Results for category "Kids in Israel"

Jerusalem Day – Yom Yerushalayim

Jerusalem Liberation Day

 

Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel

Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel | Photo: Isaac Shweky Courtesy of פיקיוויקי

Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day, is an Israeli national holiday commemorating and celebrating the June 1967 reunification of Jerusalem and the liberation of its “Old City”. In honor of Jerusalem Liberation Day, we have put together some suggestions for enjoyable and meaningful activities, great for the entire family.

Ammunition Hill and Mount Scopus – Jerusalem, Israel

Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, Israel
Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, Israel | Photo: ד”ר אבישי טייכר | Courtesy of PikiWiki

The British built the Police Academy and Ammunition Hill to consolidate their hold on the country during the British mandate period, from 1920-1948. During the War of Independence In 1948, the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem and the region was divided (until the Six Day War on June 5, 1967). The nearby Mount Scopus remained as an enclave within the Jordanian territory, controlled by Israel after the War of Independence. The Jordanians built a military outpost at the Academy and at Ammunition Hill; one of three outposts built along the road to Mount Scopus.

On June 5, 1967, at the outset of the Six Day War, it was decided by the IDF to take back the north of Jerusalem, including the Jordanian outposts and the road to Mount Scopus, which included Ammunition Hill.

The battle was tough and valiant and cost the lives of many fallen soldiers. The IDF had to disconnect the Jordanians from three Jordanian outposts in order to conquer back and liberate northern Jerusalem. The IDF forces were formed by the Jerusalem Brigade and the Armored Division of Harel. In addition, the paratroopers joined to fight and take back the northern city and the Old City of Jerusalem.

After the liberation of the city of Jerusalem, the IDF cleared mines laid by the Jordanian along the border. New neighborhoods were built on the rocky hills such as Mivtar Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Neve Yaakov and Ramot.

 The Ammunition Hill Memorial Museum

Ammunition Hill Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Ammunition Hill Museum, Jerusalem, Israel| Photo: ד”ר אבישי טייכר | Courtesy of PikiWiki

Several year later, a museum was built at Ammunition Hill in memory of the fallen soldiers who bravely fought for the liberation of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. The site commemorates this miraculous event. The site also commemorates the unpublished writings, poems, pictures and songs left behind by the fallen soldiers which were published after their passing.

The Museum displays a Memorial Wall Monument to the fallen soldiers, as well as documentary videos and photos. There is even a tour of the location and its trenches. Verdant, lush, green manicured lawns surround the museum. Fascinating guided tours are provided. This is highly recommended to those who want to learn about the legacy of the 1967 war in Jerusalem.

Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus:

Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus is associated with the Medical School of Hebrew University – one of the most advanced academic institutions in the world. The Mount Scopus hospital is currently one of the largest and most modern hospitals in Israel. The hospital is part of the Hadassah women’s organization. The site has a great observation point with views of the Mount of Olives, the Old City and the Dead Sea.

Amphitheater Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel
Amphitheater Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel| Photo: ד”ר אבישי טייכר | Courtesy of PikiWiki

 These are sites which can be visited throughout the year. (They’re not just for Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim!) They are important parts of the “Israel experience” and an interesting and important source of information for anyone who wants to better understand the history of the State of Israel.

 

About NES Mobile

NES Mobile has communication solutions for anyone visiting Israel. NES Mobile can meet your needs when you visit Israel for phones and/or SIM cards to internet access: Data packages for your phone(s) and/or modems to connect your laptops and/or tablets.

 

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Bar Mitzvah Trip to Israel

Celebrating a Bat or Bar Mitzvah in Israel

Celebrate a Bar Mitzvah trip in Israel at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Courtesy of: goisrael.com

A Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah is a seminal event in the life of Jewish adolescents, and a Bar Mitzvah trip to Israel is an ideal way to celebrate it. The transition from childhood to adulthood is celebrated as festive Jewish tradition. In recent years, many Jewish families from all denominations, tend to add more ideological content to the event, as opposed to showcasing superficial parties that have little or nothing to do with the wisdom and responsibility associated with this special event. Instead, the youngsters celebrate their tradition, heritage and history with their families in a more meaningful way. This value is amplified when the event takes place in Israel. There is no more significant way to celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah than on a trip to the Land of Israel; witnessing firsthand, its landscapes and breathtaking sites.

