Our Home, Our Hearts: Israel with Rabbi Don Goor and Cantor Evan Kent
October 25, 2022 - November 4, 2022
Group SizeMinimum 20
Home » Our Home, Our Hearts: Israel with Rabbi Don Goor and Cantor Evan Kent
Art & Culture
Food & Wine
Explore eclectic neighborhoods across the country
LGBTQ life in the Holy Land
A behind-the-scenes look at the Israeli Reform movement
What’s multicultural about Israel?
Hummus, ice cream, wines: find out Don & Evan’s favorites
Daily jog, Torah yoga, paddleboarding: Connect mind, body, and soul
Led by Rabbi Don Goor and Cantor Evan Kent
DISCOVER OUR HOME: OUR ISRAEL: You will be living rather than visiting Israel when you join Rabbi Don and Cantor Evan on this incredibly personal ten-day journey from one end of the country to the other. Not only are Don and Evan knowledgeable and extremely fun to be around, but they will show you a side of Israel you have never seen before – THEIR Israel. The couple, originally from Los Angeles, fulfilled their lifelong dream of making Aliyah (immigrate) in 2013 and will share their love of everything blue and white: from Don’s favorite exhibit in the art museum to Evan’s beloved running routes. You will enjoy luxury accommodations and will even get to eat Shabbat dinner at Don and Evan’s house. If you’re really lucky, you might get to meet their cats too.
OVER TO YOU, DON. TELL US WHAT’S IN STOREWednesday, October 26, 2022
Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport. A representative will be on hand to help you with anything you need.
Lay Eyes on Our Jerusalem, a vibrant and colorful city we call home, where we encounter the old and the new every day.
Check into the David Citadel Hotel.
Welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Jerusalem, The food is excellent, the setting is quaint, and it comes with a social conscience. The restaurant trains and employs youth with limited opportunities. Evan and I look forward to connecting and sharing thoughts about this journey together.
OvernightDavid Citadel, Jerusalem
JERUSALEM MOSAICThursday, October 27, 2022
Breakfast is served. You will find Evan near the healthy food. As for me, I can give you pointers on the best breakfast desserts.
What’s Being Done to Advance Pluralism and Gender Equality in Israel? I am on the board of directors of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel. Evan and I are extremely close to Anat Hoffman and have turned to IRAC a number of times when we personally felt we were the victims of discrimination. We’ll be hearing personal stories from staff members as well as a candid discussion on the state of pluralism in Israel today.
Chickpea Heaven: We’ll check out the best hummus joints in Mahane Yehuda Shuk. To make things even more interesting, you will also be tasting hummus prepared by Evan. The tour will conclude with some classic hummus recipes (including Evan’s) and a hummus-making kit.
Opening the Closet Doors of the Holy City: The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, which serves the city’s LGBT community, is a cause close to our hearts. We were among its earliest supporters. You will hear from Ofer Erez, who enlisted in the army as a woman and eventually came out as the IDF’s first transgender soldier during officer training.
1 City, 2 States, 3 Religions, and 4 Quarters: The Jerusalem light rail is truly amazing. We’re going to start from the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood, continue through the Arab villages of Shuafat and Beit Hanina and the ultra-Orthodox area of Ramot Eshkol, and end at the Old City. We love the diversity of Jerusalem’s communities. It’s part of what attracted Evan and me to Jerusalem. We’re going to talk about the differences between East and West Jerusalem and the ongoing struggles between the city’s different communities.
Return to the hotel.
OvernightDavid Citadel, Jerusalem
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTHFriday, October 28, 2022
Nothing says Boker tov (good morning) like a run (optional) through the streets of Jerusalem with long-distance runner Evan. All levels are welcome! (If you’re wondering, I will still be at the breakfast dessert table.)
An Unhealthy Obsession? Noga Tarnopolsky is a journalist who has spent many years writing for the foreign press corps and is the LA Times correspondent in Israel. She is also a good friend of ours – we hang out with her a lot. In this presentation, Noga will examine why the media’s eyes are fixed so firmly on Israel and argue that the extensive coverage is leading to less, rather than more, understanding of the situation.
