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We meet and greet our soldier companions!

Staffing an Adventure Trek with Israel Outdoors – Round 2

Israel Outdoors Blog
Israel Outdoors Blog
Recently I had the opportunity to staff a cultural tour and adventure trek with Birthright/Taglit tour operator Israel Outdoors (Part of Authentic Israel) – their popular “Israel Quest” itinerary. This was my second time working with Israel Outdoors, and they’ve been consistently great to work with – fantastic trips, fantastic staffers, and fantastic participants! Here’s my first time working with them. I worked as one of two field staff members, and managed day-to-day group logistics and planning as well as conducted daily educational seminars and discussions. Israel Outdoors also covered the trip on their own blog.

A few photos and video from the most recent trip:

Group pic! Israel Outdoors Bus 288
Group pic! Israel Outdoors Bus 288
The triangular memorial at the Gadot Overlook, Golan Heights, Israel.
The triangular memorial at the Gadot Overlook, Golan Heights, Israel.
Hiking in the beautiful mountains in the Golan Heights, Israel. Despite the hot climate, there were plenty of marshes, springs, and swimming holes.
Hiking in the beautiful mountains in the Golan Heights, Israel. Despite the hot climate, there were plenty of marshes, springs, and swimming holes.
Cooling off in one of the swimming holes along the Yehudiya Canyon Trail, Golan Heights, Israel. This is one of many beautiful swimming holes in the area, flanked by hexagon-shaped basalt columns.
Cooling off in one of the swimming holes along the Yehudiya Canyon Trail, Golan Heights, Israel. This is one of many beautiful swimming holes in the area, flanked by hexagon-shaped basalt columns.
Cooling off in one of the swimming holes along the Yehudiya Canyon Trail, Golan Heights, Israel. This is one of many beautiful swimming holes in the area, flanked by hexagon-shaped basalt columns.
Cooling off in one of the swimming holes along the Yehudiya Canyon Trail, Golan Heights, Israel. This is one of many beautiful swimming holes in the area, flanked by hexagon-shaped basalt columns.
Light streaming through the stained glass windows inside the Abuhav Synagogue, Tzfat, Israel. Wikipedia: The Abuhav Synagogue is a 15th-century synagogue in Safed, Israel, named after 15th-century Spanish rabbi and kabbalist, Isaac Abuhav. Its design is said to be based upon kabbalistic teachings.
Light streaming through the stained glass windows inside the Abuhav Synagogue, Tzfat, Israel. Wikipedia: The Abuhav Synagogue is a 15th-century synagogue in Safed, Israel, named after 15th-century Spanish rabbi and kabbalist, Isaac Abuhav. Its design is said to be based upon kabbalistic teachings.
We meet and greet our soldier companions!
We meet and greet our soldier companions!
Crowds at the Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem
Crowds at the Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem
Every hebrew beer imaginable, available at the Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem
Every hebrew beer imaginable, available at the Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem
A moment of reflection at the Kotel, Old City, Jerusalem.
A moment of reflection at the Kotel, Old City, Jerusalem.
Construction looms closeby the holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.
Construction looms closeby the holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.
Graves at Mt. Hertzl Cemetery.
Graves at Mt. Hertzl Cemetery.
Sunrise burns through early morning clouds over the Dead Sea, as seen from Mt. Massada.
Sunrise burns through early morning clouds over the Dead Sea, as seen from Mt. Massada.
Balls of salt wash ashore at the Dead Sea.
Balls of salt wash ashore at the Dead Sea.
Hiking witin half a mile of the Egyptian border in Eilat, Israel. The desert blooms brilliantly after each rare rain.
Hiking witin half a mile of the Egyptian border in Eilat, Israel. The desert blooms brilliantly after each rare rain.
Dust and sand accompany a soul-cleansing hike through the southern Israeli desert.
Dust and sand accompany a soul-cleansing hike through the southern Israeli desert.
Beautiful swimming in the Red Sea.
Beautiful swimming in the Red Sea.
Desert flowers color the landscape in the Negev Desert.
Desert flowers color the landscape in the Negev Desert.
Waterfalls are a rare treat in the desert canyons of Southern Israel.
Waterfalls are a rare treat in the desert canyons of Southern Israel.

