charles-camera-final-week-100_22481054623_o  Flights North Americans fly to Israel!
charles-camera-final-week-298_22520090194_o  Arrival, Meeting, and Traveling South Arrival Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel.

*  Meet Israeli participants and Nesiya staff. Load bus and travel to Park Canada for opening activities.

*  Travel south to Har Ha’Negev Field School, overlooking Ramon Crater, the world’s largest natural crater, also known as the “Grand Canyon of Israel.”

*  Room lottery and settling in at Har Ha’Negev. Greetings and Welcome.

*  Orientation to the Nesiya journey: Getting to know each other, “our culture,” rules, and structure.

Introduction to the Negev Unit: “Creatures, Craters, and Creators”

14771364927_c8e63804f8_o  Reaching for the Beyond

*  Lech L’cha – Arts and text workshops exploring Abraham’s journey to the Negev.

*  To the desert: drive down to Midbar Tzin. Beginning of the “Noded” experience, a “wandering camp in the desert” led by an expert nature guide and the staff. The Noded includes: hiking, cooking, and camping out, familiarization with the natural environment, journal writing and creative arts.

*  Dinner and bonfire. Sleep-out on desert floor.

1714704  The Desert as “Hefker” (ownerless)

*  Sunrise hike followed by a full day of outdoor activities and a drama/text workshop in the desert.

*  Explore the theme of “Manna in the Desert.”

*  Dinner and sleep out on the desert floor.



14977292965_cfc54838f7_o  Becoming Like the Desert

*  Conclude Noded wandering camp, including sunrise hike, returning to the Har Ha’Negev Field School before lunch.

*  Lunch, showers, and rest.

*  Visit and exploration in the development town Mitzpe Ramon, examining the role of its immigrant communities in the history and current fabric of Israeli society.

*  Buy-Your-Own-Dinner in Mitzpe Ramon.

14790759147_b0d3b6bc8a_o  Sharing Shabbat

*  Shabbat workshop – exploring meanings of Shabbat and different ways of celebrating it.

*  Staff and participants prepare for Shabbat together.

*  Personal preparations for Shabbat.

*  Pre-Shabbat activity and candle lighting to welcome Shabbat together.

*  Participants choose prayer options or alternative activities.

*  Shabbat dinner and optional singing.

14757513317_ab946cf11b_o  Shabbat in the Desert

*  Shabbat morning options, including synagogues in Mitzpe Ramon. Group Kiddush and activity at base.

*  Activity: “My relationship to Text” – an exploration of the diverse approaches to Biblical text that exist in Judaism withini our group.

*  Havdalah (conclusion of Shabbat and welcoming the new week).

*  Evening activity: “Cafe Bereshit,” a student-led fun activity

Introduction to arts workshops

  Arts Workshops – Journeys in the Desert

*  Program Committees: Introduction to program themes and preparation time for upcoming participant-lead programs.

*  Choice of several arts workshops exploring the theme of Journeys and Place. Possible options include: creative writing, visual arts, drama, music, and/or movement.

*  Personal stories of arts educators, introducing themselves and their work.

  A Desert ‘Happening’

*  Continuation of arts workshops.

*  Workshop presentations to the whole group.

*  Group meeting, and preparations to travel North.




  To Conquer or Be Conquered

*  Responses to the desert: Judaism and Zionism

*  Visit to the grave of David Ben-Gurion in Sde Boker, and creative activity exploring Ben-Gurion’s vision for the desert. Closing activity to the Negev unit.

*  Travel North to the Kinneret Sea (Sea of Galilee). Swim and barbeque on the shores of the Kinneret a retreat site.

*  Sleep out on the shores of the Kinneret.


  In the Footsteps of Pioneers

*  Introduction to the Galil Unit: “Searching for a Shared Purpose in History” – setting up a model to explore Jewish community throughout history.

*  Visit to Chavat Kinneret, one of the first kibbutzim in Israel, and iste of the cemetery where early pioneers and Zionist visionaries, including Rachel, the well-known Zionist poetess, are buried.

*  Visit to an active Kibbutz, where the group will meet with current residents and hear about the changing role of the Kibbutz in Israeli society today.

*  Creative activity: “My Community.”

*  Sleep at Pekiin base in the Galilee, in the north of Israel.

  In the Footsteps of the Rabbis

*  Introduction to the Rabbis of the Mishna and the Talmud.