The Israel Museum: You can catch us here pretty often. It’s one of our favorite places to visit. As members of the museum, we can visit as frequently as we like and check out the latest exhibits, even if we’re short on time. We’re going to have a docent take us around the museum’s eclectic collection, ranging from archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls to Jewish life and art and the open-air model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period.
We love Kol Haót Art Gallery, and every friend we have ever taken here tell us how they connect to Judaism in new and amazing ways through art. Evan and I had David Moss’s artwork hanging up on the walls of our LA house. It’s a magical and interactive way to bring in Shabbat.
Kabbalat Shabbat services will take place in the beautiful neighborhood of Yemin Moshe. Evan, who will be leading prayers, has the most incredible voice. You’re in for a treat. You’ll also get to hear some thoughts and words of Torah from yours truly.
Just a short walk from Yemin Moshe, we will head back to our home where you will join us for an intimate homemade Shabbat dinner. You’ll also get to meet our #superstar cats, Archie and Griffin (gratis allergy meds are available).
David Citadel, Jerusalem
GET OUT YOUR WALKING SHOESSaturday, October 29, 2022
Connect body, soul, and Jewish sacred texts in a Torah yoga session (optional). Evan loves yoga. I don’t!
Our favorite Shabbat activity: Walking through the Old City.
We’ll meet an Armenian Ceramic Artist and visit his workshop, followed by a short tour of the Armenian Quarter, the smallest of the four quarters with the fewest residents.
Is It a Church or a Synagogue? We’ll visit Christ Church, the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East, which looks exactly like a synagogue.
We’ll also see the Austrian Hospice, which as well as being a European enclave in the heart of the Old City, serves the best strudel in the Middle East.
Where Amichai Poetry Comes Alive: Yehuda Amichai was Israel’s most renowned poet. I was fortunate enough to study with Amichai as an undergrad in Berkeley, and I’m enormous fan of Israeli poetry. No better way to experience Jerusalem than through Amichai’s poetry.
Three Stars in the Jerusalem Sky: At nightfall, we will mark the end of a special Shabbat with a communal and musical Havdallah ceremony with friends who are also leaders of the Israeli Reform movement at Beit Shmuel.
OvernightDavid Citadel, Jerusalem
CORNERS OF CO-EXISTENCESunday, October 30, 2022
Check out of the hotel.
As we drive north on the Trans-Israel Highway, there will be an opportunity to see the Security Barrier which runs along the seam zone between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and to learn about the barrier’s effects on Israeli security and Palestinian communities.
I first visited the Leo Baeck School in Haifa when I was 16 years old as an exchange student. Back then, it was a cool high school for hanging out. Today it is so much more than just a school – it teaches pluralism and is a model for co-existence. We are very close with the head of the school, and one of the rabbis there, Naama Dafni-Kellen, attributes her becoming a rabbi to me.
Coexistence Through Cuisine: We strongly believe in a multicultural society. Essentially, it’s why we made Aliyah – we wanted to help bring the values of pluralism and tolerance to Israel. Haifa is an amazing example of multiculturalism, and the most authentic market in Haifa is without a doubt Wadi Nisnas. This will be a cultural as well as a culinary tour as we talk with local merchants and residents about how the spices and stalls of Wadi Nisnas express the history and soul of a community.
Star of the Sea: In the 13th century, Catholic hermits imitated Elijah and took to the caves of Mount Carmel. We’ll visit the Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) Monastery, established near Elijah’s caves and the spiritual center of the Carmelite religious order. A place of contemplation, the monastery has seen some pretty turbulent times, including occupation by the British and Israel militaries. I am particularly excited to check out the impressive dome with its paintings of Elijah and other biblical figures.
