Israel is a country of crossroads-ancient and modern, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab, Europe and Asia, East and West, hi-tech and analog-just to name a few.  From out of this unique perspective, together with a vibrant and colorful and skilled culture comprised by passionate people from all corners of the world comes a deep desire to create brilliant and introspective works of art which both encapsulate and reflect our reality.

Program highlights:

  • Contemporary art in Tel Aviv
  • Urban art & culture
  • Exploring important archaeological sites
  • Encountering diversity
  • Visiting Israel’s most avant-garde galleries and museums
  • The Jerusalem Biennale
  • Meetings with influential artists, curators, and critics
  • Tour the Old City of Jerusalem
  • Culinary adventures

 Tour offered during the period of the Jerusalem Biennale: October-November.

What’s included:

  • 7 nights’ accommodation in five-star hotels
  • Daily breakfast at hotels
  • 6 dinners
  • 5 lunches
  • Full guiding services of an expert tour educator
  • Site visits
  • Speakers
  • Entrance to Jerusalem Biennale events
  • Airport transfers for participants arriving and departing at suggested times
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned coach

 

Day 1: Arrive in Tel Aviv, welcome dinner

Day 2: Contemporary art and Tel Aviv

Day 3: Urban art and culture in the White City

Day 4: Historical coastal sites and diversity

Day 5: Explore the town of Zichron Yaakov and ascend to Jerusalem

Day 6: Discover the Old City of Jerusalem

Day 7: Massada and the Dead Sea

Day 8: Yad Vashem, modern Jerusalem, cheese & wine

 

Day 1, Sunday – Arrival & Welcome to Israel

  • Late afternoon arrival at Ben Gurion airport, where we are met and greeted by our Balboa Tours representative and tour educator and escorted to our awaiting tour bus.
  • Transfer to Tel Aviv and to our hotel for welcome cocktails and check-in.
  • This evening, we enjoy a fabulous welcome dinner celebration at Chef Ran Shmueli’s popular and delicious Claro restaurant. This open-kitchen farm-to-table restaurant is beautifully integrated inside of a historical building at the newly renovated Sarona complex.  We will be joined by renowned Israeli art critic, curator, lecturer, and consultant Smadar Sheffi (subject to availability).

Overnight: Tel Aviv

  


Day 2, Monday – Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv

  • Optional: Early morning Torah Yoga session in the hotel’s exclusive Tower Garden, led by Diane Bloomfield. Torah Yoga offers an experience of Jewish wisdom through Iyengar yoga instruction together with the study of traditional and mystical Jewish texts.
  • We will start out our first day in Tel Aviv visiting the renowned and recently renovated Tel Aviv Museum, widely considered the most important museum for contemporary art in Israel. Guided by one of the museum curators, we will explore the museum collection and the architecture of its award winning new wing.
  • Learn about how Tel Aviv became known as the “White City” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as you explore Rothschild Boulevard and the beautiful architecture surrounding you.
  • Enjoy lunch (on own) at the new Shuk Rothschild (Rothschild St. Market), featuring delicious and fresh, locally sourced regional and international cuisine at a variety of different on-site culinary options.
  • Afterwards, visit Independence Hall, the site where David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel’s independence on May 14th, 1948.
  • Next, visit the Alon Segev Gallery. One of Israel’s leading contemporary art galleries, it focuses on young and well-established contemporary artists, both Israeli and international in origin. The gallery’s artistic agenda allows the display of all aspects of contemporary art; from complex installations through videos, sculptures, drawings, and paintings. It is their stated intention to expose contemporary Israeli art to the international scene, believing that Israeli art is of relevance worldwide and has an interesting perspective to offer.
  • Proceed to nearby Jaffa.
  • This evening, we will have cocktails and dinner at Otzarin, featuring Eastern Mediterranean cuisine with a French twist in an ancient stone house in Old Jaffa. Chef Fabrice will explain his favorite aspect of each culinary tradition and how he merges them in his cooking-creating a perfect fusion. We will be accompanied by Professor Reuven Hazan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Department of Political Science. Professor Hazan will explain the complexities of Israeli politics and the differences and similarities with the US system of government (subject to availability)

