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.

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.

With the Ramah Bnei Mitzvah Family Israel Adventure, you join with other like-minded families to celebrate, create community and form enduring friendships. 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 23, 2024 – Jan 1, 2025

Price pp in a Double: $4704
Price pp in a Triple:    $4350
Single supplement:    $1283

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/map

Price Does Not Include
Flights to and from Israel
Accommodations before or after the trip
Travel and health insurance
Gratuities for staff

 Bar/Bat Mitzvah Hanukkah Family Adventure 2024 
*This itinerary is subject to change based on dates and availability.

Day 1: Monday December 23, 2024 – Welcome – ברוכים הבאים

  • The program starts with meeting your staff, ice breakers, and orientation
  • Visit Ne’ot Kedumim biblical park to experience sheep herding, plant a tree, and learn about our forefathers and mothers in the biblical setting, finishing with lunch 
  • Walking Tour in the city of Old Jaffa 
  • Go to Kikar Hahatufim – “Hostages Square.” The now-famous public square outside Habima Theater has become a gathering place for the families of the hostages and hundreds of daily visitors who come to show their support.  We hope and pray that by the time of your visit, the site will have transformed into a place of remembrance and reflection for the October 7th atrocities.
  • Check in to hotel
  • Dinner together
  • Free evening to explore Tel Aviv


Overnight: Herods, Tel Aviv


Day 2: Tuesday, December 24, 2024 – Tel Aviv – the Hebrew City – תל אביב!

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Volunteer with Citrus and Salt – cooking food to be delivered to soldiers and displaced people across the country
  • Explore and shop at the Nachalat Binyamin artists fair and Shuk HaCarmel, including lunch on own. Twice a week local artists gather to sell their unique handmade products – a chance to buy a gift for someone who thinks they have everything Israeli!
  • Discover the streets of Tel Aviv with an Interactive graffiti tour – see how the ongoing fascinating and beautiful social conversion on the walls of Florentin, led by an artist
  • Night out in Tel Aviv
  • Dinner on own


Overnight: Herods, Tel Aviv


Day 3: Wednesday December 25, 2024 – Israel in Modern Times – ישראל כיום

  • Breakfast at the hotel, check out
  • Travel to a local farm/moshav/kibbutz to volunteer helping to pick/tend to produce. The agricultural sector of the economy has been hit hard by the war and the entire country has been volunteering to help save this season’s crops. We will lend a hand with whatever needs to be done – tending the fields, picking and/or packaging fresh produce, doing maintenance on greenhouses, etc. and participants should prepare for a physically demanding few hours of manual labor.
  • Lunch on own
  • Visit the new Jewish Sports Museum, and see the history and the heritage of Jewish sports through more than 1000 rare items, videos, and interactive exhibits
  • Travel to Jerusalem
  • Enter the Holy City on the eve of the Bnei Mitzvah ceremony. In Judaism one never enters Jerusalem, one returns to it; this special moment will be marked with a l’chaim and the shehecheyanu prayer on our lips, as the sun sets
  • Tonight is also the first night of Hanukkah! After check in, we will gather to light candles together and celebrate with Sufganiyot!
  • Dinner on own in Jerusalem


Overnight: Dan Panorama, Jerusalem


Day 4: Thursday December 26, 2024 – Bnei Mitzvah – בני מצווה מזל טוב

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Pray/celebrate the B’nei Mitzvah and Hanukkah at the egalitarian Kotel plaza – Azarat Yisrael with family and friends!  Each Bnei Mitzvah and family will be honored and participate in a unique ceremony.  Please note that if it is raining there will be a backup site indoors.
  • Tour the renewed Davidson center and southern wall excavations
  • Personal time at the Kotel Plaza
  • Virtual Reality experience of the Second Temple – A Look into the Past
  • Festive catered brunch with family and friends 
  • Learn about Jerusalem in its Golden Age as we explore the City of David, where it all began, including the underground tunnels
  • Light Hanukkah candles (2nd night) together!
  • Free night out on own 


