We have information and expert tips for easy travel and a meaningful trip.
There are three primary qualifications to go on the trip:
- This trip is designed for people who are not Sabbath Observant.
- Our participants must have children at home under the age of 18.
- Participants must be physically and emotionally healthy.
How do I find out if women from my city are going?
To learn whether there’s a trip leaving from your city, go to our Partners page and see if there is a partner organization near you. Some cities have multiple partner organizations with Momentum experiences leaving at different times of the year.
How strenuous is the trip?
This experience has a lot packed into it—the days are long and full of activity: We walk 35–40 miles on the trip, explore Jerusalem on foot, and climb a lot of steps in Tsfat. All this and just being out in the heat on Masada require a fair amount of effort. It’s also important to remember that the trip is exciting and can bring up a lot of emotions, and this will affect your energy level.
If you don’t currently exercise, consider beginning a program to increase your stamina. If you have any health problems, consult your physician about the itinerary, and make sure to discuss any concerns with your city leader.
How can I pack most efficiently?
Packing light is key: The airlines are very strict about the weight of bags and going over can cost you extra and, more importantly, the buses can only handle ONE large bag per person.
One strategy to save space is to coordinate with other participants from your city to share the burden of communal items—one person can bring enough first aid supplies to share, one can bring Tylenol or Ibuprofen, one can bring Handi-wipes. Pairing up with your roommate to share items like toothpaste or a hair dryer also helps. You will want to buy souvenirs, so save a little extra space, or throw in an extra, small duffle bag into you suitcase for gifts to bring back home. Please see our “What to Pack” guide for specific packing suggestions.
Where should I eat in Jerusalem on my free time?
We have a list of restaurants in Jerusalem here, or you can see a longer list at Eluna.com. They will definitely give you an idea of what is available in certain areas, but you should also explore on your own!
What kind of sun protection is best?
Even people with dark-toned skin will need protection in Israel’s summer sun. Hats and sunglasses are a necessity. A sunblock with an SPF of at least 25 will protect you, as long as you reapply often during the day.
Do I need to know Hebrew to be able to get around, shop, order food, etc.?
No, you do not. Most Israelis speak at least some English, some speak it quite well. Picking up a few phrases can make the trip more fun, though.
Can I come on a different date with a different city?
The short answer is “No.” A vital part of the Momentum experience is creating community at home, with women in your city.
Are there any expectations after the trip?
The Momentum experience begins with three or more Pre-Trip meetings connecting the women to each other and to Israel before the Trip. The year-long Momentum experience is designed to activate enthusiastic engagement with the beauty of Jewish life, to build a lasting connection with Israel, and a commitment to take action in one’s community towards making a better world.
Women attending the Momentum trips commit to attending a follow-up session once per month with the organization that accepts them. The JWRP team facilitates the sharing of ideas and provides continuing education to our Partner Organization staff in teaching, program ideas, leadership, and strategic planning to make the year-long experience memorable for our participants.
Is there time to shop?
Of course! There are many opportunities to shop in Jerusalem, and in Tsfat, and time to purchase Ahava Dead Sea products before leaving Masada. Remember, every dollar you spend infuses capital into the Israeli economy.
Where can I exchange money?
For large purchases you can use your credit card, but in the shuks (local markets), cash is king, and will allow you to haggle for a better price—a time-honored tradition in Israel!
In order to make sure the buses leave the airport on time, we work with an exchange agent who will change $100 increments for you before you board the bus. This is not only faster than the airport kiosks, but will give you a much better rate of exchange.
The easiest way to get cash is to use your bankcard at an ATM. (NIS, New Israeli Shekels). The fees will vary, but not by much. If you choose to use ATMs, it’s vital that you notify your bank before the trip to avoid your card being frozen by ATM transactions in Israel.
Also, remember that fees are charged per transaction, so you should take out larger quantities less frequently.
Will I be able to do laundry on the trip?
The hotels offer laundry services. The cost is per item and you pay the hotel directly. Some participants like to bring a small bottle of detergent and a few cloth pins to wash out clothing and hang overnight.
Is there WiFi?
Yes! There is WiFi in the hotels and on the buses. Depending upon the hotel, WiFi may be available in guest rooms, or in the lobby.
Where can I keep my valuables?
Keep your passport and money with you at all times, but all other valuables can be left in hotel safes. You may not want to bring many valuable items. Remember: Israel is a casual country, and your trip doesn’t include occasions where fancy jewelry is needed.
What if I have already been to Israel?
We give priority to women who have never been to Israel, or who visited before they turned 18, but many of our participants have visited Israel in the past. Apply and speak to your city leader for more details.
What does the trip cost?
For our participants, this is a heavily subsidized trip. Each participant on our women’s trip receives a $2,550 scholarship, and each participant on our men’s trip receives a $1,350 scholarship (for men, the cost is $900 if your wife is a past JWRP participant and $1,200 if she is not.)
It does not include airfare, a $99 application fee or tips.
Do I need to purchase insurance?
The JWRP purchases Israeli health insurance for all participants during the scheduled trip dates. If a participant arrives early or stays after the Trip, they are responsible for extending the health coverage at their own expense. In addition, Travelers Insurance is recommended for all participants in case of trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost/delayed baggage, flight delays, and more. Contact your city leader for details about both.
Where do I pick up my cell phone?