Overnight: Tel Aviv

 


Day 3, Tuesday – Urban Art & Culture in the White City

  • Get a view into the real cultural DNA of Tel Aviv as we participate in a special Graffiti and Street Art Tour in Tel Aviv’s hip Florentine Guided by Niro Taub, this urban art walking tour will provide us with peek into the world of street artists and graffiti writers who work and exhibit independently while conducting a dialogue with us about the world we all share through experiencing this unique neighborhood, home to one of the most thriving street art scenes in the entire world. On the tour, we will discuss the differences between graffiti and other types of art in the streets, get to know all the major Israeli street artists, and receive the tools and basic terminology needed to understand Israeli street art.
  • Enjoy a delicious Mediterranean lunch at Abrage, overlooking a beautiful panoramic view of the Old City of Jaffa and the Tel Aviv coastline.
  • Visit the ancient city of Jaffa, and experience the charms, history, and unique heritage of what is argued to be the world’s oldest port city (dating back over 4,000 years!). Following our tour, we will have time to explore the area’s myriad selection of galleries and artists’ studios.
  • Visit the Presler Private Museum in Jaffa. Founded by Mr. Yigal Presler over 20 years ago, this urban museum features a rich and rare collection of early 20th century works focusing on Jewish Avant-Garde art in the classic tradition of the modern movement.  The museum also features a number of lost and unknown art works done by major figures who left their European homes where Jewish life had become impossible, to live in the vastly different, newly emerging culture of Israel, in the period just before and after statehood was achieved.
  • Return to our hotel to freshen up for this evening.
  • Enjoy dinner at Chef Jonathan Roshfeld’s renowned Tel Aviv eatery Herbert Samuel, accompanied by prominent Israeli artist Sigalit Landau. A true master of performance art, her works often show the body as a graceful bridge between the buoyant and liberating expansiveness of the sea and the heavy weight of the land, the conflicts over the latter fueled by nationalism, patterns of injustice, and competing assertions of ancestral rights (subject to availability)

Overnight: Tel Aviv

  


Day 4, Wednesday – Expressions of Time & Diversity along the Coast

  • After breakfast, we check-out of our hotel accommodations and depart Tel Aviv, heading north along Israel’s coastal highway.
  • Explore the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater, Crusader harbor and 12th-century ramparts at Caesarea. This ancient city, now archaeological park, located on the Mediterranean Sea was constructed by Herod the Great between 22 and 10 BC and named for Caesar Augustus, Caesarea was one of the most splendid cities in Palestine and was the capital of the province for almost 600 years.
  • Enjoy lunch at Crusaders restaurant, overlooking the ancient Roman harbor of Caesarea.
  • Continue north along the coastal highway via the port city of Haifa, from where we will see the famous Baha’i Gardens.
  • Proceed up the coast to experience the ancient city of Akko (Acre). Akko features a multitude of fortresses, citadels, churches and mosques all depicting the history of the many rulers to mention a few – Canaanites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders and Mamelukes – who governed and fought for this city throughout its vibrant history. Its colorful Oriental markets, museums and beaches are a few more of the city’s attractions.  The old city of Acre has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Walk through the underground Crusader Knight’s halls.
  • Next, journey to the Israeli Arab town of Umm el Fahem. There, we will visit the acclaimed Umm El Fahem Gallery. Founded in 1996 by local artists and residents of the Wadi Ara area who wanted to bring quality contemporary art to the city and to exhibit original Arab-created art, today the gallery’s main goal is to be a home for Arab artists and art and to create a meeting point for meaningful dialogue between the many cultures and sectors in Israel.  While there, we will meet with the gallery’s director, Said Abu Shakra and a selection of the area’s local young artists.
  • Continue to the Carmel mountain village of Zichron Yaakov and check-in to our hotel accommodations at the acclaimed Elma arts complex luxury hotel.
  • Enjoy dinner together at Oratoria restaurant. Located on the hotel premises, Oratoria strives to create a menu of specialties crafted using ingredients sourced from within 30 kilometers from the hotel.  Working closely with local farmers to ensure the utmost freshness, the talented kitchen staff prepares everything in-house, from pasta, breads, and cheeses to smoked and cured fish and meats.  Additionally, the restaurant features an extensive cellar of fine wines, providing diners with vintages from wineries both local and from around the world.
  • This evening, enjoy a musical performance by one of Israel’s leading artists at the Elma hotel’s renowned concert hall (performance details TBA, pending the upcoming release of the performance calendar).

