- A team of committed Jewish educators with years of experience teaching and guiding in a variety of youth, family and academic programs in israel.
- A pioneer in the field of Jewish family education through Israel programs.
- The premier provider of quality educational tour programs in Israel for adults and families as well as for high school and college youth.
- A pluralistic organization, as our name implies, and we recognize that visiting Israel should be a meaningful spiritual experience for Jews of any affiliation.
- Staffed by Israelis who grew up in the U.S., so we know where you are coming from and how to show you the best of Israel.
- A full-service travel organization offering creative, state of the art itineraries, superb guiding, flights, accommodations, and superior professional service - all at competitive prices.
What is Keshet?
Keshet recognizes Israel as a central context for exploring significant ideas in Judaism and Jewish history. The educational goal is to find common themes and challenges and to examine them through the eyes of different generations and our own. Keshet will work with you to develop the right program for your congregation. The Keshet staff will be by your side through every stage of planning.
Keshet is a pluralistic institution. Most of our youth programs are inter-denominational, and our synagogue programs have been developed jointly with Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist clients. Each trip is structured to reflect the atmosphere, needs and priorities of its community. Having cut our teeth on Israeli and American Jewish youth, we find the world of family education to be a perfect match for our skills as tour guides, counselors, and teachers.
The senior staff of Keshet is comprised of Yitzhak Sokoloff, the founding director, plus Dr. Peter Abelow, Kayla Ship, Danny Ehrlich and Steve Zerobnick, each of whom grew up in American Jewish synagogues and youth movements and chose to live and work as Jewish educators in Israel. We share a great love for teaching Israel and Judaism in the context of Israel trips and have accumulated extensive experience in the fields of Jewish education and Jewish studies in addition to being licensed and experienced tour guides. Before his aliya, Peter served as a principal of Jewish Day Schools in New York and Baltimore, as well as led USY on Wheels and Pilgrimage. Yitzhak has taught Jewish philosophy and political science at Hebrew University, served in the Israeli Foreign Ministry and for many years worked as a teacher, guide and group leader for Camp Ramah in both the United States and Israel. Kayla is a graduate of Dartmouth and the Harvard Divinity School and a former teacher at the Hebrew College in Boston. Danny served as the Executive Director of the Bnei Akiva Zionist Youth Movement in North America and has guided a variety of both Christian and Jewish groups in Israel. Steve, who studied at the Colorado College and Hebrew University, was a founder and director of the Israel Studies Institute (ISI), which pioneered Israel experiential tourism since 1986. ISI merged with Keshet in 2007.
Keshet’s programs are meant to use Israel as a context to explore - and often to confront - central ideas in Judaism and Jewish history. The goal is to find common themes and challenges in Jewish history and to look at them throughout the eyes of different generations, including our own.
We also include as many "encounter" opportunities with Israeli society as possible, and our programs have included meetings with soldiers serving on the Lebanese border, settlers in the West Bank, residents of a Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem (in happier days), members of the Masorti and Progressive Movements, Viznitz Hasidim, farmers living in isolated settlements near the Egyptian border, members of kibbutzim, social idealists who have created new communities in development towns, Arab and Jewish youth, political activists, members of the government and the Knesset and even a former Prime Minister.
The majority of our programs include a good deal of recreation time (fun!).This is particularly important for family groups, but we try to include time for enjoying the country for everyone. Programs include classic activities, such as kayaking, jeep rides, rappelling, etc., but also programs that are unique to Keshet, such a two hour sunrise hike in Nahal Havarim, where we turn the "adventure" element into a real spiritual experience.
Tour Educators and Youth Counselors
One of the keys to the success of our programs is the staffing. Our guides are people whom most American Jewish communities would be comfortable with hiring as Jewish role models and educators for their own congregations. They are superb teachers who have a knack for getting across complicated ideas in a "user-friendly" form. The rabbis and educators accompanying most groups also play a central role in framing the teaching and guiding of the programs.