SUMMER EXPERIENCES

TREK ISRAEL

Experience the very best of Israel on this 3-week program with a special focus on active outdoors adventures. Scale mountains, learn new skills, and come home with a sense of accomplishment.

SPECIAL UPDATE: Limited need-based scholarships are available. Learn more and apply!

Cover the highlights of a classic summer in Israel with an added focus on outdoor adventure. Trek through desert canyons in the Negev, lush mountain valleys in the Galilee, and the rugged beaches of the Mediterranean as you experience Israel on a more intimate level and bond with a tight-knit group of new friends.

Special features of the program include a 4-day “Sea-to-Sea Hike” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, and the “BaMidbar Wilderness Experience” where you’ll learn how to navigate and survive in the desert like our ancestors did. You’ll also practice Israeli martial arts, go snorkeling in an underwater archaeological park, rappel down the Keshet natural stone arch, and go biking in the Israeli countryside. Trek Israel is a unique opportunity to connect to Israel’s land and gain a sense of true accomplishment that you will cherish for years to come.

Want to explore Israel for an extra week? Don’t forget to check out Trek Israel PLUS.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Israel is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. For example, although the Sea-to-Sea Hike is physically challenging, you will not need to carry a heavy backpack along the way. The outdoors activities on Trek Israel are only meant to complement overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Trek Israel is to provide teens with a more active way to experience Israel through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

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

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
Challenge yourself on a Sea-to-Sea Trek and learn desert orienteering skills in the Negev
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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | 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 | Baruch HaBah –Welcome to Israel

  • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and the journey begins
  • Welcome ceremony overlooking the Ellah Valley, the site of David’s famous battle with Goliath
  • Head south to the Negev Desert and check-in to our accommodations
  • Dinner and orientation programming at our accommodations

OVERNIGHT: Negev Desert, Israel

DAY #3 | Thursday | BaMidbar – Thriving in the Desert

  • Hike to the hidden desert oasis in Ein Avdat canyon
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, and his vision for the desert
  • Cool off from the heat of the desert at the Sde Boker pool
  • Look out across the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge and learn about the world’s largest erosion crater at the Mitzpe Ramon Visitors Center
  • Continue south and set-up camp and begin our desert wilderness experience
  • BaMidbar – Learn how to survive and thrive in the desert like our ancestors

OVERNIGHT: Desert Camping, Israel

DAY #4 | Friday | Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to begin our pre-sunrise hike to the summit of Mt. Shlomo overlooking the Red Sea
  • Return to our camp for breakfast and wrap-up our BaMidbar experience
  • Continue to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Relaxed beach time and banana boatingon the tropical Red Sea
  • Break for ice cream at Yotvata, Israel’s famous desert dairy farm
  • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations and celebrate Shabbat with the local kibbutz community

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat at the Kibbutz

  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Learn about the history of the kibbutz idea and discover how kibbutz farms prosper in the desert through sustainable agriculture
  • Afternoon: Enjoy a relaxed Shabbat with pool, sports, and free time!
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Bonfire and BBQ party

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #6 | Sunday | Adventures in the Negev

  • Climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon trail
  • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Embark on a camel trekking adventure 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 #7 | Monday | The View from Masada

  • 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
  • Ascend to Jerusalem – Stopping for a welcome ceremony at the Scopus overlook
  • Check-in to our hotel and rest!
  • Evening: Gaya Games innovation workshop

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #8 | Tuesday | The Old City of Jerusalem

  • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City at Zion Gate and explore the ancient corridors of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflections at the Kotel – The Western Wall complex
  • The Kotel Tunnels – Explore millennia of history deep under the Old City
  • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
  • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Remembrance and Renewal

  • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
  • Mahane Yehuda – Experience this colorful open-air marketplace and sample your way
  • Yad L’Kashish – Visit this landmark initiative to empower the elderly of Jerusalem
  • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Evening Speaker: The Geopolitics of Israel Todaywith Eylon Levy, an Israeli journalist and strategic analyst

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #10 | Thursday | Working with the Land

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Parkfor a tree planting ceremony, leadership workshop and self-cooked lunch experience
  • Dig-for-a-Day Archeological Seminar at Beit Guvrin National Park and explore the Bell Cave
  • Check-in to our accommodations in central Israel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

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 #11 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

  • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Visit the Museum of the Jewish People(Diaspora Museum) on the campus of Tel Aviv University
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
  • Surfing class and beach time at Israel’s rustic Palmachim Beach south of Tel Aviv
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Musical Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our hotel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #12 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