Overnight: Elma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel, Zichron Yaakov

  


Day 5, Thursday – Ascent to Jerusalem

After breakfast, we enjoy a guided visit to the Elstein Gallery and tour of the impeccably designed, contemporary grounds of the Elma Arts Hotel.

  • Check-out of our hotel accommodations.
  • Explore the quaint village of Zichron Yaakov. Founded by the ‘Chalutzim’ (pioneers) of the First Aliya with the generous assistance of the Baron Edmund James de Rothschild in 1882, here we will learn about the trials and tribulations of the fledgling ‘Yishuv’ of Jewish pioneers and their perplexing efforts to settle the land of Israel under the most difficult of conditions.
  • Visit the Beit Aharonsohn Museum and hear the exhilarating story of the creation of the ‘Nili’ espionage ring and its attempts to spy on the Ottoman Turkish authorities in the service of the British Crown leading up to the First World War. Founded by agronomist Aaron Aaronsohn, Nili was one of the first underground Jewish paramilitary organizations and had four stated objectives: To assist the British effort to conquer Eretz Israel by gathering information; To support the Jewish Yishuv in Eretz Israel in a time of famine and disease; To draw world attention to what was happening in Eretz Israel; and lastly, to fulfill the dream of establishing a Jewish State in Eretz Israel.
  • Lunch at the Tishbi Winery, featuring a tasting session of selected leading wines produced on premises.
  • Drive to Jerusalem.
  • Spend the remainder of the afternoon touring the Israel Museum. Founded in 1965, the Museum houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day, in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world.  While here, we will also visit the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, as well as rare early medieval biblical manuscripts, as well as the adjacent Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE, and provides historical context to the Shrine’s presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • Experience dinner at the critically-acclaimed Modern restaurant, located at the Israel Museum, featuring succulent and dynamic avant-garde cuisine served in a highly contemporary, artistic setting.
  • Check-in to our hotel accommodations.
  • The Jerusalem Biennale is dedicated to exploring the places in which contemporary art and the Jewish world of content meet. It is a stage for professional artists, who create today and refer in their work to Jewish thought, spirit, tradition or experience, to exhibit their work in Jerusalem.  This evening, we will have the special opportunity of attending an exhibition or event of this leading and unique celebration of contemporary culture in Israel’s capital (Exhibition/event details TBA, pending the publication of the Biennale schedule).

Overnight: Jerusalem

  