Themes of Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah Trip to Israel

A journey to Israel is a symbolic way of marking the transition from childhood to adulthood;  the landscapes of Israel strengthening ties with our homeland and heritage. A Bar Mitzvah trip to Israel can be designed and customized in so many ways, depending on the interests of the family and the adolescents celebrating this very important rite of passage. For example, the journey in Israel can be:

A Bible Tour 

Having the Bible stories that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah youth have learned or read about come to life is a feeling not to be missed! The firsthand experience of walking in the paths of their forefathers  allows them to connect to the history of their people and their land – here and now and in the future.

Historically oriented

Both from the Bible perspective and Modern Israeli History. For the Bar Mitzvah boy or Bat Mitzvah girl who is interested in Jewish history, witnessing Israel ‘s history and major events in the past, through a visit to Masada, Jerusalem or Latrun can be the highlight of the trip.

Adrenaline Challenged

Celebrate a Bat Mitzvah trip in Israel, bonding with your family and hiking around Israel.

Courtesy of: www.BMjourney.com

Find physical  stimulation and excitement with an adrenaline rush: There is rappelling, rock climbing, hang-gliding, zip lining, hiking, scuba diving, ATV riding, horseback riding, camel riding, sailing, surfing, rafting, etc.

Special Projects

Special projects can be prepared in advance by the Bat Mitzvah girl or Bar Mitzvah boywith their parents or independently. They can meet special women and men in Israel. The Bat Mitzvah girl or Bar Mitzvah boy can interview them and film the interviews. War heroes and heroines, leaders in education or social activities, etc. For example, one can create a special itinerary for a Bat Mitzvah girl which combines a tour of places in Israel, following the paths of special women of the Bible such as the prophetess Deborah, or more modern heroines, such as Chana Senesh.

Mother and daughter bonding on a Bat Mitzvah trip in Israel.

Courtesy of: www.BMjourney.com

Family Genealogy

Itineraries can be built around a central idea connected to their family’s history or specific family ancestor(s).

Intellectual Challenges

If you’re looking for intellectual challenges, the entire trip can be built around challenging riddles. For the competitive ones, it can be done in the format of a Treasure Hunt or a competition in the style of the Amazing Race between groups.

 

A Culinary Journey

A Culinary Journey could be ideal for families who enjoy cooking (and eating!). Visiting various sites in Israel focusing on Mediterranean cuisine and of course, sampling an assortment of Israeli restaurants.

 

There are many variations, but virtually all Bar/Bat Mitzvah trips to Israel typically include visits to one or both of the following sites:

  1. The Western Wall
  2. Masada

Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel – The Western Wall

Kotel- The Western Wailing Wall is an ideal place to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah on a trip to Israel.

Photo: Noam Chen – curtesy : goisrael.com

Every Jewish boy who reaches the age of 13 or a girl reaches the age of 12 celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah with family and friends. According to Jewish tradition, becoming a man is celebrated by being called to the Torah where he accepts upon himself the yoke of the commandments of the Jewish religion.

The Western Wall, is the second holiest place of worship for the Jewish nation after the Temple Mount. The Wall is a section of the Western Wall that surrounded the Temple and the Temple courtyard in ancient times, over two thousand years ago.

Many families choose to have the ceremony at the western walls as the highlight of  their  Bar Mitzvah trip to Israel. The Bar Mitzvah ceremony itself often takes place at the Western Wall for both religious and non-religious Jews alike. (Many choose to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah at Masada as well – see below). Such an event is emotional and empowering. The nature of this once-in-a-lifetime experience enables the Bar Mitzvah boy, his family and guests to connect to the roots of the Jewish people, as well as experience the sanctity of the holy place and the occasion.  The Western Wall is a place of historical and religious value that connects the Bar Mitzvah boy to thousands of generations of tradition and history of the Jewish people.

