Already registered for the program? Find your trip orientation manual here. These manuals contain a suggested packing list and other important travel information!
Two of our best loved summer experiences come together! You’ll get to discover Israel’s many treasures on a transformative journey, then settle into your camp home at CLTC to build your leadership skills, confidence, and friendships for a lifetime.
DESTINATION: Israel & PA
Jun 27 - Jul 30, 2023 Available
current grades CURRENT GRADES: 9-10
COMMUNITY SERVICE: ~6 Hours
DURATION: 35 Days
LAND COST (REGULAR PRICE): $7,920
Price after November 17, 2022
Airfare cost to and from Israel is not included in the land cost. Flight information will become available in the spring. Need-based scholarships are available.
This program is eligible for a $3,000 RootOne voucher. Find additional voucher details and requirements here.
- Accommodations (hotel, kibbutz, desert tent & camp bunk)
- All meals
- All programming
- Private transportation
- Security escort & monitoring
- Medical insurance
- Laundry service
- Gratuity for program staff
For the first time ever, two of our best loved and highest rated summer experiences are coming together! You’ll kick off your summer by exploring the country of Israel from the lush Golan region in the north to sunny Eilat in the south and everywhere in between. After getting to know the cultures and communities there, you’ll settle into your home at camp and build your own diverse community of friends ready to grow as leaders and have a blast together.
Great titles for your summer 2023 memoir:
- From Israel to PA: One Teen’s Journey of a Lifetime
- A BBYO Summer of Buddies, Buses, and Bunks
- Public Speaking and Spike Ball: The Summer I Learned it All
Questions about this program? We’re happy to answer them! Contact us. Families that are already registered for this experience should email [email protected] with any questions they have and someone from our customer service team will respond.
We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program will vary. A confirmed itinerary is distributed no later than two weeks prior to the start of the program.
DAY 1 | DEPARTURE FLIGHT
Meet your staff and teens at the airport before traveling together to Israel on an overnight flight. Once we land, your trip officially begins! We’ll break the ice with some fun and engaging activities so that you get to know everyone in the group. To learn more about how we organize travel to and from the program, click here.
DAY 2–3 | JERUSALEM
Our journey begins in Jerusalem. We’ll gather at the Haas Promenade—overlooking the unique topography of the city—for a Shehecheyanu blessing, which is a Jewish prayer said to celebrate special occasions. Walk along the ramparts of the Old City walls from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate, explore the ancient squares and rooftops of the Jewish Quarter, then reflect on your time in Jerusalem at the Kotel, also known as the Western Wall. Before departing, your group will splash through Hezekiah’s underground aqueduct deep beneath the city and enjoy a night out on Ben Yehuda Street, arguably the most famous street in Jerusalem.
DAY 4–9 | NORTHERN ISRAEL
Our adventure north to the Galilee region begins with a quick stop to explore the ancient city of Caesarea. Enjoy a day at the beach before crawling through the catacombs of Beit Shearim, where we’ll learn how the center of Jewish life shifted to the Galilee following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. The group will spend their first Shabbat in the Holy Land relaxing on a boat cruise across the Kinneret—or Sea of Galilee—and end the Sabbath with a group night in Tiberias.
Take a walking tour of the mystical Tsfat—the historic center of Judaism’s Kabbalah movement and Jewish life during the exile period—to see awe-inspiring works by Kabbalistic artists in the artists’ colony and hear their story about how the movement inspires their designs. After this, we’ll hike to the waterfalls of the Banias Nature Reserve and finish the day rafting down the Jordan River.
Get wet hiking down Nahal Jilaboun Canyon and step underneath the Devora Waterfalls in the Golan Heights. Encounter with Druze culture and share a traditional meal in the Golan village of Ein Kinya, then view Israel’s neighbors on the summit of Mount Bental, a dormant volcano. Learn the remarkable story about Israeli super-spy Eli Cohen from Mitzpe Gadot, a lookout point in the Golan.