We’re going to take a moment at the top of Mount Carmel, the setting for many biblical stories and the old stomping ground of the prophet Elijah, to admire the view of Haifa Bay. If you want an example of Haifa’s tremendous diversity, look no further than the beautiful Baha’i Gardens, known as one of the two holiest sites for the Baha’ai faith, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You Be the Chef: We love food. We especially love Middle Eastern food. A great way to experience authentic Middle Eastern fare is to take part in a cooking workshop guided by an Israeli-Arab family who will welcome us into their home. The Arab villages of the Galilee are famous for their food, including fish and olive dishes and delicious desserts like knafeh and baklawa. We’ll discover the local culinary secrets and, mentored by our host family, prepare and eat a traditional dinner.
OvernightElma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel, Zichron Yaacov
MealsBreakfast, Lunch, Dinner
NORTHERN EXPOSUREMonday, October 31, 2022
Still at the dessert table at the breakfast buffet.
Living on the Edge: Later today, you’ll watch Evan perform his one-man show, which was actually motivated and inspired by the Gaza War, when rockets were falling all around us in Jerusalem. For now, we are going to gain a better understanding of Israel’s security challenges as we talk to Eitan Oren, a local Kibbutz member, as well as IDF soldiers serving on the Lebanese border. From Kibbutz Malkiya, we will look into Southern Lebanon and discuss the difficulties facing communities in northern Israel.
Buza=Glida=Gelato=Ice Cream: I like ice cream and Evan likes posting about ice cream on Facebook. Co-existence never tasted as good as it does in this delicious ice cream workshop. Buza (Arabic for ice cream) is a joint operation by Alaa Sweitat and Adam Ziv. This Muslim-Jewish duo uses 100% natural products and Italian knowhow to create Galilean glida (Hebrew for ice cream). Heads-up: Prepare to photobomb Evan’s ice cream selfies.
This Is No Ordinary Winery: Kishor Winery is one of the Upper Galilee’s blossoming new wineries. It is also where Kibbutz Kishorit members with special needs work all year round – each according to their ability. We’ll learn more about this extraordinary place on a tasting tour.
Hope You Left Room for Dinner: We’re going to head back to Elma and enjoy dinner overlooking the Mediterranean.
Evan’s One-Man Show: In “Shards: Putting the Pieces Together,” Evan brings a Broadway voice and a cantor’s soul to share his life story, beginning in New York, continuing in LA, and now in Israel.
OvernightElma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel, Zichron Yaacov
THE WINE CAPITAL OF ISRAELTuesday, November 1, 2022
Tie Up Your Shoelaces: This morning’s run (still optional) is brought to you by Evan and the beautiful pastoral village of Zichron Ya’akov.
You have the rest of the morning to enjoy the captivating Elma Hotel before you check out.
Fall in Love with Zichron Yaakov: We love walking around Zichron Yaakov. It’s beautiful and quaint. It also has tremendous colorful history. At the end of the nineteenth century, Baron Rothschild, a French banker and Jewish philanthropist, became the patron of Zichron and saved the town from demise, after almost all the Romanian Jews who had settled here perished from malaria. Within a year, Rothschild built Israel’s first winery – the Carmel-Mizrahi winery.
We’re All About the Wine: I have always loved wine, and living in Berkley, I would visit Napa Valley, known for its wine. That love of wine remained during the years and continues to this day. We are going to be visiting Somek winery, which we don’t get to visit nearly enough, but we’re excited to share this tasting tour with you. We’ll also get to meet fifth-generation vintner Barak Dahan and savor the results of his family’s long-term love affair with the land and grapes of the area.
There’s Art in Them Thar Hills: We are going to experience the Ein Hod artists’ colony in the foothills of the Carmel Mountains. Evan & I own our own glass masterpiece from Ein Hod, which you may have seen while you were in our home for Friday night dinner.
Tel Aviv: Our Second Home: People often tell us that we belong more in Tel Aviv than we do in Jerusalem. We love our lives in Jerusalem, but we spend as much time as we can – usually once a week – in the 24-hour city with a pulse.
Check into the beautiful Drisco Hotel.
OvernightThe Drisco Hotel, Tel Aviv
EAT, DRINK, & BREATHE TEL AVIVWednesday, November 2, 2022
As a flat city, Tel Aviv is perfect for a morning run (really, it is optional) – with Evan, of course!