  • Shabbat programming and lunch at our accommodations
  • Play sports, hang out and enjoy relaxation time
  • Havdallah ceremony followed by a group night out in Tel Aviv

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #13 | Sunday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

  • Morning: Israeli martial arts workshopon the beach with Budokan
  • Travel to Caesarea — Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the Mediterranean beach
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Israel’s port city of Haifa, including the Bahai Gardenson Mt. Carmel and the Ahmediyya Mosque

OVERNIGHT: Acco, Israel

DAY #14 | Monday | Adventures in the Western Galilee

  • Rappelling down Keshet Arch – The soaring natural geological wonder in the Western Galilee
  • Descend to the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrahon Israel’s far northern border
  • Sea-to-Sea Hike Opening Ceremony at Achziv Beach – Begin our three-day trek from the Mediterranean Beach to the Sea of Galilee

OVERNIGHT: Camping in the Galilee

NOTE: The Sea-to-Sea Hike is a trekking experience from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Although this is a challenging and rewarding trek, food will be provided along the way, and camping gear will be pre-delivered at each overnight site.

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #2

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #3

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | Thursday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #4 | B’Yachad

  • Hike down Nahal Amud Canyon and celebrate the end of the trek on the Sea of Galilee
  • Aqua Kef – Cool off enjoying Israel’s floating water park on the Sea of Galilee
  • Return to Jerusalem and check-in to our accommodations
  • BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with fellow teens from around the world across the entire BBYO Passport community

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #18 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – The seam, the wall, and the future
  • Return to our accommodations to prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Evening: Renter the Old City for a Kabbalat Shabbat experience in Western Wall
  • Shabbat dinner at the Fuschburg Center along our walk back to the hotel

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #19 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

  • Morning option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • Afternoon visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, the 2nd Temple Model and much more at Jerusalem’s premier cultural center
  • Afternoon: Wrap-up discussion and free time in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Havdallah followed by a group night out on Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #20 | 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
  • Explore the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Independence Hall– Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Learn how Israel became the Start Up Nation on an innovation walking tour of Tel Aviv and meet with a local entrepreneur
  • Wrap-up session followed by a celebratory dinner and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant

OVERNIGHT: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • Travelers on the group flight arrive back to New York City in the morning

*Note: For some teens, this activity can be perceived as emotionally, mentally, or physically challenging. If at any time your teen feels they need support, staff members will be available. Prior to the start of this activity, staff and/or activity providers will facilitate context to put the teens in the right frame of mind as well as go through all safety procedures. If a teen does not feel comfortable participating, they may opt-out and a staff member will be available to stay with them.

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

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

Where will my teen be sleeping?
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. During the Sea-to-Sea hike, the group will be camping under the stars. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), an Israeli guide, 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 are the typical group dynamics?
Group size varies depending on the date of the program. Our average group size is 30 teens. In some cases, multiple groups will travel on a similar path, although each group has its own dedicated staff, guide, and guard. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

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

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided by BBYO Passport experiences in Israel is kosher. 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. Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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.

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

What’s the Host Family Weekend?
The second Shabbat in Israel is an optional Host Family Weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to visit with relatives or family friends while in Israel. Participation in the Host Family Weekend is not mandatory, and the itinerary during this weekend is fully programmed for those teens staying with the group. Please note, teens taking part in the Host Family Weekend must go for the entire time, no exceptions. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip preparation manual.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

7-Day Israel Extension

Keep the memories going by extending the core Trek Israel program for a fourth week. We call it Trek Israel PLUS. During the first part of the week participants choose from either a service learning experience in the Galilee, or the IDF’s Gadna basic training simulation. The second part of the week is based in the Haifa-to-Tel Aviv coastal corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel’s many cultural and technological innovations. The 7-day Israel extension is a great compliment to traditional touring and is designed to shed light on unique aspects of Israeli society. Explore more: Trek Israel PLUS. Learn about how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

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

 

SPECIAL UPDATE: Limited need-based scholarships are available. Learn more and apply!

Cover the highlights of a classic summer in Israel with an added focus on outdoor adventure. Trek through desert canyons in the Negev, lush mountain valleys in the Galilee, and the rugged beaches of the Mediterranean as you experience Israel on a more intimate level and bond with a tight-knit group of new friends.

Special features of the program include a 4-day “Sea-to-Sea Hike” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, and the “BaMidbar Wilderness Experience” where you’ll learn how to navigate and survive in the desert like our ancestors did. You’ll also practice Israeli martial arts, go snorkeling in an underwater archaeological park, rappel down the Keshet natural stone arch, and go biking in the Israeli countryside. Trek Israel is a unique opportunity to connect to Israel’s land and gain a sense of true accomplishment that you will cherish for years to come.

