It’s been one month to the day since I’ve returned from Israel… but with as busy as we’ve been with wedding planning and life, it feels like it was forever ago. I think many of us agree that it was probably the best week of our lives, and it sounds like most people are pretty grateful that I went ahead and photo journalistically documented the entire event – even I have been reliving it daily in my desktop wallpapers and screensavers.

Here for you now are some of my favorite photos from the trip, followed the itinerary and some of the highlights.

For more photos (especially the ones with people), check out my special Israel Edition of Jarchiver.

Day 1: Welcome to Israel

Arrival in Tel Aviv

After a 12 hour flight, we were all happy to be on land again and ecstatic to meet our totally awesome tour guide, Beni.

Bus Tour to Jerusalem

No time to waste, it was off to Jerusalem via the official Bellinson Family tour bus! Beni introduced us to the land, culture, politics, and more along the way.

Touring the Old City and Holy Sepulcher

A stroll through the bustling markets and then to the supposed place of Christ’s death.

Day 2: Discovering Jerusalem and Digging up the Past

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum with survivor Eliezer Ayalon

As you can imagine, Eli’s story was heartbreaking and the Holocaust Museum was an experience which you could call “rough.” It was an amazing experience to meet a man of such strong will and graciousness.

Beit Guvrin Caves – Dig For A Day

Here we were able to participate in an ongoing archeological dig, something I’ve always wanted to do. Most of us found at least one or two bits of 2000 year old antiquities – mostly shards of pottery, small bits of coal and long petrified animal bones.

Western Wall Tunnels

In the tunnels, we were the closest one can get to the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments was kept according to the Hebrew Bible.

Day 3: Bar Mitzvah Day!

Cooper’s Bar Mitzvah

This was my first experience of the Jewish religion and it was a lovely ceremony.

Israel Museum

Here we had a chance to see some of the art and traditions of the Israeli culture, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Day 4: Heading South – Dead Sea and Masada


This mountain top was once the home to a group of Jewish extremists, but when troops from the Roman Empire threatened their livelihood they turned to mass suicide rather than give themselves up as slaves to the Romans.

The Dead Sea

It’s true!! You totally float in the Dead Sea! Quite a strange experience, indeed, but very cool.

Dinner in a Bedouin Tent

After visiting a botanical garden and seeking out some wild ibexes, we headed up into the mountains to a remote bedouin camp for an absolutely wonderful dinner.

Day 5: Heading North – Galilee

Central Galilee Partnership 2000 English Program

The Jewish Federation of Detroit is partnered with an Israeli elementary school which we visited and learned a bit about the students and their lives.

Ayelet Hashahar Shooting Range

Time to shoot some uzis!! My first gun shooting almost went out without a hitch – right after instructing us on safety, the teacher shot a live round off right across me while showing me how to pull the trigger. Nice.

Day 6: North to Tel Aviv

Golan Heights Jeep Ride

Off-roading through the cattle fields up to Golan Heights where we met with former colonel, Kobi Marom, to talk politics and relationships with neighboring Syria and Lebanon.

Army Base Security Tour with Kobi Marom

Next, we headed to an Israeli Defense Force base and met with a few soldiers, saw a bunch of missile launchers and ate a bit of Bar Mitzvah cake.

Tel Aviv Tour

And lastly, it was back to Tel Aviv for a few hours of touring and our final Israeli dinner before embarking on the incredible 25 hour journey back home (ouch).

So As you can see, it was a fully loaded week – and that flickr set doesn’t even begin to cover it. For more photos (especially the ones with people), check out my special Israel Edition of Jarchiver.