Trip Overview

Welcome to the Mussar Institute Israel Experience 2020, we're excited to have you join this incredible adventure

Read more about the Trip Overview

“Spiritual Renewal”

We begin our trip on Tu B’Shvat, the “New Year” for trees. This is the time when the sap
of the new growth has begun flowing and the dormant tree is waking from its winter
slumber. Newness and re-growth are the lessons of the day.

Our trip ends with commemorating the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, who defined
Mussar as the Torah’s antidote to timtum ha’lev, the closed heart that is no longer
sensitive and supple. Mussar re-awakens us to truths we know well but have “forgotten”
because they have become habitual to us. Mussar helps us “to renew our days as of
old” (Megillat Eicha 5:21), to refresh our sensibilities, to enliven our awareness of what
we already have.

Between these two celebratory days, we will study, travel, learn, connect, explore and
enjoy as we revive and revitalize our inner lives, to bring home a refreshed spirit and a
reawakened heart.

Trip Highlights:

  • This unique trip includes 10 days/9 nights of Mussar learning and practice in locations of significance to Mussar and Israel, with our own Avi Fertig and Alan Morinis as lead teachers, and Uri Vogel who returns as our tour guide. In addition, study Mussar with some of the greatest teachers in Israel.
  • Three experience-filled days and nights in the beautiful Upper Galilee and 6 days and nights in Jerusalem, all at first class accommodations.
  • Arrive in Israel February 10, and begin with a festive Tu B’shvat celebration, followed the next day with an experiential teaching on “Renewal through God’s Natural Wonders” incorporating a visit to one of Israel’s beautiful national parks.
  • Travel to the mystical, magical city of Tsfat to learn about the influence of the early Kabbalists on the Mussar masters and study Mussar teachings on Holiness in the synagogue of the Arizal himself.
  • Study Pirkei Avot in the historic town of Tzippori, where the Mishnah (including Pirkei Avot) was composed.
  • Carry on to Zichron and Caesaria, with Mussar lessons from the Talmudic era.
  • Experience the peace and joy of Shabbat in Jerusalem with a Mussar flavor.
  • Study with some of the greatest living Mussar teachers in Jerusalem’s Beit HaMussar – House of Mussar Study, established by Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe.
  • Visit the burial places of Mussar masters, including Rabbi Zundel from Salant, and the Alter of Slabodka.
  • Enjoy the intimacy of home hospitality and delicious Israeli cuisine, forging deep relationships with our community, teachers and guides.

Because of the special nature of our Mussar Experience in Israel, we are limiting participation to one bus, approximately 45 people. Reservations are on a first-come basis; do not delay or risk disappointment.

Day 1

Day 1, Sunday, February 9, 2020

  • Departure
Day 1
Day 2

Day 2, Monday, February 10, 2020

“Tu B’shevat”

  • Arrival
  • Meet at 5PM at Ben Gurion International Airport
  • Drive up North
  • Festive orientation/Tu B’shvat celebration celebrating renewal in nature and in ourselves -- dinner at hotel (Avi and Alan)

Overnight: Pastoral Hotel Kfar Bloom

Day 2
Day 3

Day 3, Tuesday, February 11, 2020

“Renewal through God’s Natural Wonders”: Morning teaching (Avi or Alan)

  • Visit Tel Dan National Park with its inspiring natural wonders; Paradise Springs – calmly babbling brooks creating channels along a well-developed riverside forest, Tel Dan, one of the largest ancient sites in Israel, with the remains of a 5000 year old city.
  • Box lunch included
  • Kibbutz Misgav Am - meet with locals and hear about living on Israel’s Northern border
  • Meditative Experience at sunset
  • Dinner at Hotel
  • Hislamdus to close the day

Overnight: Kfar Bloom

Day 3
Day 4

Day 4, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

“Tzfat” Morning Teaching: The early Kabbalists and their influence on the Baalei HaMussar (Avi or Alan)

  • Tzfat- tour of history
  • Visit the Arizal shul, the oldest synagogue in Safed, dating back to as early as 1522, with its windows looking out onto Mt. Meron and the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Hear teachings from the Arizal and his primary student and scribe, Rabbi Chaim Vital.
  • Lunch on own
  • Interactive Workshop Experience
  • Dinner at Hotel
  • Hislamdus to close the day

Overnight: Kfar Blum

Day 4
Day 5

Day 5, Thursday, February 13, 2020

Mussar Lessons from Talmudic Times: Tzippori, Zichron and Caesarea: “Back in time”

  • Tzippori, site where the Mishnah was redacted. Teaching on Pirkei Avot as a Mussar text (Alan)
  • Lunch in Zichron at Nili Wine House
  • Caesaria- tour the hippodrome and Roman amphitheater, walk among impressive palace ruins, observe the splendor displayed in the “Travel Through Time” including a multi-media production showing a city being reawakened in front of our very eyes.
  • Drive to Jerusalem
  • Hislamdus on bus
  • Check in to Hotel
  • Dinner on own local options