Surf’s Up, SUP’s Up: Standup paddleboarding: The first time we did standup paddleboarding was during the Gazan War in 2014. It was a way for us to relax and detach from the stress of the time. It’s an extremely user-friendly version of surfing. So, you’ll find that I will be joining Evan for this particular physical activity! (Other activities such as sitting are also fun.)
Beginnings: Modern Tel Aviv grew out of ancient We will reflect on how Jaffa, mentioned in the biblical story of Jonah and the Whale, is so historically important.
Shuk Hapishpeshim is amazing – and is an antique lover’s dream come true. We own a few gems from the flea market. Join us as we search for the hidden knickknacks.
Levinsky Market: Food again. But Levinsky offers so much more than amazing food. It’s the stories of the families behind the food that makes it taste so much better.
Gan Meir Gay Center of Tel Aviv: Every year, you will find us here at the beginning of the Pride parade with 200,000 of our best friends. Today we’ll talk with activists and members of various LGBTQ organizations about the progress and challenges of the LGBT rights movement.
OvernightThe Drisco Hotel, Tel Aviv
LIFE IN THE FIRST HEBREW CITYThursday, November 3, 2022
The Reform Jewish World: A glimpse into the world of the Reform Movement in Israel with Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and Rabbi Naomi Efrat, leader of Kehilat Halev, who are both good friends of ours. All too often, people talk about the challenges facing the Reform movement in Israel. We’re going to shed light on the successes and milestones.
Along the Water: We made Aliyah with four bikes. We’re really into bike riding. We’re going to enjoy an easy bike ride starting from the Yarkon River, through the Tel Aviv Port, and along the shoreside Tel Aviv promenade, ending at the old port of Jaffa.
Out of East Africa: We believe strongly in spotlighting populations that usually don’t receive enough attention. We will meet African women seeking refuge in Tel Aviv and see how they are working toward a brighter future by creating beautiful crocheted products. Kuchinate (meaning crochet in Tigrinya) is a collective that celebrates African art and culture while empowering women asylum-seekers, many of whom suffered great hardships while fleeing to Israel. Here we’ll:
Join women from East Africa for a traditional coffee-making ceremony and talk with them about their lives in Israel and the struggles they are seeking to overcome through creativity and collective action.
Try our hand at creating East African baskets (or bracelets) during a craft workshop led by the women of Kuchinate.
Farewell dinner will be at our favorite restaurant in Tel Aviv: Claro, in the Sarona complex. It’s not often that I remember specific meals but the best lunch I have ever experienced was at Claro. Chef Ran Shmueli’s farm-to-table restaurant is renowned for its creative cuisine and welcoming atmosphere.
OvernightThe Drisco Hotel, Tel Aviv
THAT WENT FASTFriday, November 4, 2022
Your last Israeli breakfast. For this trip, anyway. Did I mention the dessert buffet?
Check out of the hotel – we’ll say “Le’hitraot.” Make sure to “Friend” us on Facebook!
Head to Ben Gurion International Airport and check in for your return flights to the US.
8 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus.
9 days of touring with a licensed, English speaking tour educator.
Individual transfers and VIP assistance to and from the airport.
All site entrance fees and program fees as per itinerary.
Meals: daily breakfast, 3 lunches & 5 dinners.
Gratuities: All gratuities for restaurant staff at group meals are included
Portage at hotels.
Water and Don & Evan’s favorite snacks
Evening transportation when dinner is not included.
Amendments to the program: In the event that any sites, programs or meals etc are added to the program, an additional fee may be required.
Personal extras: Items of personal nature such as laundry, wines, mineral water, beverages, coffee, tea, food other than the table d’hotel menu, passport and visa fees, insurance, and foreign port taxes, unless otherwise specified.
US and foreign airport taxes, Q fuel surcharge and border taxes when applicable.
Value Added Tax is currently not applicable to tourists visiting Israel. Should the law change, you will be notified accordingly, and VAT will be added to your final invoice.
