Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hollywood and Virtual Reality

If you ever wondered why American Jews are either under-informed or misinformed about Israel, consider this itinerary for Temple Israel of Hollywood:

Day Two: Thursday, October 3, 2013

    Arrivals at Ben Gurion International Airport.
    Individual transfers on own to Jerusalem and check into the hotel
    6:45 p.m. Meet your tour educator and group members in the hotel lobby for introduction and orientation.
    7:30 p.m. A Grassroots View of Israeli Society: Dialogue with Dr. David Mendelsson of Hebrew Union College over a welcome dinner at Olive & Fish, offering an international-styled kosher meat & fish menu with a Mediterranean flair.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Three: Friday, October 4, 2013

    6:00 a.m. Early breakfast at the hotel.
    7:00 a.m. Join Women of the Wall for Rosh Hodesh prayers at the Western Wall.
    Walking tour through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, for visits to archaeological treasures and other highlights, among them:
        The Cardo, the main street of Jerusalem in the 6th century
        King Hezekiah's First Temple-period “Broad Wall”
        Hurva Square, the central square of the Jewish Quarter
    12:00 p.m. Visit the Reform Movement's Hebrew Union College with Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur, Provost of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation at Hebrew Union College.
    Enjoy a multi-cultural tasting journey through the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem's Machaneh Yehudah open-air market: Enjoy the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of this vibrant area where Jewish Jerusalem shops.
    Return to the hotel.
    6:00 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat service at Kehillat Mevasseret Zion led by Rabbi Maya Leibovitz, followed by a festive Shabbat dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Four: Saturday, October 5, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    Optional Shabbat prayers.
    Visit the renewed Israel Museum, one of the most creative and innovative museums in the world with a wide and eclectic collection, ranging from Judaica and archaeology to Renaissance and contemporary Israeli art, concluding with a visit to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shrine of the Book and the Second Temple Period Model of Jerusalem.
    Lunch on own, en route.
    One Mountain, Three Religions: Embark on an interdenominational search through the traditional burial site of King David, the Room of the Last Supper and a mosque, all in one building.
    Return to the hotel.
    6:56 p.m. Ben Kodesh Lechol: Havdallah overlooking the Old City.
    Free time to explore Downtown Jerusalem, including the Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall and Nachalat Shiva Street, with dinner on own.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Five: Sunday, October 6, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    8:30 a.m. A Different Vision for Israel: Dialogue with Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Knesset and currently the chairman of Molad, the Center for Renewal of Democracy.
    Opening session by Felice and Michael Friedson.
    Depart the hotel for Ramallah.
    Field seminar in Ramallah; meet with political and academic Palestinians to gain further insight into the challenges and accomplishments of the Palestinian Authority.
    Lunch in Ramallah with local Palestinian representatives.
    Field trip to the new city Rawabi and meet with key economic personalities.
    Return to Jerusalem.
    Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Six: Monday, October 7, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    8:30 a.m. Initiation of the Secret Talks Between Israel and Hamas for the Release of Gilad Shalit: Dialogue with Dr. Gershon Baskin, former chairman of IPCRI.
    11:00 a.m. Take part in a VIP tour of the Knesset.
    12:15 p.m. Lunch on own at the Knesset.
    1:00 p.m.  Meet with a member of the Knesset to discuss current political agendas.
    3:00 p.m. The Struggle for Citizen Equality in Jerusalem: Tour of Sheikh Jarrah and dialogue with Sara Beninga, a left wing activist from Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah.
    Return to Jerusalem.
    7:30 p.m. Challenging Democracy in Israel: Dinner and dialogue with Prof. Naomi Chazan, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and currently Dean of the School of Government and Society at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, at Canela restaurant.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Seven: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    8:30 a.m. Challenges and Triumphs of Religious Pluralism and Social Justice in Israel: Dialogue with Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC).
    10:00 a.m. The Geopolitics of Jerusalem - Travel through the city of Jerusalem exploring some of the political and diplomatic complexities of recent years around the seam zone and its effect on the local communities, with a representative of Ir Amim.
    12:45 p.m. Lunch on own, en route.
    2:30 p.m. The City of Our Forefathers: Visit to Hebron for an inside look at one of the most pivotal components of the discussion of Jewish settlement, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Ma'arat HaMachpelah) with representatives from the  Hebron settlers community.
    7:30 p.m. Dialogue, Mediation & the Israel-Arab Conflict: Dinner and dialogue with Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University, at Luciana restaurant.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Day Eight: Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    8:30 a.m. Check out of the hotel and drive north towards Eli.
    9:15 a.m. Stop at the Binyamin Region Visitor's Center and meet with Miri Maoz Ovadia, spokesperson for the Binyamin region.
    10:30 a.m. The Land of Our Forefathers: Study session with Rabbi Netanel Elyashiv on Moshav Eli, followed by a tour of Eli and a chance to meet some residents.
    12:30 p.m. Lunch at Eshel HaShomron.
    1:30 p.m. The Other Side of the Story: Tour of Samaria with Peace Now social activist, Lior Amihai.
    Drive to Tel Aviv, known as the “city that never sleeps” with its centers of culture and recreation and national history such as the Habima Theater, sprawling beaches, Dizengoff Street and Rabin Square.
    Check into the hotel.
    Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Nine: Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    8:30 a.m. Ethics & Dilemmas in the Field: Dialogue with Col. Benzi Gruber, Deputy Commander of an Armored Corps brigade.
    10:30 a.m. Walk through the museum at the new Rabin Center, dedicated to the history of society and democracy in Israel, with the life of Yitzhak Rabin serving as a connecting thread between the various sections of the exhibition, both chronologically and substantively.
    LaDa'at Ethnic Tasting Tour: walk through Tel Aviv's famous Levinsky Market, where you'll find a combination of foods and sweets from all over the Mediterranean and hear the unique stories of the individuals who sell them.
    2:00 p.m. Strangers in a Strange Land: Explore the reality of the foreign worker in Tel Aviv as you walk through the streets of South Tel Aviv with  Sigal Rozen, founder & Public Policy Coordinator for the Hotline for Migrant Workers.
    Take a walking tour through colorful Neve Zedek, one of Tel Aviv's earliest neighborhoods. Today it is a cultural mecca, with many small boutiques and galleries, and the Suzanne Delal Dance and Theater Center.
    Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Ten: Friday, October 11, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    9:00 a.m. Challenge, Question, Engage, Enlighten: Visit Bina, the Secular Yeshiva, representing the Secular Jewish Renaissance and Yahadut Hevratit (Jewish Social Activism) in Israel.
    Visit the Old City of Jaffa and stroll through the renovated artists' colony and the ancient port and walk through the newly renovated and world-renowned Jaffa Flea Market - Shuk Hapishpishim.
    Lunch on own.
    Stroll down Rothschild Boulevard to view examples of the intriguing Bauhaus-style architecture from the 1930s. The local proliferation of the style won Tel Aviv recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site and the nickname of ‘the White City'.
    Pass by Independence Hall, where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel on May 14th, 1948.
    Return to the hotel.
    Kabbalat Shabbat service at Mishkenot Ruth Daniel in Jaffa, led by Rabbi Mira Raz.

Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Day Eleven: Saturday, October 12, 2013

    Breakfast at the hotel.
    Optional Shabbat morning services.
    11:00 a.m. The Art Scene in Tel Aviv: Visit the galleries which have put Tel Aviv at the forefront of the local and international art scene; meet with gallery owners for an insight into their world, led by Vardit Gross, the leading art critic of Yediot Aharonot.
    Walk down Bialik Street in Tel Aviv for a visual journey through Tel Aviv's past and present, including a view of the houses of artist Reuven Rubin and writer Chaim Nachman Bialik.
    Lunch on own and afternoon at leisure.
    6:50 p.m. Ben Kodesh Lechol: Havdallah overlooking the beach.
    8:00 p.m. Late check-out from the hotel (for those departing this evening) and depart the hotel.
    8:15 p.m. Festive farewell dinner at Liliyot which offers an attractive menu mixing Mediterranean and Californian cuisine;  Liliyot works together with the Elem association, giving work to youth with difficulties and donating part of their profits to the association.
    Return to the hotel or individual transfers on own to Ben Gurion International Airport.

Overnight: Flight/Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

You noticed the number and type of left-of-center persons versus those of the right, did you not?

A Rabbi is proud of the total imbalance in the amount and quality of views expressed from one side versus the other.  Blindsiding his congregants.  It's one thing, as a synagogue, to highlight Reform Judaism's projects but the tour was political.  


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