Want to explore Israel for an extra week? Don’t forget to check out Trek Israel PLUS.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Israel is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. For example, although the Sea-to-Sea Hike is physically challenging, you will not need to carry a heavy backpack along the way. The outdoors activities on Trek Israel are only meant to complement overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Trek Israel is to provide teens with a more active way to experience Israel through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

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

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
Challenge yourself on a Sea-to-Sea Trek and learn desert orienteering skills in the Negev
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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | 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 | Baruch HaBah –Welcome to Israel

  • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and the journey begins
  • Welcome ceremony overlooking the Ellah Valley, the site of David’s famous battle with Goliath
  • Head south to the Negev Desert and check-in to our accommodations
  • Dinner and orientation programming at our accommodations

OVERNIGHT: Negev Desert, Israel

DAY #3 | Thursday | BaMidbar – Thriving in the Desert

  • Hike to the hidden desert oasis in Ein Avdat canyon
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, and his vision for the desert
  • Cool off from the heat of the desert at the Sde Boker pool
  • Look out across the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge and learn about the world’s largest erosion crater at the Mitzpe Ramon Visitors Center
  • Continue south and set-up camp and begin our desert wilderness experience
  • BaMidbar – Learn how to survive and thrive in the desert like our ancestors

OVERNIGHT: Desert Camping, Israel

DAY #4 | Friday | Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to begin our pre-sunrise hike to the summit of Mt. Shlomo overlooking the Red Sea
  • Return to our camp for breakfast and wrap-up our BaMidbar experience
  • Continue to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Relaxed beach time and banana boatingon the tropical Red Sea
  • Break for ice cream at Yotvata, Israel’s famous desert dairy farm
  • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations and celebrate Shabbat with the local kibbutz community

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat at the Kibbutz

  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Learn about the history of the kibbutz idea and discover how kibbutz farms prosper in the desert through sustainable agriculture
  • Afternoon: Enjoy a relaxed Shabbat with pool, sports, and free time!
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Bonfire and BBQ party

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #6 | Sunday | Adventures in the Negev

  • Climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon trail
  • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Embark on a camel trekking adventure 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 #7 | Monday | The View from Masada

  • 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
  • Ascend to Jerusalem – Stopping for a welcome ceremony at the Scopus overlook
  • Check-in to our hotel and rest!
  • Evening: Gaya Games innovation workshop

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #8 | Tuesday | The Old City of Jerusalem

  • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City at Zion Gate and explore the ancient corridors of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflections at the Kotel – The Western Wall complex
  • The Kotel Tunnels – Explore millennia of history deep under the Old City
  • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
  • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Remembrance and Renewal

  • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
  • Mahane Yehuda – Experience this colorful open-air marketplace and sample your way
  • Yad L’Kashish – Visit this landmark initiative to empower the elderly of Jerusalem
  • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Evening Speaker: The Geopolitics of Israel Todaywith Eylon Levy, an Israeli journalist and strategic analyst

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #10 | Thursday | Working with the Land

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Parkfor a tree planting ceremony, leadership workshop and self-cooked lunch experience
  • Dig-for-a-Day Archeological Seminar at Beit Guvrin National Park and explore the Bell Cave
  • Check-in to our accommodations in central Israel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

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 #11 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

  • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Visit the Museum of the Jewish People(Diaspora Museum) on the campus of Tel Aviv University
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
  • Surfing class and beach time at Israel’s rustic Palmachim Beach south of Tel Aviv
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Musical Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our hotel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #12 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

  • Shabbat programming and lunch at our accommodations
  • Play sports, hang out and enjoy relaxation time
  • Havdallah ceremony followed by a group night out in Tel Aviv

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #13 | Sunday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

  • Morning: Israeli martial arts workshopon the beach with Budokan
  • Travel to Caesarea — Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the Mediterranean beach
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Israel’s port city of Haifa, including the Bahai Gardenson Mt. Carmel and the Ahmediyya Mosque

OVERNIGHT: Acco, Israel

DAY #14 | Monday | Adventures in the Western Galilee

  • Rappelling down Keshet Arch – The soaring natural geological wonder in the Western Galilee
  • Descend to the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrahon Israel’s far northern border
  • Sea-to-Sea Hike Opening Ceremony at Achziv Beach – Begin our three-day trek from the Mediterranean Beach to the Sea of Galilee

OVERNIGHT: Camping in the Galilee

NOTE: The Sea-to-Sea Hike is a trekking experience from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Although this is a challenging and rewarding trek, food will be provided along the way, and camping gear will be pre-delivered at each overnight site.