*  Visit and tour of Tzippori, archeological site of Rabbinic and Roman communities, including an amphitheater, a Roman villa and synagogue ruins with depictions of the zodiac signs.

*  Guided tour of historical Tsfat, learning about the mystical community of the 16th century, and visits to ancient synagogues.

*  Visit with Kabbalistic artist, Avraham Loewenthal in his studio.

*  Supervised shopping time and “Buy-Your-Own-Dinner” in Tsfat’s Artist Colony.

*  Sleep at Pekiin base in the Galilee, in the north of Israel.

  Here on the Face of the Earth

*  Short hike in Galilee region. Swimming in waterfalls and natural pools of the Northern Galilee.

*  Personal and group presentations for Shabbat.

*  Pre-Kabbalat Shabbat and candle lighting. Prayer options and other alternatives in the Old City. Shabbat dinner and optional singing.


  Creativity and Spirituality in Community

*  Shabbat morning options and Kiddush.

*  Creative study of the story of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who escaped the Roman persecution by living in a cave for twelve years.

*  Shabbat lunch and rest time.

*  Introduction to Kabbalah – Jewish Mysticism. Discussion of key historical and contemporary figures in the Kabbalah movement. Study of Kabbalah movement and the ways it dealt with destruction.


Introduction to the community service that will take place on Sunday and Monday.

  Community Service in the Galilee: Realities of Israeli Society

*  The group will travel to two-day community service projects in the north of Israel, where they will work on an environmental art project with children at a special facility for children from troubled families. During these two days, each group will work in the mornings and enjoy a number of recreational and educational activities. The project will end with a community celebration.

*  Reading of the play “Leil Ha’esrim – Night of the Twentieth,” about a group of young people in the third Aliyah who are about to settle in the Galilee, and their attempt to build a new kind of Jewish community.

*  Travel to area of community service site. Getting to know the site, the staff, and the children. Begin working on community service project.

Settle into new base of Yemin Orde, a boarding school for new immigrants teens, primarily from Ethiopia and the Former Soviet Union.

  Community Service Project

*  Continue and complete work on the community service project.

*  Closing ceremony and goodbyes.

*  Sunset swim in the Mediterranean and return to Yemin Orde base.

  Diversity of Jewish Life

*  Drama workshop based on the “Leil HaEsrim – The Night of the Twentieth” – exploring the conflicts rising within a group of young pioneers, and the connections between their experience and our experiences today.

*  Activity exploring the diversity of Jewish life and Jewish denominational movements in North America.

*  Sleep in Hermon Field School in the Northern Galilee.

  New Frontiers & Borders and Sovereignty

*  Visit Gamla, a beautiful region featuring a 1st century ruin known as the “Masada of the North.”

*  Visit to Har Ben Tal; lookout over the borders of Israel with Syria and Lebanon. Discussion of military and political history of the region.

*  Participant-led-activity exploring different viewpoints regarding the political issues in the Golan Heights.

*  Signup for one-day arts workshops and group meeting/creative evening activity together with the artists.

  Arts Workshops – The Individual and the Community 

*  Choice of several arts workshops exploring the theme of “Individual and Community.” Possible options include: creative writing, visual arts, digital arts, drama, music, and movement.

*  Workshop presentations to the whole group.

*  Preparation for the home hospitality weekend.




  Israeli Home Hospitality Weekend

*  Depart on Friday morning for Israeli Home Hospitality Weekend with Israeli participants or to visit family and friends. (Nesiya will make transportation arrangements with families, according to specified program rules and safety procedures.)



  Israeli Home Hospitality Weekend

*  Depart on Friday morning for Israeli Home Hospitality Weekend with Israeli participants or to visit family and friends. (Nesiya will make transportation arrangements with families, according to specified program rules and safety procedures.)

*  Introduction to Kabbalah – Jewish Mysticism. Discussion of key historical and contemporary figures in the Kabbalah movement. Study of Kabbalah movement and the ways it dealt with destruction.

*  Havdalah

Introduction to the community service that will take place on Sunday and Monday.

  Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Unit “Taking Place: The Struggle for Renewal in Judaism and Israel Today”

Tel Aviv – Building a Hebrew City

*  Return from Home Hospitality Weekend.

*  Introduction to Tel Aviv – its history and place in contemporary Israeli society and culture. Exploration of Neve Tzedek, the first Hebrew neighborhood of Tel Aviv.

