Activities in Israel

Many of our members have visited Israel multiple times and, by now, have seen all the major tourist spots. The purpose of this site is to suggest some other, off-the-beaten path, destinations.

To start, here is an up-to-date (2016) travel guide written by a frequent contributor of TripAdvisor

Your suggestions are welcome! If you have a favorite activity in Israel, don't keep it to yourself, share it. Send an email to nvogel212@gmail.com

Todah!

Leket Israel: The National Food Bank

Did you know that about 40% of the food produced in Israel goes to waste? And, did you know that about a quarter of Israel's population goes hungry, with some of the most effected people being the elderly and Holocaust survivors? 

This is where Leket Israel (literally, Gleanings) comes in. Serving as the country's largest food rescue organization, Leket Israel works to alleviate the problem of nutritional insecurity amongst the growing numbers of Israel's poor. Food, that would have otherwise gone to waste, is redistributed to 180 nonprofit partners caring for those in need.

Volunteer opportunities: Leket Israel's dedicated lineup of volunteers form the backbone of the organization with approximately 60,000 annual volunteers taking part in various projects and activities designed to assist the needy.  This is a great experience for family get-togethers or to celebrate bar/bat mitzvahs, adults and children of all ages. Volunteer activities include:

  • Glean farm fields and orchards in the Rehovot area or at Moshav Nahalal in the north
  • Sort and package food at the logistics center in Raanana for delivery to distribution centers

For any questions or help with registration, please email Lauren Yoked, Executive Director of American Friends of Leket Israel at lauren@leket.us  or call 201-331-0070 ext. 1

To reach Leket by phone in  Israel, please call  +972 9 744-1757.

If anyone would like to be involved here in the States (bnei mitzvah projects, events, general support) they can email Lauren@leket.us

Yad Sarah: Not Just for Israelis

Most of us know that Yad Sarah provides a vital array of compassionate health and home care services for people of all ages.  The organization is best known for its extensive lending service for medical equipment. 

A less known fact is that travelers to Israel can also benefit from Yad Sarah’s services. The organization’s wheelchair-accessible vans can pick up travelers at the airport and bring them directly to their destination. Additionally, tour guides who specialize in accommodating people with physical disabilities can be arranged through Yad Sarah for a nominal fee.

Whether travelers need assistance with transportation, equipment loans, or outfitting their hotel room with adaptive equipment before their arrival, Yad Sarah can help.

For more information on Yad Sarah's transportation and/or equipment rentals for tourists to Israel, click here.

Israel Children's Museum

The Israel Children's Museum is an educational and cultural institution providing experiences far different than any other Israeli museum. Kids are encouraged to touch the displays, feel the materials and even be part of the exhibits.

Special exhibits include Dialogue in the Dark provides visitors with an insight into the world of the blind. Equipped only with a cane, visitors go through the hall, experiencing the world in complete darkness. 

In the Invitation to Silence exhibition, one hears nothing, yet the talking doesn’t cease. One learns that you can hear through your eyes, and speak using your hands. Visitors discover a new way of communicating, through hand movements and body language. 

Mitzpeh Ramon

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem. Head to the Negev for the Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater), Israel’s answer to the Grand Canyon. The wide, open spaces, far from city lights and crowds, lend themselves to hiking, biking, horseback riding, jeep rides and, at night, a sky full of stars. 

Tel Aviv

Contemporary art galleries to visit:

Sommer Contemporary Art - 13 Rothschild Blvd.

Dvir - Reshit Hochma 14 Tel Aviv

Noga - 60 Ehad Ha’Am st. 

Chelouche -  Mazeh 7 

Hezi Cohen - Rehov Wolfson 54
 

Volunteers for Israel

lWant to do more than write a check, sign a petition or attend a rally in support of Israel? Sign on for this life-changing adventure! Join the Volunteers for Israel program.

You will work alongside soldiers, base employees, and other volunteers on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base, performing non-combat civilian support duties such as packing medical supplies; repairing machinery and equipment; building fortifications; and cleaning, painting, and maintaining the base.

You are housed in barracks with fellow volunteers, enjoy 3 kosher meals a day, and wear IDF work clothes. The Sunday to Thursday workweek also includes cultural programs in the evening, and tours when possible.

You must apply in advance, before you leave the States. Call (212) 643-4848 to start the application process. 

Are you a dentist? Spend a week or more volunteering your professional services to children and at-risk youth. Receive free housing in Jerusalem during your stint. TO learn more and to apply, contact Dental Volunteers for Israel.

Haifa Area

The Atlit Detention Camp is located near the Coastal Road, north of the town of Atlit. It is a national site and serves as an educational center for teaching the heritage of clandestine immigration. It was used for imprisonment of illegal immigrants captured after struggling against the British while trying to enter the Land of Israel via sea and land as well as activists from the Jewish population who had fought against the British rule, including Etzel and Lehi fighters.