Day 6, Friday – Experience the Passage of Time in the Old City

  • After breakfast, we depart our hotel and head to Mount Scopus to experience a breathtaking overlook of the city of Jerusalem, including the entire Old City.
  • Visit the City of David- Experience firsthand 5,000 years of history as we descend into the ancient foundations of King David’s Jerusalem. Here, our tour will take us through the wet Siloam’s Tunnel built by King Hezekiah to protect the city’s water source from the invading Assyrian Army during the days of the First Temple.
  • Ascend through a newly excavated ancient tunnel which runs beneath the Old City walls into the area near the base of the Temple Mount and exit adjacent to the Southern Wall Excavations at the Davidson Center. Here, we shall witness and explore the grandeur of what was once one of the most formidable sites in the Roman world.  Learn about the place and role of the Temple to the Jewish people both historically and today.
  • Go to the Kotel-the Western Wall, the ancient retaining wall of the 2nd Temple which stood on the Temple Mount (the holiest site in the world for the Jewish people) and a centerpiece for Jewish prayer and longing since biblical times. Here you will have an opportunity for personal prayer and reflection at this monumental site.
  • Tour the Old City of Jerusalem. Explore the Jewish and Christian Quarters. Explore the Roman Cardo where traditionally shops were located (and are located today).
  • Walk part of the way of the Via Dolorosa (‘Way of the Cross’), the mile long route through the Old City leading from the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was condemned by Pontius Pilate to Golgotha, the place of the crucifixion. The Via Dolorosa is marked by 14 stations. At each Station there is a chapel or marker depicting an incident on Jesus’ final mortal journey. The traditional site of Golgotha/Calvary is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Lunch on own.
  • Return to our hotel for some much needed rest and relaxation and opportunity to prepare for Shabbat.
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall, one of the holiest locations in the world for the Jewish people and the remnants of the Temple. Here we will be able to sing and dance with the hundreds of devoted worshippers as they welcome in the Sabbath.
  • Enjoy an extremely memorable delicious Shabbat of a Lifetime home hospitality Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood, featuring a multi-course feast of dishes originating from several different traditional Diaspora kitchens from many different countries of origin ranging from Poland and Russia to Morocco, Iran, and Iraq and served by gracious hosts who will open their homes to you.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 7, Saturday – Descent to the Dead Sea

  • Travel to Masada. Herod’s magnificent mountain top palace and fortress was the site of the last Jewish stand against the Romans in 73 AD. In the end, the Jews were defeated and 960 defenders committed suicide.  Masada was declared a world heritage site in 2001 by UNESCO.  Today a cable car ride to the top is available, and climbing on foot is optional.  The excavations at the top have revealed Herod’s palace, the synagogue, bath house.  The view from the top makes it clear why Herod chose this for his summer retreat.
  • At one of the area’s luxury hotels, enjoy swimming and ‘floating’ in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on the surface of the Earth. We will enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch at the Dead Sea.
  • Return to Jerusalem.
  • Dinner at leisure (suggestions will be provided).
  • This evening, we will have the special opportunity of attending an exhibition or event of the Jerusalem Biennale (Exhibition/event details TBA, pending the publication of the Biennale schedule).

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 8, Sunday – From Darkness to Light

  • After breakfast, we check-out and depart our hotel accommodations.
  • Visit Yad Vashem, considered the foremost memorial to mankind’s darkest period and Israel’s official memorial and historical museum to the victims of the Shoah. Explore the issues of the legacy and impact of the Nazi Holocaust on the nascent State of Israel, together with renowned Holocaust scholar Rachel Korazim (subject to availability).  Walk along the Path of the Righteous Gentiles.
  • Visit the Knesset-Israel’s House of Parliament. Upon arrival, we pass through security procedures.  Next, we will enjoy a formal tourof the Knesset, which will contain an overview into the unique coalition system of representative democratic government which facilitates Israeli democracy, and how it enables a delicate balance of often opposed interests which relate to Israel’s many sectors and their respective politics.
  • Cocktail lunch at Yvel. Here, we will tour the production facility of this award-winning jewelry manufacturer, as well as encounter students of their in-house Megemaria Schoolof Jewelry & Art, a philanthropic school which teaches the art of jewelry design and production to new immigrants from Ethiopia.  We will have time to visit their showroom for those interested in purchasing any items to bring home.
  • West of Jerusalem, located down the eastern slope of Mount Eitan by the Sataf springs, lies an area that has been cultivated for the last 6,000 years. Walk through the ancient terraces to understand the irrigation methods used long ago.  In this area, Shai Seltzer and his family founded a cheese farm in 1974 based on his 170-strong herd of goat and operates an award winning goat cheese dairy.
  • Ronnie James had spent years to allocate the finest terroir in the Judean Hills, west of Jerusalem. Today,Tzora Vineyards owns several vineyards, each with varying soils and meso-climates.  Meet with Ronnie and winemaker Eran Pick and discover their passion for their craft as we taste the prolific wines produced here. (Wine Spectator ratings: Tzora Misty Hills Judean Hills 2013: 93 pts./Tzora Judean Hills White 2014: 92 pts./Tzora Judean Hills 2014: 91 pts.)
  • Afterwards, we continue and transfer to Ben Gurion airport for our international departure back to the USA.