If you live in the US, your phone will be delivered to you about a week before departure. If you live outside the US, you will receive your phone before you board the bus at the airport. It will be fully charged and ready to go.
Should I bring my computer?
You may not want to bring your computer. If you have a smartphone, many feel it’s enough, as the lobbies of the hotels. The buses have WiFi, but it is not always reliable. If you choose, you can rent a mobile data device for your laptop, iPhone, or Blackberry from Talk n Save, the company providing you with your cell phone.
There are internet cafes in Jerusalem, but you are very busy outside of Jerusalem, so there is little time to spend on the computer. If you really need a computer, consider bringing a small netbook, and if you do decide to bring a computer, don’t forget to bring a 110-220 voltage converter, as well as H and C plug adapters—you can find these online or at most luggage or travel stores.
When do I need to dress modestly?
Some of the places we visit (such as the Kotel/Western Wall, holy sites in Tsfat) require women to wear shirts with sleeves and cover their knees and cleavage. While you want to dress comfortably at all times, it is important to be prepared to dress more modestly at times.
Dress is generally informal in Israel. The summer months are hot and humid, although in Jerusalem it tends to be a bit drier. We suggest that you bring comfortable, easily laundered, “travel weight” clothing, shorts, t-shirts, and skirts and a light jacket.
The holy sites we will visit tend to have an expectation of modesty for women. This usually means covering shoulders, (short sleeves will do), and capris or long pants, or a skirt. Many participants carry a light pashmina and a light skirt to slip on over shorts in their backpack.
Expert Tip: Israel is also a great shopping place for skirts, so bring money and extra room in your suitcase too!
Comfortable walking shoes, such as sneakers, Merrels, or Keens are a must—especially on Shabbat, there will be a lot of walking. A light jacket, sweater, or pashmina, may be needed as Jerusalem may get cool at night.
Expensive jewelry, electronics and other valuables should be kept to a minimum or better yet, left at home. If you do decide to bring any of these items, please pack them, your passport and a sufficient supply of any prescription medications you are taking, in your carry-on luggage. Once in Israel, we suggest placing your valuables in the hotel safe and carrying your passport, camera and cash/credit cards with you at all times. A small travel purse which can be worn comfortably messenger-style (across your body) is a good idea.
Here are some packing suggestions:
To be carried with you (in carry-on or purse)
- Credit Card/Debit card
Note: Photocopy the inside photo/signature page of your passport, which includes your passport number. Keep it in your suitcase. There is no need to bring your drivers license. You passport will serve as photo ID. Also, don’t bring personal or travelers checks. Credit cards are much easier to deal with, and accepted in many more places.
There is no need to bring your drivers license. You passport will serve as photo ID. Also, don’t bring personal or travelers checks. Credit cards are much easier to deal with, and accepted in many more places.
Basic Travel Wardrobe
- Hat for sun – really, we can’t stress this strongly enough.
- T-shirts and tops (some with sleeves that cover the elbow for time when you wish to be modest)
- Jeans/ pants / capris
- Walking shoes
- Skirts/Dresses (to or below the knee length) for Shabbat, the Kotel, other times where you wish to be respectfully modest
- Swimsuit, water shoes and large towel (for Dead Sea)
- Hoodie, light jean jacket or pashmina (can serve both as warmth for cool evenings and as coverage for modesty)
- Jewelry (bring very little)
- Undergarments (there will be opportunity for laundry)
Small Carry-on Bag for Each Person
- Snacks/gum/hard candy- trail mix, granola bars, mixed nuts, toast/peanut butter crackers are all good options that will provide energy
- One change of clothing
- Reading material / puzzle books
Note: No tweezers or sharp instruments in your carry-on
Here are some suggestions
- Prescription medications
- Diarrhea medication
- Alka Seltzer/Pepto Bismol
- Motion sickness medication
- Cold capsules
- First-aid cream
- Extra pair eyeglasses/contact lenses and all assorted liquids and cases
- Sleeping pills
Note: Coordinating with other participants can free up valuable room in your luggage. All medications should be kept in your purse or backpack bag. Do not pack in checked bag.
- Sanitary Supplies
- Comb & Brush
- Hairdryer/Curling or Flat Iron
- Electrical converter/adapter
- Pre-moistened towelettes
- Make-up/Facial Cleanser/ Moisturizer
- Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Dental floss
- Cotton swabs
- Clothes washing liquid, small container for washing in the sink – optional as the hotel does have laundry services
- Sewing kit
- Safety pins
- Camera/Batteries/Cables for charging electronics
- A small inflatable pillow
- A foldable bag to bring home souvenirs
- A lightweight safari hat with neck protection “Sunday afternoons” brand is great
- A cool wrap bandana (soak it briefly and the gel keeps moist & cold – around neck)
- Hiking pants that zip to become shorts for Masada & camel ride
- A little Evian Spray
- Moisturizing hair products
- A hair dryer
- Ziploc bags
- Tide & Shout travel packets
- Kitchen size garbage bags for dirty clothes
- A Polar fleece for Tsfat, the plane, or cool rooms
- Water shoes or sandals for kayaking, dead sea, and Masada hike
- An eye mask & earplugs for the plane, bus, and Sarah’s Tent
- A travel alarm clock
- Dried fruit / peanut butter pretzels/ trail mix in small packets for snacks
- Notes from your family and friends for Kotel
- A journal and pens
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- Money for tips and gifts (tour guides, laundry, bus drivers, Israeli Soldiers)