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #2

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #3

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | Thursday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #4 | B’Yachad

  • Hike down Nahal Amud Canyon and celebrate the end of the trek on the Sea of Galilee
  • Aqua Kef – Cool off enjoying Israel’s floating water park on the Sea of Galilee
  • Return to Jerusalem and check-in to our accommodations
  • BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with fellow teens from around the world across the entire BBYO Passport community

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #18 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – The seam, the wall, and the future
  • Return to our accommodations to prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Evening: Renter the Old City for a Kabbalat Shabbat experience in Western Wall
  • Shabbat dinner at the Fuschburg Center along our walk back to the hotel

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #19 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

  • Morning option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • Afternoon visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, the 2nd Temple Model and much more at Jerusalem’s premier cultural center
  • Afternoon: Wrap-up discussion and free time in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Havdallah followed by a group night out on Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #20 | 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
  • Explore the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Independence Hall– Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Learn how Israel became the Start Up Nation on an innovation walking tour of Tel Aviv and meet with a local entrepreneur
  • Wrap-up session followed by a celebratory dinner and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant

OVERNIGHT: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • Travelers on the group flight arrive back to New York City in the morning

*Note: For some teens, this activity can be perceived as emotionally, mentally, or physically challenging. If at any time your teen feels they need support, staff members will be available. Prior to the start of this activity, staff and/or activity providers will facilitate context to put the teens in the right frame of mind as well as go through all safety procedures. If a teen does not feel comfortable participating, they may opt-out and a staff member will be available to stay with them.

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

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

Where will my teen be sleeping?
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. During the Sea-to-Sea hike, the group will be camping under the stars. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), an Israeli guide, 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 are the typical group dynamics?
Group size varies depending on the date of the program. Our average group size is 30 teens. In some cases, multiple groups will travel on a similar path, although each group has its own dedicated staff, guide, and guard. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

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

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided by BBYO Passport experiences in Israel is kosher. 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. Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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.

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

What’s the Host Family Weekend?
The second Shabbat in Israel is an optional Host Family Weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to visit with relatives or family friends while in Israel. Participation in the Host Family Weekend is not mandatory, and the itinerary during this weekend is fully programmed for those teens staying with the group. Please note, teens taking part in the Host Family Weekend must go for the entire time, no exceptions. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip preparation manual.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

7-Day Israel Extension

Keep the memories going by extending the core Trek Israel program for a fourth week. We call it Trek Israel PLUS. During the first part of the week participants choose from either a service learning experience in the Galilee, or the IDF’s Gadna basic training simulation. The second part of the week is based in the Haifa-to-Tel Aviv coastal corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel’s many cultural and technological innovations. The 7-day Israel extension is a great compliment to traditional touring and is designed to shed light on unique aspects of Israeli society. Explore more: Trek Israel PLUS. Learn about how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

TREK ISRAEL

Experience the very best of Israel on this 3-week program with a special focus on active outdoors adventures. Scale mountains, learn new skills, and come home with a sense of accomplishment.

TREK ISRAEL

Experience the very best of Israel on this 3-week program with a special focus on active outdoors adventures. Scale mountains, learn new skills, and come home with a sense of accomplishment.

SPECIAL UPDATE: Limited need-based scholarships are available. Learn more and apply!

Cover the highlights of a classic summer in Israel with an added focus on outdoor adventure. Trek through desert canyons in the Negev, lush mountain valleys in the Galilee, and the rugged beaches of the Mediterranean as you experience Israel on a more intimate level and bond with a tight-knit group of new friends.

Special features of the program include a 4-day “Sea-to-Sea Hike” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, and the “BaMidbar Wilderness Experience” where you’ll learn how to navigate and survive in the desert like our ancestors did. You’ll also practice Israeli martial arts, go snorkeling in an underwater archaeological park, rappel down the Keshet natural stone arch, and go biking in the Israeli countryside. Trek Israel is a unique opportunity to connect to Israel’s land and gain a sense of true accomplishment that you will cherish for years to come.