Overnight: Mount Zion Hotel

Day 5
Day 6

Day 6, Friday, February 14, 2020

  • Teaching after breakfast to begin Shabbat preparations: “Shabbat in Jerusalem through the Lens of Mussar,” with Alan or Guest speaker.
  • Choice of:
  1. City of David and newest excavations. Walk through the newly discovered tunnel linking the City of David to the Kotel.
  2. Jerusalem on the Scene (drive along understanding security challenges of modern times)
  • Lunch at Macheneh Yehudah, Jerusalem’s famous outdoor market, at your own expense.
  • Prepare for Shabbat.
  • Private Kabbalat Shabbat service at the Hotel overlooking the Old city of Jerusalem
  • Festive Shabbat Dinner at the Hotel.
  • Oneg Shabbat. Singing and socializing
  • Verbal Hislamdus to close the day

Overnight: Mount Zion Hotel

Day 6
Day 7

Day 7, Saturday (Shabbat), February 15, 2017

A Jerusalem Shabbat

  • Choice of free morning, davening in a local synagogue, “shul hopping—trying out various synagogues in Jerusalem,” or a guided walk through Jerusalem**, exploring the multi ethnic Jewish weave of the city, especially in Nachlaot, Israel’s most pluralistic neighborhood.
  • Return to the hotel for Shabbat Lunch.
  • Free time for rest and relaxation.
  • Walking Tour leading to Old City
  • Home Hospitality in the old city for light dinner with special guest speaker, Sara Yocheved Rigler
  • Walk back to hotel
  • Free evening in Jerusalem.
  • Hislamdus to close the day: Individual Journaling: what did you learn today?

Overnight: Mt. Zion Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 7
Day 8

Day 8, Sunday, February 16, 2020

“Mussar in Jerusalem”

Renewal through Mussar Study

  • Beis HaMussar: Study with some of the greatest living Mussar teachers in Israel: (App. 10am start time) Rav Dovid Nussbaum, Rav Reuvain Leuchter
  • Lunch at local cafe’ Ricotta restaurant (included)
  • Afternoon of learning:​ Teachers and location TBD
  • Debrief and Hislamdus session to conclude learning (Avi and Alan)
  • Bus back to hotel approximately 5pm
  • Free evening and dinner on your own

Overnight: Mount Zion Hotel

Day 8
Day 9

Day 9, Monday, February 17, 2020

“Renewing the Old”

  • Morning Teaching (Alan)
  • Visit the Biblical city of Shiloh, site of Mishkan
  • Back to Hotel no later than 3pm: Free afternoon in Jerusalem, lunch and dinner on your own
  • Jerusalem Light Show

Over night: Mount Zion Hotel

Day 9
Day 10

Day 10, Tuesday, February 18, 2020

“Celebrating the “Mussar” Greats - From the Alter to Abraham”

  • Visit the Har Hazeitim cemetery: come face to face with the burial sites of the great Baalei HaMussar: Rav Zundel from Salant, Reb Naftolie Amsterdam, The Alter of Slabodka, Reb Elya Lopian, etc., hear about their lives and be inspired by their teachings.
  • Chevron- visit Maarat HaMachpeila, burial site of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, see the site of Yeshivat Chevron, the first major Mussar Yeshiva in Israel, established by the Alter of Slabodka.
  • Lunch in Gush Etzion (app. 2:00PM) at own expense
  • Uri tour somewhere b/w Gush and Beit Shemesh
  • Possible bread baking:
  • Meditative experience at sunset (Uri and Alan)
  • Dinner at the Fertig’s home, Rabbi Haber guest speaker, kumzitz
  • Hislamdus on bus home

Overnight: Mount Zion Hotel

Day 10
Day 11

Day 11, Wednesday, February 19, 2020

“Renewing the Mussar Tradition”

  • Morning Processing Session—Final Hislamdus session: What Have We Learned? With Avi and Alan. Reb Yisrael’s Yahrtzeit
  • Lunch at your own expense.
  • Visit the newly renovated Churvah Shul, hear inspiring stories about Rav Zundel, the rebbe of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, who lived in this neighborhood, preparing us for Reb Yisrael’s Yahrtzeit, which we celebrate together later this evening.
  • Return to the hotel to refresh and prepare for the trip home.
  • Celebrate the Yahrtzeit of Reb Yisrael: Festive Concluding Dinner at Touro Restaurant and opportunity to share the impact of this experience. (Avi, Alan, Uri)
  • Depart for Ben Gurion Airport


Overnight: Flight  

Day 11

We are pleased to present to you the itinerary and tour package for your Israel Mission. These have been carefully crafted to provide an experience that is engaging, fun, uplifting, informative and inspirational for both first-timers and repeat visitors. All of our tours adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and you can be sure to expect the friendly, warm & dedicated service that have endeared us to thousands of satisfied clients.