*  Swimming in the Mediterranean

*  Drive to Jerusalem and settle into new base at Beit Shmuel, overlooking the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

  Center of Modern Israeli Culture

*  Drive to Tel Aviv. Visit Tel Aviv Art Museum.

*  Visit Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, where the Israeli Deceleration of Independence was signed.

*  Free time to explore and “Buy-Your-Own-Lunch” on Shenkin Street.

*  Tour of South Tel Aviv, and discussion of social justice issues with BINA: Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture.

*  Return to Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem

  The Search for Sacred Space

*  Visiting the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel: workshop and guided tour on “Holy Place.” What is holy? How is this place holy to all relgions? What makes it holy? How is it different for someone who lives in Israel compared to someone who lives abroad?

*  “Sulam Yaakov” text study, exploring the meaning of a Holy Place.


  Mapping out the Israeli-Arab Conflict

*  Interactive tour and seminar exploring the historical background and current conflict between Arabs and Jews in the land of Israel.

*  Visit to sites from battles during the 1948 and 1967 wars that took place throughout Jerusalem.

*  Concluding discussion

  Loss, Memory, and Commemoration 

*  Visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum and memorial. What are the cultural symbols and stories that shape Israel today?

*  Visit to Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

*  Walking tours in small groups through Jerusalem’s diverse neighborhoods including opportunities to speak with residents.

  Intro to Charedim

*  Participant led activity introducing the Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) community.

*  Tour and discuss with the ultra-Orthodox Hassidic Jews at the Belz Great Synagogue.

*  Pre-Kabbalat candle lighting. Prayer options at a wide range of Jerusalem synagogues, including Sephardic, Orthodox, Reform, Carlebach, Conservative, progressive Orthodox and others.

*  Dinner and optional singing.

  Conflicting Visions

*  Shabbat morning prayer and activity options. Festive Kiddush.

*  Creative study and discussion exploring different and conflicting visions towards the land, people, state, religion, and culture of Israel.

*  Shabbat lunch. Rest time at base.

*  Havdalah and participant-led activity.

  Perspectives on the Israeli-Arab Conflict

*  Talk and debate with activists and politicians from across the political spectrum on the topic of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Visits to relevant sites in the Jerusalem area.

*  Evening concert with a popular Israeli musician.


  Departing Jerusalem

*  Walking tour of Har Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery, and burial place of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

*  Closing activity to the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv unit. Drive south to Masada.

*  Sleep out at base of Masada.


  Judean Desert Unit – “Creativity and Beliefs” – Personal Projects

*  Over the next three days, participants will develop and present a personal project that explores a question, theme or issue that arose during their experience in Israel. Participants work with their counselor and arts educators in one or more media, including paint, sculpture, drama, creative writing, music, movement, etc.

Masada – Myths and Memories

*  Sunrise hike up Masada and tour of site. Lunch at base of the mountain.

*  Drive to Ein Gedi, in the Judean desert.

*  Settle into Ein Gedi Field School overlooking the Dead Sea.

*  Rest time, and opening workshop for personal projects.

  Reflecting and Relaxing

*  Optional swim in the Dead Sea. Work on personal projects in consultation with artists, counselor-educators and peers.

*  Going home: beginning the process of transitioning into life back at home.





  Presenting our Projects 

*  Optional hike in the Ein Gedi nature reserve, with visit to waterfall. Continue work on projects.

*  Presentations of personal projects. Each participant will share his project with the group, and receive feedback, comments and questions.





  Shabbat in Ein Gedi

*  Finish presentations.

*  Shabbat committees and personal time to prepare for Shabbat.

*  Pre-Kabbalat Shabbat and candle lighting. Prayer and alternative options.

*  Festive Shabbat dinner and singing.


  Looking Ahead

*  Shabbat morning options. Kiddush and Parshat haShavuah activity.

*  Shabbat lunch and free time.

*  Creative study: Wrestling with an Angel – How do we take this journey with us?

*  Shabbat lunch. Rest time at base.

*  Havdalah and participant-led activity.

  Saying Goodbye

*  Completion of program evaluations.

*  Pack, and drive to Jerusalem Forest for closing ceremonies.

*  Kehillah closing circles and festive final meal.

*  Drive to airport for flight to New York.

  Going Home

*  Flight out to New York.





Nesiya tova! (Have a good journey!)

Apply Now!