Celebrating the Aliyah LaTorah – Being Called to the Torah – at the Western Wall for a Bar Mitzvah is recommended on Mondays and Thursdays in the mornings, when the Torah is read and Torah scrolls are available to read from. In general, you do not have to reserve a Torah in advance, but it is advisable to arrange it in advance with your guide ensuring that the Torah will be available. If you need assistance for a guide who can arrange such an event, please contact us and we can make introductions to great Israeli guides.

Tips for a Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel – Western Wall:

  • Plan the day, not just the morning event. The Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel will take place in the morning (usually prayers end no later than 9:30 AM). You then need to arrange meals and activities for your guests.
  • Hire a Guide for the day – If you need assistance to find a guide who can arrange such an event, please contact us and we would be happy to recommend some great Israeli guides who specialize in such activities.
  • Plan the event in advance, arrange transportation, drinks, meals, etc. Bring your own prayer shawls (Talit) and of course don’t forget the Tefillin (although, there’s usually a stand at the entrance that provides them for those who need it). Such arrangements can be made at the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
  • Take your time, the Kotel can be busy at times and the security lines can take a bit of time. Be patient and plan a time buffer, just in case.
  • Remember to bring cameras to record the event. You can also Skype the event – live – to those relatives who could not come to Israel, using NES Mobile’s Unlimited Data plan for tourists.
  • It is recommended to enter through the Dung Gate as it is the nearest place to the Kotel where a bus can bring the passengers.
  • Some families plan a lively colorful procession of a team of drummers and Shofar that seem to get a smile and lots of attention from tourists and Israelis alike. They accompany the family friends all the way to the Wall.

Bar Mitzvah at Masada

The historic fortress of Masada, located at an altitude of 450 meters above the Dead Sea, has magical desert landscapes and fresh air. It is worth timing your visit so you don’t miss the sunrise or

Celebrate your Israel Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah trip at Masada.

Masada- photo credit: Andrew Shiva

sunset. It is undoubtedly one of the most unique and exciting sites in the world and it can hold a wide variety of private events for any purpose, including unforgettable Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

To celebrate a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Masada, it is advisable to learn the history of the place, to better connect to it. Keep in mind that there are a couple of theories. While virtually all historians believe that there was a great battle and a brave resistance and defiance of the Roman Empire, many tend to doubt the mass suicide narrative.

When you celebrate such an event, you can connect to the astonishing account that happened at Masada and teach the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and your guests a lesson of heroism and sacrifice . It’s also a great chance to teach them that reaching the age of 12 or 13 is more reaching a certain age – it comes with rights as well as obligations. Of course, any event at Masada is an experience in and of  itself, which will never be forgotten.

General Tips for the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah Trip to Israel:

  • Plan ahead and save money.
  • Hire a guide in Israel who can plan and orchestrate the trip. Be sure to check that the guide is licensed by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
  • Combine several areas of interest remembering to put the boy or girl who is celebrating in the center of the celebration and the trip you plan.
  • Incorporate the Torah portion of the Bar Mitzvah reading during the trip incorporating it into the Israel trip and the ceremony as part of the journey.
  • Book in advance and SAVE money. The same applies to many of the attractions and hotels. Don’t forget to order SIM cards or rent Israeli phones ahead of your trip to avoid high roaming charges.
  • Accommodate participants and make sure they are well prepared for the trip with required equipment, keeping in mind the weather conditions and the level of difficulty of the trip or trails. Some trails may have a high level of difficultly.
  • Relax – allow family members and participant travelers some down-time, and give them the chance to fill the time with their own their own interests and activities.
  • Work with your guide to arrange transportation in advance. Be sure to ensure the quality of the bus, in terms of comfortable seats, air conditioning, etc. so that everything is up to par. You might find some very cheap offers from certain bus companies, which do not meet the standards. Make sure you use a reputable licensed guide who will plan accordingly.
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Deer in the Golan?

