunnels
  • Overnight: Jerusalem Gardens Hotel, Jerusalem

DAY #34 | Sunday | Celebrating Modern Israel

  • Depart for the Tel Aviv region in the morning
  • Machon Ayalon – Explore the story of the Hagannah and the struggle to gain independence at this secret historical munitions factory
  • Independence Hall – Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Break for lunch along stylish Rotschild Boulevard and enjoy the local café culture
  • Tap into the innovative spirit of modern Israel at the Tel Aviv Innovation Center and meet with a local entrepreneur
  • Closing dinner party and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant
  • Late Night: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for an overnight return flight

DAY #35 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • 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. 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 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 a guard in Israel. In Israel, senior field staff circulates between the groups as well. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
The weather throughout Italy and Slovenia is a typical Mediterranean climate – dry heat, cool evenings, and little to no rain. Temperatures will typically be in the 80s and 90s. Because of the dry nature of the heat in the Mediterranean, the sun is deceptively strong, and you should plan to bring plenty of sunscreen and a good hat for outdoor touring.

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 plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with a guard in 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 situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. In Israel, expect to eat Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, bourekas, and much more.

Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter any of the 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 Italy Discovery + Israel Journey. At the end of Italy Discovery those making the connection will have an extra day of touring in the Rome area prior to boarding an overnight flight to Israel that evening. Our first day in Israel features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting anew. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive. The cost of the connecting flight from Italy to Israel is included as part of our optional group flight.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

Italy Discovery + Israel Journey

Spend two glorious weeks discovering history culture and adventure in Italy and Slovenia, and then continue on to Israel Journey for BBYO’s flagship 3-week experience in the Jewish Homeland.

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