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LGBTQ Journey Through Israel Oct 24 – Nov 3

Join us on a ten night journey that will take us to the desert, Jerusalem, the Galilee and Tel Aviv. We’ll travel from history to modernity. Come find your place in Israel’s future.

This is A Wider Bridge’s second trip for LGBTQ Jews, partners, friends, and allies.

Here is just a sample of what you can expect in our ten days together:

— Meeting with Israel’s leading LGBT political leaders, including Knesset member Nitzan Horowitz
— An evening with some of Israel’s most cutting edge LGBT filmmakers and a chance to see samples of their work
— An afternoon at Tel Aviv’s beautiful LGBT center, as we meet with  leaders and activists working for change
— An opportunity to participate in a Freedom Ride, and show your support for those fighting to end segregated buses in Jerusalem
— A visit to Jerusalem Open House, the city’s flagship LGBT organization and a meeting with leaders of Israel’s large growing movement of Progressive Judaism
— A specially-designed LGBT walking tour of Tel Aviv and a visit to the Bar Noar, site of the tragic 2009 shooting
— A chance to meet with and hear the unique concerns of LGBT Palestinians
— A concluding Shabbat in Tel Aviv, with a dinner hosted by members of Israel’s LGBT Religious community
— Dancing the nights away in Tel Aviv, at some of the city’s most popular and friendly LGBT clubs
(See below for an outline of the itinerary and FAQ’s. Read about last year’s trip here.)

Our journey will take us south to hike in the desert, and north to explore the Roman ruins in the Galilee.  We will explore the Old City of Jerusalem and learn and reflect during our visit to Yad Vashem. As we travel around this amazing country, we will sing and study and pray together, and share our own unique stories.  We’ll enjoy the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors of Israeli food and wine, including the breakfasts for which Israel is famous.  Most of all, we will build a community together, and have a busload of fun along the way.   We hope you will join us!

Register here and save $300! The deadline for registering is August 31.

For information about scholarships and to obtain a scholarship application, contact Josh Weisman at .


Sponsored by A RWider Bridge.  Co-sponsored by Keshet and Nehirim.
Synagogue co-sponsors: Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim, Los Angeles;
Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood; Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco.


Summary of Itinerary

  • October 24 Arrival — Participants arrive at Ben Gurion airport by noon.  We will drive south to the Negev where we will begin our experience of Israel in the desert.  We will hike, swim in the Dead Sea, and use the time to get to know each other and begin to build community together.
    Accommodations (1 night): Kfar Hanokdim
  • October 25 – 28 Jerusalem.  Our four days in Jerusalem will include a tour of the Old City and the Kotel (Western Wall), a visit to Yad Vashem, and meetings with the many  leaders and organizations, both LGBTQ and others, that are working for change in this amazing and challenging city.  We will have our first Shabbat in Jerusalem.
    Accommodations (4 nights): Prima Royale Jerusalem
  • October 29 – 30 Galilee and Golan  We will travel from Jerusalem to the Golan, with stops along the way to explore the Galilee region, including hiking  and a visit to the remarkable ruins of Bet She’an. .We will experience the Golan, and learn about life on the kibbutz.
    Accomodations (2 nights): Merom Golan Kibbutz
  • October 31 – November 3 Tel Aviv  We end our journey in the modern city of Tel Aviv, now becoming known as one of the “LGBT capitals” of the world.  We will meet with leaders, political figures, activists and artists at the city’s dynamic LGBT center.  We will explore the city’s history from an LGBTQ perspective and we will sample its culture and nightlife.  We will have our last Shabbat here, together with members of the city’s LGBT religious community.  Accomodations (3 nights):  Art Plus Hotel
    Our journey together will end on Saturday evening November 3.



The total land cost of the trip is $2,700 per person for double-occupancy accommodations, or $3,360 per person for single-occupancy accommodations.
The tour price includes superior hotel accommodations for ten nights, breakfast daily, seven dinners and four lunches, luxury motor coach ground transportation, professional English-speaking tour guides, and program costs. The tour price does not include air transportation to Israel.  Participants arrange their own air transportation to Israel.
Please Note: A deposit of $750 is due at the time of registration. All but $250 of the deposit is refundable up until 12:00 a.m. PDT on August 15, 2012. Refund requests must be received via email to before this time. After this time, refund requests will not be guaranteed and will be considered on a case-by-case basis based on our ability to fill your spot.
Any remaining balance is due by August 24th, 2012.