P1020176Strange as it sounds, there is a small deer forest in the Golan, created by a member of Moshav Odem, who imported deer to create a tourist attraction aimed at children. A guided tour of the forest reveals the difference between different types of deer and the Jewish connection of some of them. Some of the deer roam free while others are behind fences, but can be touched and fed.

In addition to the deer, the park offers activities for children. Small animals such as baby goats, rabbits, chicks and guinea pigs are available for petting. Pedal “cars” can be driven around a track and trampolines are set up for jumping and flipping. “Tubing” down a dry slide is particularly fun, although small kids will need help dragging the tube up to the top. Little kids will love the obstacle course leading to a small zip line and the pony rides.

P1020159Moshav Odem is located pretty far north, so a visit to the deer forest can be combined with visits to Metullah, the Hermon and Kiryat Shemonah. In the summer, camping in the forest can be a fun experience. This area is very cold and windy (not the usual Israel weather) so camping should only be considered on hot days.

The deer forest website is in Hebrew and includes a video showing the various activities at the site.

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Ice City, Jerusalem

ice-cityTake a Ride Around the World

The weather hasn’t decided yet what season we’re in, but if you love winter wonderlands, Israel and fun, you’re in luck!

Jerusalem is hosting Ir HaKerach- “Ice City”- for the second year. Back by popular demand, the exhibit opened on February 20th and will remain open to the public until April 30th- a great activity for chol hamoed Pesach, or any day.

Created by a group of expert ice artisans brought in from China, the beautiful ice sculptures will transport you from the Far East to under the sea to the Age of Dinosaurs! With slides, gentle music and even an ice maze, this exhibit is an excellent place to bring kids of all ages (there’s even a bar made of ice for the kids over 18). Before or after you explore, you can go ice skating or see an amazing show performed by a troupe of more than 20 acrobats and dancers on ice.

If you’re interested in only one part of Ir HaKerach, you can purchase admission to each separately or buy a bundled admission for all three.

Whichever you choose, make sure you dress warmly!

More info and how to purchase tickets in advance can be found here: http://www.gojerusalem.com/discover/item_13730/Ice-City-International-Ice-Festival-in-Jerusalem

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Zoos, Aquariums and Petting Zoos in Israel

Zoos in Israel - Ramat Gan Safari

Ramat Gan Safari

Traveling with children? Just love animals? Israel is home to numerous zoos, aquariums and petting zoos spread around the country.

The most famous of Israel’s zoos is the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. The zoo focuses on preserving rare species and prominently features animals indigenous to the Land of Israel, especially those mentioned in the Bible. The zoo’s Noah’s Ark Visitors Center features a film about animal conservation. A children’s playground and petting zoo are a perfect place to take a break in the middle of your visit. When walking becomes difficult, hop on the train which rides around the zoo.

The Safari in Ramat Gan is a great way to meet animals in their natural habitats. The African park features zebras, wildebeest, hippos and rhinos etc. roaming the grounds freely. Visitors can drive through in private vehicles, on a bus, or with a train tour. The main section of the zoo is home to many species of birds, mammals and reptiles. Animal feedings take place at various times throughout the day. The safari tour ends with a drive through the lions’ habitat, and back through the African park.

Visitors to Eilat will not want to miss the Underwater Observatory. A glass-bottomed boat tour of the Red Sea lets you see the tropical fish swimming about. The aquarium features fish, sharks and sea turtles swimming in large tanks.

The Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve educates about animal conservation in the north of Israel. Wild sheep, wild goats, fallow deer, roe deer, Griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, and Bonelli`s eagle are all bred at the wildlife preserve. The goal is to release them into the wild. Guided tours are available and it is recommended that you check that the reserve is open before planning a visit.

Some zoos are dedicated to one species, such as the Monkey Park in the Ben Shemen forest near Modiin. This park is a sanctuary for primates. All visits are with a guided tour by a staff member. Gan Guru is a park dedicated to Australian animals, such as kangaroos and koalas. The kangaroos can be petted and fed. Hamat Gader, famous for its spa, also boasts one of the largest crocodile farms in the Middle East with approximately 200 crocodiles of various species.

A complete list of Israeli zoos can be found here.

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