Want to explore Israel for an extra week? Don’t forget to check out Trek Israel PLUS.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Israel is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. For example, although the Sea-to-Sea Hike is physically challenging, you will not need to carry a heavy backpack along the way. The outdoors activities on Trek Israel are only meant to complement overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Trek Israel is to provide teens with a more active way to experience Israel through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

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

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
Challenge yourself on a Sea-to-Sea Trek and learn desert orienteering skills in the Negev
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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | 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 | Baruch HaBah –Welcome to Israel

  • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and the journey begins
  • Welcome ceremony overlooking the Ellah Valley, the site of David’s famous battle with Goliath
  • Head south to the Negev Desert and check-in to our accommodations
  • Dinner and orientation programming at our accommodations

OVERNIGHT: Negev Desert, Israel

DAY #3 | Thursday | BaMidbar – Thriving in the Desert

  • Hike to the hidden desert oasis in Ein Avdat canyon
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, and his vision for the desert
  • Cool off from the heat of the desert at the Sde Boker pool
  • Look out across the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge and learn about the world’s largest erosion crater at the Mitzpe Ramon Visitors Center
  • Continue south and set-up camp and begin our desert wilderness experience
  • BaMidbar – Learn how to survive and thrive in the desert like our ancestors

OVERNIGHT: Desert Camping, Israel

DAY #4 | Friday | Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to begin our pre-sunrise hike to the summit of Mt. Shlomo overlooking the Red Sea
  • Return to our camp for breakfast and wrap-up our BaMidbar experience
  • Continue to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Relaxed beach time and banana boatingon the tropical Red Sea
  • Break for ice cream at Yotvata, Israel’s famous desert dairy farm
  • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations and celebrate Shabbat with the local kibbutz community

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat at the Kibbutz

  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Learn about the history of the kibbutz idea and discover how kibbutz farms prosper in the desert through sustainable agriculture
  • Afternoon: Enjoy a relaxed Shabbat with pool, sports, and free time!
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Bonfire and BBQ party

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #6 | Sunday | Adventures in the Negev

  • Climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon trail
  • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Embark on a camel trekking adventure 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 #7 | Monday | The View from Masada

  • 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
  • Ascend to Jerusalem – Stopping for a welcome ceremony at the Scopus overlook
  • Check-in to our hotel and rest!
  • Evening: Gaya Games innovation workshop

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #8 | Tuesday | The Old City of Jerusalem

  • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City at Zion Gate and explore the ancient corridors of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflections at the Kotel – The Western Wall complex
  • The Kotel Tunnels – Explore millennia of history deep under the Old City
  • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
  • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Remembrance and Renewal

  • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
  • Mahane Yehuda – Experience this colorful open-air marketplace and sample your way
  • Yad L’Kashish – Visit this landmark initiative to empower the elderly of Jerusalem
  • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Evening Speaker: The Geopolitics of Israel Todaywith Eylon Levy, an Israeli journalist and strategic analyst

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #10 | Thursday | Working with the Land

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Parkfor a tree planting ceremony, leadership workshop and self-cooked lunch experience
  • Dig-for-a-Day Archeological Seminar at Beit Guvrin National Park and explore the Bell Cave
  • Check-in to our accommodations in central Israel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

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 #11 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

  • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Visit the Museum of the Jewish People(Diaspora Museum) on the campus of Tel Aviv University
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
  • Surfing class and beach time at Israel’s rustic Palmachim Beach south of Tel Aviv
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Musical Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our hotel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #12 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

  • Shabbat programming and lunch at our accommodations
  • Play sports, hang out and enjoy relaxation time
  • Havdallah ceremony followed by a group night out in Tel Aviv

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #13 | Sunday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

  • Morning: Israeli martial arts workshopon the beach with Budokan
  • Travel to Caesarea — Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the Mediterranean beach
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Israel’s port city of Haifa, including the Bahai Gardenson Mt. Carmel and the Ahmediyya Mosque

OVERNIGHT: Acco, Israel

DAY #14 | Monday | Adventures in the Western Galilee

  • Rappelling down Keshet Arch – The soaring natural geological wonder in the Western Galilee
  • Descend to the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrahon Israel’s far northern border
  • Sea-to-Sea Hike Opening Ceremony at Achziv Beach – Begin our three-day trek from the Mediterranean Beach to the Sea of Galilee

OVERNIGHT: Camping in the Galilee

NOTE: The Sea-to-Sea Hike is a trekking experience from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Although this is a challenging and rewarding trek, food will be provided along the way, and camping gear will be pre-delivered at each overnight site.

