Happy New Year!
We just returned from our completely SOLD OUT December Family / Bar-Bat Mitzvah tour and what a fantastic trip it was! Families from all over the United States came to Israel and had an unforgettable experience. On December 24th we welcomed everyone to Israel with a reception and dinner at our luxury Jerusalem hotel - the brand new Waldorf Astoria, which has just been rated #1 in the Middle East and #7 in the world by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. For three fun filled days we toured Jerusalem including; the Old City, a memorial service at Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum and a visit to Israel's Military Cemetery. The new excavations in the Old city showed us how our Jewish roots from centuries ago are still growing and deeply connected to our modern 21st century lives.
History was all around us as we left Jerusalem and toured to northern Israel. We visited ancient Roman ruins in Caesarea, the modern seaside city of Haifa and the magnificent gardens of the Bahai Temple, the beautiul natural grottos of Rosh Hanikrah and ended our day in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. Our touring in the North was full of fun, exploration and experiences that broadened our knowledge of life in Israel. In the Golan we saw tanks and bunkers from past wars and leaned about the sacrifices paid by Israel to ensure and protect peace. At Gan Garoo we met and played with some of Israel's newest immigrants - Kangaroos and Koala Bears! We danced and sang our way across the Sea of Galilee on a private boat and were greeted at Kibbutz Ein Gev by our Kibbutz hosts who invited us into their homes to learn about this unique communal lifestyle.
After two nights in the North we headed south to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth. With touring along the way including stops at Belvoir (an ancient crusader fortress), the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scolls were found and the desert oasis of Ein Gedi, we arrived at the luxurious Isrotel Dead Sea Resort and Spa with plenty of time to float in Dead Sea, relax at the pool and enjoy treatments. Feeling fresh and renewed we were awakened before sunrise on December 31st. On the last day of the year we rode the cable car to the top of Masada. At sunrise our Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrants and their families were called to the Torah in the ancient synagogue of this impressive mountain fortress. Grandparents, parents, siblings, friends and relatives who traveled thousands of miles to witness this momentous occasion will never forget this most important rite of passage. It was so meaningful for everyone and more than a few tears were shed.
A beautiful buffet breakfast waited for us at our hotel upon our return from Masada. We then began our journey to the modern metropolis of Tel Aviv. Along the way we had a fantastic visit with the Bedouins and rode camels! Next was a real "hands on" archaelogical dig. We rang in the New Year at the Tel Aviv Hilton with a fabulous Bar/Bat Mitzvah gala. At midnight, champagne was poured and 2016 was welcomed with hugs, kisses and wishes for health, happiness and peace. The group danced and sang until well after midnight!
The last day of touring included the Ayalon Institute, Latrun, shopping time and a lovely farewell Shabbat dinner. It was an incredible tour and we know all the families would agree that Israel Discovery Tours provided the finest Israel experience. From our Deluxe hotels and exciting itinerary to our own staff of seasoned guides - we give you the best of Israel. Let us welcome you home in 2016!