Mrs. Hiala & Dr. Charles Balaban
We just returned from Israel on an IBMT Bar Mitzvah Tour for our three grandsons. We had enough family members to warrant our own bus. After checking out many tour companies we went with IBMT and all of us were glad we did. The hotels were fabulous and the rooms allotted even more so. From the INBAL in Jerusalem, KFAR BLUM in the Galilee, the SHERATON in Tel Aviv, to the ROYAL BEACH in Eilat we couldn’t have asked for more. Our meals were equally excellent. Beginning with a welcome reception at the INBAL to the closing dinner at the CANAAN restaurant in Tel Aviv one and all loved them.
It was a busy tour made even more so by my husband who was determined the grandchildren see “everything”. Fortunately for us, we had the best guide when Ornan (from IBMT) gave us GADI. All of the groups loved their guides but Gadi was special. He was able to reach the kids (ages 7-13) as well as the adults. His knowledge, willingness to adjust the schedule, and good nature gave him a soft spot in all of our hearts. He filled in at Yad Vashem when the guide droned on a bit too much for some of us. He searched out a cemetery where a father, grandfather and great grandfather was buried and proceeded to enlighten us on the rituals and customs of a military cemetery. He adjusted our times to include those little extras. When weather precluded the camels, we visited Qumran. After the Bar Mitzvahs, some wanted to walk down Masada - again, no problem.
We loved everything. Friday night dinner with an Israeli family (coincidentally the husband was from Toronto), meeting the soldiers on the kibbutz, the Druze lunch, sampling different foods at the shuk, the bullet factory and on and on. Although the weather was precarious in December, it didn’t stop us and we were able to celebrate Chanukah in Israel...menorahs everywhere, sufganiyot of every kind, celebrations in the street galore.
Would we recommend this tour...without a moments hesitation. We had a family trip of a lifetime. Thank you also to our bus driver Louie, whom we all loved and who got us around safely.
“Gadi” - what else can we say ... g double o - d, j-o-b. Good job, good job. V-e-r-y-n-i-c-e, very nice, very nice.ðŸ’•
The Myers Family
Our IBMT Bar Mitzvah tour was truly wonderful! All three generations had a great time as the tour had a great mix of religious connection, historical significance, and fun adventures. Natalie, our tour guide, was excellent and kept the tour running smoothly along with our bus driver Moody.We now understand that all the superlatives in the testimonials we read before the trip are true. We will highly recommend your tour, thank you for the “trip of a lifetime”.
Ornan and Ada
We got home yesterday, and I just want to thank you both for all of your help and support along the way and for creating what was truly the most magical experience. It surpassed every expectation. Yair is a true professional and his love and pride of Israel is contagious. I am happy to provide a glowing reference for any family thinking of joining IBMT in the future. Happy 2018!!!
Lee, Mikki, Sophie & Jake
As my family settles back into “reality” after our 2 week exploration in our “homeland”, I reflect on the awesome opportunity my mother provided for my sister’s family as well as mine and echo the sentiments sent earlier by my sister and others. To be able to explore Israel’s past while seeing the history I learned quite a few years back in Hebrew day school will indelibly etched in my mind. My son and daughter will be able to tell their children they had their Bar & Bat Mitzvah on the top of Masada, swam in the Med, the Red and the Dead, went on an archaeological dig and saw the birthplace of Kabalah among other things. With the right blend of fun, learning and reflection, our tour guide, Natalie, expertly opened our eyes to the wonder that is Israel from tip to tip and sea to sea. Let me not forget our driver extraordinaire, Moody. I am only sorry we could not have the dynamic duo for the entire trip as Moody had to start a “Birthright” tour so he was not able join us in Eilat where we were able to see 4 countries while motoring in the Red Sea. In the words of Siskel and Ebert, 2 thumbs up!
Everything was “S’baba”.
Hi Ornan and Ada,
This note is a bit delayed, but I want to thank you for the help and support you provided to help make our Israel Bar Mitzvah trip such a memorable experience.
We had an incredible time in Israel! What a great itinerary and having Yair and Natalie as our guides truly made it outstanding.
We have had an incredible experience in Israel. I will be in touch with you when we return with further details but this is just a quick note to tell you that our guide, Ofer Zemach, is "one of a kind". He is a talented guide and more importantly a special person. IBMT is fortunate to have him as a member of its organization and I can fully endorse him for future work and an even broader role with IBMT going forward.
I am looking forward to connecting with you by phone next week with further details.
We wanted to thank you so much for a beautiful Shabbat dinner! We visited your home on Dec 22, 2017 with the IBMT Bat Mitzvah tour. It was a wonderful way to begin our trip in Israel. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and loved spending time with your family. We appreciated your warmth and hospitality and having the opportunity to hear your story. We have ordered your book and look forward to reading it.
Wishing you all the best, And a very big thank you from Toronto, Canada
Toddy, Marshall, Marlee & Alec Freilich
Just a quick note of thanks to you for arranging a wonderful tour.? We had such an incredible time and truly enjoyed all the fun, adventure and history that Israel has to offer.? We were amazed by how smoothly everything went (checking into hotels, visiting sites, going on tours, etc.) and are thankful that all the logistics were taken care of so impressively.? All the hotels were great and we couldn't have been happier with our accommodations.? Ofer was very knowledgable and we really appreciated his leadership throughout out the tour.? Looking through our many (many) pictures are bringing back such amazing memories.? We are already looking forward to finding a time to go back to Israel. Thank you again for dealing with all of our pre-trip questions and for a trip of a lifetime.?? Shana Tova to you both.
Irina and Mark Gross
In August we went to Israel for our son’s Bar Mitzvah with our entire family. We had people ranging in age from 9 to 79 and needed a trip that would be fun for all. Ornan and his team at IBMT really took the time to get to know me and to find out what we needed before he planned a trip that everyone has agreed was the best and most memorable family trip that we’ve ever been on. The trip ran flawlessly and every detail was considered. We were able to customize our entire experience and all of his recommendations turned out to be amazing. Most importantly he was always available when I had any questions and worked tirelessly to reassure me that our trip would be perfect and it was.
"IBMT totally exceeded my entire families expectations on our recent trip.
I am amazed at the details and logistics set in place that made our experience of Israel so meaningful. Each day was a new adventure that created memories of a lifetime for my family and the wonderful families that we bonded with. This was surely a lifetime highlight that my family and I will cherish always. Our tour guide Liat was so warm and knowledgable and she felt like "mishbucha" (sp?)! Ada, Ornan, and to the entire IBMT team...Thank You for such an incredible family experience!
We recently returned from a IBMT Tour for our son’s Bar Mitzvah and we all agree that it was the best vacation that we have taken to date. The tour was well organized and the staff were friendly and very knowledgeable. The events that they include in the tour include everything “must see” in Israel and activities that will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. The tour allows for activities for all ages and accommodates anyone who wants to do more or less than they have planned. It is obvious to me and my family that they have put serious thought into planning the tour as all of the logistics were worked out. We would confidently refer this tour group to anyone considering a Bar Mitzvah tour in Israel.
Thank you so much for a great tour of Israel. It was the right balance of information and entertainment. Natalie was great. I especially liked being with you and your family. I know it made an important impression on Rose and Helene as well as Sybil and myself. I believe what you do is important for Judaism and Israel.
Keep up the good work.
Barry Dershaw Boca Raton, FL
Now that we have been back for a short while I just wanted to take a minute and reach out to you and your entire staff and say THANK YOU ! IBMT TOURs was instrumental in creating a memory for my entire family that will be timeless. My wife and I wanted to ensure that our kids and our grandchildren would have many memories to look back on long after we gone. We could not have possibly been any happier or more satisfied with our trip to Israel and celebrating our granddaughters Bat Mitzvah. With your detailed attention to the planning, coordinating and choice of guides and drivers we quickly realized we never could have done this on our own. My initial concern was you were” over promising “ the experience we were going to have by using IBMT , my thoughts after having been home for a couple of weeks , you actually “over delivered” on the entire experience. IBMT truly made this a WOW ! trip of a lifetime . We have already passed your name along to 2 other couples who are planning a Bat and Bar Mitzvah trip to Israel We will be checking your web site prior to any travel outside the US to see if you offer any packaged trips.
David M Zimmerman
"Opting to celebrate our son's bar mitzvah this summer with IBMT is one of the best decisions we've ever made. The itinerary took us to places around the country that I've never experienced on previous trips to Israel. Experiencing our son's bar mitzvah atop Masada as opposed to a more rushed, crowded experience at the wall truly sets IBMT apart from other tour companies. The professionalism of the IBMT staff both in North America and Israel was superb...everything was incredibly well organized and we were heartened by IBMT's level of diligence in ensuring that every hotel and restaurant fully accommodated our son's food allergies. Our tour guide Natalie was the highlight of the trip -- she is warm, incredibly knowledgeable, and tailored the experience for everyone's needs. The other families on our tour were excellent, excellent people and we've made friendships that will last for many years to come." Warm regards,
Janet Newman Pepper Pike, Ohio
Our family recently participated in IMBT Tours – Israel 16-days Ultimate Jewish Heritage Tour.
It was a great experience! The diversity of sites…historic and modern…gave us a deep appreciation for the country. We will certainly return to Israel.
The accommodations were extremely comfortable and in great locations.
The tour was well-paced, allowing for both guided and personal exploration. We really also appreciated the “free days” that were interspersed.
Our primary guide, Mali, who was with us for (12) days, was extraordinary. She combined knowledge, passion and humor. The trip was also enhanced by our fellow travelers…new friends from all over the world.
Thank you for choosing the perfect tour for our family,
To Ornan and IBMT Tours staff,
We just got back from tour with IBMT for our Bat Mitzvah Tour in Israel.
We are so glad we have chosen the right company for our tour as I can’t express my words of how wonderful this tour company was, starting before we left, the personal service they showed here back home and later the service in Israel with our great tour guide Natalie who was so informative on every place we went and what we saw. It was so wonderful to listen to a person with so much knowledge, she made it very interesting for all of us to enjoy and we all became one big family.
Fun, Excitement & Connection, IBMT you are more then that. Everyone took care of each other looking after the children, everyone pitched in
“Just like one Big Mishpucha” I would like to thank you Ornan for a great tour that you have provided for me and my family in Israel.
Joan Ross Palm Spring, CA
How to I begin to thank you for an awesome Bar Mitzvah Tour that literally has changed my soul. I love Israel and will seriously get behind doing whatever I can do to help our state. I am a proud American but my heart belongs to Israel. We had an experience that was like none other, we enjoyed our group immensely and Natalie is a golden jewel, never to be cast off as she held us all together and so knowledgeable about every aspect. She is quite the tour guide! And our driver great too.
First of all we would like to tell you that it was truly a vacation of the lifetime for our family! The Bar Mitzvah day was planned perfectly with the trip to Masada, a float in the Dead Sea, and the party in the most intimate setting with welcoming host, delicious food, great entertainment, and dancing. We have not been that happy in years and that is a true achievement on your part and Ada's for all the planning and coordination!
Our tour guide, Natalie, was fantastic. Her knowledge of history was impeccable. She was so quick answering all the questions that we have nothing but the admiration for her! She made history enjoyable for us which does not happen often.
Our driver Motti, was very careful driving around in the narrow streets of Israel. He was very polite and accommodating in making all the stops and even unplanned restroom breaks. A true professional!
The planned activities were all great and the following in particular: going through 2000 year old tunnels,Israel Museum, Masada, Judean Desert, underground bullet factory, Holocaust Museum, Shabbat of the Lifetime dinner, walking tour of City of David Tower, De Karina chocolate factory tour, Tzfat, bonfire dinner in Kibbutz, jeep rides, water rafting, hiking at Tel Dan, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv, and our Farewell Dinner.
The meals and the accommodations were great at all three hotels. The service was great in Inbal Hotel Jerusalem and Kfar Blum Kibbutz. David Intercontinental needs some improvement on training their personnel especially in dining area and pool area to make their guests feel more welcome. However it was minor in comparison of how much fun we had every single day and the memories we brought back to share with our parents who could not travel due to their age.
Thank you so much for the unforgettable trip and all the prompt responses to many questions we had during planning stage of our trip!
Kathy Mattes, San Francisco
We returned from our trip yesterday and are now recovering from jet lag.
We had a great time and both believe this was one of the best vacations we have ever taken. I expected to enjoy Israel, but not to the extent that I did. The trip was well-planned, full of activities and we greatly enjoyed the tour guide, Nadav.
Thank you for putting together such a wonderful trip. We have friends considering a Bar Mitzvah trip for their grandchildren and will recommend IBMT to them.
Thank you very much for the IBMT Bat Mitzvah tour we just completed. We had a fabulous time & there were lots of special little parts from the tour that contributed to that. The different experiences for dinner were very special, and I liked the variety of different types of sites/attractions. Our tour guide Natalie was excellent, and I heard good things from the other group about their guide Liat.
Lisa Weinberg Toronto, Canada
I want to thank you for a most fabulous trip/experience/adventure ! We had a great time !! And so enjoyed and appreciated so many of the wonderful surprises that IBMT had for us ! The bar Mitzvah day was amazing and the party that night an absolute thrill !!!! What a memory ! The hotels were great! We saw/ learned and did so much in 2 weeks ! What a great time ! What great people on our trip, what a fascinating country .
Thank you for everything!
Shayna Green and Eric Genin
Bar Mitzvah Tour in Europe
We just returned from our trip this afternoon. We had a wonderful time and our trip was seamless! All three guides were great and drivers were professional as well.
Thanks for putting together the Siddur. It will be such a nice memento.
One quick question-is there a way to forward an additional tip on to Budapest guide Agi Antal? Is it best to deal with her directly or can I send you a check to be given to her by her tour group? I am not sure how that works???
Thanks again for planning such a great trip!! We will highly recommend your services to others!
Marcia, Eli and Max Lawrence Chicago, IL
The IBMT Bar Mitzvah tour was fantastic! It was the perfect blend of family time and peer group time, of sites with religious/historic significance and just plain fun. The guide was personable and informative, and even the bus driver was great. All the details were attended to and you didn’t have to concern yourself with or worry about a thing. It was a true vacation. We would highly recommend it to anyone. If you are going to Eilat, Petra is a must!
Again, thanks for everything.
The Best Bat Mitzvah Experience
Our family had a wonderful 2 week experience with IBMT in August, 2015. My wife, daughters (age 12 and 13) and parents (age 71 and 72) all had a simply incredible experience. The tour hits many of the incredible, historic sights the country offers and combines those with amazing activities for the kids including: a live archaeological dig, water tunnels, a chocolate factory, river rafting, a zipline, a jeep tour, donkey riding, camel riding, diving with dolphins and of course playing on beaches of the Mediterranean, Dead and Red seas. The trip was equivalent to four, one-week vacations nicely fit and organized into 13 days.
On the comfort scale, we had a spacious, air conditioned bus with internet access, and all our lodging venues were very nice and served scrumptious breakfasts! Furthermore, our tour guide Nathalie and bus drier Moody were both tremendous!
However, I think the true IBMT differentiator is the extra high touch customer service provided by Ornan Sharaby, the company's president and co-owner. Whether it be answering endless questions from my family prior to the trip or personally going to meet a stranger in Tel Aviv to retrieve my daughter's lost iPhone, Ornan provided a "Four Seasons plus" level of customer service. Before you commit to a larger tour company, you should talk to Ornan personally. IBMT uses the same 5 star hotels as the "big tour companies" but provides extra "TLC" often required to ensure your trip is as special as you dreamed.
The Zelikovitz Family
We wanted to thank you for all that you did to ensure that our trip to Israel was an amazing experience for our entire family. Everything was first class and ran so smoothly. Natalie, our tour guide, was incredible, so knowledgeable, and fantastic with the kids, and along with Moodie, our driver, ensured we all had the best experience possible! Our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah ceremony, at Masada, is a memory that we will all cherish forever.
We feel extremely fortunate to have traveled with such wonderful families. Friendships were created that we are sure will continue. We hope to return to Israel as a family again in the near future!
Thanks again for an amazing trip!
We returned from our 15 day Bar Mitzvah tour and still cannot believe what a fabulous trip we enjoyed. There are many reasons why we are so positive and why we would highly recommend IBMT.
1. The responsiveness and communication from Ornan to the guide. Everyone concerned with IBMT responded to requests for information immediately and we felt that they were truly interested in us, our needs and questions. Having initially called a number of other tour groups, I can say that this is not always the case. Other groups waited days to respond to emails and calls, however, it was evident from day 1 that we were dealing with a professional and experienced organization that was interested in us and that our business was valued. This followed throughout the period prior to the trip including airline arrangements, hotel reservations and advice as to what we could do before and after the organized tour. (We planned time before and after the tour time in Israel.) My sister came with us on the trip and she uses a scooter and has a number of physical challenges. Rooms in hotels were arranged and her needs were met as best as they could be (given the limitations of hotels and sites.) She likewise felt that communication and consideration for her special needs was excellent. I will speak about the guide later on but she also followed this same philosophy of answering questions and concerns immediately and providing as much information as necessary. Bottom line, this is a professional organized company who knows what they are doing and treats prospective customers with concern, interest and respect.
2. The tour included all of the important sites and we had a wonderful experience seeing everything in Israel. We never had to wait at sites to get enter, time schedules were made and followed and from our perspective, the tour ran like clockwork. Again, this speaks to a professional organization that knows what it is doing.
3. Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience. I cannot say enough about the fact that the service was held at Masada; if you question where is the best place to have a Bar Mitzvah, I believe that the experience on top of this pillar and testament to Jewish dedication and survival is best, bar none. It was intimate, inspiring and we were captivated by the scene and meaningfulness of the celebration. We, all five families, were moved by the service and Torah reading; the fact that both girls and boys were able to participate equally was important to us also.
4. Accommodations and dining. Simply stated, the hotels and food choices were very good and I was happy that there was 6 nights in Jerusalem- a real plus. One wants to be concerned with seeing and doing things not with packing and moving luggage. I would rather travel a bit more on a bus then go from one hotel to another, especially when the hotel was as nice as the Inbal. Israel is small and one does not need to cut the country into many hotel experiences.
5. The guide- Natalie Sylvan-Schein was excellent. She was a wealth of information and tried very hard to develop a rapport with the kids right from the first night. She stayed true to her character throughout the trip and was always responsive and considerate. The children and adults enjoyed listening to her explanations (English is perfect, she is truly bilingual) and although I sometimes may have wanted a little more depth, she did hit the right note for the group. She is someone that I would request if you are anticipating this trip because she is very skillful. I would also add that IBMT knows when they have an excellent guide.
6. We were lucky that our group was small. To me it became a positive though initially I was not certain... The group became friends and we all enjoyed each other's company and perspective. Our kids likewise enjoyed being together and they bonded as did the parents. If you are anticipating a trip, find out the number of people because with a large number there may be more problems and issues with personalities, etc. We were one group and this added to the experience.
In summary, this is an organization and tour group that is first rate. I highly recommend them and believe that they are the choice for your Israel Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Geff & Toby Myers
We wanted to thank you and let you know we had a wonderful trip! Natalie was excellent and made the tour a success (Moody did a great job also). We had a diverse family group (Myers, Feinbergs,Greenberg, Naviasky) and everyone was very satisfied. Our boys had a great time and we believe you have hit the mark on the mix of activities and education for a Bar Mitzvah tour. Very busy schedule but very rewarding.
Ornan and Ada,
I want to take a few minutes to tell you how totally pleased I was with our recent trip to Israel. My grandson and I were on the June 28th tour. It not only met, but totally exceeded my expectations. I've traveled far and wide for years but always resisted the idea of an escorted tour. Not anymore. Being with my grandson as be became a Bar Mitzvah on Masada was that once in a lifetime experience. The last night in Tel Aviv as my grandson and his two new best buddies were trying to say goodbye..... they hugged each other and said "I love you". What you did was create an opportunity for magic to happen, for teenagers to let their guard down and just feel the connection and love one another. When my daughter asked her son (my grandson) how he would rate the trip on a scale of 1 - 10. Without any hesitation he replied....an 11.
So thank you for making this "once in a lifetime" experience a reality.
With deep appreciation,