Click here to go to the registration page!


Enjoy your trip to it's fullest at these comfortable hotels!

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In the heart of the Hula Valley in the Upper Galilee, surrounded by green spaces and the chirping of birds, lies the Pastoral Hotel -

a meeting place for people who love getting away, culture, nature, music and the written word. The hotel offers a comfortable, peaceful getaway experience for couples and families, together with close proximity to all the main attractions of the Upper Galilee region, including Lake Hula, Manara Cliff, Mt. Hermon, wineries, museums and motor sports.


Hotel overview A boutique hotel in a spectacular historical setting, the unique Mount Zion Hotel overlooks Biblical landscapes and exudes a distinct, incomparable charm that makes a stay in any one of its luxurious rooms truly unforgettable. The Mount Zion Hotel can be found on the outskirts of the Old City in west Jerusalem, and this premier location provides guests with stunning views of, among other features, David's Tower, Mount Zion, and the Hinnom Valley.

The hotel is within easy walking distance of the city’s main cultural, historical, and religious sites, and offers easy access to the best restaurants, shops, and public gardens. As a living part of Jerusalem’s proud history, the Mount Zion Hotel reflects an eclectic combination of cultural styles, making a stay in this beautiful hotel part of the complete Jerusalem experience. The Mount Zion features 117 guest rooms, 20 luxurious suites in a variety of styles, a spa and fitness center with an outdoor swimming pool, meeting spaces suitable for business use, and a large banqueting garden with panoramic views. Perfect for conferences, weddings, and receptions, the Mount Zion Hotel is the ideal choice for any vacation or event.
Cell Phones

We at Israel Maven work together with Phone Away From Home and recommend them for all cell phone and SIM card rentals during your trip to Israel.

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Rent a cell phone or a SIM while traveling through Israel and stay connected as though you never left. All of their plans offer unlimited calls and texting within Israel, unlimited calls to the US and Canada, unlimited incoming calls and texts, and up to 3GB of browsing data. Simple, inexpensive, and straightforward.  To view the great products, services available to you and prices, please click here.

If you have any questions or comments you can send an email to or call us toll free at 213-973-6747.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Israel Maven Tours representative - Dani by emailing or you may call us toll free on 1-866-317-9307.

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Q: What are the security issues facing Israel today- should we be concerned?

The security in Israel is always a concern on travelers to Israel. As of today, there are no security warnings or alerts for travelers coming to Israel. Israel Maven is daily contact with the "security room" which is the office of the Ministry of Defense dealing with travelling in Israel. We receive daily updates, and get updated on a regular basis through SMS and phone on any irregularity in the daily routine of Israel. Note, that although what is seen around the world on the media about what goes on in Israel is usually conflict, the reality is different. Millions of visitors come to Israel annually and some of them even feel safer here than in their own country. Changes in itinerary that need to be made due to safety or security concerns are done without hesitation. We are also in close contact with Israeli Police & SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel) to ensure that all safety & security guidelines are updated in real-time based on changing circumstances. Both participants & staff receive detailed guidelines aimed at ensuring that the no one is hurt or harmed in any way. These guidelines range from appropriate footwear on hikes to keeping hydrated, to avoiding certain areas if necessary. Public transportation on busses and/or trains is not utilized at any time during the program. We do not approach or enter the Gaza Strip or any areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Q: Do you offer travel insurance?

Please note that most insurance policies require purchase within 14-21 days of your date of registration for the trip. Israel Maven Tours has made arrangements with SMS Travel Insurance Center (Israel) of Omaha, Nebraska. SMS has over 25 years of experience as insurance brokers and can help you choose the policy that best meets your needs. Our contact person is Yonah Engel. Please mention this promo code when making your purchase: ISRAELMAVEN. For more information, please send an email to You may also contact Yonah by phone in the USA at (402) 404-5205 or in Israel at 0522-873-665. Please note that Israel Maven Tours cannot accept responsibility for any losses or expenses which you or any member of your party may incur as a result of failure to secure adequate coverage.

Q: What is policy for those arriving/ departing early/late?

Participants who are not travelling together with the group are asked to coordinate their plans in advance with the group leader and the tour operator. Participants who are not arriving or departing together with the group are responsible for joining/ leaving the group at their own expense. We are happy to assist in arranging additional services such as VIP “meet & greet”, hotel accommodation, transportation, meals and touring as required. These will be billed separately to the participant.

Q: This trip sounds amazing! I am coming, but I want to stay longer to tour on my own. Is it possible to extend my trip?

YES! Please indicate this on your registration form. The team at Israel Maven will work with you to provide a customized experience that will include assistance with choosing hotels, activities, and transportation.

Q: Who do we contact with questions?

Please feel free to contact your Israel Maven Tours representatives Tsiona David with any questions you may have. They can be reached by email at or by toll free phone 1-866-317-9307 ext 1