Thanks to Ezra Siegel for creating this awesome video of the trip!

Program Itinerary:

Sunday, November 9 – Departure
Depart JFK Int’l Airport at 5:55 PM
Arrive at the airport four hours early

Monday, November 10 – Arrival & The North
Landing at Ben Gurion Airport at 3:00 PM
Meet Israeli Staff
Depart for The North
Program Introductions & Ice Breakers
Overnight: Kibbutz Gonen, Golan Heights / Tel: 972-4-695-5286

Tuesday, November 11 – The North
Gadot Lookout & Memorial
Nahal Zavitan – Canyon Hike in the Golan
Mount Bental – View of the Golan Heights Depart for Netanya
Hamei Tveria – Relax in natural hot springs
Cultural Activity
Overnight: Kibbutz Gonen, Golan Heights / Tel: 972-4-695-5286

Wednesday, November 12 – The North & Tel Aviv
Tzfat – Birthplace of Jewish Mysticism
Depart for Tel Aviv
Group Night Out
Prepare for Mifgash
Overnight: Blue Bay Hotel, Netanya / Tel: 972-9-860-0123

Thursday, November 13 – Tel Aviv & Jerusalem
Welcome & Ice Breakers with Israeli Peers
Rabin Square – Memorial to Yitzhak Rabin
Independence Hall – Declaration of The Modern State of Israel
Shenkin Street
Depart for Jerusalem
Haas Promenade – Panoramic View of Jerusalem
Group Activity
Overnight: Maale Hachamisha Hotel, Jerusalem / Tel: 972-2-533-1331

Friday, November 14 – Jerusalem
Jewish Quarter – Old City Walking Tour
The Kotel – Reflections at the Western Wall
Mahane Yehuda – Colorful Jerusalem Marketplace
Prepare for Shabbat
Start of Shabbat – Candle Lighting Ceremony
Festive Shabbat Dinner
Group Activity
Oneg Shabbat – Celebrating Shabbat
Overnight: Maale Hachamisha Hotel, Jerusalem / Tel: 972-2-533-1331

Saturday, November 15 – Shabbat
Shabbat Programming
Prepare for Yad Vashem
Havdallah Ceremony – Conclusion of Shabbat
Political Seminar with Neil Lazarus– The Situation Today in Israel
Overnight: Maale Hachamisha Hotel, Jerusalem / Tel: 972-2-533-1331

Sunday, November 16 – Jerusalem & The Negev
Yad Vashem – Holocaust Memorial & Museum
Har Herzl –National Memorial
Depart for The Negev
Mifgash Activity with Israeli Peers
Overnight: Inbar Hotel, Arad / Tel: 972-8-997-3303

Monday, November 17 – The Negev & Eilat
Ascend Masada – Via the Roman Ramp
Masada – Ancient Mountaintop Fortress
Descend Masada – Via the Snake Path
Dead Sea – Floating at Ein Bokek Beach
Wrap Up & Depart with Israelis
Depart for Eilat
Group Night Out
Overnight: Astral Coral Hotel, Eilat / Tel: 972-8-638-8888

Tuesday, November 18 – Eilat & The Negev
Mount Tzfahot – Canyon Hike
Snorkeling in the Red Sea
Depart for the Bedouin Tent
Enjoy Traditional Bedouin Dinner and Hospitality
Overnight: Chan Shayarot, Bedouin Tent, Negev Desert / Tel: 972-8-653-5777

Wednesday, November 19 – The Negev & Tel Aviv
Camel trekking – Travel the Negev Desert in Style!
Ein Ovdat – Canyon Hike
Sde Boker – Desert Outpost & Grave of Ben Gurion
Depart for Tel Aviv
Jaffa – Ancient Seaport & Artist Colony
Israel Pathways – Learn More about Opportunities in Israel
Closing Dinner & Wrap-up Session
Depart for Airport

Thursday, November 20 – Departure & Arrival
Depart Ben Gurion Airport at 1:20 AM
Arrive at JFK Int’l Airport at 1:05 PM

Desert. Camel. Group.

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