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #2

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #3

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | Thursday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #4 | B’Yachad

  • Hike down Nahal Amud Canyon and celebrate the end of the trek on the Sea of Galilee
  • Aqua Kef – Cool off enjoying Israel’s floating water park on the Sea of Galilee
  • Return to Jerusalem and check-in to our accommodations
  • BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with fellow teens from around the world across the entire BBYO Passport community

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #18 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – The seam, the wall, and the future
  • Return to our accommodations to prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Evening: Renter the Old City for a Kabbalat Shabbat experience in Western Wall
  • Shabbat dinner at the Fuschburg Center along our walk back to the hotel

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #19 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

  • Morning option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • Afternoon visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, the 2nd Temple Model and much more at Jerusalem’s premier cultural center
  • Afternoon: Wrap-up discussion and free time in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Havdallah followed by a group night out on Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #20 | 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
  • Explore the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Independence Hall– Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Learn how Israel became the Start Up Nation on an innovation walking tour of Tel Aviv and meet with a local entrepreneur
  • Wrap-up session followed by a celebratory dinner and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant

OVERNIGHT: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • Travelers on the group flight arrive back to New York City in the morning

*Note: For some teens, this activity can be perceived as emotionally, mentally, or physically challenging. If at any time your teen feels they need support, staff members will be available. Prior to the start of this activity, staff and/or activity providers will facilitate context to put the teens in the right frame of mind as well as go through all safety procedures. If a teen does not feel comfortable participating, they may opt-out and a staff member will be available to stay with them.

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

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

Where will my teen be sleeping?
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. During the Sea-to-Sea hike, the group will be camping under the stars. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), an Israeli guide, 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 are the typical group dynamics?
Group size varies depending on the date of the program. Our average group size is 30 teens. In some cases, multiple groups will travel on a similar path, although each group has its own dedicated staff, guide, and guard. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

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

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided by BBYO Passport experiences in Israel is kosher. 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. Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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.

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

What’s the Host Family Weekend?
The second Shabbat in Israel is an optional Host Family Weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to visit with relatives or family friends while in Israel. Participation in the Host Family Weekend is not mandatory, and the itinerary during this weekend is fully programmed for those teens staying with the group. Please note, teens taking part in the Host Family Weekend must go for the entire time, no exceptions. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip preparation manual.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

7-Day Israel Extension

Keep the memories going by extending the core Trek Israel program for a fourth week. We call it Trek Israel PLUS. During the first part of the week participants choose from either a service learning experience in the Galilee, or the IDF’s Gadna basic training simulation. The second part of the week is based in the Haifa-to-Tel Aviv coastal corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel’s many cultural and technological innovations. The 7-day Israel extension is a great compliment to traditional touring and is designed to shed light on unique aspects of Israeli society. Explore more: Trek Israel PLUS. Learn about how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

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

 

SPECIAL UPDATE: Limited need-based scholarships are available. Learn more and apply!

Cover the highlights of a classic summer in Israel with an added focus on outdoor adventure. Trek through desert canyons in the Negev, lush mountain valleys in the Galilee, and the rugged beaches of the Mediterranean as you experience Israel on a more intimate level and bond with a tight-knit group of new friends.

Special features of the program include a 4-day “Sea-to-Sea Hike” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, and the “BaMidbar Wilderness Experience” where you’ll learn how to navigate and survive in the desert like our ancestors did. You’ll also practice Israeli martial arts, go snorkeling in an underwater archaeological park, rappel down the Keshet natural stone arch, and go biking in the Israeli countryside. Trek Israel is a unique opportunity to connect to Israel’s land and gain a sense of true accomplishment that you will cherish for years to come.

Want to explore Israel for an extra week? Don’t forget to check out Trek Israel PLUS.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Israel is designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. For example, although the Sea-to-Sea Hike is physically challenging, you will not need to carry a heavy backpack along the way. The outdoors activities on Trek Israel are only meant to complement overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim of Trek Israel is to provide teens with a more active way to experience Israel through the beauty of its terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

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

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
Challenge yourself on a Sea-to-Sea Trek and learn desert orienteering skills in the Negev
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

BBYO + Israel + You!

