The Joyce Zeff Israel Study Tour Turns 50
It’s been fifty years since IST made its debut in Colorado, and while a lot has changed since the annual trip(s) began, some things never change. Check out these memorable moments that any participant of the IST program will remember like it was yesterday, and don’t forget to register for the IST@50 Reunion!
1. Masada at Sunrise
There’s nothing quite like hiking up Masada; especially at sunrise. This signature activity is truly breathtaking, and any ISTer is sure to have countless memories of rising early in the morning with the rest of their troupe and exploring what remains of King Herod’s palace and the accompanying museum.
2. Swimming in the Dead Sea
It’s no secret that the Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth, but there are those who shrug at the fact that its salinity is so high that one can float; but upon attempting to force themselves below the surface, any doubters quickly stand (or sit) corrected.
3. Camel Rides in the Negev
Forget what you know about riding on horseback. Riding a camel in the middle of a desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The characteristic rocking back-and-forth stands in stark contrast to the graceful sway of riding a horse. It’s no surprise that this experience is at the top of the list for many teens on IST.
4. Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial & Museum
Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, and is one of the most emotional parts of any trip to Israel. From the moment they arrive, visitors see, hear and interact with historical art, old photographs, videos and recordings, and original artifacts. Of particular note is the Hall of Names, the space in the museum that is dedicated to every Jew that fell victim to the Nazis during the Holocaust.
5. The Western Wall
Possibly the most iconic part of Israel, the Western Wall is as breathtaking as it is historical. The main attraction of this incredible piece of history is leaving a note, or rather a prayer, between the large stones. It can be about anything; yourself, your family, your partner. Anything. The real experience is the overpowering emotion as you leave your note at the wall, and hoping your prayers are answered.
6. Real Falafel
We all have our go-to local falafel joint, but nothing can compare to stopping by a local food vendor or stand in the middle of a busy street in Jerusalem. And, being able to see thm put together your meal makes it that much more enjoyable and memorable.
In many ways, the world looks and feels completely different from what IST made its debut fifty years ago, but the timeless memories of the first moments on a camel, the first bite of real falafel, and leaving a note at the Western Wall remain similar to each other no matter what year it is. Cheers to fifty years of IST, and here’s to fifty more! IST@50.