 

*Itinerary is subject to change pending circumstances beyond our control*

 

Please contact us for rates >> 

 

*Tour offered during the period of the Jerusalem Biennale: October 1st-November 16th, 2017*

*Itinerary is subject to change pending circumstances beyond our control*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smadar Sheffi

Dr. Smadar Sheffi Ph.D. is a renowned Israeli art critic, curator, lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and art consultant.

 


Professor Reuven Hazan

Professor Reuven Hazan is the Chair of the Department of Political Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  His expertise centers on the historical and current analysis of democratic institutions, specifically placing Israeli democracy in perspective.  Professor Hazan was closely involved in reforming Israel’s electoral system and continues to advise Israel’s leading politicians on the restructuring of its legislative branch.  He collaborates with Israel’s top think tanks, serves as a consultant for several political parties, is often called upon to testify in the Israeli parliament, and has served on the Presidential Commission on the Structure of Government in Israel.  He recently returned to Jerusalem from a sabbatical year as a visiting professor in the Government Department at Harvard University.

Professor Hazan is a frequent commentator on CNN, FOX, BBC, NPR and other networks, providing insight into the latest developments in Israeli politics.   He has been quoted in magazines such as Time and Newsweek and in newspapers across North America from the Los Angeles Times to the Wall Street Journal.

 


Niro Taub

Niro Taub is an artist and graduate of the Faculty of Visual Communications at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. His special brand of guided tours integrates the fascinating world of design and the arts. With more than 20 years of experience as a tour guide working in both Hebrew and in English, in Israel and around the world, Niro is known for the creative and visionary artistic tour-guiding aids that he has designed.

His unique method of tour-guiding places an emphasis on experiential and memorable excursions, which use of the language of art and design in order to cultivate a better understanding of the contexts at play – history, culture, society and current affairs – in the locations where the tours take place.

 


Sigalit Landau

Prominent Israeli artist Sigalit Landau is a true master of performance art.  Her works often show the body as a graceful bridge between the buoyant and liberating expansiveness of the sea and the heavy weight of the land, the conflicts over the latter fueled by nationalism, patterns of justice, and competing assertions of ancestral rights. 

 


Dr. Rachel Korazim

Dr. Korazim is a freelance Jewish education consultant in curriculum development for Israel and Holocaust education. Rachel opens for her audiences a window to Israeli society through literature; through stories, poems and songs of the best of Israel’s writers, she invites listeners to engage with Israel in an innovative way. Until 2008 she had been the Academic Director of Distance learning programs at The JAFI Department of Education.

Born in Israel, she had served in the I.D.F as an officer in the central training base for women and was later, a member of the I.D.F delegation to Niger (West Africa). She is a graduate of Haifa University with a PhD in Jewish education.  Rachel has a vast experience in Jewish education both in Israel and the Diaspora. As one of the founders and directors of a special program for soldiers from disadvantaged background, she was responsible for creating the educational framework and training teachers for the implementation of the program.

Since her first Shlichut to Canada where she was the head of JAFI delegation from (1985 to 1988) she is involved with Jewish education worldwide; creating and implementing in-service training programs for educators, writing educational materials, counseling and teaching.  Rachel is familiar, through many visits, with the Jewish education communities of the US, Canada, Latin America and Europe. Since 1990 she has invested a lot of her time and energy in helping the emerging Jewish schools of Hungary.

Rachel teaches at Israel’s well known learning centers such as Pardes and the Shalom Harman Institutes as well as numerous world Jewish communities.

 

 

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