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Time to Visit Israel
My Point of View, Feb 04, 2005
© Rabbi Jack Moline

You have heard about everyone else's trip, and now it is time to take your own.

Israel needs you, and you need the charge to your batteries that Israel can provide. Many opportunities exist to visit, whether you are a first-time visitor or you have been many times. From high school age to senior citizen, there are tours for you. You can scout the land from top to bottom or enjoy a leisurely vacation. And your tour can be focused on politics, tzedakah, history, learning, Jewish life or tourism — or any combination of them.

One such opportunity will be offered by Agudas Achim this summer. I will be leading a trip to Israel from June 30 (Thursday) to July 13 (Wednesday). The visit will include Shabbat experiences with Masorti (Conservative) communities, a visit to the Conservative Yeshivah, a hands-on archeological dig, river rafting, Jeep tours in the Golan and the Judean desert, shopping, two nights at a spa, a tribute to Maimonides in his 800th yahrtzeit year, a meal with IDF personnel and tickets to the opening ceremonies of the Maccabi Games (the "Jewish Olympics"). Oh, and shopping — a big mitzvah for Israel's economy. Once again, Masorti Travel will be our tour agent, providing expert guide-educators and exceptional service and comfort. The trip is designed both to introduce newcomers to Israel and to give returning visitors new experiences, with a particular focus on Jerusalem and northward.

Our trip is not inexpensive because it includes group airfare from JFK, many meals, guides and transportation and fees for most experiences. Of course, I'd love to have you join us; full information will be available from our office by the time you read this issue of The Bulletin. Call or send me an e-mail at

But if the timing is wrong or the price is not right, you can still visit Israel. Extraordinary airfares are available to flexible travelers; hotels are still anxious for business, especially during slower times; tours can be booked from the U.S. or on the ground in Israel, with guides who must pass a rigorous two-year education. And if you are a high school or college student, or a willing volunteer, or interested in aliyah, then subsidized trips make a visit to Israel more affordable than two weeks at the beach or ski lodge.

Is it safe? Yes. Really? Really. Would I go myself?

I am. Join me.

PS — Get your passport renewed now!

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