There are guided tours through the camp’s wired fences and barracks, a moving encounter with testimonies at the computer database and an experiential and touching visit to the unique display in the ship "Galina". Guided tours in English available by advance booking. In Israel, call 04-984-1980

The nearby Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa, would make a great complement to the Detention Camp tour. This museum is dedicated to telling the story of the struggle for the right to immigrate to Israel during the years 1934 – 1948 when the British Mandate was in operation. This is a chapter of our history which deals with Jewish clandestine immigration and the right to settle here. It is one of the cornerstones of the establishment of the State of Israel

A special wing of the museum is devoted to the history of the Israeli navy, whose roots go back to this very clandestine immigration operation at the time of the British Mandate. Here you can find a number of important exhibits, including a model of the famous immigration ship, the Exodus. In Israel, call 04-853-6249.

Explore Israel with Former LSS Members Who Made Aliya

Lloyd Epstein has kept in touch with a good number of former LSS members who would be happy to take our members on a variety of tours, at no cost other than transportation, meals and any entrance fees. Here is a sample of possible tours:

  • Photography tour of Tel Aviv Yafo;
  • Tours of Yishuvim and industrial towns in Negev
  • Tours of Chareidi Jerusalem; Alon Shv'ut, Yeshivat Har Eztion
  • Tours of; Haifa and its surroundings.
  • Short term learning opportuities through the Torah Mi Tzion progam
  • Chesed

For more information, please speak with Lloyd or email him at lepstein@epsteinweil.com

Explore Israel's Thriving Art Scene with an Expert

Art tours with Dr. Smadar Sheffi offer an inside access to Israel's art scene on a custom designed private tour. The tours are in Galleries, Museums, alternative spaces, studios and workshops of leading and emerging artists mainly in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Tours are customized to meet participants' interests; examples include:

  • Political art in Israel
  • Art by religious Jewish Artists
  • Photography and video
  • Contemporary figurative painting
  • Feminist issues in Israeli art 

Smadar earned her PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is currently teaching at the Tel Aviv University and the Academic College of Tel Aviv. She worked for 20 years as an art critic for Haaretz and for the last eight years she has been an art critic for Galei Tzahal National Radio. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm of the wonderful creative art scene in Israel. To plan your guided art tour, email her at ssheffi@gmail.com

One Family

One Family the family of Israel’s victims of terror attacks – those who have been bereaved, those who have been maimed, and those suffering from post-trauma as a result of terrorist attacks since 2001. Their mission is to help rehabilitate and rebuild the lives of Israel's thousands of victims of terror attacks. It consists of professionals, volunteers, supporters and victims - bereaved, maimed and traumatized - young and old, Jews and non-Jews. One Family helps victims of terror to rebuild their lives, rehabilitate and reintegrate through emotional, legal, and financial assistance programs geared toward each of the following: Orphans, Bereaved Parents, Parents of Injured Children, Widows and Widowers, Young Adults, and Youth Injured and Bereaved.

One Family offers tours of its offices where visitors can learn first-hand about the services that it provides. Visitors will also learn how they themselves can help Israel's victims of terror attacks, whether by "adopting a family", twin Bar / Bat Mitzvah ceremonies or volunteer work (e.g., mentoring a child or a young adult). Please note that the volunteer work may be conducted in Israel or in the States. 

In order to attend one of their tours, it is necessary to contact One Family in advance. Please email chantal@onefamilyfund.org and she will work with you to find a mutually convenient time for your visit and will, to the extent possible, customize your visit to meet your interests.

This and That

Need a break from the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? Head for the Mitspe Ramon village in the Negev. You'll feel like you’re on another planet when you visit the Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater), Israel’s answer to the Grand Canyon. The wide, open spaces, far from city lights and crowds, lend themselves to hiking, biking, horse riding, jeep rides and, at night, a sky-full of stars. There are ibex roaming everywhere and, to complete the Biblical experience, the magnificent Beresheet Hotel.

The Jewish National Fund offers specialized tours for doctors / health providers, lawyers and women. For example, the health provider tour includes: 

  • Meeting top Israeli doctors and healthcare professionals who are leaders in their fields, senior officials in Israel’s Ministry of Health, and members of the Israel Medical Association. 
  • Gaining insights into everyday challenges and unique aspects of healthcare delivery in Israel. 
  • Visiting medical facilities throughout the country such as Hadassah Medical Center, Ram Bam Medical Center and smaller hospitals serving Israel’s periphery. 
  • Spending time with soldiers who are receiving treatment at a military rehabilitation center.

For more information, call Julia Teichman at the JNF 212.879.9305 ext. 255

Summer Festivals in Israel Opera...puppets... klezmer... beer and everything in between.

Visit the Tishbi winery is in Zichron Yakov. The founders of the winery were immigrants from Lithuania who, in 1882 were commissioned by Baron Edmund de Rothschild to plant and develop vineyards in the area.

The Amphorae Winery is located on the Makura Farm at the heart of Western Carmel region. This area is one of the most ancient wine production locations not only in Israel, but in the world. The name "Carmel" is probably a deviation from the name "Kerem-El", which in translation from Hebrew means "God's Vineyard".

Do you have any favorite spots in Israel? Pass them along so that others may follow in your footsteps; email supportisrael@lss.org

Sat, November 18 2017 29 Cheshvan 5778