OU to Offer Wide Array of Tours Prior to Biennial
National Convention in Jerusalem at Thanksgiving
Even before the official beginning of the Orthodox Union Biennial National Convention in Israel, to be held Thanksgiving weekend, Wednesday, November 22-Sunday, November 26 in Jerusalem, participants will have the opportunity to explore Israel’s history and geography from a Torah perspective through a series of eight moderately priced tours led by experts, including OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb.
The tours will run from Monday, November 20, to Wednesday, prior to the Convention’s opening session, that evening. All tours are in the daytime and include a light lunch. Tours are on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to full convention participants, subject to slight program changes. All tours will be offered on multiple days, to provide flexibility in scheduling for participants. The cost of each trip is $50 per person.
Tours descriptions follow:
The Blooming Desert
Our first desert stop is Ein Prat, a beautiful oasis. From there, we will drive through Maale Adumim, an expanding, first-of-its-kind city in Binyamin, where we will meet the mayor of Maale Adumim, Benny Kashriel and enjoy a presentation by children in the OU Israel Center’s Makom Balev program. We will make a brief stop at the archeological site of the community of the Second Temple period sect, the Essenes. During lunch, we will meet with “Avraham Avinu” as we enjoy “Eretz Breishit” (weather permitting). Looking out over the desert, we will come to understand its geology and geography, and learn about Arvot Moav and Jericho. We will continue to P’til T’echelet for a fascinating modern look at the ancient mitzvah of creating the dye for tzizit.
The day begins with davening at the Ma’arat Hamachpela, followed by a tour of Jewish Hebron and an opportunity to shop in the local Judaica store. We will then travel to Gush Etzion for lunch in the new yekev (wine distillery), followed by a visit to the Sound and Light show in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, which movingly portrays the story of the fall of Gush Etzion in the War of Independence. We will learn about the OU’s future role in developing this strategic part of Israel.
Into the Crater, Down South
Beginning our day in Be’er Sheva, city of Avraham Avinu, we will visit the famous wells. Continuing on to the Great Crater, we will travel off-road by jeep to the bottom, where we will enjoy a BBQ lunch. Then we will explore this geological wonder with some hiking before returning to Jerusalem. Note: Jeep rides are not recommended for pregnant women, those with back problems, or the elderly.
Remembering the Martyrs
With scholar-in-residence Rabbi Weinreb leading the way, we will explore and experience Yad Vashem’s new museum from a unique perspective. A decade in the making, it combines the best of Yad Vashem’s expertise, resources and state-of-the-art exhibits, emphasizing the experiences of individual victims through original artifacts and survivor testimonies. At the end of the museum’s historical narrative is the Hall of Names, a repository for the Pages of Testimony of millions of Holocaust victims. We will learn how to help complete this important project.
Ruth And Naomi in the Fields Of Bethlehem (For Women Only)
This is the fourth epic musical production created and performed by the famed Efrat/Gush Etzion Raise Your Spirits Stock Company. The new show, based faithfully on Megillat Ruth, tells the story of the trials, tragedies and eventual triumph of two heroic women. Raise Your Spirits has been performed for more than 25,000 women from all over Israel, including a command performance for the Women’s Caucus in Israel’s Knesset. Ruth and Naomi in the Fields of Bethlehem was written by the team of Arlene Chertoff, Toby Klein Greenwald and Sharon Katz. Mitch Clyman composed the music.
Re-enact the story of David and Goliath as we visit the Ayalon Valley, standing “between the mountains.” We will enjoy lunch with the Bet Shemesh Makom Balev program and gain first-hand insight into Israel’s premier kiruv (outreach) program. Finally, we will perhaps find the next set of Dead Sea scrolls as we take part in an archeological dig (we will get dirty). Note: This tour involves some strenuous physical activity; it is not recommended for those who may be unable to handle it.
Days of Thunder
Learn how Israel keeps “Clear Skies” with a visit to an Israel Air Force Base where we will receive a “Pilot’s Briefing” in the ready room. We will meet with some of Israel’s military elite over lunch as we learn about the Lichyot Beyachad program. Finally, we will visit the new community of Nitzan (made up entirely of evacuees) and show our support to Israel’s finest. Please note that there are restrictions on use of digital and video cameras; we must respect these guidelines for the protection of Israel’s pilots.
Visit the Etzel Museum on Israel’s Tel Aviv coastline and meet with a member of the Irgun as we relive the challenges of Israel’s founding years. Experience the Kehillot Yisrael program in Ramat Hasharon—the most secular city in Israel today, with not a single synagogue within its limits. As we enjoy lunch, we will learn how this unique kiruv program is slowly changing the face of Israel. To complete the day, we will travel to the “new” ancient secular site of Caesarea and explore the ancient Roman city, learning about the martyr’s death of Rabbi Akiva exactly where it happened.
Click here for full convention and tour information and registration, or call Miriam Ganz, (212) 613-8198 for registration assistance, or Frank Buchweitz, (212) 613-8188 regarding any convention (including tours) questions and information. A $100 early bird discount is still in effect.