Gratuities: We recommend the following guidelines for tipping (amounts in US dollars):
Group of 20 participants or more: Expert Educator: $8 | Driver: $4 - per participant per day.
The small print
Group rates: Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of
20 full-paying participants. Should the number of participants drop below the minimum
listed, the cost of the trip will be adjusted to reflect the additional expense of operating the
Currency: Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach
transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services
of local guides, drivers, and the tour guide/educator are included.
Payment policy: Da'at Educational Expeditions reserves the right to adjust its terms of
payment, including cancelation policies and initial deposits. Notification of any changes will
be made explicitly to the participants where relevant.
An initial deposit of $500 per person, non-refundable, non-transferable is due at the time of reservation unless another amount is indicated.
Final payment is due 90 days before the scheduled trip begins, or as specified in
Cancelation policy: All cancelations need to be made in writing. The cancelation fee
depends on the date when we receive written notification of your request to
cancel your booking. Please note that the deposit is non-refundable.
Cancelation fees made:
90 or more days prior to departure incur the loss of the deposit.
89 to 46 days prior to departure incur the loss of 50% of the full trip cost.
45 days or less prior to the departure incur the loss of 100% of the full
Cancelation fees may also include:
Hotel or supplier cancelation fees.
For trips in Israel only: The cost of the PEACE OF MIND TRAVEL PROTECTION PROGRAM (POM), if this was purchased.
Group airfare penalty fee.
Travel insurance: We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance.
Please discuss land, air and health insurance options with your insurance provider or contact
Travel Insured at 1-800-344-6226, ext. 257. Some insurance programs provide more
comprehensive coverage when the policy is purchased in close proximity to the initial trip
deposit. We, therefore, recommend that you secure insurance within 14 days of your initial
deposit payment date.
Room categories are based on standard Run of House unless otherwise noted.
Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort.
We reserve the right to make substitutions with hotels of equal standard. No refunds will be issued for the differences between hotel prices.
The standard hotel room in Israel is generally smaller than in the US, comfortably accommodating two people in either one queen-size bed or two single beds. Some hotels offer triple rooms consisting of standard twin beds plus a sofa/folding bed or cot for the third person.
Special requests such as room selections, bed types, and smoking preferences are subject to availability and are strictly at the discretion of the hotel's management on a run-of-house basis.
All hotel rates are non-negotiable and are based on the agreements made between Dalat Educational Expeditions and its suppliers.
Hotel check-in time is generally not before 3:00 p.m. and check-out time is prior to noon. If you are taking a late-night flight, make sure to organize adequate arrangements for accommodation until you are ready to leave for the airport. If a day room is included in the itinerary, check-out time will usually be at 6:00 p.m.
We have created a Da’at COVID-19 safety protocol to protect everyone in the group.*
Masks are required on Da’at trips and are provided at no extra charge.
Social distancing is strictly observed and trips are limited in participation. All venues, meals, and vehicles are reserved to ensure that there is additional space and that they conform to COVID safety protocols.
Cleanliness is our top priority and we ensure that all surfaces and high-traffic areas used by our trip participants and team are clean and disinfected.
In order to give you peace of mindwhen making future travel plans, we have suspended our cancellation policies.** If your travel has been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, you can change or cancel your travel without any cancellation fees up to 30 days before your departure date. If you need to change your travel plans due to Coronavirus 30 days or less before your departure date, no change fee will apply and funds received to date for your trip will be refunded to you as an e-Credit that you will be able to use toward a future Da’at trip.
Using common sense during a global pandemic is key to having a safe, healthy, worry-free, and enjoyable trip. If you have questions about our COVID protocols, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team so that we can reassure you.
* To protect the safety of all our travelers, we cannot allow anyone to join a trip who has been exposed to COVID-19 within 2 weeks of the trip’s departure date. Check your destination’s entry requirements before departure, as several countries may have issued travel regulations that may affect your trip.
** In cases where our cancellation policy differs from what is written, you will be personally notified well in advance.