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

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

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

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

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

DAY #1 | 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 | Baruch HaBah –Welcome to Israel

  • Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport – Meet your Israeli staff team and the journey begins
  • Welcome ceremony overlooking the Ellah Valley, the site of David’s famous battle with Goliath
  • Head south to the Negev Desert and check-in to our accommodations
  • Dinner and orientation programming at our accommodations

OVERNIGHT: Negev Desert, Israel

DAY #3 | Thursday | BaMidbar – Thriving in the Desert

  • Hike to the hidden desert oasis in Ein Avdat canyon
  • Sde Boker – Learn about David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, and his vision for the desert
  • Cool off from the heat of the desert at the Sde Boker pool
  • Look out across the Ramon Crater from the crater’s edge and learn about the world’s largest erosion crater at the Mitzpe Ramon Visitors Center
  • Continue south and set-up camp and begin our desert wilderness experience
  • BaMidbar – Learn how to survive and thrive in the desert like our ancestors

OVERNIGHT: Desert Camping, Israel

DAY #4 | Friday | Eilat and the Red Sea

  • Wake up early to begin our pre-sunrise hike to the summit of Mt. Shlomo overlooking the Red Sea
  • Return to our camp for breakfast and wrap-up our BaMidbar experience
  • Continue to the Red Sea city of Eilat – Discover underwater treasures snorkeling at Coral Beach
  • Relaxed beach time and banana boatingon the tropical Red Sea
  • Break for ice cream at Yotvata, Israel’s famous desert dairy farm
  • Check-in to our desert kibbutz accommodations and celebrate Shabbat with the local kibbutz community

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat at the Kibbutz

  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Learn about the history of the kibbutz idea and discover how kibbutz farms prosper in the desert through sustainable agriculture
  • Afternoon: Enjoy a relaxed Shabbat with pool, sports, and free time!
  • Havdalah ceremony – Celebrate the start of a new week
  • Evening: Bonfire and BBQ party

OVERNIGHT: Arava Valley, Israel

DAY #6 | Sunday | Adventures in the Negev

  • Climb up (and jump down) the mountainous Kassui sand dunes
  • Hike through the magically colorful Red Canyon trail
  • Travel north up the Arava Valley to the Judean Desert
  • Experience effortless floating at the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek Beach
  • Embark on a camel trekking adventure 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 #7 | Monday | The View from Masada

  • 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
  • Ascend to Jerusalem – Stopping for a welcome ceremony at the Scopus overlook
  • Check-in to our hotel and rest!
  • Evening: Gaya Games innovation workshop

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #8 | Tuesday | The Old City of Jerusalem

  • Walk the Rampart Walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
  • Enter the Old City at Zion Gate and explore the ancient corridors of the Jewish Quarter
  • Lunch and exploration time in the Cardo area of the Jewish Quarter
  • Reflections at the Kotel – The Western Wall complex
  • The Kotel Tunnels – Explore millennia of history deep under the Old City
  • Discover how King David established a Jewish capital at the “City of David” complex
  • Get wet! Walk through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct beneath Jerusalem

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Remembrance and Renewal

  • Tour of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) – Learn about Israel’s unique democracy
  • Mahane Yehuda – Experience this colorful open-air marketplace and sample your way
  • Yad L’Kashish – Visit this landmark initiative to empower the elderly of Jerusalem
  • Experience Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Evening Speaker: The Geopolitics of Israel Todaywith Eylon Levy, an Israeli journalist and strategic analyst

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #10 | Thursday | Working with the Land

  • Travel to Neot Kedumim Biblical Parkfor a tree planting ceremony, leadership workshop and self-cooked lunch experience
  • Dig-for-a-Day Archeological Seminar at Beit Guvrin National Park and explore the Bell Cave
  • Check-in to our accommodations in central Israel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

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 #11 | Friday | Israeli Arts & Culture

  • Travel to Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial capital
  • Visit the Museum of the Jewish People(Diaspora Museum) on the campus of Tel Aviv University
  • Enjoy the colorful Nahalat Binyamin street festival and Carmel Market
  • Surfing class and beach time at Israel’s rustic Palmachim Beach south of Tel Aviv
  • Return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat
  • Musical Kabbalat Shabbat experience and dinner at our hotel

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #12 | Saturday | The Day of Rest

  • Shabbat programming and lunch at our accommodations
  • Play sports, hang out and enjoy relaxation time
  • Havdallah ceremony followed by a group night out in Tel Aviv

OVERNIGHT: Central Israel

DAY #13 | Sunday | Along the Mediterranean Coast

  • Morning: Israeli martial arts workshopon the beach with Budokan
  • Travel to Caesarea — Herod’s Roman amphitheater and grand palace on the Mediterranean beach
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Israel’s port city of Haifa, including the Bahai Gardenson Mt. Carmel and the Ahmediyya Mosque

OVERNIGHT: Acco, Israel

DAY #14 | Monday | Adventures in the Western Galilee

  • Rappelling down Keshet Arch – The soaring natural geological wonder in the Western Galilee
  • Descend to the ocean caves at Rosh Hanikrahon Israel’s far northern border
  • Sea-to-Sea Hike Opening Ceremony at Achziv Beach – Begin our three-day trek from the Mediterranean Beach to the Sea of Galilee

OVERNIGHT: Camping in the Galilee

NOTE: The Sea-to-Sea Hike is a trekking experience from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Although this is a challenging and rewarding trek, food will be provided along the way, and camping gear will be pre-delivered at each overnight site.

