As the summer draws to a close we are ecstatic to say that Israel Tour 2015 was a great success. An exciting and jam packed 7 week period saw 30 groups, from 11 Youth Movements and Organisations, totalling 1,145 participants, travel the length and breadth of the country.
UJIA Chief Executive Michael Wegier said;
Israel Tour is such an important educational experience for the young people in our community. We’re proud to support this programme which is brilliantly delivered by our Youth Movement partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Israel-based tour providers.
All Tours followed a fun and varied programme, visiting traditional sites of religious, historical and cultural significance. For hundreds, this was their first time in Israel – their first time standing at sites with rich historical value.
Israel Tour 2015 enabled participants to explore their Jewish Identity and their connection to Israel, an experience that can be, and has been, life changing for many.
Tamar Rietti, on Tour with Ezra Girls, was asked why she thinks it’s important for young Jewish people to spend time in Israel. She said, “It is a big part of Judaism to literally relive the footsteps of our ancestors, visit the graves, and at the same time have a blast and enjoy being in our homeland.”
Israel is a dynamic, diverse and rapidly changing country, and Israel Tour 2015 reflected this with new opportunities and experiences for all. Participants were fully immersed in the concept of the ‘new’ Israel, introduced to the High Tech world, and found themselves right in the centre of cutting edge discoveries.
A new element to the programme, which proved to be popular, was the Graffiti Tour of Tel Aviv. This engaging experience gave participants an ‘in’ with the fantastic hub of diverse culture in such a significant and well known city.
TED has become a true mascot and valued addition to each Tour Group. #tedontour, a competition which UJIA launched on Tour 2014, has now taken Israel by storm for a second summer, this year with the Jewish News as official sponsor. All groups explored Israel with one more ‘membear’ in tow.
‘Theobear Hertzl’, ‘Yossi Bearayoun’, ‘Rebearkah’ and ‘Ted Aviv’ are just 4 of the 30 bears who climbed Massada with their fellow Tourniks, floated in the Dead Sea, enjoyed Bedouin hospitality and abseiled into the Ramon Crater. The groups documented their Ted’s journey on Twitter and Instagram. To see what they go up to search #tedontour.
Photos were continuously uploaded onto Social Media channels, and in turn on to the UJIA website, where friends and family could follow and vote for their favourite album. The winning Tour has since been announced in The Jewish News.
On the penultimate day of Israel Tour, Benji Shebson from Sinai was in no doubt that the programme has made a difference to him: “Israel tour has changed me as a British Jew as now I feel a much stronger connection to Israel.”
For a Youth Movement or Organisation to enable participants to engage with their ideology, and be a part of a trip that can educate, inspire and change the lives of those involved is extraordinary. Israel Tour 2015 has certainly been a trip to remember, and one that we are proud to have supported from beginning to end.