What makes Ramah trips different from other group programs?

Ramah custom designs each program to meet the group’s specific needs. Whether the group consists of first-time or veteran visitors to Israel, hikers or spiritual seekers, the sophisticated, intellectually curious or those who don’t yet know what to ask, Ramah will design an Israel program of any length and at for any season that will meet the needs of the group – showing the participants an incredibly good time in the process.

What kind of sites and visits are included?

Ramah’s trips are organized around a central theme. Working with the group, we determine a theme that is then reflected both in the choice of the sites and the activities included in the itinerary. Ramah’s travelers participate in hands-on learning, exploration and reflection. RII has created a number of on-site inter-active programs, using drama, role-playing, discussion and simulation to engage the participants and help them reflect on the significance of the experience.

What kind of guides and staff work with the trips?

Ramah provides staff who are skilled educators with extensive knowledge of Israel. Each group includes a tour educator who is a licensed tour guide and a family educator (madrich). RII’s English-speaking tour educators combine a commitment to the educational process with a broad and rich understanding ofIsrael, both ancient and contemporary. Their personal commitments to Judaism, the Jewish people and the Jewish state are evident as they actively engage the group participants in exploring the family and travel connections and commitments.

The family educator is largely responsible for conducting exciting programs both for children and for children and parents together. While most of the program activities are designed for the whole group, RII also provides parallel programs for different ages when appropriate.

What is the religious level of the trip?

Jewish values, Jewish tradition, Jewish texts and the Jewish people are integral to the design of the RII programs. Shabbat, kashrut and learning are all part of the trip framework. Each group can decide to what extent formal prayer will play a part in their trip. RII also offer opportunities to meet with Israelis, Conservative immigrants to Israel and/or key representatives of the Masorti (Conservative) community in Israel. RII has also worked with Reform and non-affiliated synagogues.

What experience does Ramah Israel have in dealing with safety and security concerns?

Ramah Israel has decades of experience working with groups and we have extensive experience working in potentially problematic security situations.

In 2014, when operation Protective Edge broke out, we had 250 students here and they all stayed safe and happy, and were here for their entire 6 week program. We were in constant contact with families back home, and in fact the positive overall feedback was higher than it has ever been.

What is done prior to a trip to ensure that it is a safe one

The itinerary of every trip that Ramah Israel plans is gone over by the directors and the SPNI situation room (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel – the body that deals with security in relation to tour groups) to ensure that all sites visited are safe at the time of the trip.

What if a problem occurs while the group is already in Israel?

Ramah Israel’s security officer, Hudi Kfir, is continually being updated by the authorities about potentially problematic locations connected to safety and security of the group (not only political, but also connected to weather or road work or problematic hikes etc). Hudi then updates the tour guide of the trip every day to discuss potential problems. If a problem should arise then we adjust the itinerary on the spot and go somewhere that is secure. We also will adjust programs if there is a weather concern (like heat waves or flooding).

How do you deal with severe allergies - food or other?

It is always very important for us to be aware of any allergies before the start of the trip so that we can make accommodations as needed.  If there is a severe food allergy, we will always notify the hotels and other food providers however they will often not guarantee that the food provided will be free of the allergen. If requested, we will also provide special food for the person with the allergy.

Family and Adult Trips
What kinds of families come on the Ramah synagogue trips? Do you have to be in a ‘nuclear family’?

Many kinds of families travel with their synagogue or community under Ramah’s auspices, from standard nuclear families to single parent families, multi-generational families, single-parent families, and other family configurations.

I am worried that my children are too young for a family trip, what age do you suggest?

Ramah’s family trips are designed for children as young as six years old. RII provides a sourcebook for younger children who have some reading skills and the family educators who accompany each group are trained to work with children as young as six. That said, each child is different and parents are the best judge of their child’s maturity level and readiness for such a trip. Please understand, however, that children under the age of six are the responsibility of the parent, not the staff. All children are invited to participate in the activities designed for them. If, however, a child requires special attention, the parent must be the one to provide it (which may mean missing out on an activity).

The program looks great but rather packed. We wanted something a little more relaxing, is this trip for us?

There is no doubt that a Ramah Family Experience is intensive and the time allotted is used as efficiently as possible. However, we recognize both the incredible potential and the inherent difficulties in family, and group, travel. Ramah attempts to achieve a balance between leisure and learning. RII provides opportunities for rest and relaxation as well as making sure that the group accomplishes as much as possible within the short time available inIsrael.

Does Ramah provide medical and travel insurance?

Ramah does not provide travel insurance. Please contact a local provider. Medical insurance is generally not included on family and adult trips unless otherwise specified. Please make sure to purchase private medical and travel insurance before arriving in Israel.

What do you do if there is a medical emergency on an adult/family trip?

We do not provide medical insurance on family or adult trips. However, if there is an emergency, there will be a Ramah staff member who will help to deal with any medical needs including accompanying the patient to the doctor/hospital and ensuring the patient’s needs are met.

Teen Trips
How do we prepare the students for any potential problems?

On arrival in Israel there is an orientation session with the Israeli and American staff where rules are clearly delineated and safety is stressed. All of the students receive an ID card to carry around with them that has the phone numbers of their staff, the hotels as well as their names and passport information so they can always contact a member of the staff should they get separated from the group.

What do you do if there is a medical emergency on a teen trip?

In case of a medical emergency all youth participants are insured by the Harel insurance company who will organize a doctor’s visits. If a hospital visit is needed then the child will always be accompanied by an Israeli staff member so that the child is never alone and there is no chance for an error in communication.

How can we reach our kids/be reached if there is a problem?

One of the most important things for us to convey is the importance of communication. The group’s staff will always have a way to be in touch with the parents and they will always have a way to get in touch with their kids if need be. Families will receive the relevant phone numbers prior to the trip. We might also open a facebook group or a blog on which we can regularly post updates of what’s going on with the group.