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #2

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #3

  • Hike to the summit of Mount Meiron and descend via Nahal Meron
  • Break to visit the ancient city of Tsfat – Explore the historic center of Jewish mysticism in the Galilee highlands
  • Set-up camp for the night in the Nahal Amud Canyon

OVERNIGHT: Camping in eastern Galilee, Israel

DAY #17 | Thursday | Sea-to-Sea Hike – Day #4 | B’Yachad

  • Hike down Nahal Amud Canyon and celebrate the end of the trek on the Sea of Galilee
  • Aqua Kef – Cool off enjoying Israel’s floating water park on the Sea of Galilee
  • Return to Jerusalem and check-in to our accommodations
  • BBYO B’Yachad – Celebrate a summer in Israel with fellow teens from around the world across the entire BBYO Passport community

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #18 | Friday | Jerusalem Prepares for Shabbat

  • Vision & Sacrifice – The Mt. Herzl National Cemetery
  • Geo-political tour of Jerusalem – The seam, the wall, and the future
  • Return to our accommodations to prepare for Shabbat in Jerusalem
  • Evening: Renter the Old City for a Kabbalat Shabbat experience in Western Wall
  • Shabbat dinner at the Fuschburg Center along our walk back to the hotel

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #19 | Saturday | Relax and Reflect

  • Morning option to attend services at a local synagogue followed by lunch at the hotel
  • Afternoon visit to the Israel Museum – Discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, the 2nd Temple Model and much more at Jerusalem’s premier cultural center
  • Afternoon: Wrap-up discussion and free time in Jerusalem’s Saker Park
  • Havdallah followed by a group night out on Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall

OVERNIGHT: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY #20 | 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
  • Explore the ancient port city of Jaffa, and browse the colorful Jaffa flea market
  • Independence Hall– Visit the site where the State of Israel was first declared and learn about the Jewish State’s founding values and vision
  • Learn how Israel became the Start Up Nation on an innovation walking tour of Tel Aviv and meet with a local entrepreneur
  • Wrap-up session followed by a celebratory dinner and farewells at Tel Aviv’s iconic Maganda Restaurant

OVERNIGHT: Return to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight

DAY #21 | Monday | Shalom and L’Hitraot!

  • Travelers on the group flight arrive back to New York City in the morning

*Note: For some teens, this activity can be perceived as emotionally, mentally, or physically challenging. If at any time your teen feels they need support, staff members will be available. Prior to the start of this activity, staff and/or activity providers will facilitate context to put the teens in the right frame of mind as well as go through all safety procedures. If a teen does not feel comfortable participating, they may opt-out and a staff member will be available to stay with them.

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

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

Where will my teen be sleeping?
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. During the Sea-to-Sea hike, the group will be camping under the stars. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations. All accommodations utilized have a dedicated guard.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), an Israeli guide, 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 are the typical group dynamics?
Group size varies depending on the date of the program. Our average group size is 30 teens. In some cases, multiple groups will travel on a similar path, although each group has its own dedicated staff, guide, and guard. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.

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

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided by BBYO Passport experiences in Israel is kosher. 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. Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. 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.

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

What’s the Host Family Weekend?
The second Shabbat in Israel is an optional Host Family Weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to visit with relatives or family friends while in Israel. Participation in the Host Family Weekend is not mandatory, and the itinerary during this weekend is fully programmed for those teens staying with the group. Please note, teens taking part in the Host Family Weekend must go for the entire time, no exceptions. More details about the Host Family Weekend will be available in the pre-trip preparation manual.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

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

7-Day Israel Extension

Keep the memories going by extending the core Trek Israel program for a fourth week. We call it Trek Israel PLUS. During the first part of the week participants choose from either a service learning experience in the Galilee, or the IDF’s Gadna basic training simulation. The second part of the week is based in the Haifa-to-Tel Aviv coastal corridor and is dedicated to exploring Israel’s many cultural and technological innovations. The 7-day Israel extension is a great compliment to traditional touring and is designed to shed light on unique aspects of Israeli society. Explore more: Trek Israel PLUS. Learn about how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

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