Think you have been there before?

These are not your typical Israeli tourist stops. This journey is a fresh, unique peek into Israel's unconventional, off-the-beaten path locales—no luggage or passport required.

 

Join the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati on an Israeli adventure—without ever leaving your living room. Our private tour guide has curated a bevy of cultural experiences that will take us along the Israel Trail, beginning in the south and winding our way north over the course of six monthly experiences. Soak in the sounds of local musicians, explore archeological sites, take in some of Israel's most breathtaking landscapes, and see the Start-Up Nation's brightest innovators.
 

Don't forget the souvenirs! Complete four or more experiences on this journey, and we will deliver an assortment of gifts and goods from each stop on our trip, hand selected by our tour guide.

Tour Itinerary

All tours will take place on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. on Zoom and will last approximately an hour and fifteen minutes. You can find resources for each tour here.

 

DAY 1 | June 6


Our group will meet at Ben Gurion Airport, where we will take a flight south over the machteshim to Ilan Ramon Airport. After snorkeling in the Red Sea, we will travel to the Aravah Institute in Ketura, where we will meet one of its scholars. Next, we will visit an artist colony in Zukim and meet the inspiring Noa Zer. Then we will hop on a Jeep to Mount Carcom, a unique archeological site that was recognized by the Vatican as Mount Sinai. We will end our day enjoying a traditional Moroccan dinner, prepared by the “Cooking Ladies” of Yerucham. 

 

DAY 2 | July 11


We will start our day enjoying a traditional Beduine breakfast at Beresheet Apple Farm in the Golan Heights, made with local organic ingredients, including camel milk products. Then we will make an inspiring stop at the SodaStream plant, where Dani Birnbaum, who spent time living in Cincinnati, will show us around. After a hike from Ein Gedi National Park to the ancient synagogue and archaeological riddle around it, we will go sailing on the Dead Sea and learn about its environmental challenges. We will wind down with a visit to the Persimmon Rach, where its founder, Guy Erlich, will tell us about the local biblical medical herbs and perfume plants. 

 

DAY 3 | August 22


Our first stop will be a mandatory visit to the Kotel (Western Wall) through the lens of the COVID-19 crisis. Then we will meet with MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the first Reform Rabbi in the Israeli Parliament. We will visit the Agricultural Research Organization - Volcani Institute, where COO Tali Gottlieb will us how the institute provides research opportunities for local and international researchers in agricultural fields. After arriving in Tel Aviv, we will visit two social enterprises: Kuchineta, an artist collective promoting women refugees from Africa, and A Tree in the City, promoting urban ecology and climate resilience.

 

DAY 4 | September 12

 
Heading north, we will meet the entrepreneurs of the start-up company Electrion that develops “intelligent roads” for self-charging of electric cars. Along the Israel Trail from Zichron Yaacov, we will meet the Bet El Christian community and Jasar-a-Zarka. In this Arab village, we will learn about local social projects as well as the ancient history of the water system to Caesarea. Next, we will visit the Peace Valley and HaShofet Stream, a beautiful nature hike. There, we will learn about the Lotem project of accessible trails, supported by the Cincinnati JNF chapter. We will end our day in Afula, the capital of Jesarel Valley, for a joint activity with the local artist community, one of Tarbut Movement groups.

 
DAY 5 | November 14


We will begin by heading further north to the Western Galilee, where we will see Acre, the secret face of this Arab-Jewish ancient and modern city. Our stop will include visiting the Baha'i Gardens of Acre and the Tunisian synagogue. We will meet with Michal Shiloach, CEO of the Western Galilee Now Initiative for regional economic and touristic development, as well as Kathy Raff, one of the founders of Al Farsha (butterfly) House for women. Next up is a graffiti tour on the border with Lebanon. Along the way, we will see several local wineries and dairy farms and hear their unique stories.

 

DAY 6 | December 19


We will begin the last day of our journey together hearing our tour guide Karmit’s personal story about the Singing across the Borders Initiative. We will then meet Dror, the founder and CEO of Hargol, an Israeli Kosher food tech grasshopper farm. Afterwards, we head to the Tel Dan archeological site from the King David era. We will stop at the Solarium Gallery Café, a special place for talented people with special needs. To end our journey, we will enjoy a farewell dinner in the Druze village of Magdal Shams—the highest village in Israel.

MEET OUR TOUR GUIDE:

Karmit Arbel

 

Karmit is a professional tour guide and lecturer for teachers throughout Israel who are training on sustainability. She was born and raised in Israel and started leading hiking tours in 1997. She began guiding foreign tourists in 2011 and specializes in sharing Israel’s “hidden gems”—spots found off the beaten tourist path. During her graduate studies in Genetic Ecology at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, she founded and managed Dimona's Cinemateque. Karmit lives with her husband and two kids in Matat, a tiny village up in the mountains near the border with Lebanon.