Overnight: Dan Panorama, Jerusalem


Day 5: Friday December 27, 2024 – Yizkor – Remember – יזכור

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Tour Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, a place that really needs no introduction OR go to the beautiful Biblical Zoo, for children under 11, with the Ramah family educator
  • Experience the vibrancy of Shuk Machane Yehuda pre-Shabbat, including lunch on own
  • Return to hotel to prepare for Shabbat 
  • Shabbat and Hanukkah Candle lighting (3rd night) – 4:01 pm
  • Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel – with thousands of others, welcome in Shabbat with singing and dancing – an unforgettable experience!
  • Shabbat dinner at hotel and oneg Sahbbat together


Overnight: Dan Panorama, Jerusalem


Day 6: Shabbat December 28, 2024 – Shabbat in Jerusalem – שבת שלום!

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Services a a choice of local synagogues 
  • Lunch at hotel
  • Rest time and activities for children with Ramah family educator 
  • Walking Tour of local sites with tour guide 
  • Havdalah and Hanukkah candle lighting (4th night) – 5:22 pm
  • Optional pizza dinner at the legendary local eatery Bardak, and walk to the Tachana Rishona (First Station) 


Overnight: Dan Panorama, Jerusalem


Day 7: Sunday December 29, 2024 – Masada and the Dead Sea – מצדה!

  • Breakfast at the hotel, check out
  • Camel ride at Eretz Bereshit, meet “Avraham and Eliezer” and learn about life in biblical times in the desert, including making pittot! 
  • Ascend Masada by cable car and learn the tragic and meaningful story of the last fateful stand that took place there in Roman times 
  • Lunch, swim and relax at the Dead Sea 
  • Continue down south to Sde Boker
  • Check in, Hanukkah candle lighting (5th night)
  • Dinner in the hotel


Overnight: Shermans Hotel, Sde Boker 


Day 8: Monday December 30, 2024 – Bearing Witness to October 7

  • Breakfast at the hotel
    • Volunteer in Beer Sheva – TBD
  • Drive to Otef Aza
  • Tour Ofakim, hear stories of what happened on October 7 and meet with local students
  • Possibly volunteer at Tzomet Shuva Soldiers Rest Station, founded by three amazing brothers to provide free food to all soldiers
  • Visit the site of the Nova music festival and pay respects
  • Possible stop at the Tekuma ‘Car graveyard’, where 1600 vehicles from that horrific day are displayed.  Light Hanukkah candles (6th night) there, bringing light to the darkness
  • Dinner in the hotel


Overnight: Shermans Hotel, Sde Boker 


Day 9: Tuesday December 31, 2024 – Machtesh city – מכתש רמון

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Travel to Mitzpe Ramon
  • Tefilla overlooking the magnificent Mahtesh
  • Tour the Mitzpe Ramon visitors center, learn about Israel in Space and about how the Mahtesh is formed, as well as the wildlife there
  • Lunch on own in Mitzpe Ramon
  • Visit the interactive Alpaca farm theorem enjoy earning about and feeding the animals 
  • Sunset walk along the edge of the mahtesh – one of the most spectacular sights
  • Candle lighting (7th night)
  • Dinner in the hotel
  • Happy New Year!


Overnight: Shermans Hotel, Sde Boker 


Day 10: Wednesday January 1, 2025 – Machtesh city – מכתש רמון

  • Breakfast at the hotel, check out
  • Hike the beautiful canyon of Ein Avdat, and learn how the area was important in biblical, ancient, and modern times. 
  • Pick and taste your way through the Shvil Hasalat (The Salad Trail) with lunch, OR: 
  • Visit Ben Gurion’s hut and grave to learn about his life and love of the desert 
  • Lunch in Sde Boker 
  • Travel north
  • Final dinner in a restaurant, including lighting the 8th and final candles of Hannukah!
  • Bus drop off at airport and Jerusalem with a taxi from the final dinner to Tel Aviv 

Lehitra’ot ! 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