Discover Israel's frontier pioneering history in the Galilee and view Israel's border with Jordan from Old Gesher, overlooking the Island of Peace and its complicated history. Continue south and view the Jezreel Valley from Mount Gilboa. Then, spend the rest of the afternoon swimming in the natural spring pools of the Sachne and learning about the Tower & Stockade tradition of the Galilee pioneers. We’ll travel to the Western Galilee—stopping to view Keshet Arch along the way—before descending to the ocean caves of Rosh HaNikra. Tour the Templars’ Tunnel that date back to Crusader times and immerse yourself in one of Israel’s most diverse communities, Akko. Spend the rest of the afternoon in Haifa and explore the beauty of the Bahai Temple Gardens on Mount Carmel.
DAY 10–12 | TEL AVIV
Travel to Tel Aviv and volunteer at the Jaffa Institute, an innovative charity dedicated to combating poverty in one of Israel's most diverse communities. Then, enjoy a traditional Ethiopian meal while learning about the cultural and historical experience of Ethiopian-Israelis at the Battae Center in Tel Aviv. We’ll spend the rest of the day touring old Jaffa Seaport and browsing the colorful Jaffa Flea Market.
Honor the bravery of the pioneers who helped establish modern Israel at Machon Ayalon, a secret underground ammunition facility. We’ll visit Netiv HaAsara on the frontier of Gaza to learn how this community has adapted to its surroundings while maintaining a hopeful outlook for peace. After that, surf’s up on the Mediterranean Coast as we enjoy a surfing lesson at Palmachim Beach. We’ll welcome our second Shabbat with a joyous, musical experience and spend the rest of the Sabbath relaxing in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
DAY 13–15 | CENTRAL ISRAEL
Take part in an archaeological dig with the professionals at Beit Guvrin National Park and explore the impressive natural wonder of the Bell Caves. Spend some time learning about David Ben Gurion—Israel’s first prime minister—in Sde Boker at his modest desert hut. We’ll drive further south to view the world’s largest erosion crater, Makhtesh Ramon. Enjoy running, rolling, or even tumbling down the massive Kassui Sand Dunes as we make our way to Eilat for a guided snorkeling tour in the Red Sea. See fish and coral of all shapes, sizes, and colors before we take a banana boat ride on the sea. Stop for fresh ice cream at Israel’s famous Yotvata dairy farm.
Learn how kibbutzim—agricultural settlements in Israel—thrive in the desert, protects its ecology, and stay self-sustaining. Experience effortlessly floating in the salt water at the Dead Sea's Ein Bokek Beach, the lowest point on Earth. The group will spend one night camping in the desert at a Bedouin encampment. Together, we’ll embark on a camel trek, share a Bedouin feast and stargaze after a unique bonfire experience.
DAY 16 | MASADA
One of the most anticipated moments of the trip, the group will take a pre-sunrise climb up Masada via the Roman Ramp Trail and arrive just as the sun starts to peek over the horizon. Teens will tour Herod’s desert mountaintop fortress and the bastion of an ancient Jewish rebellion before descending via the Snake Path or cable cars. Then, we’ll spend the rest of the day cooling off under the desert waterfalls in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.
DAY 18–21 | JERUSALEM
Our trip ends right where it started, in Jerusalem, but this time is different. Teens will have three weeks of travel under their belt and a completely different perspective on Israel. We’ll start with a visit to the Theodor Herzl Museum and explore the grounds of Mount Herzl National Cemetery, honoring Israel's founders, national leaders, and fallen soldiers. Then, we’ll experience the colorful Mahane Yehuda open-air marketplace. Tour the Knesset—Israel’s supreme state body—and learn about their parliamentary system and how it safeguards the Jewish State’s democratic laws and traditions.