We are working to secure scholarship funds which will be distributed on a competitive basis. Applicants must commit to a follow-up project of their own design after the trip. For a scholarship application, please email
In addition, financial support for travel to Israel may be available through many local area Federations. If you belong to a synagogue, it may also have a scholarship fund for Israel travel, or your rabbi may be able to offer some support from their discretionary fund.

Registration will be done online. The registration form can be found at
If you need help filling out the online form, please email

Yes. In order to enter Israel, you need a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry. Most people traveling on a North American or European Union member country passport will automatically be issued a three month tourist visa upon entry at Ben Gurion International Airport. Note that if you enter Israel by land (via Jordan or Egypt) or sea, your visa may only be valid for one month. If you are a dual citizen of Israel and another country, be sure to bring both passports. Israel requires that visitors with dual citizenship enter and travel within Israel on their Israeli passport.

All trip participants should plan to arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport by noon on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Note: Some of the inexpensive flights from the west coast of North America involve an extended layover in Europe, and so you may need to leave on Monday, October 22 in order to arrive in Israel by Wednesday. If you will be arriving earlier than the 24th, Kenes, the company handling our travel arrangements, can help you secure a room at a good rate. We can connect you with them.

Programming will end at the close of Shabbat on Saturday, November 3rd, in Tel Aviv. Flights booked after 9:30pm will give you enough time for transportation to the airport and to get through security. If you need a room for the night of the 3rd or later, Kenes can also arrange for that.

We will be staying in four-star hotels throughout Israel, with comfortable, modern amenities. In most cases, the hotels are at the heart of the city center with easy access to city highlights.

We love your kids and families, but this trip is designed with adults in mind. We will not be doing many kid friendly activities, so we do not advise bringing kids under the age of 16. Older teenagers are welcome, but most of the participants will be in their 20s or older.

Autumn in Israel is a beautiful time of year. Temperatures are temperate, averaging between 60° and 75° F in the daytime. Jerusalem and the Galilee will likely be a bit cooler than Tel Aviv. Nights in the desert can get colder, in the range of 45°-55° F.

As mentioned above, the weather will be temperate, so you should be prepared for comfortably warm days as well as cooler days and evenings. Plan to dress in breathable layers, bring a fall jacket, and shoes you are comfortable walking in for many hours. We will be hiking, so bring lightweight hiking boots or athletic shoes. If you would like to go out in Tel Aviv, to experience Israel’s LGBTQ nightlife, remember to include clothing for a bar or club. We will be visiting some sites and neighborhoods in which “modest” dress is required and enforced. Generally for men this means wearing head coverings, such as kippot (skullcaps) or other hats. For women this means skirts that fall below the knee and covered shoulders. Some people choose to carry a lightweight scarf with them on a warm day, to use as a shoulder covering if necessary.

There will be no points in our trip when you will have to hide your sexual orientation or gender.  Everyone we meet with will know that we are an LGBTQ delegation from the United States, and all the places we are staying are accustomed to LGBTQ guests.  Israel is, by and large, a very LGBT-friendly country.  However, different norms of behavior exist in different localities.  For example, in many parts of Tel Aviv, it is not uncommon for same-sex couples to walk down the street holding hands. However, the same behavior in other parts of the country, especially in areas dominated by the Orthodox such as many parts of Jerusalem, might provoke a hostile reaction.

Much of Israel, and particularly the communities we will be spending time with, are trans and gendervariant friendly. However, we will also be visiting some gender-segregated spaces, most notably the Old City and the Kotel (Western Wall), in Jerusalem. The section of the Wall where most people go to pray, leave written prayers/notes, etc. is gender segregated, with a men’s side and a women’s side. The dress code at the Kotel is set and enforced by the Orthodox authorities, and is as described above.
Trans and gender non-conforming people visiting the Kotel make a variety of different choices, and it is often a matter of balancing personal gender expression and identity with questions of safety and comfort. We will do our best to equip you with the knowledge and information to allow you to make whatever choices feel safest and most comfortable, and are happy to connect you with other trans and gender non-conforming people who can share their experiences.
Another option, in order to have the experience of praying (or otherwise connecting or visiting) at the Western Wall without navigating the same kind of gender expression limitations is to visit Robinson’s Arch. Robinson’s Arch, located along the Western Wall, but not in the immediate area of the gender-segregated Kotel worship areas, is often used as an egalitarian prayer space, and is not subject to the Orthodox restrictions on clothing, dress, and gender segregation.

Contact Josh Weisman or Arthur Slepian at A Wider Bridge:

Josh Weisman, Program Director

Arthur Slepian Executive DIrector

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