Ramah Israel Institute

Bnei Mitzvah Family Israel Adventure

Celebrate this milestone occasion with a fun and spiritually enriching family trip in the ruach (spirit) of Ramah.  

Ramah Israel has decades of experience in family travel. Our trip is hands-on, experiential, and educational. It is designed for families (and grandparents too!) from across North America with a child, aged 11-13, who wishes to celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel.

This year, we invite families with a child, aged 12-16, who may have been unable to celebrate this milestone due to the pandemic.

Join us for a magical tour of Israel. Connect with family and make new friends!

This exciting trip focuses on family and connecting to circles of life: me, my family, my kehilla (community), and my Judaism.

Making such a trip with your nuclear family can be prohibitively expensive; with the Ramah Bnei Mitzvah Family Israel Adventure, you join with other like-minded families to celebrate. Our Rabbi/Educator accompanies your child on this journey even before you set foot in Israel, meeting with each child remotely to learn a Hebrew reading.

December 18-27, 2023

Price TBD


Price Includes

  • Accommodations for nine nights
  • Daily breakfast
  • Five lunches and seven dinners, including all Shabbat meals
  • Transportation on a private coach bus
  • Entrance fees to all sites on the itinerary
  • Ten days with a private, English-speaking, Ramah tour guide and educator
  • Ramah Madrich/a (counselor)
  • Ramah Israel Institute sourcebook and map

Price Does Not Include

  • Flights to and from Israel
  • Accommodations before or after the trip
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Gratuities for staff

*This itinerary is subject to change based on dates and availability.

Day 1 – Welcome ברוכים הבאים

  • Begin in Ne’ot Kedumim Biblical Landscape Reserve where you will plant a tree, try your hand at sheep herding, and deepen your understanding of the Land of Israel
  • Walk through the winding streets of Old Jaffa
  • Learn about the making of Israel as a modern state along the Independence Trail in downtown Tel Aviv

Overnight in Tel Aviv

Day 2 – The First Hebrew City

  • Tie tzitzit in an activity with the Masorti Movement
  • Explore the Ayalon Institute underground bullet factory
  • Stroll through the Nachalat Binyamin crafts fair and Shuk HaCarmel
  • Discover the streets of Tel Aviv through an interactive Graffiti Tour and Workshop

Overnight in Tel Aviv

Day 3 – Israel in Modern Times

  • Visit Rabin Square
  • Learn about the modern heroes of our nation at the newly remodeled ANU Museum
  • Experience the interactive exhibits at the Holon Children’s Museum (Dialogue in the Dark and Invitation to Silence)
  • Continue on to Jerusalem to view a panoramic lookout over the city

Overnight in Jerusalem

Day 4 – Bnei Mitzvah in Jerusalem

  • Celebrate Bnei Mitzvahs in the Old City
  • Visit the Davidson Center
  • Experience a Virtual Reality Tour of the Second Temple
  • Explore the Jewish Quarter
  • Tour the City of David and walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel
  • Enjoy dinner and a Bnei Mitzvah Party

Overnight in Jerusalem

Day 5 – Yizkor יזכור

  • Tour Yad Vashem (Zoo alternative for children)
  • Experience the vibrancy of Shuk Machane Yehuda
  • Enjoy the melodies of Kabbalat Shabbat services at the Kotel

Overnight in Jerusalem

Day 6 – Shabbat in Jerusalem

  • Walk to Shacharit services at a choice of local synagogues
  • Visit local sites on a walking tour
  • Enjoy an optional pizza dinner at local legendary eatery Bardak
  • Join in an optional tour of the Western Wall Tunnels

Overnight in Jerusalem

Day 7 – Masada 

  • Ride a camel at Eretz Bereshit
  • Ascend Masada and learn about the heroes of the era
  • Swim and relax at the Dead Sea
  • Drive south to Kibbutz Ketura for a BBQ dinner and orientation

Overnight in Kibbutz Ketura

Day 8 – Beauty of the South

  • Take a short desert hike in the Eilat Mountains
  • Snorkel in the Red Sea at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve
  • Slide down the Kasui Sand Dunes at the Desert Solo Experience
  • Enjoy a dinner of Middle Eastern fare and a campfire kumsitz

Overnight in Kibbutz Ketura

Day 9 – Ben Gurion’s Vision

  • Take a walking tour of Kibbutz Ketura, including its algae factory and solar field
  • Bike to Ketura’s experimental orchards for a tour and tree planting
  • Explore Makhtesh Ramon in a jeep tour, and walk along the rim of Israel’s largest crater

Overnight in Mitzpe Ramon

Day 10 – Start-Up Nation

  • Hike into the canyon of Ein Avdat
  • Visit Ben Gurion’s hut and grave at Sde Boker
  • Taste your way through the fields and greenhouses of Shvil Hasalat
  • Enjoy a Goodbye Dinner at a local restaurant

Departure. L’hitraot! להתראות!

Rabbi Ed

Rabbi Ed Snitkoff is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in Jerusalem. He graduated from Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. Over the past 40 years, he has served as a congregational rabbi, teacher, religious school principal, camp educator, camp director, and Israel tour guide. ​In the years before moving to Israel, he served for six years as Rabbi and Religious School Principal of Chisuk Emuna Congregation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In 1992, Rabbi Ed made aliyah and settled on Kibbutz Lavi. As a kibbutz member, he established an education center for groups of all faiths and backgrounds.

After moving to Jerusalem, Rabbi Ed served as the Educational Director of Young Judaea Year Course and Educational Coordinator for North America at the Jewish Agency for Israel. Over the years, Rabbi Ed trained hundreds of tour guides as a teacher in the Israeli Ministry of Tourism’s Tour Guide Course.

Rabbi Ed served twelve years as Director of Ramah Israel Seminar. We are lucky to have Rabbi Ed continue to work with us at Ramah as an educator and senior consultant.

Rabbi Ed is married to Minda, and they are blessed with four grown children and five wonderful grandchildren, all living in Israel. 

Bnei Mitzvah Group

This trip was a unique chance to see my kids experience Eretz Yisrael, with all its facets, in a joyful, age-appropriate way and – this is a miracle to say – also to be moved beyond measure personally.

We loved the opportunity to meet all the other like-minded families and make friends with people from around the country.  Critically, our kids not only made new friends their age and had people to hang out with – that would not have happened had it just been us – but they now have friends all over the U.S. and Canada!  And, of course, doing this with other families made what would have been a cost-prohibitive experience possible for us. The much-needed built-in hands-on experience, plus having everything planned for us so that we did not need to plan on our own, lifted so much of the pressure off us. Thank you!

The classic Ramah aspects, including the combination of religious, ancient. modern, and secular sites, were a perfect balance. We enjoyed how things were put in a perspective of not just here and now but the universe and how the message was never just as Jews as a nation but also as individuals in the real world.

The Ramah Israel Family Bar Mitzvah Adventure was an amazing trip, so professional and well done. We could not ask for a better program and staff. They did a fantastic job dealing with kids with short attention spans, and the team showed kindness and patience. Thank you!

Parent Participant, 2019