Learn and innovate as we explore how history, culture and values in Israel have led to a nation with the highest number of scientists, technicians and engineers per capita. Begin your adventure in Israel with an opening ceremony overlooking the Sea of Galilee, as we prepare to embark on a journey to discover how our Reform Jewish values intersect with the culture and history of the science and technology industry in Israel. Travel through the North, exploring the Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, Tzfat, and Haifa. We will hike through the Golan and raft down the Jordan river as we observe this region’s natural landscape and unique topography. Wind through the blue-painted alleys to discover the mystical city of Tzfat and then learn to make ice cream at Buza Ice Cream Factory, an innovative startup where industry and coexistence is demonstrated first-hand through a partnership between a Jewish Israeli and a Muslim Arab Israeli. Israel’s innovations have provided numerous advances in the medical world, including the development of the PillCam, a capsule containing a tiny camera used to examine the GI tract, and the Emergency Bandage, an elasticized bandage with a pressure bar to stop fatal bleeding. Meeting with doctors at the Western Galilee Hospital, the group will learn about Israel’s role in providing medical assistance to Syrian refugees.
Welcome in Shabbat in the Golan Heights, relaxing, making new friends and learning about how our experiences with science and technology connect with stories and teachings of the Torah.
Next, off to Haifa, the group will work with entrepreneurs learn about and develop ideas and products that create technological solutions to social problems. Through this experience you will begin to understand how our people arrived in Israel and became innovators, as they had to address many new challenges. During a visit to the world famous Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, the group will visit labs and meet with students and professors to discuss their research in science, engineering and related fields. This will be the first of many opportunities to engage in Mifgash, combined learning and relationship building with peers in Israel. As the oldest university in the country, established 35 years prior to creation of the State of Israel, the Technion exhibits long standing commitment to the study and innovation of science and technology.
Experience diversity in Israel, a country made up of many faiths, with a visit to the Bahai Gardens, where we will learn about how different faiths connect with and value biodiversity and the environment.
Stand in awe at the Haas Promenade overlooking the city of Jerusalem, understanding the words to the song “Jerusalem of Gold”, as we embark on the next part of our journey. Visit Yad Vashem and the military cemetery at Har Hertzl, to learn about some of Israel’s greatest leaders and innovators. Weaving through ancient ruins and the City of David, we will travel back in time and discuss the ancient technology used to construct it. As we walk through the Jewish Quarter, visit the Kotel (Western Wall) and celebrate Shabbat, we will experience the history, spirituality and magic of the Old City of Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, you’ll meet with an entrepreneur in a field of your choice to learn how this city full of history is now booming with high-tech companies.
We then take a trip to the Negev, to learn about how Israeli innovators have turned the desert into thriving farmland and a hub of renewable energy. Ride a camel and feast with Bedouin hospitality, while learning about green energy in the desert. Follow in the footsteps of the Zealots running from the Romans after the destruction of the second Temple, as the fled to the mountain fortress of Masada. Ascend Masada for an unforgettable sunrise, before heading down to float in the hypersaline waters of the Dead Sea and learn about how increased temperatures in the region are causing the sea to shrink and brainstorm what Israel can do to protect it. Discover the minerals that compose the famous black mud of the Dead Sea on a visit to the mineral factory, and test their use in many skincare products.
During a visit to the Arava Valley and Desert, the group will learn about how researchers and technicians from different cultures use science and technology to build bridges and make the desert bloom. We will visit a solar farm and observe the vast potential for solar and other renewable energy in the desert. We’ll hike the Ramon Crater, one of the greatest geological landforms in the world, and examine its diverse geological and biological features, having a personal look about how this wonder of nature formed millions of years ago.
Volunteer on an urban farm in Beer Sheva to learn about how they have created an oasis of agriculture in the desert. David Ben Gurion, with the vision of making the Negev bloom, believed the future of Israel lay in the Negev and saw it as an opportunity for the Jewish community to contribute to the advancement of society. With the creation of drip irrigation, an agricultural practice that conserves water by delivering just the right amount of water to keep roots moist, did just that. Visit his home at Sde Boker and see how his vision lives on through programs with Israeli students at Ben Gurion University. We will spend our last Shabbat on a kibbutz in the desert, as we reflect on our connection to Israel and Jewish identity through the unique lens of science and technology that we have been experiencing.
A vastly arid country, surrounded by salt water, Israel converts salty water to fresh drinking water through desalination. We will visit a desalination factory and then travel to the Weizmann Institute, one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research institutions in the natural sciences.
Finishing up our journey, we will travel back up north to Tel Aviv, the place where “Start Up Nation” was born. Visit Independence Hall and start up companies on Rothschild Boulevard and experience hi-tech entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation. Participate in an interactive space workshop with SpaceIL as they race to land Israel’s first spacecraft on the moon. Take a break from learning and working with expert innovators with a relaxing afternoon soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches of Tel Aviv. Learn how we, as scientists, innovators and Reform Jews, can carry on the legacy of our ancestors whose vision for the State of Israel led to the booming hub of innovation that exists there today.
As a Reform, Jewish community, we are often reminded of the importance of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. As scientists and innovators, we can use what we have learned throughout our adventure to live by these words. On our final day, the group will work with experts from Tikkun Olam Makers to identify challenges and brainstorm technology to make the world a better place.
Other experiences in the works:
- Archaeological sites, dig, and the science of making the old new!
- Military tech and an Israel Defense Force (IDF) Armored car vehicle production plant
- Social Innovations Lab, using technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities
- Biomedical, and physics labs across the country
- Drone production and test facilities
- Innovation Learning Centers in Haifa and Tel Aviv
We are working with our partners in Israel to create an exciting and engaging experience for our teens. The itinerary above is subject to change and a final itinerary will be confirmed and posted in the Spring for our families. Our experienced partners on the ground in Israel are experts in both Jewish and Israel education, creating a meaningful and rich Jewish experience, where teens will arrive home with an increased sense of connection to and pride for the land and people of Israel and its story as a global innovator.
Generously funded by: