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’•
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!!!
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.
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