Frequently Asked Questions
What is a CommUNITY Trip to Israel and why should I want to participate?
A CommUNITY Trip to Israel enables you to engage with Israel in a way that cannot be matched on any other trip, with exclusive access to premier hotels, venues, and experiences. You will meet with high-level government officials, journalists, academics, and experts in a variety of fields that other trips to Israel simply cannot provide. At the same time, you’ll connect with everyday Israelis and your fellow San Diegan trip participants, strengthening our local Jewish community. Most of the trip experiences will be in groups of 30-40 people. We’ll also have special, meaningful moments when we gather with our entire group of about 300 members of our community on the trip, representing people involved in our local synagogues and Jewish agencies, as well as people who are looking for deeper connection. We hope that the people you will meet along the way will become long-lasting friends.
Help me understand the difference between a Federation trip to Israel and any other?
From the moment you land in Israel to the moment you say l’hitra-ot at the conclusion of the trip, your experience will forge a sense of Jewish solidarity with the people of Israel and your fellow travelers. You will meet and spend time with immigrants to Israel, exchange ideas with everyday Israelis, hear in-depth briefings from top government, academic, and organizational leaders, and share stories with our friends in Sha’ar HaNegev, San Diego’s partnership region for 25 years. The trip itineraries are planned and designed to include short-term intensive exposures to specific Federation funded programs which you help to support. You get to see first-hand the positive impacts of your dollars at work. This trip will strengthen our community, positively impacting it for years to come.
I’ve been to Israel many times. I want to meet new people, see new programs, and dig deeper into areas I’m more interested in learning about. How can I do that on a trip with so many people, including some who will be traveling to Israel for the first time?
While there is strength in numbers, we also know the benefits of making time for smaller group experiences tailored to individual interests and needs. So, you will be able to customize part of your trip experience by selecting from a variety of elective days such as: history & archeology; arts & culture; social cohesion; hi-tech; security & politics; food and wine; hunger/poverty/aging; immigration; Understanding the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict and areas of Mutual Co-Existence; Women’s Achievements & Struggles; Young Adults; Disenfranchised Communities; and Jerusalem 101 and Tel Aviv 101 (for first-timers). During these elective days, you will be with a small group of people who also selected those electives and want to dive into a specific area in a smaller setting. There also will be opportunities for you to be with your fellow synagogue travelers, cohort, or any other specific group you are traveling with.
Will there be certain times when all of us are together at the same time?
Yes, we will have some where everyone on the trip will join together. These events may include a special ceremony at Yad Vashem; a festive Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem; a private meeting with President Isaac Herzog at the President’s Residence; a special event at the Knesset with Sha’ar HaNegev’s former Mayor and current Deputy Defense Minister, Alon Schuster; A Lag B’Omer Festival Dinner in Sha’ar HaNegev with Israeli dancing and local artists displaying and selling their art/jewelry; a private tour of ANU, Tel Aviv’s newest Museum of the Jewish People; a concert with a famous Israeli artist; and a beautiful farewell dinner outside under the stars. In addition, we will invite special guests to some of these larger events, including all former San Diego Shlichim (emissaries from Israel); any San Diego teen in Israel on an immersive educational program; any San Diego young adult in Israel on a MASA Program; any San Diego Lone Soldier in Israel; and any San Diegans who have made Aliyah..
Will we have time to visit with our friends in Sha’ar HaNegev?
Yes, we will! We have a full day planned for visiting with our friends in Sha’ar HaNegev beginning with a chartered train from Modi’in to Sderot where we will be greeted by the mayors of Sderot and Sha’ar HaNegev. After visiting some of the kibbutzim that sit right on the border with Gaza, you will visit some of the people and programs that our Federation supports with your philanthropic dollars. We will visit the new Sport and Young Adults’ Center where we will dedicate the new basketball court to Michael Jeser, z”l, of blessed memory. From there we will see some of the outstanding artwork by students at the high school who are part of the annual Viterbi Arts Festival before heading to our Lag B’Omer Festival with music, dancing, delicious foods, and local artists selling their pieces.
What are the dates and what is the cost for the Trip?
The dates are May 4-11, 2023. The cost is $3,999 per person double occupancy, for 7 nights and 8 days of touring (an additional $1,600 for a single supplement). There will be limited subsidies available for 25–45 year-olds. Most meals are included. Local San Diego Rabbis will be on all buses. If there is enough interest, there will be a post-trip to the United Arab Emirates for 4 days to visit the Jewish communities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, meet with UAE companies doing business with Israel; and take in the sights and culinary delights of the country.
Will there be a minimum gift to Jewish Federation to participate on this trip?
As a participant, you will have the opportunity to make a meaningful gift on this trip of a lifetime. We hope you will be inspired by your experience and make a significant contribution to increase the impact YOUR Federation makes in Israel.
On the last day of our trip, each bus will have a special reflective session at a park in Tel Aviv, led by each bus captain.
People will have the opportunity to share reflections about any part of the trip and how it has impacted them.
This will be a special opportunity to strengthen our connections to Israel and each other before we return home.
During this session, all trip participants will be asked to make a gift to Federation that is meaningful to them. But there is no requirement to share that gift publicly.