January Trip to Israel

Dear friends,

I was able to spend Monday and Tuesday speaking with Meirav Shveiky-Fishman in person at a conference in Baltimore. It was so exciting to start putting the trip together with her. It is going to be an experience like no other. The truth is that my trip in October was difficult, but also gave me a sense of understanding and belonging that really helped me process everything that had happened and what was coming. I expect that being in Israel will have that same impact on you and it is why we are working so hard to put an excellent experience together.
Meirav and I will be meeting Monday morning to start to really solidify the itinerary. Nothing is set yet, but our goal is to have four active days on the ground, Monday through Thursday, and each day will feature a volunteer experience. The experiences will vary in length and content from a couple of hours for some local projects with refugees in the center of the country to agricultural volunteering which will take most of a day. In the spaces in between we will visit important sites like Kikar HaTufim/Captives Square in Tel Aviv, meet with heroes and hear their testimonies about October 7th, and of course, have time to eat great Israeli food, shop, and meet up with friends or family to give hugs and share time with them (it will definitely be easiest if they can meet you in Jerusalem.)
***One question that we need to resolve quickly is how much we want to prioritize a visit to sites inside the Gaza Envelope. These are the ones directly attacked on October 7th. This part of the trip takes careful coordination, is expensive to arrange, and will occupy most of a day. That being said, if people are interested in bearing witness and speaking to Israelis who have moved back and are living in the Envelope, we can make it happen.  Please reply to me and let me know if a visit to the Envelope is a high priority or let me know if you have questions about it. Based on your responses and the overall scheduling needs, Meirav and I will make a decision.
Important Developing Details:


***It is time to register and commit to the trip. Please click here and fill out the form. You will need your passport handy.
***Please email me when you have registered so I can keep track 
A few important notes for registration:
1) Payment: All Payments will be billed directly by WJC so you will only have to manage finances with the synagogue.
2) Flights: Unfortunately, all the flights for Saturday night are sold out, so we will end up taking the Sunday midday flight. 
El Al Group Flight:
Newark to Tel Aviv – Depart 1/21 1:15pm    Arrive 1/22 6:35am
Tel Aviv to Newark – Depart 1/26 1:20am    Arrive 1/26 6:10am
As you can see this has some pluses and minuses. We will land in Tel Aviv at 6:35am Monday morning and after some quick rest and refreshment we will get right to volunteering and such. The result of that (besides a very long first day) will be that we will still have 4 days of activities, but only 3 nights of hotels. So, the whole trip will be about $500 less expensive. 
3) Extending Trip or Making Own Plane Reservations – Our trip Administrator Rabbi Shuki Zahavi will help with these arrangements. For now, there are questions about it on the registration form – indicate your plans and Shuki will follow up with you directly to help make arrangements.
4) Accommodations: 3 nights in the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem: https://www.inbalhotel.com/
4) Price:
4 Days 3 Nights
Prices Standard Room Deluxe Room
Double Room $4,525 $4,570
Single Room $4,975 $5,065
Programming only $625 per day
4 days=$2500

As you can see, the price has dropped about $500 in every category due to one less night in a hotel. Just a reminder, this cost includes the airfare and most meals.

4) ***Register:
5) Itinerary: As mentioned, Meirav and I will be putting the details together starting Monday morning and I will continue to put out details as they become clearer (ie exactly where we will be volunteering, who we will be meeting, open times for meeting relatives or friends so you can make arrangements, etc.).
This is shaping up to be a great group! 12 of you have told me you are definitely coming. Another 5 are leaning towards coming (firm it up by filling out the registration form!). I am still waiting to hear from another 9 of you who expressed interest. Let me know what you are thinking at this point or just surprise me by filling out the registration form 🙂
Of course, if you have questions let me know. It is such a privilege to be able to facilitate this experience for us all and to be able to travel to Israel, help with needs there, and bring the hizuk (encouragement) to the Israeli people that only the presence of “family” can bring.
Am Yisrael Chai,


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