Pay your respects at Yad Vashem—The World Holocaust Remembrance Center—and reflect on your journey in Mifletzet Park. We’ll re-enter the Old City to experience one last Kabbalat Shabbat together at the Kotel, an emotional experience for all after the memories we’ve made together. Spend Shabbat viewing the Dead Sea Scrolls, Temple Model, and Israel’s most prized cultural and historic treasures at the Israel Museum. Enjoy a group night out at First Station Market.
Explore the geopolitical complexity of Jerusalem in the Gilo neighborhood and take part in an eye-opening conversation about conflict through the Roots program, a grassroots movement of understanding, nonviolence, and transformation among Israelis and Palestinians. We’ll explore a few additional spots before celebrating the end of our time in Israel with a tree planting ceremony in Neot Kedumim Park. Afterwards, we’ll make our way to the airport for an overnight flight back to the U.S.
DAY 22–35 | RETURN FLIGHT AND SETTLE INTO CLTC
You’ll fly the friendly skies and make your way to Poyntelle and the Commonpoint Retreat Center to your home for the next 13 days, CLTC. The daily life at CLTC varies from year to year, but your in for hands-on leadership lessons, a tight-knit group to learn with, and all the sports, swimming, song, and surprises of a classic camp atmosphere. To learn more about the CLTC portion of the experience, visit the main CLTC page.
Our most frequently asked questions about this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Still need something? We’re here to help! Contact us.
Israel Journey FAQs:
What are the rules for Israeli citizens or children of Israeli citizens?
If either of your parents is an Israeli citizen, or if you have ever lived in Israel, it is your responsibility to make sure your status with the Israeli Defense Forces is worked out and clear. Moreover, you may still have obligations to the State of Israel that must be resolved prior to your trip, even if you do not have an Israeli passport. These matters must be taken care of before you arrive in Israel.
Note: If you hold an Israeli passport, you must enter Israel with your Israeli passport.
If you do not take care of these matters prior to your trip, you may be obligated to stay in Israel by the State of Israel until resolution. If this applies to you, you will be solely responsible for your own situation and any costs involved. Again, we highly recommend you be extremely cautious about these matters and contact one of the regional Israeli consulate offices if you have any questions.
How will my teen travel to the program?
BBYO requires all North American participants to fly on the group supervised flight for this program. Flight costs are not included in the program’s land cost. BBYO will purchase a ticket for each traveler and charge the family directly. The flight cost for programs with supervised flight options will be announced, along with the flight details for all programs, in the spring. The supervised flight for this program will depart from the New York City area, typically Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) or John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Learn more about flying to the program.
Where will my teen be sleeping?
Many of the accommodations we stay at are kibbutz-based guest houses that are located in Israel’s countryside and provide space for exploration within a secure environment. We use conventional hotels in Jerusalem and occasionally in other cities. All accommodations in Israel have security and we book rooms so that each teen has their own sleeping accommodation in rooms that typically accommodate 2 to 5 teens per room.
How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors) and a local Israeli guide. They are also joined by an armed guard and bus driver. Senior field staff also circulate between our groups for extra support. Staff names are sent out approximately 2–3 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation emails. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to teens before departure. Feel free to ask them any remaining questions you may have. Learn more about our staff team.
What's the summer weather like?
The sun in Israel is strong—often stronger than teens are accustomed to—so dehydration, heatstroke, and sunburn are serious concerns, especially in a desert climate. Clothing should be lightweight and comfortable in the heat. Whenever outside for an extended period, teens will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. The good news is the heat is mostly dry, there is very little humidity and the chance of rain in Israel during the summer is extremely low so no umbrellas are needed. Evenings in Israel tend to get chilly quickly. Because we will not always return to our accommodations to change before an evening activity, always bring a day pack with a windbreaker, long-sleeved shirt, or light sweater. Layers are key!.
How do you approach security?
Since 1956, BBYO has organized teen programs in Israel with a fundamental commitment to providing a safe and meaningful experience. Our programs adhere to Israel’s comprehensive security policies and are centrally monitored by Israel’s Situation Room. Our itineraries are designed with caution in mind and our policies are calibrated to local conditions. Finally, each group is accompanied by trained staff and a licensed guard accompanies all touring-based activities. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety and security as well as more specific details about our Israel policies.
What's the typical group size?
Group size varies depending on the date of the program. Our average group size ranges between 20-45 teens. In some cases, multiple groups will travel on a similar path, although each group has its own dedicated staff, guide, and guard.
What's the food like?
Expect to eat Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods such as falafel, hummus, schnitzel, shakshouka, borekas, and much more. When traveling, your teen may encounter new foods that will not be to their liking, so we ask teens to be flexible and have snacks and other alternatives on hand just in case.
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, catered meals, and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. All food provided by BBYO Passport experiences in Israel is kosher. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian, pescatarian, or dairy options available and we will not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice.
Some meals may be provided via a cash allowance where teens will be given money to purchase the food of their choice, called a pizur meal. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options and teens can choose the food of their liking. When time is limited for meal choice, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds.
Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program.
Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport, good news! You don’t need a visa to enter Israel. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa. Contact your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate for additional details.
What are the payment and cancellation terms?
All of these details are available here: Registration Terms.
For more information, check out our general FAQs or the pre-trip preparation manual.
Is CLTC for you?
CLTC is a great program for Alephs and BBGs currently in 9th or 10th grade who are current or aspiring chapter leaders, have attended or are interested in attending regional leadership conventions, or who haven't yet been to a BBYO international program!
How many teens attend CLTC?
Each session welcomes around 100 participants. The smaller group size offers members the chance to create a community in which each member has the chance to grow and shine.
Who staffs CLTC?
BBYO programming professionals and advisors serve as the site director, leadership director, and leadership staff at CLTC. We’re also joined by a Jewish educator, song leader, an office manager, and college-age counselors (or madrichim).
Where is CLTC located?
CLTC 2023 will take place at the Commonpoint Retreat Center, which is owned by the Commonpoint JCC, a partner of UJA Federation of NY. Situated in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains, the sprawling grounds and lush scenery will be the perfect place for our CLTC community to learn, have fun, and thrive together this summer.
What is the CLTC curriculum about?
The emphasis at CLTC is on building leadership skills applicable across participants’ AZA, BBG, or BBYO chapters, high school classrooms, and home communities. Jewish values and community service also are central to the CLTC experience. Members plan and lead daily morning (Shacharit) services as well as Shabbat services.
Is the food at CLTC kosher?
All food served at the Commonpoint Retreat Center is kosher-style and all meat is certified kosher.
What do I do about medication?
Participants must register in advance with CampMeds, a service that provides pre-packaged, pre-dosaged medication to participants who require it. There is a $250 fee for those who do not register and arrive at camp with their medications. The exceptions to this are inhalers, birth control, epi-pens, nasal sprays, injectable medications, prescription ointments, and refrigerated medication.
Do you offer travel insurance?
BBYO is glad to offer a travel insurance option for all our Summer Experiences through Travel Insured International. Families are highly encouraged to purchase travel insurance to protect their investment and plan for the unexpected. Please visit this page to see all the details on the policy and its terms.
Looking to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning, and self-discovery? BBYO makes it easy! This trip connects our Israel Journey program with our CLTC program.
Learn more about our trip connections for Summer 2023.
Discover 3,000 years of Jewish history and traditions in Jerusalem’s Old City
Float in the Dead Sea and scale the heights of Masada to watch the sunrise
Navigate the wilderness on a camel trek and enjoy a delicious desert feast in Bedouin tents
Raft down the Jordan River and swim under the Ein Gedi desert waterfalls
Soak up the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv and enjoy its lively beach culture
Grow your leadership skills alongside a super close group of friends in a Mock Chapter
Enjoy the best of camp classics: swimming, sports, music, chofesh (free time), and a celebration of Shabbat under the stars